2023-2031 Housing Element Update

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The shortage of homes impacts all of us. That’s why now is the time to participate in conversations and plan together for current and future housing needs in all our communities.  

Let's Talk Housing is a collaborative effort of all the jurisdictions in San Mateo County focused on getting community feedback that will shape our Housing Elements--a housing plan that is part of every General Plan. 

Through an ongoing initiative called 21 Elements, we are working together to learn from and listen to the community about their housing needs, helping to make sure everyone is involved in shaping our shared future.

Visit the Let's Talk Housing San Mateo County Website at https://www.letstalkhousing.org/.


Current News

Materials Available From March 30, 2021 "Let's Talk Housing" Countywide Meeting

On March 30, 2021, the County of San Mateo & 21 Elements Consortium hosted the first in a series of Countywide meetings to kick-off the regional housing element update process.  After a series of technical issues with the 21 Elements Zoom meeting room, the Town opted to move to their own Town-hosted Zoom meeting room for the Town-specific breakout session. A recording of the Town breakout room discussion and presentation slide deck are available below.


Upcoming Events

Monday, April 12th @ 6:00 p.m.

City Council Meeting (via Zoom)

Join the City Council in Receiving a Presentation from the Building & Planning Department on the General Plan & Housing Element Update Effort


Friday, April 16 @ 9:00 a.m.

Coffee With the City Manager (via Zoom)

Join City Manager Ann Ritzma, Building & Planning Director Sarah Fleming & Planning Manager Liz Ruess for a Conversation About the Future of Housing in Hillsborough

Announcement--Housing Hillsborough Coffee with the City Manger--04-16-21


Tuesday, April 20th @ 6:00 p.m.

Let's Talk Housing Hillsborough Community Kickoff "Re-Do" (via Zoom)

Due to technical issues at the March 30th Let's Talk Housing kickoff meeting, many registrants were unable to attend.  21 Elements and the County of San Mateo invite you participate in a follow-up meeting. Please Join us in a "Re-Do" So We Can Hear From You!

Announcement--LTH 1 Re-Do--04-20-21 Opens in new window


Thursday, April 22nd @ 6:00 p.m.

Let's Talk Housing "All About RHNA" Deep Dive (via Zoom)

Looking for a "Deep Dive" into the Regional Housing Needs Allocation Process (RHNA), from the State to the Local Level? 21 Elements Will be Hosting a Technical Discussion on the topic.

Annnoucement Flyer--LTH All About RHNA Meeting 1--04-22-21 Opens in new window


Monday, May 3rd @ 4:00 p.m.

Architecture and Design Review Board (ADRB) Meeting (via Zoom)

Join the ADRB in Receiving a Presentation from the Building & Planning Department on the General Plan & Housing Element Update Effort


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Housing Element?

The Housing Element is a chapter of the General Plan that outlines a community's housing plans and the polices the community has in place to ensure that they will achieve their plan's goals.  While cities don’t build housing themselves, they do create the rules that affect where housing can be built, how much, and how it gets approved. Per State law, each jurisdiction’s housing element must help ensure that there will be enough capacity meet the projected need over the next 10 years.

Why Does it Matter?

More and more, purchasing a home is out of reach for many while renters face inaccessible rent prices. Just about every city in the region needs more housing, of all types and sizes. 

  • Teachers, firefighters, health care, and other essential workers are often traveling long distances to work or being forced to relocate to other cities; 
  • Young adults and students are often unable to purchase homes or even live in the communities they grew up in once they leave their childhood homes; 
  • Communities of color and non-English speakers--those who make up the majority of community members living in overcrowded and unsafe conditions--can’t afford to live near their jobs, schools, or families.

Creating more housing—and more diverse housing choices—means

  • Young families can find an affordable starter home;
  • Young adults moving into the housing market can stay in the cities they grew up in;
  • Our aging population will have more options for retirement, including downsizing, providing housing for on-site health or home care, and staying in their communities;
  • Workers like our teachers, firefighters, health care workers and essential workers can find homes near job centers;
  • Your children and grandchildren can stay near you in the communities they feel a part of;
  • More people across incomes will have more opportunities to rent or own homes in the places they live, work and love.

How Do We Know How Much Housing to Plan For?

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) develops a state-wide housing needs determination (RHND) number, based on projected housing needs in various income categories as outlined in the table below:

RHNA Income Categories

HCD further breaks the RHND into regional assignments, and then allocates a lump number of units to each area’s regional coalition of governments (COG). The Bay Area’s COG is the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). 

This number is then assigned by the COG to the various jurisdictions within the region. This known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA; pronounced ree-nuh) process. The State is currently in the sixth cycle of this allocation process, known as "RHNA 6."  

How Does ABAG Decide How to Distribute the Regional Assignment?

In 2019 ABAG established a Housing Methodology Committee (HMC) charged with developing a distribution formula by which to allocate the cycle 6 RHND number. The HMC consists of elected officials and staff from each county, as well as stakeholders from interest groups.

Any methodology developed by the HMC must satisfy the many statutory requirements for RHNA distribution, including:

  1. Increasing housing supply and mix of housing types, tenure, and affordability in all cities and counties in an equitable manner throughout the region;
  2. Promoting infill development and socioeconomic equity, protecting environmental and agricultural resources, encouraging efficient development patterns, and achieving greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions targets;
  3. Promoting an improved intraregional jobs-housing relationship, including a balance between low-wage jobs and affordable housing (jobs/housing fit);
  4. Balancing disproportionate household income distributions (more high-income RHNA to lower-income areas and vice-versa); and
  5. Affirmatively further fair housing.

Using the above requirements as a guide, the final RHNA methodology recommended by the HMC assigns a total number of housing units to each Bay Area jurisdiction and distributes that allocation among the four affordability levels.

Where Can I Get More Information on the RHNA Process?

ABAG has created a "Frequently Asked Questions" document on RHNA which can be downloaded here: RHNA Frequently Asked Questions.  Additionally, you can find more information on the Let's Talk Housing San Mateo County website here: https://www.letstalkhousing.org/how.

How Can I Get Involved?

The Town anticipates beginning community discussions in Spring of 2021.  Updates will be provided on this page, and notice of Town meetings will be posted on Town bulletin boards, on the online Town calendar, and sent out in the Town's e-announcements and newsletter. You can also sign up for notifications related to the process here: https://www.hillsborough.net/list.aspx.  For additional inquires or comments, please send an email to generalplan@hillsborough.net.


Background Information & Helpful Documents

Community Meetings

  • March 30, 2021: Let's Talk Housing Countywide Kickoff Meeting (sponsored by 21 Elements and San Mateo County)
  • April 16, 2020: Coffee With the City Manager 
    • Materials will be posted after meeting
  • April 20, 2021: Let's Talk Housing "Re-Do" Kickoff Meeting (sponsored by 21 Elements and San Mateo County) 
    • Materials will be posted after meeting

City Council Meetings

Committee, Commission and Board Presentations

Citizen Communications Advisory Committee

Architecture & Design Review Board

  • May 3, 2021
    • Materials will be posted after meeting


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