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

Housing Element Advisory Committee Application Period Now Open!

The Town of Hillsborough is soliciting applications for the Town’s Ad Hoc Housing Element Advisory Committee (HEAC).  The HEAC will be comprised of approximately 10 members, and the committee will advise and assist Town staff with the update process.  The HEAC will meet monthly through late 2022, and meetings will typically be 1-2 hours. 

The Town is committed to ensuring that the HEAC represents the diversity of the community, and all community members are encouraged to apply.  If you are interested, please complete the fillable application form below and return it no later than Friday, November 12, 2021.  Applications may be submitted via email or by delivery to Town Hall.

For questions, please contact the Building & Planning Department at generalplan@hillsborough.net or via phone at (650) 375.7411.  We look forward to receiving your application!



Upcoming Events

SAVE THE DATE!  Housing Element Update Visioning Workshop

The Town will be hosting a Housing Element Update Visioning Workshop on Thursday, November 3rd from 6:00-7:30 p.m. The meeting will be held via Zoom, and all community members are invited!  Participation details will be provided in mid-October. Check back soon for more info, and sign up for email notifications here: https://www.hillsborough.net/list.aspx.


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

City Council Meetings

  • September 13, 2021
    • Item 1: Council Approval of Professional Services Contract with Houseal Lavigne & Associates for Housing Element Update Project
      • Staff Report
      • Meeting Recording (Contract item pulled from the Consent calendar; Discussion begins at 11:57)
      • As this item was on the Consent Agenda, there is no presentation slide deck available.
    • Item 2: Establishment of Housing Element Update Ad Hoc Council Subcommittee
  • June 14, 2021: Staff Provides an Update to Council on the Work Plan for the Housing Element Update Project
  • April 12, 2021: Staff Provides an Update to Council on the Status of the Housing Element Update Project
  • October 10, 2020: Council Authorizes a Co-op Agreement With the County & 21 Elements for Housing Element Update Consulting Services
    • Staff Report
    • As this project was on the Consent agenda, there is no presentation slide deck or recording available.
  • September 14, 2020: 21 Elements Provides an Overview of the Upcoming Housing Element Update Process
  • May 11, 2020: Council Authorizes Staff to Apply to the State's Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) Grant Program
    • Staff Report
    • As this project was on the Consent agenda, there is no presentation slide deck or recording available.

Committee, Commission and Board Presentations

Citizen Communications Advisory Committee

Architecture & Design Review Board

  • May 3, 2021
    • Materials will be posted shortly


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