Housing element law recognizes the most critical decisions regarding housing development occur at the local level within the context of the periodically updated general plan. The RHNA Plan requires local governments to balance the need for growth (including the need for additional housing) against other competing local interests.
While land-use planning is fundamentally a local issue, the availability of housing is a matter of statewide importance. The RHNA process maintains local control over where and what type of development should occur in communities, while providing the opportunity for the private sector to meet market demand. The RHNA Plan process requires local governments to be accountable for ensuring that projected housing needs can be accommodated. It also provides a benchmark for evaluating the adequacy of local zoning and regulatory actions in order to ensure each local government is providing enough appropriately designated land and opportunities for housing development (based on the need).
The element shall contain an analysis of population and employment trends and documentation of projections and quantification of the locality’s existing and projected housing needs for all income levels. These projected needs shall include the locality’s share of the regional housing needs in accordance with Section 65584 (Government Code Section 65583(a)(1)).
Housing-element law requires a quantification of each jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need as established in the RHNA-Plan prepared by the jurisdiction’s council of governments.
The RHNA is a minimum projection of additional housing units needed to accommodate projected household growth of all income levels by the end of the housing-element’s statutory planning period. Each locality’s RHNA must be segmented into four income categories. The RHNA should be listed in the housing element as follows: