City Efforts to Amend the Housing Element to Comply with State Law and to Provide Affordable Housing
The City is currently pursuing two separate, but interrelated, efforts that will ensure that City is compliant with state law while also ensuring that funding for housing that is affordable is used locally and not turned over to the State.
Like all Cities in California, the City of Fountain Valley has an adopted General Plan that contains seven State-mandated elements. The Housing Element identifies and assesses the City’s existing and projected housing needs and provides an inventory of constraints and resources relevant to meeting these needs. The housing element must also identify how the City will meet its share of the regional housing need, commonly referred to as RHNA. The State mandates the regional housing need to the southern California region and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) determines each communities in the areas share of the regional need.
The City of Fountain Valley’s RHNA allocation from 2014 is 358 units. Out of the 358 unit total, the City’s goal includes 216 units constructed for people of moderate income and above, and 142 units for people with incomes levels that are considered low. The City’s current Housing Element was adopted in 2014. While the document will not be ready for a full update until 2021, new state law requires that the Element be amended when sites identified in the document can no longer feasible provide housing at any point in the future.
The City’s current Housing Element can be found on the City’s website at http://www.fountainvalley.org/413/General-Plan. Within this document you will find the adopted Residential Land Resources section that outlines vacant or underutilized properties within the City that have the potential for new housing units in the future. These properties are at various locations throughout the City and provide for 120 units of the City’s RHNA goal. Also identified in this section of the 2014 -2021 adopted Housing Element are projects “in the pipeline” or those that are already planned. At the time of adoption, there were 25 units already under construction around the City. The remaining 128 units were to be provided by an affordable housing project called Rancho Las Bolsas. This project was scheduled for a City owned property located on the Fountain Valley Regional Hospital property.
The 128 unit Rancho Las Bolsas project has been determined to be infeasible and the property was sold by the City. The reason for the proposed Amendment to the Housing Element is to identify a new location(s) in which the 128 required RHNA units can be potentially be accommodated. The area that has been identified as a viable location that these 128 units could be located in the future, is the Harbor Boulevard South Island Specific Plan area that is located at 16790- 16842 Harbor Boulevard. This are contains 6.49 acres and would allow for the potential of 194 units under a 30 dwelling unit per acre density (consistent with R-4 zoning).
Through the Harbor Boulevard South Island Specific Plan Amendment and the Amendment to the Housing Element, the City would be compliant with State law regarding its Housing Element and RHNA goals.
The second effort that the City is pursuing on concert with the Amendment to the Housing Element and the Harbor Boulevard South Island Specific Plan, is a partnership that would result in the actual development of 59 residential units for people of low income. This project would be partially funded using Housing Authority money that was generated mostly through the sale of the Rancho Las Bolsas project site on the Fountain Valley Regional Hospital campus. Current state law provides the City with up to 3 years to enter an agreement for a different project for the proceeds of the sale. If a new agreement is not obtained, the money must be given to the state and the local benefit of providing housing that is affordable is lost. The site that is currently proposed for such a partnership to provide housing that is affordable is a currently a parking of just under 2 acres within the Harbor Boulevard Specific Plan area.
In order for these two efforts to be approved and the City to be compliant with all state laws, while also maintaining funds locally were they were generated, there will be a series of actions including a 30-day public review period of the draft Amendment to the Housing Element, and Planning Commission and City Council approvals. Below is a summary of the actions and hearings that will be coming forward.
- Beginning October 19 and extending until November 20, 2017 at 5 p.m., the City will be taking public comment on an Amendment to its Housing Element. The draft document is available for review at the following locations for the next 30 days:
- Fountain Valley Library – 17635 Los Alamos
- Center at Founders Village Senior and Community Center – 17967 Bushard St.
- City of Fountain Valley City Clerk’s Office – 10200 Slater Avenue
- On the city’s website at www.fountainvalley.org
- On Wednesday November 8, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers the Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the draft Amendment to the Housing Element
- On Tuesday November 21, 2017 in the City Council Chambers the City Council will hold a public hearing on the draft Amendment to the Housing Element
- On December 19, 2017, the City Council/Housing Authority will consider an Affordable Housing Agreement that would approve the partnership with a developer and the City to provide the 59 housings units at an affordable income level.
- In mid spring 2018, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider plans for the 59 unit affordable housing project
Please contact the Planning Department with any questions about these efforts.