Housing Element Response (關於住房要素的回覆) & Special Meeting on Tues. 8/3
July 30, 2021 Update
In light of community feedback on the City’s draft housing element, City Council has called a special City Council meeting for Tuesday, August 3rd at 6:00 PM at the San Marino Center so that City Council can provide further direction to staff regarding the Housing Element prior to its draft submittal to the State. A Zoom option will also be available for those wishing to participate virtually.
The City is aware that the San Marino Unified School District sent a message to the community regarding the City’s 2021-2029 Housing Element Program and process. Throughout the District’s message, the document refers to the Housing Element as setting a “proposal” for rezoning and a plan to increase multi-family affordable housing. The message also states that the City is “recommending” zone changes to specific site, including Carver Elementary and Del Mar Fields. These statements are misleading and inaccurate. The City’s draft Housing Element does not mandate any changes or construction of any properties, including Carver Elementary School and Del Mar Fields, both owned by the school district. All such decisions are left solely at the discretion of the property owner; the City is simply setting policies about what would be considered permissible, if the property owner so desired.
The City has received communications from concerned residents who are under the impression that the City is somehow requiring the District to build affordable housing on Carver and/or Del Mar Fields. This is incorrect. Even if the draft Housing Element is formally adopted by the City Council in October, the City of San Marino is not – and legally could not – mandate that the District close Carver, sell Carver or Del Mar Fields, and/or develop those properties into housing. Inclusion in the Housing Element simply means that if the District wanted to do any of those things, the City would permit it.
The State of California requires cities to adopt new housing elements every eight years. The State also tells cities how many housing units must be accommodated. Regardless of how we feel about the mandate, the City has no choice but to comply. The City is required to offer a plan for how these units might be achieved – this is the Housing Element. The City engaged a consultant, who is an expert in the field, to guide the process. Many of the findings and recommendations were those of the consultant, based on her years of expertise in these matters.
Prior to the commencing of the 2021-2029 Housing Element Update cycle, staff and the City understood that this Housing Element process was going to be the most challenging one to date. The last Housing Element was adopted by the City Council and certified by the Housing and Community Development (HCD) Agency in 2014. While the 2014 Housing Element included a State-mandated housing allocation of less than 30 units, this cycle (which begins on January 1, 2022) includes a State-mandated housing allocation of 397 units.
This numerical mandate puts the City in a critical and grave situation. Moreover, the City is overwhelmed with many State Housing Laws that will take effect starting on January 1, 2022 (AB 1397, SB 6, AB 1486, AB 725, AB 686, SB 330, SB 35, AB 671, AB 1763, and the No-Net Loss Mandate just to name a few). These laws have the potential for significant change in the physical fabrics of our community. While the San Marino City Council has repeatedly expressed its outrage and opposition to the State’s demands, we all understand that we are obligated to comply with the law regardless of how much we might not want to.
As it relates to the concerns of the School District, the State is requiring cities to provide a site inventory of land that is suitable and available for new housing to accommodate the housing allocation for all income levels, not just for affordable housing. The City is obligated to provide a list of adequate sites. Given that the City does not have any one site large enough to accommodate this density requirement, we have no choice but to identify multiple sites that could get San Marino to our required number. The City is therefore forced to scramble to include any and all sites that might be able to accommodate our required number.
All of that being said, it’s important to state that the 2021-2029 Housing Element and the State’s housing allocation is NOT a building quota, but rather a planning tool. The intent of the Housing Element is to show objectives and policies within the City to provide as many housing opportunities for the current and future population of the City. Properties that are listed under the inventory are NOT automatically rezoned, changed in ownership, or no longer allowed to be used under their historic nature. The individual property owners will continue to have full jurisdiction over their properties and use them as they see fit regardless of a City program or initiative. The site inventory is a means to satisfy the State mandates and to show that the City has enough properties to potential provide housing in some form. If one of the potential sites is eliminated in the Housing Element, the City may be required to name other properties.
In the case of Carver Elementary, the site was identified as a potential candidate for rezoning under the Housing Overlay program. The Housing Overlay program is a program that would potentially allow housing opportunities for teachers, staff, or their general workforce. A portion of the Huntington Library and Southwestern Academy were also included under this program. It is not uncommon for our institutions to provide workforce housing within the grounds of the operations. The Huntington and Southwestern Academy already provide housing for staff and/or students. That being said, such program is only possible under the full discretion of the property owner. Even with such an initiative or program, the individual property owners have full jurisdiction or rights over initiating development applications.
The City has considered the Housing Element plans in a transparent manner, including the following public meetings:
- Town Hall Meeting - December 7, 2020
- Planning Commission Workshop - February 24, 2021
- City Council Workshop - April 16, 2021 (including specific discussion of potential sites)
- City Council Workshop - July 17, 2021
The meeting recordings, minutes, agendas, and presentation materials of the above meetings can be found on the City website under Agendas and Minutes or on the Community Development webpage under 2021-2029 Housing Element. The Housing Element has also been informally discussed at various City Club Coffees.
This project is open for public review and comments through Friday, July 30, 2021. We encourage public feedback with respect to the Draft Administrative Housing Element, which can be found at the 2021-2029 Housing Element link above.
市政府知道聖馬力諾聯合學區向社區發出了一則關於城市的「2021-2029住房要素計劃」（2021-2029 Housing Element Program）和程序的消息。在學區的消息內容當中提到了「住房要素」在制定一個重新土地劃分的“提議”及增加多家庭廉價住房的計劃。這則消息還表示市政府“建議”特定地點進行重新土地劃分，包括Carver Elementary 小學和Del Mar Fields。這項消息有誤導性且不正確。城市起草的住房要素不強制要求改變或建造任何房產，包括Carver Elementary小學和Del Mar Fields，這兩項房產都屬於學區所有。所有這些決定都屬於該房產所有人獨有的決定權；城市只是單純的制定政策，如果該房產所有人有意願，則會告知哪些是在允許範圍內。
城市接到來自居民擔心的信息，他們以為市政府不知為何要求學區在Carver和（或）Del Mar Fields建造廉價住房。這是不正確的。即使「住房要素」草案在10月正式通過市議會，聖馬力諾市不會 – 也不能合法的 – 強制要求學區關閉Carver、出售Carver或Del Mar Fields，和（或）將這些物業改開發成為住房。包含在住房要素很單純的只是指如果學區想要做這些事，市政府能夠予以批准。
加州要求城市每八年通過一項新的住房要素。州政府也告知城市必須容納多少住房單位。不論我們對於這些強制要求的看法為何，城市無其他辦法只能遵守。同時城市也被要求提出一項可滿足單位數額的計劃 – 這就是「住房要素」。城市找了這方面的專家顧問在這過程中指導我們。許多調查結果和建議都是經由這位顧問，根據她多年在方面的經驗所提出的。
這個數字要求讓城市進入了一個危急和嚴重的情況。再者，許多即將在2022年1月1日生效的加州住房法（AB 1397，SB 6，AB 1486， AB 686，SB 330，SB 35，AB 671， AB1763和「無淨損失法令（No-Net Loss）」都只是其中一些例子）讓市政府不堪重負。這些法律有可能重大改變我們社區的實體外觀。雖然聖馬力諾市議會重複地表達了我們的憤怒並反對加州的要求，我們全體都知道我們有義務遵守法律要求，不論我們有多麼地不情願。
從Carver Elementary小學的例子來看，這個地點被列為一個在「住房疊加」（Housing Overlay）計劃中可進行土地重新劃分的一個潛在候選人。「住房疊加」計劃是有潛能可為老師、人員、或其一般勞工提供的住房機會。亨廷頓圖書館和西南學院（Southwestern Academy）也被包含在這項計劃當中。我們的機構為勞工在本地營運範圍內提供住房也不是罕見的作法。亨廷頓圖書館和西南學院早已為其員工和（或）學員提供住房。即便如此，該計劃只有在該房產所有人全權授權的情況下才可能進行。即使有這項舉措或計劃的存在，個別的房產所有人對於其是否開展開發仍有全權管轄權。
這個項目在2021年7月31日之前開放給大眾檢閱和討論。我們也鼓勵民眾對於「行政住房要素草案」（Draft Administrative Housing Element）提供反饋意見，這項草案可在上方「2021-2029住房要素」連結當中查看。