Frequently Asked Questions About the Sustainable Communities Strategy

What will the Sustainable Communities Strategy include?

SB 375 provides an outline for what the Sustainable Communities Strategy will contain, as follows:

  1. Identify the general location of uses, residential densities, and building intensities within the region.
  2. Identify areas within the region sufficient to house all the population of the region, including all economic segments of the population, over the course of the planning period of the regional transportation plan taking into account net migration into the region, population growth, household formation and employment growth.
  3. Identify areas within the region sufficient to house an eight-year projection of the regional housing need for the region.
  4. Identify a transportation network to service the transportation needs of the region.
  5. Gather and consider the best practically available scientific information regarding resource areas and farmland in the region.
  6. Consider the state housing goals.
  7. Set forth a forecasted development pattern for the region, which, when integrated with the transportation network, and other transportation measures and policies, will reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and light trucks to achieve, if there is a feasible way to do so, the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets approved by the state board.
  8. Allow the regional transportation plan to comply with the federal Clean Air Act.

How will the Sustainable Communities Strategy change land use planning?

The Sustainable Communities Strategy will not regulate land use or supersede local land use authority. However, the SCS will identify a preferred growth scenario for land use and transportation investments at the regional scale. The land use planning scenario will be closely coordinated with planners at each of the local jurisdictions such that SCS will help to advance existing efforts at the local level to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

When will AMBAG adopt the SCS?

The AMBAG Board of Directors adopted the region's first Sustainable Communities Strategy as part of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan in June 2014.

How does the SCS and SB 375 effect the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)?

Senate Bill 375 sets forth new consistency requirements between transportation planning processes and housing planning processes.

More specifically, the regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) must be consistent with the SCS development pattern. Furthermore, local Housing Elements are required to be adopted within 18 months of the MTP, which contains the SCS.

To successfully meet these new consistency requirements, the region will adopt an MTP every four years (instead of every five years), while the RHNA and Housing Elements will be adopted every eight years (instead of every five years).

As the Council of Governments for Santa Cruz County and Monterey County, AMBAG holds responsibility for one of the two RHNAs for our region. San Benito Council of Governments issues the RHNA determination for San Benito County and cities within.


SB 375 Acronym Guide

SB375, The Sustainable Communities Strategy and The Monterey Bay Area Info Sheet

SB375 Presentations:

April 2011 AMBAG Board of Directors Meeting SB 375 Presentation

March 2011 AMBAG Board of Directors Meeting SB 375 Presentation

Sourced and adapted from and