Regional Housing Planning

AMBAG promotes strategies to increase the supply of, and ensure access to, a variety of housing choices for all residents of the region. A list of current and ongoing housing planning efforts is included below:

Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Plan

AMBAG prepares the Regional Housing Need Assessment (RHNA) plan for Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties. The RHNA plan establishes the total number of housing units that each city and county must plan for within an eight-year planning period. The amount of housing a region must plan for is largely determined by the California Housing and Community Development Department’s (HCD) housing need assessment.

Since 1969, California has required that all local governments (cities and counties) adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. HCD oversees this process for all regions throughout the state. The statutory objectives of the RHNA process are to ensure jurisdictions have the capacity to (1) increase the housing supply and mix of housing types, affordability in an equitable manner; (2) promote infill development & socio-economic equity, protect environmental and agricultural resources and encourage efficient development patterns; (3) promote improved intraregional jobs-housing relationship including jobs housing fit; and (4) balance disproportionate household income distributions.

Under state law and HCD oversight, AMBAG must engage in a RHNA process every eight years. This process begins with HCD providing a Regional Housing Needs Determination for the Monterey and Santa Cruz County region. The regional determination includes an overall housing need number, as well as the percentage of units required in different income categories.

Based on the adopted RHNA plan, each city and county must update its housing element to demonstrate how the jurisdiction will meet the expected growth in housing need over this planning period. Each jurisdiction’s housing element must be updated every eight years or every four years if the jurisdiction is not in compliance as mandated as part of California Government Code Sections 65580 et seq.).

Regional Housing Needs Assessment 6th Housing Element Cycle
AMBAG will be overseeing the 6th cycle RHNA, which covers the planning period from 2024-2032.
Anticipated Schedule:
  • Late 2020: Begin RHNA discussions and methodology development
  • September 2021: Deadline for HCD to provide RHNA determination to AMBAG and SBtCOG
  • January 2022: Draft RHNA Plan released
  • June 2022: Final RHNA Plan approved
  • December 2023: Local Jurisdiction’s Housing Elements due

Regional Housing Needs Assessment 5th Housing Element Cycle: 2014 - 2023:

Final Regional Needs Allocation Plan: 2014 - 2023

The AMBAG Board of Directors adopted the Regional Housing Needs Allocation Plan at its June 11, 2014 meeting.

RHNA Resolution

Regional Housing Needs Assessment 4th Housing Element Cycle: 2007 - 2014:

Final Regional Needs Allocation Plan: 2007 - 2014

The RHNA Plan was approved and adopted by the AMBAG Board of Directors at its June 11, 2008 meeting.

Local Housing Planning Support Grants Program (LHPSGP)

The adopted FY 2019-20 California Budget (AB 74) and the associated housing trailer bill (AB 101) include a new Local Government Planning Support Grants Program. The program is established for the purpose of providing regions and jurisdictions with one-time funding, including grants for planning activities, to enable jurisdictions to meet the 6th Cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). The program will be administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). This program includes two grant funding sub-programs: Local jurisdictional funds and regional funds. See AB 101, Chapter 3.1 Local Government Planning Grants Support Program for more information.

Local Jurisdictional Funds

The local jurisdictions portion of the Local Housing Support Grants Program funding will be allocated to cities and counties throughout the state. Jurisdictions within the AMBAG region are eligible for allocations between $65,000 and $500,000 depending on the size of the jurisdiction. HCD will release program guidelines and a notice of funding availability in early 2020. Local jurisdictions may request an allocation of funds from HCD by July 1, 2020, which must identify specific strategies to meet their 6th Cycle of the RHNA. Expenditures shall be limited to housing-related planning activities.

Regional Funds

The regional portion of the Local Housing Support Grants Program funding will be allocated to mega-regions throughout the state. In the Central Coast, approximately $8,500,000 in funding will be allocated to a Central Coast Housing Working Group. The Central Coast Housing Working Group shall be composed of representatives from jurisdictions within the counties of Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara counties. Once funding is allocated to the working group, funding will be made available to jurisdictions within the region for housing planning purposes.

Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) Housing Planning Grants

In 2017, the Building Homes and Jobs Act (SB 2) established the Planning Grants Program under the authority of HCD. These grants are meant to provide financial assistance to local governments to fund planning or zoning documents in order to streamline housing production to help address the statewide housing crisis. Grants are considered on a first come first served basis. The application period will continue until November 2019 or until all funds are awarded. Awards will be disbursed beginning summer 2019 and the grant performance period grant performance period will extend to June 30, 2022.

Additional information including the application and guidelines can be found on the HCD's SB 2 website.

Senate Bill 35 (SB 35)

SB 35 allows developers to submit an application subject to streamlined approval processes in municipalities not meeting Regional Housing Needs Assessments (RHNA). If the development meets all state mandated criteria, localities must approve the project in either 60 days if the development contains less than 150 housing units or 90 days if the development contains more than 150 units of housing.

Cities will submit their housing construction progress to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) every 2 years. If the city fails to meet its RHNA goals at one of these progress checks, streamlining will be in effect for the entire next two-year cycle. SB 35 applies only to the specific income levels not being built for. For example, if a city is building enough market-rate units to meet its RHNA but not enough low-income units, the project can only add low-income units to qualify for quickened approval.

For more information, go to the HCD webpage. For the HCD interactive map of each jurisdiction’s SB 35 determination, click this link.