Housing Element

Community Development Agency

Housing Element logo - icon of house with people inside

Marin County, like other communities in California, is initiating a planning process under State law to identify how to meet our housing needs at all income levels. This process involves updating the County’s Housing Element, which is a required component of the Countywide Plan (the County’s general plan). The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) dictates that among the seven mandatory elements of a general plan, one element must address local housing needs.

According to State housing element legislation, all local governments must adopt land use plans and regulations that provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development. Because housing availability is a critical issue with statewide implications, and most housing decisions occur at the local level, State law requires housing elements to be updated on a regular cycle (the timeframe for the next Housing Element includes planning periods 2022-2030). The State also mandates that housing elements, unlike other elements of the general plan, be reviewed and certified by the State.

To stay current on the County's Housing Element process and to receive updates and announcements regarding community engagement opportunities, subscribe to this page.

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2024-2032 Housing Element Timeline

graphic for the timeline of the upcoming 2024-2032 Marin County Housing Element

Click on the image above to enlarge the 2024-2032 Housing Element Timeline

Board of Supervisors Meetings and Workshops

October 6, 2020: The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved the 2024-2032 Housing Element Work Plan. Staff will be engaging the community in the months to come for input regarding unincorporated Marins' upcoming Housing Element (Board Packet / Presentation).

January 12, 2021: In November of 2020, the Marin County Community Development Agency completed the Multi-Family Land Use Policy and Zoning Study, a technical background analysis of multi-family zoning in the unincorporated County. The Multi-Family Land Use Policy and Zoning Study (housing study) implements the Marin Countywide Plan’s Housing Element Goal 1 (Use Land Efficiently) and Housing Program 1.b (Evaluate Multi-Family Land Use Designations) to evaluate whether multi-family zoning is appropriately located. The housing study also implements the County’s Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which calls for the County to: “Evaluate existing multi-family Land Use Designations within the unincorporated county to determine whether zoning is appropriate to allow additional affordable housing development beyond existing areas of racial or ethnic concentration.”

The housing study is intended to provide an objective analysis of existing policy, regulatory, and siting constraints on housing development in Marin County and serves as a background to the update of the Countywide Plan’s Housing Element by informing the development of updated policies and regulations for the Housing Element. On November 30, 2020, staff presented the study at a public workshop of the Marin County Planning Commission. The presentation may be viewed via the November 30, 2020 hearing date. On January 12, 2021, staff will present the study at a public workshop of the Marin County Board of Supervisors (Board Letter / Presentation).

January 26, 2021: Staff will present an update about the 2024-2032 Housing Element to the Marin County Board of Supervisors (Board Packet).

RHNA Methodology Materials and Background

In October 2019, the Housing Methodology Committee (HMC) with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) was convened. The role of the HMC to advise ABAG staff on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) methodology for the upcoming RHNA cycle and ensure the methodology and resulting allocation meet statutory requirements, and that the methodology and resulting allocation are consistent with the forecasted development pattern included in Plan Bay Area 2050. Representatives from all Bay Area counties formed the HMC.

On October 15, 2020, the ABAG Executive Board passed the proposed RHNA methodology chosen by the HMC for the current RHNA cycle.

Below, you will find key documents from the RHNA methodology process:

Letters Sent to ABAG

After the final RHNA methodology was chosen by the HMC, a comment period was opened where a number of local jurisdictions, including jurisdictions in Marin County, submitted letters detailing concerns with the chosen methodology. These comments were presented to the ABAG Executive Board on December 17.

Annual Progress Report

Annual Progress Report: The 2019 Annual Progress Report was presented to the Board of Supervisors on March 31, 2020 (Board Packet). State housing law requires California cities and counties to submit an annual Housing Element report to the California State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and Office of Planning and Research (OPR) by April 1 of each year. The Annual Progress Report complies with this requirement by providing data on the County's progress on achieving implementation of housing programs as defined in the 2015-2023 Housing Element. The submission of the Annual Progress Report to the Board of Supervisors does not represent an opportunity to consider revisions to the Housing Element.

2015-2023 Housing Element

2015-2023 Housing Element:  The Board-adopted 2015-2023 Housing Element was certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) per their letter dated March 20, 2015. To stay up to date on the latest Housing Element news, sign up for email updates here.