As Vacaville prepares to launch the next cycle of its housing component, City Council received a presentation and provided feedback on a draft of this next phase at Tuesday’s meeting.

The project was prepared with the assistance of the city’s consultant, PlaceWorks Inc. of Berkeley. PlaceWorks Senior Planner Jennifer Gastellum provided an overview.

The Housing Element is a component of the General Plan that identifies current and projected housing needs and is reviewed by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The document is adopted in cycles, with the current fifth cycle starting in 2015 and due to end in 2023. The sixth cycle will be in place from 2023 to 2031.

“The housing element is one of the required elements of the general plan,” Gastellum said. “It’s unique in that it’s reviewed by the state, and it’s a two-part process where we submit a housing element project, which we’ll do for a 90-day review, and then once it is adopted, we undergo a 60-day certification process.

The housing component will consist of seven chapters and five annexes. These include an introductory chapter; objectives, policies and programs; local housing needs, an inventory of housing sites, resources, constraints, assessment of previous housing element, summary of regional awareness, Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), Regional and Vacaville Fair Housing Assessment, Local Outreach Summary and Global Housing Strategy which was adopted by Council in June.

Gastellum said the goal was to take over Vacaville’s share of RHNA numbers. The city is required to have the correct zoning in place for 2,595 units. This includes 677 units for very low-income families, 404 for low-income families, 409 for moderate incomes and 1,105 for above-moderate incomes.

Currently, the city has 5,859 pipeline projects underway, including 202 for low-income residents, 186 for moderate incomes, and 5,471 for above-moderate incomes.

“Your population has grown to over 100,000 during this planning period, which means the state is identifying a default density of 20 units for smaller jurisdictions and 30 units for larger jurisdictions,” said gastellum. “They assume it’s affordable by design. If you allow 30 units per acre, it can potentially be affordable. We know that’s not necessarily how life works, but that’s how the state makes us identify the land.

The new housing element would also consider secondary secondary suites (ADUs) and junior secondary suites, in accordance with state law.

Councilman Michael Silva expressed concern about the concentration of low-income housing in certain parts of the city and asked if it would be possible to limit this and evenly distribute low-income housing.

Gastellum said there were fair housing programs in place and staff would work with developers to encourage areas to develop, but limits on certain housing types were not possible.

“We wouldn’t put a cap or say ‘You can’t grow there,'” she said. “If permitted by zoning, it can be developed.”

Councilor Jeanette Wylie asked if the Strada 1200 and Harrison apartments were included in the data. Lead planner Tyra Hays said Strada was not included because it had already been built, but Harbison was identified as a pipeline project.

Vice Mayor Roy Stockton said he would like to see more student and faculty housing near the Solano Community College campus in Vacaville. He also asked if there were any grants available for developers building moderate or high income homes that have ADUs.

Community Development Director Erin Morris said she wasn’t sure Vacaville residents would participate in such a program, but local programs would target homeowners.

“The reason is that the interest of the state is to facilitate the creation of additional housing that helps owners improve their property or create a source of income,” she said. “It helps them stay in their property and also promotes positive things for the owners.”

Morris, however, said it would count for RHNA numbers. Stockton asked how long an ADU would have to be rented before it counted, and Morris said there was no obligation to rent it.

Councilor Greg Ritchie said the housing element was an important talking point to explore housing further, particularly the concept of ‘affordable housing’.

“We keep saying that, but it’s really frustrating for the community because things are getting less affordable as inflation goes up,” he said. “We have to be aware and aware because people are trying to figure out where they can fit in the community, what affordable housing is…Know your numbers, know your ratios, know where you stand on affordability , but what number would you mean? Which number is affordable? »

The draft housing element will now be submitted to the HCD for a 90 day review period. Potential revisions would be made in January and February, an environmental addendum would be implemented in February, the Planning Commission would review the final draft in May, and the council would hold an adoption hearing in June following the final submission of the document to the HCD which month.

The project can be viewed at Cityofvacaville.gov/DraftHousingElement.