Policy Update September 2022

What’s Happening Locally?

Housing element season is in full swing here in Sonoma County. So far, the City of Santa Rosa, the City of Rohnert Park, and the City of Sebastopol have submitted their draft to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (“HCD”). More importantly, several of our jurisdictions will be opening up their mandated 30-day public review periods of their drafts in the month of October. We need your local knowledge and input on housing in your community NOW more than ever!

  • Cloverdale: A draft Housing Element is expected to be released in early October.
  • Cotati: A draft Housing Element was released on Tuesday, September 27 – you can review it here!
    • Click here to read the draft Housing Element
    • 30 day comment period will end on Thursday, October 27:
    • You can submit comment by emailing Cotati@TheCivicEdge.com or mailed/delivered to Cotati City Hall (201 West Sierra Avenue) by Thursday, October 27.
    • Click here to get Cotati specific action alerts!
  • Healdsburg: The draft Housing Element is expected to be released in early October.
    • 10/17 Housing Element Work Group Areas of Additional Focus and Workplan
    • Click here to track their website
    • Click here to get Healdsburg specific action alerts!
  • Petaluma: The comment period for the draft Housing Element closed Wednesday, September 28 after which the City will submit their draft to HCD for review.
  • Rohnert Park: The comment period for the draft Housing Element closed on September 4 and has been submitted to HCD for review.
  • Santa Rosa: The revision of the Housing Element, after receiving public comment and feedback from the HCD, is expected to be released in mid-October. The public comment period for the second draft will be only 7 days.
  • Sonoma: The comment period for the draft Housing element closed September 16, after which the City will submit their draft to HCD for review.
  • Windsor: The comment period for the draft Housing Element closed September 23, after which the Town will submit their draft to HCD for review.
  • County of Sonoma: The draft Housing Element is expected to be released in late October
    • Click here to track their website
    • Click here to get Unincorporated County of Sonoma specific action alerts!

To learn more about the Housing Element process and to track the progress for each jurisdiction, click here. You can find information about the Housing Element process here as well. If you want more information on how to get directly involved with Generation Housing’s Housing Element work, email us at info@generationhousing.org!

Downtown Santa Rosa Surplus Parking Update

25 percent of the total landmass of downtown Santa Rosa is dedicated to parking – and even during our highest peak times of the week such as 1:00 PM on a Friday afternoon, our utilization of this parking averages about 26 percent. 

The City of Santa Rosa has launched a study session series that will provide a holistic overview of the opportunities and challenges of intensifying underutilized parking assets in the downtown core. During the second study session, the City proposed several options for a Santa Rosa Civic Center Project.

Generation Housing has spoken in favor of Option A as it is the only option that includes a clear housing component, doesn’t maintain parking stock within the envelope of the proposed redevelopment plans, and it maximizes the buildout for housing and mixed-use development which will spur greater investments in the Downtown Core and support the City Council’s stated vision for city-centered growth. That’s why Generation Housing is supportive of the proposed plan in both Option A and B to relocate Public Safety to Stony Point Road, which is more consistent with the current use of that land and includes fire training, fleet maintenance and storage, and other public services as identified in the staff presentation. To read the full staff report on the Feasibility Analysis, click here, and for the presentation of the options, click here.

Don’t miss the last opportunity to engage on this important issue!

  • October 11, 2022: Surplus Lands Act and its impact development opportunities; direction from City Council on next steps (Review the agenda here) This meeting will discuss the consideration of designating some public-owned parking assets as surplus parking which then allows developers the opportunity to submit proposals for redeveloping the site. Previously, the discussion has largely centered around redeveloping the 3rd Street Garage (built in 1965) which now has an estimated repair cost of $4M to $6M and would only create 15 to 20 more years of useful life. The D Street Garage (built in 1970) would similarly require an investment of $6M+ to prolong service life. Parking garages have an average service life of 40-50 years.

Want to be notified of Santa Rosa specific action items? Sign up for Action Alerts here.

What’s Happening at the State?

It’s official, since our last update, Governor Newsom has signed AB 2096 (Residential, commercial, or other development types: parking requirements) – a historic bill years in the making! All parking requirements for new housing are now eliminated within a half-mile of train, ferry and bus-rapid stations and major stops in California. This is the biggest parking reform law in the Country!

On Wednesday (9/28), the Governor signed AB 2011 (Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022) – a landmark piece of legislation that creates a ministerial, streamlined approval process for 100 percent affordable housing in commercially-zoned areas and for mixed-income housing along commercial corridors. He also signed SB 886 (California Environmental Quality Act: exemption: public universities: university housing development projects) which now makes it faster and easier for the University of California, California State University, and community colleges across the state to build student and faculty housing on and near their campuses!

The passage of these combined bills represents an unprecedented victory for housing advocates across the state.

**For more information, visit our website where you can find a detailed Airtable of our endorsed legislation.