The Town of Atherton is committed to protecting the Town’s unique small-town character, and the preservation of open spaces and trees, specifically heritage trees. The Town of Atherton updated its General Plan in 2002. The land use character of the Town has remained that of a mainly single-family residential and institutional (e.g. schools) nature. The General Plan reveals that the most significant constraint to housing development is land availability. There is little vacant developable land in the Town, and most of the Town's land acreage is developed at existing General Plan densities.

Housing Element

The Housing Element contains comprehensive and practical housing policies and programs that address the above-referenced General Plan goals. The Housing Element is updated every 8 years and is currently being updated. See the Housing Element Update homepage for more information.  

What is the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)?

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) determines the amount of housing needed for the Bay Area as a whole, over the eight-year period covered by the Housing Element. The Association of Bay Area Governments then allocates this total housing need among all the jurisdictions in the Bay Area, including each city and county. Each jurisdiction’s amount is its Regional Housing Need Allocation or RHNA. The total RHNA for each jurisdiction is also divided by income level, showing the amount of housing needed for various income categories. 

The RHNA process is described in more detail on HCD’s website, and the allocations for Bay Area jurisdictions are available on ABAG’s website, as well as a description of the process for creating the allocations, and other information on the RHNA process.


Income Level

Housing Units

Very Low (less than 50% of area median income)

Max income of $63,950 for single person to $91,350 for family of 4


Low (50% - 80% of area median income)

Max income of $102,450 for single person to $146,350 for family of 4


Moderate (80-120% of area median income)

Max income of $125,640 for single person to $179,520 for family of 4


Above Moderate (more than 120% of area median income)

Market rate housing




Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

Visit Atherton Municipal Code to learn more about ADUs and Junior ADUs in the Town of Atherton. To access additional information about ADUs in San Mateo County please visit the Second Unit Resource Center - click here

Housing Resources

Visit the City's Housing Resources informational page for tips on home improvements/permitting; financing and loan opportunities; first-time homeowner ownership programs; ADU information and more. 

Additional Information: 

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  1. Christabel Soria Mendoza

    Associate Planner (via contract w/M-Group)