Housing Element Update
Adopted by the City Council on January 31, 2023
The Atherton City Council adopted the Town’s 2023-31 Housing Element Update (HEU) on January 31, 2023, following a year of community outreach, drafting and review. The Town submitted the adopted HEU to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The Town is in the process of revising its Housing Element to bring the Town into compliance with state law and has been incorporating feedback from HCD throughout 2023 to accomplish that. Now, the Town must finalize its Housing Element revisions. Over the next couple of months, the Town will be conducting extensive community outreach to solicit feedback from residents before the Atherton City Council takes a vote on these final revisions before the State’s deadline of January 31, 2024.
What is a Housing Element?
Every jurisdiction has a General Plan that serves as the local government's "blueprint" for the future, prescribing policy goals and objectives to shape and guide the physical development of the local jurisdiction. A Housing Element is one of seven required elements of the Town's General Plan. Due to the critical nature of limited housing and housing affordability with statewide implications, State law requires Housing Elements to be updated on a regular basis. The Town of Atherton is currently part of an 8-year update cycle (2023-2031) and is working to update the Housing Element.
The Town is not required to build housing itself; rather, the Town is required to create laws and policies that affect where housing can be built, what types of housing can be built, how much housing can be built, and the process by which it is reviewed and/or approved. Every jurisdiction's housing plan is required to meet the mandates of the State to address housing needs over specific periods of time.
2023-2031 Draft Housing Element
The Town of Atherton has transmitted its Draft Housing Element for the 2023-31 cycle to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The latest version is available at the link below:
- Appendix 6 Menlo College Letter
- Appendix 7 Letter from Property Owner - 23 Oakwood
- Track Changes - Atherton Housing Element (Word Version)
- Exhibit B - HCD Comment Matrix with Responses
- All Public Comments
- File Submission List to HCD - January 31, 2023
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) Information & Resources
- SB 9 Information & Resources
What if we don't adopt a compliant Housing Element?
If the Town does not comply with State law, the Town can be sued and remains open to builder's remedy applications that do not have to comply with local zoning and land use laws. In addition, the Town could face significant fines from the State and a court could limit the Town's local land use decision-making authority until we adopt a compliant Housing Element. There are these and other consequences built into State law. The Town's Housing Element is subject to regulatory oversight by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. The Town must report compliance annually.
A successful Housing Element is based on an inclusive process in which the community has the chance to participate and provide input. Government Code 65583(c)(7) requires: "The local government shall make a diligent effort to achieve public participation of all economic segments of the community in the development of the housing element, and the program shall describe this effort." Thus, the Town’s Housing Element update process includes an intensive community outreach plan.
Upcoming Public Meetings
- Joint Study Session with Atherton City Council and Planning Commission
November 13, 2023, 4 p.m.
Atherton City Council Chambers
Join the Conversation and Email List
Stay up-to-date on the latest information by signing up for the Atherton Housing Element Update Email List.
See below for the supporting documents discussing housing needs, policies, sites and land use plans.
Previous Meetings and Supporting Documents:
- November 13 - Housing Workshop Recording - Click Here
- November 1, 2023 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- October 23 - Housing Workshop Recording - Click Here
- September 20 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- July 19, 2023 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- June 19, 2023 - Housing Workshop Recording - Click Here
- June 19, 2023 - Housing Workshop Presentation - Click Here
- June 19, 2023 - Housing Workshop Invite - Click Here
- June 6, 2023 - ADU #2 Survey - Click Here
- February 16, 2023 - Letter & Map - Click Here
- February 15, 2013 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- January 31, 2023 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- January 23, 2023 Housing Element Draft - Click Here
- January 20, 2023 - Letter & Public Notice - Click Here
- January 19, 2023 - Planning Commission Meeting - Click Here
- January 18, 2023 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- January 11, 2023 - Letter & Map - Click Here
- November 17, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- HCD Feedback Letter - Click Here
- October 11, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Click Here
- July 27, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Housing Element Update - Click Here
- July 20, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Housing Element Update - Click Here
- July 15, 2022 - Housing Element Public Notice - Click Here
- June 23, 2022 - Planning Commission Special Meeting - Draft Housing Element - Meeting Packet, Staff Presentation, and Meeting Recording
- May 24, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Special Meeting: Housing Strategies - Click Here
- May 18, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Housing Strategy Refines - Click Here
- April 26, 2022 - Community Open House - To listen to AUDIO ONLY portions of that meeting Click Here
- March 16, 2022 - City Council Meeting - 2021 Annual Report on General Plan Implementation - Click Here
- March 16, 2022 - City Council Meeting - Housing Strategies Discussion - Click Here
- February 24, 2022 - City Council - Housing Element Update - Click Here
- January 12, 2022 - City Council - Housing Element Update - Click Here
- April 28, 2021 - City Council - Housing Element Update Process - Click Here
- November 4, 2020 - City Council - RHNA Report and Process - Click Here
- October 16, 2019 - City Council - Establishment of RHNA - Click Here
Overview of Materials:
- Town of Atherton Notice of Exemption (2.1.2023) - Click Here
- Town of Atherton Draft Housing Element 2023-31 Update revised January 13, 2023
- Town of Atherton Draft Housing Element 2023-31 Update (Transmitted August 2, 2022)
- Town of Atherton Draft Housing Element 2023-31 Update (Published June 9, 2022)
- June 23, 2022 Staff Presentation on the Draft Housing Element
- June 23, 2022 Planning Commission Special Meeting Recording
- Zoning Overlay Letter (PDF) - June 2022
- 2014-2022 Approved Housing Element Update (PDF)
- 2014-2022 Housing Needs Analysis (PDF)
- ABAG Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Report 2023-2031 - Click Here
- What is a Housing Element - Click Here
- Consequences of Non-Compliance (PDF)
- ABAG RHNA FAQ's (PDF)
After eight months of public meetings, the Town of Atherton published the initial Draft Housing Element on June 9, 2022, for public review and comment. The Town received over 300 written comments in addition to verbal comments provided at public meetings. The City Council at its July 20, 2022 meeting reviewed the public comments and provided direction to staff to review the Draft Housing Element as follows:
- Removal of all proposed multi-family overlay zones (including 23 Oakwood, 170 Atherton, and 290 Polhemus).
- Include the potential subdivision and development of properties utilizing the Town’s existing subdivision standards and SB 9.
- Retain the existing regulations relating to housing and public and private school sites within the PFS zone (no change to height, setback and retain Conditional Use Permit requirement). Also, clarify that any new property acquired by a school would be required to utilize the existing rezoning process to change the land use designation from single family residential to PFS.
- Expand the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) program to include pre-approved ADU plans and establishment of an ADU rental program.
Do you have an ADU or JADU?
If you have an ADU or JADU, please take part in our Survey!