The City of Irvine is providing an update on the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). RHNA is mandated by the State of California and is part of the process to update General Plan housing elements. The state requires a jurisdiction’s housing element to find adequate sites for both the total RHNA allocation and across all income categories. If a jurisdiction is unable to find adequate sites to accommodate the RHNA, it may become ineligible for millions of dollars in state grant funding.
The RHNA occurs every eights years and is developed by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). The City has been very involved throughout the process, expressing concern with the final RHNA methodology that is not based on realistic local planning identified by the jurisdictions to SCAG.
On September 3, 2020, the City of Irvine received a draft RHNA allocation of 23,554 units. The City filed an appeal of the RHNA allocation with SCAG on October 26, 2020. Jurisdictions are limited by statute on the grounds for appeal. The City requested an appeal on the following:
- Inaccurate transit assumptions
- Unfair redistribution of units from other jurisdictions in Orange County
- Incorrect assumptions regarding non-buildable areas, such as wildfire-prone areas and protected open space
- The total regional determination for the SCAG region of 1.34 million units that violates state law
- The RHNA is inconsistent with SCAG’s Sustainable Communities Strategy, a violation of state law; and
- A change in circumstances through job loss and job accessibility due to COVID-19
RHNA appeal hearings will be held in December 2020 – January 2021 and final RHNA allocations will be released in February 2021.