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STATE REJECTS TWENTYNINE PALMS HOUSING ELEMENT
CA HCD Cites Missing Data on Short Term Rentals, Other Issues
The state has rejected the City of Twentynine Palms housing element.
In a Jan 28, 2022 letter, California HCD (Department of Housing and Community Development) requested substantial revisions to the Twentynine Palms housing element draft which the city submitted to HCD on Nov 29, 2021.
In having its most recent housing element rejected by the state, Twentynine Palms at least has the comfort of knowing it’s in good company. Per a San Francisco Chronicle article earlier this month, so far in 2022:
[Housing] officials have been a tough crowd when it comes to housing elements. In Southern California, which has earlier deadlines than the northern part of the state, just six out of 196 housing plans have been deemed in compliance with state laws. The rest, including the one from Los Angeles, were sent back to the drawing board and those cities could lose local control — not to mention billions in affordable housing money — if they can’t whip their housing elements into shape.
The HCD rejection letter dings Twentynine Palms for a laundry list of omissions, including failing to provide data on how the city is furthering fair housing, not providing detail about potential links between affordability and displacement, and lacking clear goals and actions prompted by the analysis in the housing element.
Notably, the letter from HCD also requests an analysis of the potential impact of Twentynine Palms’ short-term rental ordinance on affordability and displacement risk for long-term renters in the city:
HCD has received public comment regarding the implementation of the City’s short term rental ordinance, and the effect that its implementation could have on increasing displacement risk and/or housing costs for long-term renters in the City. Public comment also provided a number of proposals on how to implement a more equitable short-term rental policy. The element should analyze these requirements, consider public comments, and add or modify programs as appropriate.
Yucca Valley’s housing element submitted Oct 29, 2021 was likewise rejected in an HCD rejection letter dated Dec 28, 2021. But in contrast to the HCD rejection letters to Twentynine Palms and San Bernardino County, Yucca Valley’s letter contains no mention whatsoever of short-term rentals.
Why did HCD apparently allow Yucca Valley to skate by regarding the potential impact of short-term rentals, while taking Twentynine Palms and San Bernardino County to task?
The answer is that Yucca Valley submitted their housing element earlier, in October, while Twentynine Palms and San Bernardino County submitted theirs a one or two months later.
In a letter dated Oct 19, 2021 to HCD and all local government Community Development departments, the MBCA (Morongo Basin Conservation Association) asked HCD to take into account the potential impact of short-term rentals in the Hi Desert. But bureaucracies don’t move on a dime — it likely took HCD until January to digest and begin to act on MBCA’s suggestion.
So by the time HCD got around to analyzing the SB County and 29 housing elements, it appears that HCD had taken a keen interest in MBCA’s comment regarding the local impact of short-term rentals.
Housing Element. Since 1969, housing elements have been a mandatory chapter of local general plans in California. A housing element provides an analysis of a community’s housing needs for all income levels and strategies to provide for those housing needs. It includes goals, policies, programs and objectives to guide future housing growth to meet the needs of residents of all income levels. It also identifies projected housing needs by income category and requires certification by the HCD for compliance with state housing laws. An HCD-certified Housing Element enables a city or county to be eligible for various state grants and funding sources. The State requires that housing elements be updated and certified regularly to reflect the most recent trends in demographics and employment that may affect existing and future housing demand and supply. The housing element is updated every eight years and the current 2021-2029 housing element is the 6th cycle update. [Adapted from this Housing Element FAQ document.]