In some parts of California, there is definitely a housing crunch: small supplies of homes for sale, prices that escalate even when population has apparently stabilized and high prices that exclude most Californians as buyers.
But a massive, multi-million-unit shortage? Maybe not. At least, so suggests a scathing springtime report from the non-partisan acting state auditor.
In the March report, auditors said “HCD does not ensure that its needs assessments are accurate and adequately supported.” That’s a big deal.
In other words, the housing department’s top-down mandates for the next eight-year housing element cycle are unreliable, likely invalid and should therefore be unenforceable. The foundation of the RHNA methodology is as unstable as building housing on sand.
A recent audit of the state’s new housing quotas raises serious questions about the accuracy of the equation state bureaucrats have used to dictate how many units counties and cities have to approve for construction.
The audit doesn’t question California’s need for housing. But it does raise questions regarding flaws found in the number of units mandated by the state quotas.
RHNA is an acronym that often brings terror to elected county supervisors, city council members, municipal planners and those living in already overpopulated coastal communities. Those letters stand for Regional Housing Needs Assessment. That’s the state mandate of specific numbers of housing units every California town, city and county needs to plan for and facilitate by 2031. The RHNA mandate is a prime example of the top down, “we know best” approach which has become a hallmark of California’s current legislators.
Marin critics of housing mandates handed down by the state say a new report by California’s auditor validates their objections.
“I applaud the audit,” said Mill Valley resident Susan Kirsch, founder of Catalysts for Local Control. “It is one of the greatest contributions we’ve had to try to get accurate numbers that jurisdictions can rely on.”
Petitioners/Plaintiffs City of Redondo Beach, City of Carson, City of Torrance, and City of Whittier bring this action to uphold the California Constitution and prevent the State of California from usurping a charter city’s land use authority, which is a uniquely municipal affair.