The City of Grover Beach is making significant strides toward addressing one of its four Major City Goals related to housing and homelessness. These steps include several actions taken in May to help facilitate increased housing production, particularly affordable housing. Since then, a developer has been selected for a potential affordable housing project on City-owned property on South 13th Street and a virtual Housing Element Update Workshop is scheduled for July 27.
“Our City Council has a strong commitment to the creation of quality affordable housing in Grover Beach. Affordable housing enriches our city and provides housing for those who work in our community and brings in more residents that will go to our businesses,” said Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee. “While our recent Council decisions are critical to starting the process, there is still more work to be done. We are excited to jumpstart the process that will create more affordable housing in our city.”
In support of the City’s housing goal, the Council has recently reviewed the status of the Housing Element update, preliminary Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) assessment, grant funding opportunities, and potential use of City-owned property to facilitate affordable housing production. Under state law, housing goals are established on a statewide basis and then regions create plans to allocate growth objectives to cities and counties. The RHNA allocation includes both a total unit count and categories of affordability that are targeted to be developed within cities or the unincorporated county areas.
Specifically, the Council provided direction to staff to:
- Apply for $65,000 for a Local Early Action Plan (LEAP) Grant from the State, of which $45,000 would be used toward the Housing Element Update and $20,000 would be used for other activities to facilitate housing production.
- Apply for $140,000 annually from the State’s Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) Program and partner with the San Luis Obispo County Housing Trust Fund (SLOCHTF) to use these funds for affordable housing projects in the city. Notably, this approach could double the PLHA funding because SLOCHTF could apply for additional grants on behalf of the City.
- Evaluate City-owned property on South 13th Street for an affordable housing project and conduct an open process to select an experienced affordable housing developer. The Council selected a joint development team of People’s Self-Help Housing and the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo County through a Request for Qualifications process at the July 6 Council meeting.
The forthcoming update of the City’s Housing Element, which will be discussed by the City Council and Planning Commission at the virtual July 27 Housing Element Update Workshop, will provide the opportunity to establish goals, policies, and programs that will facilitate housing production and demonstrate how the City will accommodate its RHNA of 369 housing units spread across different income levels over the next eight years. The final version of the updated Housing Element will be brought to the Council for adoption in November followed by submission to the State. The City will then begin the implementation of the new Housing Element including rezoning of housing opportunity site and Development Code amendments to reduce barriers to in-fill housing production and/or rezone land to increase density to meet the RHNA requirements.
“The nexus of housing grant funds from the State, timing of our Housing Element update, and our ability and desire to advance much-needed affordable housing is a unique opportunity for Grover Beach,” said City Manager Matthew Bronson. “We look forward to working with our community on creative ways to help make our city more accessible to all those who want to live and work here.”
Updates on all these housing items will be brought back to the Council and Planning Commission over the coming months as detailed plans are developed. As previously mentioned, there will be a virtual joint City Council and Planning Commission workshop to discuss these matters further on July 27, 2020 at 6pm. The Draft 2020-2028 Housing Element, workshop details and information on how the community can participate can be found on the Grover Beach website.