On Tuesday, January 19, the City of La Verne’s Community Development Department, in conjunction with the De Novo Planning Group, presented to the City Council on the progress made to update the City’s Housing Element for the 2021-2029 planning period. Although Council was provided with a summary of public comment given during the City’s virtual workshop, residents are still able to provide their insight through the virtual workshop until Friday, January 29, 2021, which will be weighed heavily when drafting the Housing Element Update in the coming months.
“We are pleased to continue making headway with updating the City’s Housing Element and appreciate the residents who have already participated in the City’s virtual workshop to make their voices heard through this process,” said La Verne Associate Planner Maia McCurley. “The goal of this project is to ensure that our local community’s housing needs are met, and that can only be achieved by understanding our community’s needs and priorities through both technical analysis and public input.”
The virtual workshop, which was launched on November 30, 2020, has received responses largely from residents who have lived in La Verne for over a decade. However, the City looks forward to receiving input from all residents to gain a more balanced and complete understanding of the entire community’s needs. Through the workshop and corresponding survey, the City will be able to gauge resident satisfaction with their current housing, the condition of their housing as well as their housing priorities. For example, around 90% of survey respondents to date are satisfied with their current housing, and they would consider their housing to be in excellent condition. Popular home improvement priorities include painting and solar updates.
Based on current resident feedback, the City plans to prioritize rehabilitating existing housing, ensuring that children who grow up in La Verne can afford to live in La Verne and ensuring affordable housing to working families. The City will also look to establish programs for at-risk homeowners, support fair and equitable housing opportunities, continue to support programs to maintain safe and secure neighborhoods and provide additional ADA-accessible housing. If residents miss out on the January 29 deadline to contribute their insights during this phase of the Housing Element Update, there will still be future opportunities for public input and comments.
Under state law, housing goals are established in the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) on a statewide basis by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). 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. The City’s state-mandated RHNA for 2021-2029 is 1,343 units with 48.5% dedicated to very low or low-income households based on the City’s household growth, job and transit accessibility. In order to meet these new requirements, the De Novo Planning Group recommends promoting affordable housing solutions, including the development of accessory dwelling units (ADU) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADU), building on vacant sites and redeveloping underutilized sites.
With La Verne’s unique community and character in mind, the City plans to accommodate as much of their RHNA as possible within their Old Town La Verne Specific Plan. “With our updated Housing Element, we are hoping to provide and ensure fair and equitable housing standards throughout all La Verne residences, while maintaining our community’s distinct character,” said Community Development Director Eric Scherer.
Since first beginning the Housing Element Update, the City has completed most of the initial analysis and is currently focused on evaluating existing housing conditions, engaging the public with its virtual workshop and using that information to prepare a draft of the Housing Element Update. Once the draft is completed, the City plans to conduct public hearings with its Planning Commission and City Council between July and September 2021 to further engage the public. In October 2021, the City will submit its update for State review and certification. For questions about the City’s Housing Element Update, please contact the City’s Community Development department by calling (909) 596-8706.