Carmel Housing Element and RHNA Challenges

Update as of 1/13/2023 - As per Brandon Swanson, there will be a Housing Element Workshop Tuesday February 28th 5:30-7:30 PM Carmel City SPECIAL Housing Element Workshop in Council Chambers.  More details for this session will be posted on the City Meetings webpage as this date gets closer. 

Every 8 years, required by California State Law, our City must update the Housing Element of our General Plan.  Our next update is due, all approved locally by December 2023.  With the most recent RHNA #'s (Regional Housing Needs Allocation of 349 housing units for Carmel-by-the-Sea), we must include updates that reflect feasibility, processes and incentives to increase the density of our 1 square mile village, with scarce open space. IMPORTANT Note: our City is not responsible for building of new housing, this is optionally up to developers and property owners.

The Housing Element Document Outline is:
1. Land Use* and Community Character

2. Circulation*
3. Housing*
4. Coastal Access and Recreation Element
5. Coastal Resource Management
6. Public Facilities and Services
7. Open Space* and Conservation*

8. Environmental Safety*
9. Noise*
*State mandated elements

The City has created an Ad Hoc Committee with Council Members Karen Ferlito & Bobby Richards on point in partnership with the City Planning Department staff.   The November 2022 initial public meeting slides and recording are highlighted below and are highly recommended viewing. 

“The mission of the Housing Ad Hoc Committee is to provide guidance as the City updates the Housing Element of its General Plan. The Committee will participate in public outreach and education; consider opportunities and incentives for the development of affordable housing; and explore creative, tailored solutions to meet the City’s workforce and range of other housing needs while preserving the character of Carmel by-the-Sea”

Work already underway is a consultant engagement scoping many possibilities about town.

The Draft Housing Feasibility Study is being produced and finalized by ECONorthwest, that will include:
• Local Context
• Market Overview
• Zoning Code Review
• High-Level Sites Analysis
• Housing Capacity Opportunities
• Recommended Actions and Potential Incentives

Copied directly from the City Planning Website Page, you will find the following in the Housing Element section of this page.  

The City has begun working on a Housing Feasibility Study which will inform the 2023 Housing Element Update. Public meetings will be held in the Fall/Winter of 2022 and throughout 2023.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.   And please reach out directly to Karen and Bobby on our City Council with your feedback as this project continues from now through December 2023. 

Note:  This Housing Element update project is running in parallel with the Design Traditions 1.5/Carmel Architecture Design Guidelines update efforts over 2022 and 2023.   Staff suggests that although there are possible interconnection points, both of these efforts can continued separately, while benefiting from being mutually aware.   (example of possible intersections could include where incremental housing, especially targeted at our commercial zones, may benefit from added floors, or size)