ABAG Association of Bay Area Governments
Responsible for distributing the housing numbers given to them by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Marin was assigned 14,405 units at all income levels. ABAG also solicited city/county appeals of numbers based on “changed conditions,” then denied all of them at the behest of HCD, even when localities asked for reductions in market rate housing to increase their low-income housing numbers.
ADU Accessory Dwelling Unit, often called a "mother-in-law unit." Its either a free-standing building on the property or a smaller one (Jr ADU) adjoining the main residence. New laws SB 9 and SB 10 overruled standing local ordinances and restrictions to make these easier to add. They are a part of the residential infill and densification sought by the HCD.
BUILDERS REMEDY If a jurisdiction (city or county) misses the deadline to get their housing plan certified, they are not in compliance. From that time until they are certified, builders can submit applications for projects not in conformance with a jurisdiction's zoning or General Plan. These can be way out of line with local zoning and ordinances, and the projects are difficult to deny.
This law has been around since the late 1960’s, but the first time it was used was October 2022, when the city of Santa Monica was declared out of compliance — even though it had been granted a deadline extension — and about 16 projects of 10 to 15 stories each got automatically approved, totalling 4000 units.
These heights and other conditions are completely out of line with what would otherwise be allowed in the Santa Monica neighborhood they’ll be sited in. Builders Remedy is a punishment for non compliance, and strikes fear into cities to get their Housing Elements certified by their deadlines.
In Marin, we have until January 31st. Many cities and the county sent their Housing Elements in early, so they could be reviewed and adjusted before the deadline. Once an HE is certified, the Builders Remedy window is closed. But for Santa Monica it’s too late, and they are going to have accept the gigantic structures they are stuck with.
So many cities in California will likely be out of compliance that the public will finally understand what it means to lose local control over zoning and their own planning. That is state overreach
CEQA California Environmental Quality Act
Landmark California legislation requires public agencies to “look before they leap” and consider the environmental consequences of their discretionary actions. CEQA is intended to inform government decisionmakers and the public about the potential environmental effects of proposed activities and to prevent significant, avoidable environmental damage. CEQA IS ERODED BY THE NEW HOUSING BILLS.
This is a state law requiring state and local agencies to assess the environmental and other impacts of public or private projects they undertake or permit. Agencies must mitigate adverse impacts of the project to the extent feasible. If a proposed activity has the potential for a significant adverse environmental impact, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) must be prepared and certified as legally adequate by the public agency before taking action on the proposed project.
The new housing laws exempt many projects from CEQA, vilified as a tool to prevent or delay development. CEQA was created to create a channel to assess whether a projects would have significant impacts to an area. It has been used to stop irresponsible and hazardous building.
EVACUATION ROUTE The route you would take to escape a fire.
Because of the old, narrow, and windy roads of many Marin areas, evacuations will be difficult, and the routes will be clogged. Adding more housing in or below these areas heightens risk to evacuees above. Many Marin roads are not wide enough for a car and firetruck to pass, and there are hundreds of tiny feeder roads to feed into the main routes of Shoreline and Edgewood out to Highway 101.
FEMA FLOOD ZONE Federal Emergency Management Assistance.
FEMA creates flood maps of all areas, and any place with a 1% chance or higher chance of experiencing a flood each year is considered to have a high risk. Many areas of Marin have flooded significantly in the past, and a good portion of Mill Valley is is a FEMA flood zone. Especially in combination with areas of expected sea level rise, these areas become harder for homeowners to insure.
HAZARD OVERLAY A map of hazardous areas (fire, flooding) that can be laid over a housing site-selection map to show the sites falling into hazardous areas. In Marin, it will not be possible to avoid those area to meet the RHNA numbers due to lack of suitable land. This is already acknowledged in the Board of Supervisors' unincorporated area site selection Housing Element.
HCD California Department of Housing and Community Development
Responsible for creating the state housing numbers (RHNA) in eight year cycles. This is the sixth cycle RHNA, for us 2023-2031. The HCD mission is increasing the Supply of Affordable Places to Live in California — By administering programs that provide grants and loans (from both state and federal housing programs), HCD creates rental and homeownership opportunities for Californians from all walks of life. Also produces the eight-year RHNA cycle, which projects future housing needs in California. This is the sixth RHNA cycle, 2023-2031. Newly created department inside HCD for certifying enforcing housing element compliance and punishing noncompliance.
Housing Elements (HE) Cities are required, once every eight-year cycle, to put a list of sites together that can be built into enough housing to fulfill their mandates. The city of Mill Valley must create a Housing Element show where 865 residences of specified income levels can be sited.
LOT SPLITTING Allows a property owner (who owns land outright or has permission of mortgage lender) to spilt a parcel into two equal parcels. Housing and ADUs can be built on each, creating more density in a neighborhood. New laws SB 9 and SB 10 overruled standing local ordinances and restrictions to make this possible, even for smaller lots. They are a part of the residential infill and densification sought by the CHD.
MINISTERIAL REVIEW Streamlined permit process
Ministerial approvals are those that involve little or no discretion, merely apply a checklist or clear requirements to the facts as presented and are often issued over-the-counter by county staff.
MMWD Marin Municipal Water District, responsible for providing water to all hookups in Marin County. Although we are in the midst of a serious drought, and are conserving, the HCD says it is up to the localities to "find the water" for the new housing. The MMWD has not prepared for the influx of 35,000 new residents, and the future of water availability to sustain the current population is uncertain.
OBJECTIVE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS
State law defines objective standards as those that “involve no personal or subjective judgment by a public official and are uniformly verifiable by reference to an external and uniform benchmark or criterion available and knowable by both the development applicant and public official prior to submittal.”
RHNA Regional Housing Needs Allocation
These are the numbers the state comes up with for the cycle. Statewide, they are demanding 2.5 million and 441,000 of those were sent to ABAG for distribution in the Bay Area. Marin was assigned 14,405 units at all income levels. Since 1969, California has required that all localities adequately plan to meet the future housing needs of their community. Localities create adopting housing plans as part of their “general plan” (also required by the state). In order to create a housing plan (aka housing element) showing it could meet the local housing needs, a jurisdiction must first know how much housing it must plan for (and estimate how much will be needed at a variety of affordability levels in order to match the needs of the people who will live there). This is determined by a process called the regional housing needs assessment. CURRENT RHNA numbers so exponentially higher than past numbers that they have been appealed across the state and are now under STATE AUDIT.
UNDERUTILIZED LAND Properties with businesses and/or older buildings on them that are worth more as a parcel with housing than they are in their current usage. Many businesses in Mill Valley have been defined this way, in expectation of responding them from commercial to residential, to make the RHNA numbers.
UNIT A place to live suitable for at least one person.
WUI The Wildland Urban Interface is the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. It is the line, area or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels. It is a high fire risk area and where most loss of homes and lives have occurred in California. There are strong cautions against building or rebuilding in the WUI, as they are areas where repeat fires can occur, but the mandates will force housing into those areas.
ZONING Allowed usage of land. Property can be zoned commercial, residential, agricultural, etc. The new state laws are forcing localities to rezone land against city planning to create more residential and mixed-use zoned areas.
more terms and definitions can be found at link above, at the official Plan Bay Area site