Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Tuesday, Nov. 15 @ 3:44 p.m. / Homelessness, Infrastructure, Local Government

Crescent City Housing Element To Include Info on ADUs; Funding Available For Low-Income Housing Programs


Crescent City officials are seeking public comment on a new plan for housing Councilors hope will include a simplified process for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units on their property.

Crescent City’s 6th Cycle Housing Element is part of its general plan and establishes goals, objectives and policies to create “sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods across the city,” a Monday news release stated. The city is planning for at least 189 living units between 2022 and 2030.

A 30-day public comment period began Monday. People can participate in a survey by visiting the city’s website. They may also offer input in-person at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Flynn Center in Crescent City or online at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

Another public hearing focusing on the city’s Permanent Local Housing Allocation (PLHA) funding will be held Nov. 21. The city has $485,092 to spend on activities that target the development of “very-low, low and moderate-income” housing.

City Manager Eric Wier told Councilors last week that those dollars could address items the Housing Element touches on, including accessory dwelling units.

“Part of that will be a request for proposals from developers to access some of these funds that are allocated to us through the Permanent Local Housing funds,” Wier said. “When Bob brings the Housing Element back to the City Council and the Planning Commission, at that point in time I think that’s when you’ll be able to see as they are adopted.”

"Bob" is Bob Brown of SHN Consulting, who is acting as the city’s planning director following the resignation of former public works director Jon Olson. At the Council’s Nov. 7 meeting, Brown discussed an agreement between the city and the county, which included the county allocating $90,000 in Regional Early Action Planning (REAP) grant dollars to Crescent City.

Councilors unanimously approved that agreement with the county, which in September received a total of $200,970 in REAP money from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

Crescent City Councilors also approved using that $90,000 to develop the 6th Cycle Housing Element. Of that $90,000, $75,000 is part of the city’s contract with SHN, Wier said.

According to Brown, following the public comment period, the city will submit the updated Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. It could take up to 60 days for HCD staff to comment on the plan and then the city would respond to the requested changes, Brown said.

“And then we can start the process of going through the General Plan amendment for updating the Housing Element,” he told Councilors.

As for ADUs, Crescent City has had pre-approved designs for about a year and there are more designs available through the state, Brown said. He said he had hoped to come up with a cost estimate to build some of those designs as well as a potential dollar figure for renting them.

SHN also created a draft ordinance regarding ADUs about a year ago, but the state keeps changing the regulations.

“Without a city ordinance on ADUs, the city’s required to accept the state’s requirements,” Brown said. “Those promote ADUs fairly well. We could go either way on those.”

Brown said the Housing Element proposes a ministerial approach to ADUs, enabling property owners to “check these 12 boxes” for the city to approve their plans. This would allow developers to circumvent the city Planning Commission and may also apply to more than just ADUs since the state wants to remove potential constraints to housing development, he said.

According to Wier, the cost analysis will come before Crescent City Councilors as part of the Housing Element, which will also be viewed by Planning Commissioners before submittal to the state.

It was Blake Inscore, who has been on the City Council since 2014, who brought up accessory dwelling units, pointing out the city’s lack of specific standards. He advocated a ministerial approach to ADUs that would allow housing development without the need to jump “through all the hoops that normally they have to jump through.”

Inscore also approved of the proposed cost analysis for property owners wanting to develop ADUs and then rent them out, pointing out that hiring a contractor isn’t cheap.

“My recommendation is we step this back up,” he said. “COVID’s behind us. It’s time to kick this into gear and do whatever we need to do to try to meet the needs of this community because it’s a crisis it really is.”

In addition to completing the online survey or attending the City Council meeting or virtual meeting next month, people can email their Housing Element comments to sross@shn-engr.com or mail them to 377 J Street, Crescent City CA 95531.

As for the PLHA money, Crescent City must submit an application to the California Department of Housing and Community Development by Nov. 30. The city must also prepare a five-year plan detailing the activities those dollars will be used for. Investments that increase housing for families with incomes at or below the 60 percent of the area median income will take priority, according to the city.

For more information about eligible activities, click here.


SHARE →

© 2022 Lost Coast Communications Contact: news@lostcoastoutpost.com.