The City of Calistoga has started the process of updating the Housing Element of its General Plan, and is already ahead of the game.
The discussion coincides with the City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) which has significantly increased. RHNA is the number of housing units that each jurisdiction must accommodate in a given 8-year cycle. Although the State has significantly increased Calistoga’s housing allotment for the coming requirement cycle, the City is well on its way toward meeting its quota.
Calistoga’s RHNA allocation is expected to be 119 total units, up from 27 during the 2015-2022 cycle.
Units approved by the City as part of the Silverado Terrace (50 units) and Lincoln Avenue Projects (78 units) may count towards the allotment. “It’s safe to say we blew that out of the water,” said Planning and Building Director Zac Tusinger. “Most of the new units will be credited, so the city is off to a great start.”
The Housing Element portion of the General Plan was last updated in 2014, and covers the state’s current planning period from 2015 to 2023. The City needs to update the Housing Element by December 2022.
Calistoga has also been awarded $85,000 in state grants towards meeting its requirement. Based on Tuesday night’s discussions, staff will work to prepare a scope of work and contract with a consulting group to bring back to Council for approval in the near future.
With a choice of two plans of action, the city council on Tuesday unanimously decided to reuse previously identified sites for any future housing projects. It allows the City to continue with the current list of building sites, yet doesn’t preclude other projects from being proposed. The second option, at three times the cost, would have allowed the City discretion to identify new sites, and open the door for rezoning.
Staff will also be preparing to launch a housing subcommittee within the council.
Mayor Chris Canning emphasized that the City was not making any firm decisions at this time, and would be seeking input from the community as to how the City wants to ultimately go forward.
The city has already received input from members of the public opposed to rezoning rural residential areas that would change the town’s rural small town character, and concerned with issues of infrastructure including water availability.
“This is the beginning of a long public process,” Canning said.
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You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or email@example.com.