Housing Element

Community Development Agency
four photos of affordable housing projects in Marin County

What is the Housing Element?

Marin County, like other communities in California, underwent a planning process under State law to identify how to meet our housing needs at all income levels. This process involved updating the County’s Housing Element, a required component of the Countywide Plan (the County’s general plan). The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) dictates that among the seven mandatory elements of a general plan, one element must address local housing needs. Unlike other elements of the general plan, the housing element is reviewed and certified by the State.

According to State housing element legislation, all local governments must adopt land use plans and regulations that provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development. Since housing availability is a critical issue with statewide implications, and most housing decisions occur at the local level, State law requires housing elements to be updated on a regular cycle every eight years. The latest Housing Element update applies to planning periods 2022-2030.

2023-2031 Housing Element Update (6th Cycle)

The County has been engaging with the community for the last several years to work on the 6th cycle Housing Element. On January 24, 2023, the Marin County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the 2023-2031 Marin County Housing Element, Safety Element, and Environmental Impact Report, along with related Countywide Plan and Development Code amendments. Next steps include submittal of the Housing Element to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for final review and certification.

More to come! Subscribe to receive email updates and announcements for community workshops as the County implements the Housing Element programs and policies in the coming years. 

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2023-2031 Housing Element


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Housing and Safety Elements 2023-2031


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Safety Element


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Objective Design and Development Standards (Form-Based Code)


Community Participation

Regional Housing Needs Allocation


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Multi-Family Land Use Policy and Zoning Study


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Restrictive Covenant Project


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Status of Programs


Sustainable Communities

Countywide Plan


Sustainable Communities




Board of Supervisors Meetings and Workshops

December 7, 2021: The Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission reviewed and provided feedback on guiding principles for sites selection and strategies for addressing the State-mandated Regional Housing Need Allocation for housing production for the 2022-2030 planning period of 3,569 units for unincorporated Marin (Board Packet / Presentation).

June 22, 2021: The Board of Supervisors directed Staff to file an appeal of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for unincorporated Marin, which seeks a total of 3,569 units over the 8-year period of the next Housing Element cycle. Appeals are due July 9, 2021 and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), which oversees the RHNA allocation, expects to complete its appeals hearing and issue the final RHNA allocation by the end of this year (Board Packet).

May 18, 2021: The Board of Supervisors approved a contract with the consultant firm MIG for the Housing and Safety Elements (Board Packet).

January 26, 2021: Staff presented an update about the 2024-2032 Housing Element to the Marin County Board of Supervisors (Board Packet).

January 12, 2021: In November of 2020, the Marin County Community Development Agency completed the Multi-Family Land Use Policy and Zoning Study, a technical background analysis of multi-family zoning in the unincorporated County. The Multi-Family Land Use Policy and Zoning Study (housing study) implements the Marin Countywide Plan’s Housing Element Goal 1 (Use Land Efficiently) and Housing Program 1.b (Evaluate Multi-Family Land Use Designations) to evaluate whether multi-family zoning is appropriately located. The housing study also implements the County’s Voluntary Compliance Agreement with the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which calls for the County to: “Evaluate existing multi-family Land Use Designations within the unincorporated county to determine whether zoning is appropriate to allow additional affordable housing development beyond existing areas of racial or ethnic concentration.”

The housing study is intended to provide an objective analysis of existing policy, regulatory, and siting constraints on housing development in Marin County and serves as a background to the update of the Countywide Plan’s Housing Element by informing the development of updated policies and regulations for the Housing Element. On November 30, 2020, staff presented the study at a public workshop of the Marin County Planning Commission. The presentation may be viewed via the November 30, 2020 hearing date. On January 12, 2021, staff will present the study at a public workshop of the Marin County Board of Supervisors (Board Letter / Presentation).

October 6, 2020: The Marin County Board of Supervisors approved the 2024-2032 Housing Element Work Plan. Staff will be engaging the community in the months to come for input regarding unincorporated Marins' upcoming Housing Element (Board Packet / Presentation).

Annual Progress Report

Annual Progress Report: The 2022 Annual Progress Report will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on March 28, 2023 (Board Packet). State housing law requires California cities and counties to submit an annual Housing Element report to the California State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and Office of Planning and Research (OPR) by April 1 of each year. The Annual Progress Report complies with this requirement by providing data on the County's progress on achieving implementation of housing programs as defined in the 2015-2023 Housing Element. The submission of the Annual Progress Report to the Board of Supervisors does not represent an opportunity to consider revisions to the Housing Element.

2015-2023 Housing Element

2015-2023 Housing Element:  The Board-adopted 2015-2023 Housing Element was certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) per their letter dated March 20, 2015. To stay up to date on the latest Housing Element news, sign up for email updates here.