Regional Housing Needs Allocation

Community Development Agency

Link to housing map

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) sets affordable housing production goals for every Bay Area jurisdiction, including Marin County. These production goals, called the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), are distributed into four (4) categories of affordability: homes that are affordable to households earning above-moderate-, moderate-, low-, and very-low incomes. The County must meet its RHNA production goals by the end of the current 8-year cycle (cycle 5), in 2023.

⇒ To see unincorporated Marins' progress towards its RHNA goal for the current Housing Element cycle (cycle 5), visit the Community Development Agency's (CDA) Open Data webpage on Housing Production.

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Cycle 6 RHNA Methodology Materials and Background

In October 2019, the Housing Methodology Committee (HMC) with the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) was convened. The role of the HMC to advise ABAG staff on the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) methodology for the upcoming RHNA cycle and ensure the methodology and resulting allocation meet statutory requirements, and that the methodology and resulting allocation are consistent with the forecasted development pattern included in Plan Bay Area 2050. Representatives from all Bay Area counties formed the HMC.

On October 15, 2020, the ABAG Executive Board passed the proposed RHNA methodology chosen by the HMC for the current RHNA cycle.

Below, you will find key documents from the RHNA methodology process:

Letters Sent to ABAG About Cycle 6 RHNA Methodology

After the final RHNA methodology was chosen by the HMC, a comment period was opened where a number of local jurisdictions, including jurisdictions in Marin County, submitted letters detailing concerns with the chosen methodology. These comments were presented to the ABAG Executive Board on December 17.

Cycle 6 RHNA Appeal

On June 6, 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 (Board Packet). 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. 

The RHNA appeal procedures and process requires the preparation of an appeal based on evidentiary information that meets one of three statutory criteria for formulating an appeal, including failure to consider data provided by Marin through local land use surveys, failure to follow the adopted methodology, and/or failure to consider significant and unforeseen change in circumstances.  Based on a review of these criteria, Staff notes that an appeal that meets the eligibility requirements of state law may be possible citing such factors as the following:

  • The draft RHNA is inconsistent with strategies identified in Plan Bay Area 2050 to limit risks to existing and future communities from exposure to natural hazards and climate impacts associated with fire hazards and flooding and did not factor in the amount of land in the unincorporated county that is vulnerable to these hazards.
  • Information requested in the local jurisdiction survey regarding land use constraints or capacity (e.g. amount of agricultural land preserved) apparently was not taken into account in the methodology and the development of the RHNA numbers.
  • ABAG appears to not have taken into consideration a significant and unforeseen change in circumstances associated with the current drought when there is uncertainty about whether water will be available to serve new housing in the foreseeable future.


Appeal Letter | Attachment (submitted 07/09/21)