County of Marin - News Releases - Housing Element

For Immediate Release
November 29, 2021

Planning for Housing Moves to Next Step

December 7 meeting on how Marin will accommodate needs in unincorporated areas

San Rafael, CA – Early in  2022, the County of Marin will examine potential locations in unincorporated parts of the county where housing development could take place to accommodate local population growth and help Marin adhere to state and regional housing quotas.

In advance of that, on December 7 planners will seek guidance from a joint session of the Marin County Planning Commissioners and Board of Supervisors on the guiding principles for the site selection process. Preview documents will be available on the County website as of the afternoon of December 2.

An aerial view of the former U.S. Coast Guard facility in Point Reyes Station.Unincorporated Marin needs 3,569 new housing units during the 2022-2030 planning cycle distributed among all income categories.

The project at hand is the required updates to the Housing and Safety Elements of the Marin Countywide Plan. On December 7, the Board will consider the Housing Element portion of that update and the general approach as the County works to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), set earlier this year by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Unincorporated Marin needs 3,569 new housing units during the 2022-2030 planning cycle distributed among all income categories, from very low to above moderate, according to the new goals.

Staff from the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) is collecting resident and workforce feedback on its Housing Element through an online survey in EnglishSpanish and Vietnamese that is open through the end of November. The survey compliments several online workshops that have taken place the past several months. It has 12 questions and takes about 15 minutes to complete. More than 500 people have already participated in the survey.

With the Housing Element update, the intent is to achieve an adequate supply of decent, safe, and affordable housing for Marin’s workforce, residents, and special-needs populations at all income levels in unincorporated areas. All California towns, cities, and counties must regularly update their Housing Elements. Under the draft guiding principles, the Board and Planning Commission will consider whether potential housing development sites considered for the County’s RHNA allotment should:

  • be distributed throughout Marin;
  • address historic patterns of segregation;
  • encourage infill and redevelopment of existing sites;
  • leverage surplus land, and;
  • consider environmental hazards such as wildfire threat and sea level rise.

Jurisdictions that do not meet RHNA goals by the end of Housing Element cycles face stiff penalties. The State of California has set up a new accountability and enforcement division of its Housing and Community Development Department to shepherd progress with development and with Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing goals.

In Marin, where the median home price is more than $1 million, the lack of affordable housing options for households in lower income ranges has been increasingly problematic. There is also an increased awareness of fair housing policy and historical restrictive covenants that previously prevented people of color from becoming homeowners all over the United States, including in Marin. CDA representatives plan to meet with councilmembers and staff from Marin’s towns and cities to help ensure there is a unified message about overall fair housing and equity needs.

Questions and comments about the County’s process for unincorporated Marin can be emailed to staff and phone inquiries can be made to (415) 473-6269. Check out housingelementsmarin.org to learn more about housing planning in other Marin municipalities.

Contact:

Jillian Nameth Zeiger
Housing and Federal Grants Planner
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-7549
Email: Jillian Nameth Zeiger
CDA website