County of Marin - News Releases - Housing Element Letter

For Immediate Release
March 28, 2023

State provides Feedback on Housing Element

Marin requested to add detail on implementation to promote fair housing choice

San Rafael, CA – Marin County received a letter from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) with additional comments on the Housing Element, a plan to meet the County’s housing needs, outlining additional information needed for final certification.

The Housing Element, part of the Countywide Plan, only affects housing considerations for the county’s unincorporated areas. Each city and town develop their own plans. State law requires the Housing Element be updated every eight years to remain relevant and reflective of the community's changing housing needs. After over a year of research, outreach and feedback, The Board of Supervisors reviewed and adopted the most recent Housing Element on January 24, 2023.

The letter from HCD recognizes the hard work of the housing element team and notes the County as having “made tremendous strides toward addressing the housing needs of the community so of Marin County and complying with housing element law.”

Overall, HCD’s review concluded Marin’s Housing Element meets most requirements. For example, HCD provided positive feedback regarding Marin’s plans to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The housing sites inventory, rezoning and land use policies all meet State requirements to encourage and facilitate housing at all income levels.

The County was asked to provide additional information related to new requirements to promote fair housing choice and civil rights, known as affirmatively furthering fair housing. For example, programs should include specific strategies for community revitalization and planning for improvements to neighborhood infrastructure that support communities with lower income residents and less community resources. In addition, programs should address the risk of displacement for low-income renters.

“While we expected to receive certification of the Housing Element, we are pleased that no changes are needed to sites and zoning, we are happy to work with the State to clarify and provide more information on our implementation of our Housing Element and related programs,” said Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters, President of the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

For 2023-2032, the County must plan for at least 3,569 new units in unincorporated areas. Within that total, at least 1,734 must be designated as affordable to lower-income households, at least 512 for moderate-income households, and at least 1,323 for above-moderate-income households.

The County is devising ways to accommodate housing needs in one of the most expensive housing markets in the United States. Many elder adults and Marin’s workforce are struggling to pay rent and mortgage payments, causing a housing affordability and employment recruiting crisis. The County’s most recent housing needs assessment – a required step for the Housing Element update – showed that providing housing that would support Marin’s needs would require a shift from single-family detached homes toward development of attached units and townhomes, a point that was consistent with public outreach feedback. Today, more than 80% of Marin homes are single-family detached buildings, limiting housing options and escalating costs.

The Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA) is in discussion with HCD regarding the informational requests. CDA expects to resubmit the Housing Element with the additional clarification and receive certification in a matter of weeks. Once complete, this information will be available on the Housing Element webpage.


Leelee Thomas
Deputy Director, Housing and Federal Grants Division
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6697
Email: Leelee Thomas
Affordable Housing webpage