The ABAG Appeals Meeting for Palo Alto is scheduled for  October 22, 2021 from 9AM to 5PM and will include unincorporated Marin county, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Monte Sereno, Palo Alto, Saratoga, and  unincorporated Santa Clara county.

For the upcoming 6th Cycle of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (2023-2031) Palo Alto’s RHNA allocation will be 6068 units. During the current 5th Cycle  (2015-2023) Palo Alto’s RHNA allocation was 1,988 units.

We believe the City of Palo Alto received between 530 and 2,515 additional housing units more than it should have been assigned. Accordingly, the City of Palo Alto, based on the criteria set forth in state law, is requesting a mid-point reduction of 1500 housing units resulting in an adjusted RHNA of 4,586 housing units.

In addition, we believe that ABAG/MTC should not have certified the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) agency’s projected housing needs.
The Embarcadero Institute provides evidence of two major discrepancies between the approach employed by the Dept of Housing and Community Development for the past two to three decades in determining the housing need in California and the approach the HCD has adopted in the most recent (the 6th housing cycle). These discrepancies lie in –
HCD’s use of benchmark vacancy rates and HCD’s decision to make additional adjustments for overcrowding and cost-burdening. There should be a statewide audit of HCD!

In a May 7, 2021 press release, Gov. Gavin Newsom noted that:

  • California’s population dipped by 182,083 residents last year
  • State population dips to 39.5 MILLION as of January 1, 2021 according to new population estimates and housing data released today by the California Department of Finance.
  • Three principal factors contributed in this year-over-year population decrease:
    • Continuing declines in natural increase – births minus non-COVID-19 deaths (loss of 24,000)
    • Continuing declines in foreign immigration – accelerated in recent years by federal policy (loss of 100,000)
    • Deaths in 2020 separately associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (loss of 51,000) In recent years, the slowdown in natural increase – a nationwide trend affecting California more than other states – has contributed to the state’s population growth slowing and plateauing. The addition of 2020’s COVID-19-related deaths, combined with immigration restrictions in the past year, tipped population change to an annual loss.

What YOU can do…

  • Speak at the ABAG/MTC virtual public hearing on Friday, October 22nd.
  • Public hearing procedure sequence:
    • Jurisdiction/city or county presents their appeal
    • ABAG/MTC presents their rebuttal
    • Public can provide comments
    • Public speakers should prepare for 1 minute comments
    • You do not have to be a resident of the city whose appeal is being heard
    • If you live in a neighboring city, these inaccurately high housing numbers will impact all of us.

How to Attend?

  • Go to website
  • Top of page, click Meetings and Events bar
  • Go to Public Hearings
  • Scroll down to RHNA Appeals Day 5 and find the meeting virtual link

Preference for verbal public comments, but if you cannot attend, then submit written comments to:

ABAG’s Fred Castro