Housing Element Update 2015 - 2023



  Eloiza Murillo-Garcia
     Senior Planner
     T:  (650) 329-2561
     F:  (650) 329-2154


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Public Engagement

Community Panel





On November 10, 2014, the Palo Alto City Council conducted a public hearing to consider adopting the 2015-2023 Housing Element. At the hearing, the Council unanimously approved to adopt the Housing Element. With the adoption of the Housing Element, the City submitted the Element to the State on November 21, 2014 for their final review. The State will have a maximum of 60 days to review and certify the City's 2015-2023 Housing Element.  To review the adopted Housing Element, please click here. The 2015-2023 Housing Element is the City’s chief policy document describing the City’s housing needs, policies and programs. The adopted 2015- 2023 Housing Element was a collaboration between the Housing Element Community Panel, Regional Housing Mandate Committee, the Planning and Transportation Commission and the City Council.

2015 - 2023 Housing Element
(Adopted by City Council on November 10, 2014 and Certified by HCD on January 20, 2015)

    1.  2015 - 2023 Housing Element

Administrative Draft 2015 - 2023 Housing Element

Much of the Administrative Draft is based on the current Housing Element. There are two versions of the Administrative Draft, a “clean’ version, which can be downloaded by clicking here and the “redlined” version here. The areas highlighted in the clean version indicate where a revision has been made from the current Housing Element. The redlined details all the changes made from the current Housing Element.

  1. 2015-2023 Housing Element Administrative Draft (clean)
  2. 2015-2023 Housing Element Administrative Draft (redlined)

Based on feedback received during the review of the Administrative Draft, the Administrative Draft was revised in preparation for submittal to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for their initial consultation. The revised draft was submitted to HCD on July 7, 2014. Below is the link to the draft submitted to HCD.

  1. 2015-2023 Housing Element Administrative Draft (submitted to HCD 07/07/14).

The Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) is available for review. The Public Comment period for the IS/MND ends on September 30,2014. Please click here to review the document.

On September 5, 2014, the City received a letter from HCD stating that the submitted draft was substantially in compliance with State requirements for Housing Element certification. Below is a link to the September 5, 2014 HCD correspondence.

HCD Palo Alto Review Letter

Based on HCD comments and additional review by the Housing Element Community Panel, Planning and Transportation Commission and the Regional Housing Mandate Comment, the draft Housing Element (Public Hearing draft) has been revised. The Public Hearing draft will be reviewed by the Planning and Transportation Commission at their October 1, 2014 hearing. To review the Public Hearing Draft, please click the link below.

Complete Public Hearing Draft



State law requires that all jurisdictions in the State must have an adopted Housing Element as part of its General Plan. Only the Housing Element requires updating every eight years and requires certification by the State's Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

The Housing Element is the City’s primary planning document to address its housing needs for the City for the period 2015-2023. Through goals, policies and programs in the Housing Element, the City must demonstrate that it is planning to meet its housing needs for all income levels.

The City of Palo Alto is in the process of updating its Housing Element. The deadline to have the Housing Element certified as compliant with State law is January 31, 2015.

Below are the targeted milestones to meet the January 31, 2015 deadline.

Target Milestones


Community Workshops


Administrative Draft complete


HCD Consultation (60 day review of draft)


Initiate Environmental Review (CEQA)


Revise Housing Element draft & disseminate for public review


PTC Recommendation


RHMC Recommendation


City Council Adoption


Submittal to HCD for 60 day review

A more detailed timetable of the Housing Element Update Process is available here. Please note that the schedule may be periodically revised.

Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Requirement

One requirement of the Housing Element is that each jurisdiction must show how it can meet its “fair share” of housing units to accommodate future population growth in the State. Also known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), it is a State mandated process for determining the number of housing units each jurisdiction must plan to accommodate. For the Bay Area region, the Association of Bay Area Governments is responsible for assigning the units. On July 13, 2013, ABAG finalized its assignments for the Bay Area. For the 2015-2023 Housing Element update, the City received an allocation of 1,988 housing units.

City of Palo Alto RHNA

Very Low



Above Moderate


691 432 278 587 1,988



Public Engagement

Participation of the public is fundamental to the Housing Element Update Process. The City will be conducting two community workshops in addition to convening a community panel of interested housing stakeholders using an online survey, and stakeholder interviews. The City Council's Regional Housing Mandate Committee also meet regularly and will be discussing the Housing Element Update. All information distributed at the meeting will be posted on this website.

Housing Affordability Community Workshops

The City hosted two workshops in April, 2014 about housing affordability in the City. The workshops, as part of the City’s Our Palo Alto series, was a discussion of housing challenges in the City and possible solutions to meet some of these challenges. Click here to view the recorded video of the workshop.

Our Palo Alto

Our Palo Alto is a community conversation about the future of our City. We want to create both opportunities for dialogue around important ideas and programs while tackling issues our community cares about. Fueled by input and participation from citizens, Our Palo Alto is organized into three parallel, yet interconnected tracks – Ideas, Action and Design. For more information about Our Palo Alto, please go the Our Palo Alto website at www.cityofpaloalto.org/ourpaloalto or click here.

Housing Element Community Panel

The Community Panel is comprised of various housing stakeholders in the City. Their purpose is to assist the City in reviewing the draft Housing Element Update and obtaining community input. They meet on the last Thursday of every month from 5-7 pm. The meeting location is in the Lucie Stern Community Center. All meetings are open to the public. The Housing Element Community Panel roster can be found here.

Below is the meeting schedule and a tentative list of scheduled Housing Element topics to be discussed. All meetings will be at either the Community Room or Fireside Room at the Lucie Stern Community Center, 1305 Middlefield Road, unless otherwise noted.

Housing Element Community Panel Meetings






March 11


Community Room

03/11 Agenda


March 27

Site Options

Community Room

03/27 Agenda


April 24

Site Options

Fireside Room

04/24 Agenda


May 29

Review Admin Draft

Avenidas Board Room

05/29 Agenda


June 26

Streamlined Checklist

Community Room

06/26 Agenda


July 31

Housing Element Programs

Community Room

07/31 Agenda 


August 28


Community Room



September 25

Final Recommendation

Community Room



Regional Housing Mandate Committee (RHMC)

The Regional Housing Mandate Committee (RHMC) is a City Council subcommittee formed to work with staff and provide recommendations to Council on housing issues and the Housing Element Update process. The RHMC meets every second Thursday of the month and held several meetings on the Update beginning December of 2013.

RHMC Meetings





December 12, 2013




February 13, 2014




March 13, 2014



Sites Presentation

April 10, 2014






Useful Resources

  1. Current City of Palo Alto Housing Element Cycle (2007-2014)
  2. California Department of Housing & Community Development - Building Blocks for Effective Housing Elements
  3. Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) - Final Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Adopted
  4. Housing Opportunity Sites Tool v2.0
  5. DRAFT Housing Opportunity Sites Map v031214
  6. DRAFT Housing Opportunity Areas Map v031214
  7. Housing Element Community Panel Roster
  8. Housing Element & Comp Plan Updates:  Timeline & Interaction
  9. 2007-2014 Housing Element Undeveloped Housing Inventory Sites

Last Updated: Nov 16, 2017