Housing Element Update (2015-2023)
Housing Element Implementation


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Housing Element Archive

- An archive of the Housing Element Update (2007-14), including staff reports, presentations, Environmental Assessment and Fiscal Impact Analysis.

Community Workshop

- September 10, 2013 (at the Menlo Park Senior Center located at 100 Terminal Ave. from 7:00 - 9:00 PM)

Steering Committee

- Staff reports and other materials from the Steering Committee meetings.


- Links to general information, groups, and reports/presentations about housing elements.

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Staff Reports and Related Documents


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Contact Person

Deanna Chow, Senior Planner
e-mail: athome@menlopark.org
phone: (650) 330-6733

Project Description

Housing Element (2015-2023)

The housing element is one of seven State-mandated elements of the City’s General Plan. Housing element law requires local governments to adequately plan to meet their existing and projected housing needs including their share of the regional housing need. On May 21, 2013, the City of Menlo Park adopted its Housing Element through the 2014 planning period and the State Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) certified the Housing Element on June 18, 2013.

Adopted Housing Element (2007-2014)

The next Housing Element cycle, for the planning period 2015-2023, is already upon us. Within each planning period, regional housing needs are identified for each jurisdiction in a process referred to as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) that includes the State and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The City of Menlo Park’s allocation for the 2015-2023 planning period is 655 dwelling units. The Housing Element also includes goals, policies and programs to help guide the City’s housing efforts through the planning period.

The Housing Element for the 2015-2023 planning period is required to be adopted by January 31, 2015. Local governments that adopt its Housing Element on time will not have to adopt another housing element for eight years, instead of every four years.

The Draft Housing Element and subsequent revisions are available for review.

Daft Housing Element (2014-2022) [46.6 MB]
Revisions to the Draft Housing Element (January 28, 2014)
Supplemental Revisions to the Draft Housing Element (February 11, 2014)
Final Draft Housing Element (2015-2023) [49.8 MB]
Final Draft Housing Element Revisions

Housing Element Implementation

The City is also in the process of implementing programs identified in the current Housing Element. Under the proposal, the City is considering Zoning Ordinance Amendments related to the following:

  • Emergency Shelter for the Homeless Overlay Zone: For compliance with Senate Bill 2, the City must rezone to allow an emergency shelter for the homeless in at least one zone without a conditional use permit or any discretionary process. The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment would 1) create an overlay where emergency shelters, up to a maximum of 16 beds in totality throughout the City, would be a permitted use, and 2) establish written and objective performance standards as part of the overlay zone.

  • Proposed Draft Emergency Shelter for the Homeless Ordinance

  • Emergency Shelter for the Homeless Overlay Map

  • Zone for Transitional and Supportive Housing and Residential Care Facilities: For compliance with Senate Bill 2, a City must demonstrate that transitional and supportive housing are permitted as a residential use and only subject to those restrictions that apply to other residential dwellings of the same type.  Similarly, residential care facilities must also be treated as a residential use. The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment would include modifications to the definition of “dwelling” to include transitional and supportive housing and residential care facilities.

  • Proposed Draft Modifications for Transitional and Supportive Housing and Residential Care Facilities

  • Procedures for Reasonable Accommodation: The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment includes the establishment of procedures for seeking reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access to housing.

  • Proposed Draft Reasonable Accommodation Ordinance

  • Secondary Dwelling Units: The proposed ordinance includes modifications to the development regulations of the existing secondary dwelling unit ordinance, including setbacks, wall height, daylight plane, unit size, parking location, and tenancy. Additionally, the proposed ordinance includes a reduction in the use permit threshold for minimum lot area from 6,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft. or 4,900 sq. ft. if the property is located in the R-1-U (LM) zoning district. The proposed ordinance also includes a provision for the conversion of legally permitted and constructed accessory buildings (meeting certain criteria) into secondary dwelling units.

  • Proposed Draft Ordinance pertaining to Secondary Dwelling Units
  • Accessory Buildings and Accessory Structures: The proposed amendment is intended to 1) more clearly define accessory buildings and accessory structures, 2) establish development regulations more aligned with the use of the building or structure, 3) resolve internal inconsistencies in how accessory buildings and structures is used in the Zoning Ordinance, and 4) reformat the section for ease of use. The proposed amendment includes modifications to the definition of accessory buildings and accessory structures, minimum yards, wall height/daylight plane, separation between buildings, and parking entrance setbacks.

  • Proposed Draft Ordinance pertaining to Accessory Buildings and Structures

Current Status

On April 1, 2014, the City Council adopted the Housing Element for the 2015-2023 planning period. The City has submitted the adopted Housing Element to the State Housing and Community Development Department for review and certification.

On April 1, 2014, the City Council also introduced Zoning Ordinance amendments pertaining to:

The second reading/adoption of these ordinances is tentatively scheduled to occur on April 20, 2014. The ordinances would become effective 30 days thereafter. 

On April 29, 2014, the City Council will continue its deliberation and take action on the Zoning Ordinance amendments pertaining to:

Environmental Review

The proposal requires the preparation of a Negative Declaration (ND) based upon the Initial Study prepared for the Project. The Initial Study identifies less than significant impacts for the following categories: Aesthetics, Agriculture and Forestry Resources, Air Quality, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Mineral Resources, Geology and Soils, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Hydrology and Water Quality, Land Use and Planning, Noise, Population and Housing, Public Services, Recreation, Transportation/Traffic, and Utilities. The Initial Study for the proposal did not identify environmental impacts that are significant and unavoidable.

Copies of the Negative Declaration are also on file for review at the City Library and at the Community Development Department, Civic Center, 701 Laurel Street during business hours.

The review period for the Negative Declaration is from February 13, 2014 to March 14, 2014.

Written comments must be submitted to the Community Development Department no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 14, 2014. Comments may be submitted by email (athome@menlopark.org), letter (Community Development Department, 701 Laurel Street, Menlo Park CA 94025), or fax (650-327-1653).

Steering Committee

The Housing Element Update and implementation process will be guided by a Steering Committee comprised of the following:

  • Peter Ohtaki, City Council
  • Rich Cline, City Council
  • Carolyn Clarke, Housing Commission
  • Sally Cadigan, Housing Commission
  • Katie Ferrick, Planning Commission
  • Katherine Strehl, Planning Commission

A schedule of the meetings and the associated staff reports, presentations and summaries are located on the Steering Committee subpage.

If you would like to be notified of upcoming meetings or would like to follow the progress of the work on the Housing Element Update, please subscribe to the Housing Element Update below.

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