The City is in the process of updating the Housing Element of the General Plan. The Housing Element provides goals, polices, and implementation programs for the planning and development of housing throughout the City. The proposed Housing Element Update includes review by the Housing Commission and Planning Commission, and approval by the City Council. In addition, the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will review the Housing Element for compliance with State law.
For more information about Housing Elements in general, please see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). For an overview of the Housing Element Update process and document, please see the Draft Housing Element Executive Summary (November 2012).
The City of Menlo Park is in the process of updating its Housing Element through the 2007-2014 planning period. Based upon input and guidance from members of the public, the Housing Element Steering Committee, various Commissions and the City Council, the City has prepared a Final Draft Housing Element.
As part of the Housing Element, there are several essential components, including the identification of policies and programs that help the City meet its objective of providing quality housing across a range of income levels. Some of the key strategies include establishing a new district and/or modifying the existing Zoning Ordinance to support higher density housing at five identified sites and infill housing around the downtown, the creation of an Affordable Housing Overlay Zone (AHOZ), modifications to the existing secondary dwelling unit ordinance, and the development of design standards. It is staff's intent to bring these key programs for review as part of the City Council's consideration of the Housing Element.
The General Plan Consistency Update is another key component of the Housing Element. In order to maintain consistency between the Housing Element and other elements of the General Plan, staff is proposing text amendments to the goals and policies of the Land Use and Circulation, Open Space and Conservation, Noise and Safety Elements.
Finally, an Environmental Assessment (EA) and a Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA) have been prepared. These technical studies, respectively, provide information related to potential environmental and fiscal consequences that could result from the implementation of the Housing Element. While these documents are not part of the Housing Element itself, they provide information not otherwise found in the Housing Element and help inform the public and decision-makers of potential impacts.
The following key Housing Element-related documents are available for review:
On May 21, 2013, the City Council will be considering and taking action on the Housing Element and related components, including the following:
General Plan Amendments: The City is proposing to incorporate the updated Housing Element into the General Plan, update the Open Space and Conservation, Noise and Safety Elements for consistency with the Housing Element and State law, and modify the definitions and intensity tables of the Medium Density and High Density Residential land use designations to allow for the opportunity of higher density housing on appropriate sites.
Zoning Ordinance Amendments – R-4-S, Affordable Housing Overlay and State Density Bonus Law: Consistent with Housing Element Program H4.O, the City is proposing the creation of a new R-4-S (High Density Residential, Special) zoning district to provide greater opportunities for high density housing of 30 dwelling units per acre in designated areas (see specific addresses below). The City also is proposing the creation of a new Affordable Housing Overlay zone applicable to select sites and the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan area in order to create incentives for the development of affordable housing through density bonuses and other mechanisms consistent with Housing Element Program H4.C. In addition, the City is proposing to codify implementing procedures for State Density Bonus Law consistent with Housing Element Program H4.D.
General Plan Map Amendment and Rezoning – High Density Housing Opportunity Sites: The General Plan land use designation and the zoning district for the properties located at 3605-3615, 3633-3639, and 3645-3665 Haven Avenue would be changed respectively to the following:
- From Limited Industry to High Density Residential
- From M-2 (General Industrial) to R-4-S (AHO) (High Density Residential, Special; Affordable Housing Overlay)
The General Plan land use designation and the zoning district for the properties located at 631-859 Hamilton Avenue would be changed respectively to the following:
- From Limited Industry to High Density Residential
- From M-1 (Light Industrial) to R-4-S (High Density Residential, Special)
The General Plan land use designation and the zoning district for the properties located at 1221-1275 & 1317-1385 Willow Road would be changed respectively to the following:
- From Medium Density Residential to High Density Residential
- From R-3 (Apartment) to R-4-S (AHO) (High Density Residential, Special; Affordable Housing Overlay)
Zoning Ordinance Amendment – Infill Around Downtown: Consistent with Housing Element Program H4.A, the City is proposing to modify the R-3 (Apartment) zoning district to provide greater opportunities for infill housing in designated areas around the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan area by increasing the maximum density to 30 dwelling units per acre on lots 10,000 square feet or greater. For purposes of this amendment to the R-3 district, the area around the Downtown/El Camino Real is defined in three distinct areas as follows: Area #1 bounded by University Avenue, Valparaiso Avenue, El Camino Real and Oak Grove Avenue; Area #2 bounded by Arbor Road, Santa Cruz Avenue, El Camino Real and Middle Avenue; and Area #3 generally bounded by San Antonio Street and Alma Street, Encinal Avenue, Marcussen Drive and Ravenswood Avenue. To accommodate the increase in density on lots 10,000 square feet or greater, development regulations, such as floor area ratio, building coverage, height and parking, would be modified as well.
Zoning Ordinance Amendment – Secondary Dwelling Units: Consistent with Housing Element Program H4.E, the City is proposing to modify the Secondary Dwelling Unit requirements pertaining to single-family residential lots 6,000 square feet or greater in size throughout the City to encourage the creation of more second units, which are ancillary to the main dwelling. Modified development standards would include reducing the required interior side setback to five feet, increasing the maximum size of units to 640 square feet, increasing the maximum height to 17 feet, and allowing parking in required front and interior side yards.
The City Council is the final decision-making body on the Housing Element. If the Council votes to introduce the proposed zoning ordinance amendments and rezonings on May 21, 2013, then the second reading/adoption of these ordinances is tentatively scheduled to occur on June 4, 2013. The ordinances would go into effect 30 days thereafter. If the Council votes to approve the resolutions associated with the General Plan amendments and the Environmental Assessment, the resolutions would become effective immediately.
Upon adoption of the final version of the Housing Element, the City will submit it to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for certification.
An archive of all versions of the Draft Housing Element is available on the Housing Element sub-page.
An EA has been prepared to identify the potential environmental consequences that could result from implementation of the Housing Element.
A FIA has been prepared to evaluate the impact of implementation of the Housing Element on the cost and revenues for the City. In order to provide a full picture of future fiscal impacts, a supplemental analysis was prepared that considers development that is currently allowed pursuant to the City's General Plan and zoning, as well as projects that have been approved or are in the review process.
- May 16, 2013
- April 4, 2013
The Housing Element process has been guided by a Steering Committee, comprised as follows:
- Peter Ohtaki, City Council
- Catherine Carlton, City Council (formerly Andy Cohen)
- Carolyn Clarke, Housing Commission
- Yvonne Murray, Housing Commission (formerly Anne Moser)
- Katie Ferrick, Planning Commission
- Jack O'Malley, Planning Commission
The Steering Committee conducted six meetings to help guide the Housing Element Update process between September 2012 to January 2013. A schedule of the meetings and the associated staff reports, presentations and summaries are located on the Steering Committee subpage.