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City Staff Interprets State's Reaction to Housing Element

Planners boil down the gist of the state's report on Novato's draft housing element and provide a plan to move forward.

So it appears we have another full year of discussing, analyzing and finalizing a document that outlines the city of Novato's grand game plan for housing its residents ... for the years 2007-2014.

And when we're done with this one, we get to start another.

The city's planning staff — whose members probably all deserve a month's holiday in Fiji after this is all done with next December — have unveiled an interpretation of the California Department of Housing and Community Development's nearly indecipherable written reaction to a draft housing element submitted in October.

Lost you already?

Just be thankful that our local government employees can write in the English language rather than grade-A Sacramento bureaucratese.

The city's nine-page memo released Thursday outlines the process of adoption and certification of the housing element, a required section of the city's periodic general plan update that lays out a plan — sometimes general, sometimes specific — of how new housing developments might shape the city and where new future additional residents will live. Accounting for growth is a mandatory task for municipalities, and it's the M word that has ticked off so many Novato residents who are wary about a trend toward high-density complexes for lower-income people.

A sticking point at this juncture of the housing element was the city's insistence on sticking with a density of 20 units per acre for future developments. The state recommended 23-28 units per acre.

Another crux is plotting properties that could be rezoned for housing. HCD contends that the city did an inadequate job of pinpointing those buildable areas.

Those two points are just grains of sand in a desert of information.

Pour yourself a 2-liter of dark roast and dive into the summation by the city planners. You'll want to know what city officials are talking about for the rest of 2013.

If you having the kind of day when you're up for diving on a live grenade, sink your teeth into the HCD's response to the draft housing element. Masochists need only answer the call.

Both documents are attached. Knock yourself out. If you are among the brave, please share your thoughts by adding a comment below.

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Al Dugan January 19, 2013 at 05:49 AM
Well done. The acronym outfits are a small group of the triad, builders, developers and institutional investors trying to use Novato as ground zero.
Lloyd January 19, 2013 at 05:34 PM
This requires much study. What struck me as odd is the request from HCD to show how these sites will be built. My understanding is we only have to show they can be built. It strikes me as odd that the same HCD approved Elements such as Ross that named sites that will never nor could ever realistically be built. Seems like a double standard that is both unfair and unenforceable. btw Pam D correctly shows this spider web of outside special interests representing itself as the champions of the poor when in reality their real purpose is tax exempt, for profit development. Using Novato as their dumping grounds has nothing to do with helping working families find affordable housing. Hypocrisy is alive and well in Sacramento and its supposed non-profit vassals. I truly find it amazing that these special interests simply ignore the better funded wealthier enclaves, or is that just where they live?
Lloyd January 19, 2013 at 05:37 PM
very well put. succinct yet absolutely correct!
Al Dugan January 19, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Joe, the investors in MCF all live there, that is the reason.
Jerome J Ghigliotti Jr January 20, 2013 at 12:28 AM
First, you have to wake up 71% of the Novato voters.

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