The State of California’s main tool for housing planning is legislation mandating a “Housing Element” as a component of all cities’ and counties’ comprehensive plans. Each local jurisdiction must demonstrate how it can meet the state’s calculated “Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). The article traces the roots of this state requirement from an earlier Regional Housing Allocation Model (RHAM), which was merely a guideline. To ensure compliance, the legislature barred courts from intervening in the RHNA process. Nevertheless, it has taken four decades for California’s local jurisdictions to adopt legally adequate Housing Elements.
From RHAM to RHNA and Beyond: A Look at State Affordable Housing Requirements
Eric S. Phillips, J.D., is a partner at the law firm of Burke, Williams & Sorenson in San Francisco, where he focuses in the areas of land use, real estate, and CEQA compliance. He has particular experience with State Density Bonus Law, the Housing Accountability Act, Housing Element compliance, and other housing laws. Mr. Phillips serves as the Vice President of Policy and Legislation of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association. He holds a degree in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a J.D. from the UC Berkeley School of Law.
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Eric S. Phillips; From RHAM to RHNA and Beyond: A Look at State Affordable Housing Requirements. Southern California Quarterly 1 August 2021; 103 (3): 319–329. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2021.103.3.319
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