Housing Element

On August 17, despite reservations expressed by some council members, the Sacramento City Council voted to adopt the draft Housing Element. Concerns included: the large opposition to upzoning of single family neighborhoods, the elimination of parking requirements, impacts on trees, the lack of an urban master plan, and others.

The current draft is very problematic, including that it: continues to have language about harmful upzoning to densify existing single family neighborhoods, shows 44% of above moderate income housing going into less affluent neighborhoods, includes unsubstantiated simplistic inferences that if lower-income families can just live in one of three “high resources areas” they will be better off health-wise and economically.

Comments in opposition to the adoption of the Housing Element outnumbered those in support 2:1.

The Council knows that large numbers of constituents oppose eliminating single family zoning and neighborhoods. The City’s 8/18/21 email update states: “The housing element DOES NOT change City zoning to allow duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes in existing single family neighborhoods. That potential change would come with the adoption of the 2040 General Plan.”

See detailed letters to Planning Commission.

Although the draft Housing Element shows that Sacramento can meet its State-assigned housing Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers, the Housing Element still contains language to support upzoning that would eliminate single family neighborhoods.

The proposed upzoning to eliminate single family neighborhoods by allowing duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes on all single family lots (in addition to two ADUs) is not a done deal, and it does NOT belong in the Housing Element.

The Housing Element should not reference the 2040 General Plan as this is NOT an adopted document. By including draft provisions of the 2040 General Plan in the Housing Element, the city may try to claim that these policies are de facto adopted because they were in the Housing Element (assuming that the Housing Element is adopted). This would be an end run around the public hearing process for the 2040 General Plan which City planners say won’t come to the City Council until the end of the summer or this fall.

Concerned Citizens from various neighborhoods are challenging the city of Sacramento’s claim that the proposed policy changes of the Housing Element will not have environmental impacts. Click to read.

Send a message to the City Council and Planning Department:

“Remove all references to proposed upzoning in residential neighborhoods in the Housing Element.
Remove all references to the 2040 General Plan in the Housing Element as the 2040 General Plan is still a draft and has NOT been adopted. Leaving in references to the draft General Plan could be used as an attempt to circumvent the public hearing process by claiming that these policies have been adopted de facto because they were included in the Housing Element.
The Housing Element shows that Sacramento can meet its State-assigned housing allocation under current zoning – NO UPZONING is needed in existing single family neighborhoods.”

Copy and paste the City Council, chiefs of staff, and planners’ emails into your message. For complete council contact information, click here.

MayorSteinberg@cityofsacramento.org, mlvellinga@cityofsacramento.org, aashby@cityofsacramento.org, KTalamantes@cityofsacramento.org, Sloloee@cityofsacramento.org, VASmith@cityofsacramento.org, jsharris@cityofsacramento.org, dgonsalves@cityofsacramento.org, kvalenzuela@cityofsacramento.org, MPariset@cityofsacramento.org, d4constituentservices@cityofsacramento.org, jschenirer@cityofsacramento.org, ajoe@cityofsacramento.org, eguerra@cityofSacramento.org, KSoto@cityofsacramento.org, rjennings@cityofsacramento.org, dmrogers@cityofsacramento.org, district8@cityofsacramento.org, rkbrown@cityofsacramento.org

cc to:
MHertel@cityofsacramento.org, GSoos@cityofsacramento.org, SaveSacramentoNeighborhoods@gmail.compubliccomment@cityofSacramento.org

Attend the meetings and comment:

Information about attending and making e-comments will be available on the City’s meeting website when the agenda for the August 17 meeting is posted.

Here is information on how to send longer public comments via e-mail and to attend the meeting via Zoom.   Or link here.

More information

Each municipality in California must have a roadmap for growth in their community called a General Plan. The General Plan is updated every 5 years and it is comprised of seven elements: housing, land use, transportation, conservation, open space, noise, and safety. The main element of the General Plan is the Housing Element which provides an analysis of a community’s housing needs for ALL income levels, and strategies to provide for those housing needs.

It is important to note that this process involves just the identification of sites available for housing units by income level and not the actual building of the housing units. It has been determined by County officials that the City of Sacramento has enough sites to build housing for ALL income levels through 2029. However, the city planners would like to change the current Housing Element document to include the strategy of upzoning that would eliminate all existing single-family zoning and neighborhoods.

Upzoning would allow developers to come into any neighborhood in Sacramento and build up to six units per lot with minimal setbacks, 35ft height limit and all parking would be on the street. Their rationale for upzoning is that it would provide for affordable housing. When in fact, Sacramento has plenty of sites for affordable housing, but it is not profitable to build such housing.  Instead, the city would like to increase the density (upzoning) of the existing older neighborhoods so developers could build more expensive market rate housing for middle to higher income families. Low-income families would still have no affordable housing available to them.   

Tell the City Council no to upzoning, see above message.