Skip to main content

Housing Element Update

Housing Element

Since 1969, California has required that all local governments adequately plan to meet the housing needs of everyone in the community. California’s local governments meet this requirement by adopting housing plans as part of their general plan, which is also required by the state. General plans serve as the local government’s blueprint for how the city and/or county will grow and develop and includes seven elements: land use, transportation, conservation, noise, open space, safety, and housing. The law mandating that housing be included as an element of each jurisdiction’s general plan is known as the Housing-Element Law.

California’s Housing-Element Law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demands of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for housing development. As a result, housing policy in California rests largely upon the effective implementation of local general plans and in particular, local housing elements. For additional information and resources about the Housing Element, visit California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) at


The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is mandated by State Housing Law as part of the periodic process of updating local housing elements of the general plan. The RHNA quantifies the need for housing within each jurisdiction during specified planning periods. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), an association of local governments and agencies that voluntarily convene as a forum to address regional issues, is in the process of developing the 6th Cycle RHNA Allocation Plan which will cover the planning period October 2021 through October 2029. For additional information and resources about RHNA, visit SCAG at

The City, through multiple letters of protest, had voiced concern to SCAG, the SCAG Regional Council, and HCD regarding the RHNA methodology and Garden Grove’s RHNA allocation. Linked below are copies of the City of Garden Grove protest letters submitted to SCAG:

Garden Grove’s draft RHNA allocation for the 2021-2029 planning period is 19,122 units, which is broken down by income group as shown in the table below. SCAG is in the process of holding meetings and workshops to discuss the draft allocation and plans to adopt the final allocation in October 2020. To read more about the RHNA allocation methodology and process, visit SCAG’s RHNA & Housing webpage.

Income Group % of Median Household Income Income Range (4-person household) Current 5th RHNA Allocation (Housing Units) Proposed 6th RHNA Allocation (Housing Units)
Very-Low Income <50% of AMI $0 - $44,880 164 4,155
Low Income 50-80% of AMI $44,881 - $71,807 120 2,795
Moderate Income 81-120% of AMI $71,808 - $107,711 135 3,204
Above-Moderate Income >120% of AMI $107,712+ 328 8,968
Total 747 19,122

Recent Housing Legislation

The 2019 California Legislative Session ended with over 30 new bills in response to the state’s worsening housing crisis. Several of these bills are designed to increase housing production by easing development regulations, compelling jurisdictions to make fee and land information readily available to potential developers, and impose new ongoing reporting and inventory requirements for local jurisdictions. The following table displays the bills discussed in the update and includes links to the corresponding bill text:

Category Bill Title
Bills Removing Barriers to Boost Housing Production SB 330 – Housing Crisis Act of 2019 and Changes to Permit Streamlining Act & Housing Accountability Act
AB 1763 – Density Bonuses for Affordable Housing
AB 1743 – Eligibility of Property Welfare Exemptions
AB 116 – Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts
Surplus Land Databases and Reporting Requirements AB 1486 / SB 6 / AB 1255 – Expansion of Surplus Land Act and Reporting
AB 1483 – Housing Data Collection and Reporting
Requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units AB 68 / AB 881 / SB 13 – Modifications to Increase Accessory Dwelling Unit Development
AB 587 – Sale of Accessory Dwelling Units
AB 670 – Construction of Accessory Dwelling Units in Common Interest Developments
AB 671 – Affordable Accessory Dwelling Unit Program Creation
Established "Uses by Right" AB 101 – Housing and Homelessness Budget and Regulations
SB 234 – Keeping Kids Closer to Home Act
Related Housing Element Laws from 2017 Housing Package SB 166 – "No Net Loss" Law
HCD Website

Visit HCD Website

Additional resources can be found on the California Department of Housing and Community Development website.

Why update the housing element?

California State law requires that the City of Garden Grove update the Housing Element every eight years. These frequent updates are required because housing is critical to ensure economic prosperity and quality of life in our region. The revised Housing Element must be adopted by the Garden Grove City Council no later than October 2021, or the City of Garden Grove could lose eligibility for significant sources of funding currently provided by the State.

How can the public be involved in this process?

The success of this update requires extensive community input and engagement. There will be multiple opportunities to participate throughout the update, both in person and online. Please sign up to be notified of the next meeting or opportunity for online input.

Sign up

What is included in a Housing Element?

The components of the Housing Element are largely dictated by the State. The following chapters must be included:

  • A detailed analysis of the City’s demographic, economic and housing characteristics.
  • A comprehensive analysis of constraints to producing and preserving housing.
  • A review of the City’s progress in implementing current housing policies and programs.
  • An identification of goals, objectives, and policies, in addition to a full list of programs that will implement the vision of the plan.
  • A list of sites that could accommodate new housing, demonstrating the City’s ability to meet our Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).

Because the Housing Element is updated frequently, the previous element provides a foundation for this update. This update gives us the opportunity to evaluate the previous element and determine which parts have been effective and which should be improved. Read the 2014-2021 Housing Element for more information on existing policies and programs.

What is RHNA?

RHNA stands for “Regional Housing Needs Assessment.” Every eight years, the State of California provides the number of housing units that should be accommodated in the Southern California region. The Southern California Regional Association of Governments (SCAG) takes that larger number and devises a methodology to allocate the units among the SCAG region. As a part of the Housing Element, Garden Grove must demonstrate to the State that there is available capacity for the units allocated to the City. This year, the regional allocation, and therefore our Garden Grove City allocation, was significantly larger than it has been in past years. This large allocation was a result of the State responding to the housing crisis by considering both “projected need” (i.e., units we need to accommodate new residents) and “existing need” (i.e., units we need to alleviate challenges like overcrowding and homelessness). The allocation also takes affordability into account by identifying the percentage of units that are needed at each income level (very low, low, moderate, and above moderate).

The exact RHNA allocation as released by SCAG in September 2020 is 19,122 units. Of this total allocation, approximately 21% should be available to very-low income units, 15% to low income, 17% to moderate income, and 47% to market rate.

Visit the SCAG website for more information on RHNA and the RHNA allocation process.

Does RHNA require us to build housing?

Through the RHNA process, we must show that the City has the regulatory and land use policies to accommodate housing needs, but the actual development of housing is largely conducted by the private market. The Housing Element is required to demonstrate potential sites where housing can be accommodated. Identification of a site’s capacity does not guarantee that construction will occur on that site. If there are insufficient sites and capacity to meet the RHNA allocation, then the Housing Element is required to identify a rezoning program to create the required capacity. It is important to note that if we fall significantly behind on our RHNA targets, the City of Garden Grove could be deemed out of compliance and risk losing important sources of funding currently provided by the State.

What is the relationship to other Elements of the General Plan?

The Housing Element must remain consistent with the other elements of the General Plan. The City of Garden Grove is working to create an Environmental Justice Element, as well as update it’s Housing Element, Safety Element, and Land Use Element (including any necessary amendments to the Zoning Map/Code).

The City is continuously considering new ways to safely conduct outreach in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. Some events that were originally planned to be held in person may be transitioned to a digital format. Check the News page for updates on current engagement activities.

Schedule of Upcoming Events

Event Time & Place
First Community Online Survey Monday, August 31, 2020 to Friday, September 25, 2020
Virtual Neighborhood and Homeowner Associations Meeting Thursday, September 3, 2020, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (Pre-Registration required)
Joint Planning Commission/Neighborhood Improvement Conservation Commission Study Session Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center, at 11300 Stanford Avenue
Second Community Online Survey Monday, October 19, 2020 to Thursday, November 5, 2020 (tentative)
Virtual Community Meeting Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. (Pre-Registration required)
Planning Commission Study Session Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center
City Council Study Session Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center
City Council Public Hearing Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center

For more information, please contact the Planning Division at (714) 741-5312 or email at

Email List - Stay Connected

The best way to hear about major milestones and opportunities to shape the Housing Element update is to join the email list.

Indicates required field
Which Element updates would you like to receive?