City of Garden Grove to Consider Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments

The City of Garden Grove Planning Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on Thursday, October 21, 2021, to consider the Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments (FGPUZA). A public hearing will be held in the Community Meeting Center, 11300 Stanford Avenue, Garden Grove, California.

Members of the public who wish to comment on matters before the Commission, in lieu of doing so in person, may submit comments by emailing no later than 3:00 p.m. the day of the meeting. The comments will be provided to the Commission as part of the meeting record. Members of the public are asked to consider very carefully before attending this meeting in person and are encouraged to wear face masks and maintain a six foot distance from others. Please do not attend this meeting if you have had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if you are experiencing symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, fever, difficulty breathing or other flu-like symptoms.

The Planning Commission will consider recommending that the City Council: (i) certify the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments, adopt a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, and adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations; (ii) adopt General Plan Amendment No. GPA-003-2021, which includes updates to the Housing Element, the Land Use Element, and the Safety Element, and the adoption of a new Environmental Justice Element; and (iii) adopt Zoning Amendment No. A-031-2021, which includes text/map amendments to Title 9 of the Municipal Code and to the Zoning Map to implement the Housing Element and Land Use Element Updates. The focus of the General Plan and Zoning Amendments is to comply with State law provisions, including complying with the 6th Cycle (2021-2029) of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) that requires the City to plan for 19,168 residential dwelling units for all income levels during the 2021-2029 planning period.

The City of Garden Grove has prepared a Draft Focused General Plan Update with revisions to the Land Use Element, Safety Element, and Housing Element, and preparation of a new Environmental Justice Element. The draft documents are available below:

The proposed Housing Element establishes programs, policies, and actions to generally further the goal of meeting the existing and projected housing needs in the community. The proposed Land Use Element incorporates the housing growth identified in the Housing Element. The proposed Safety Element addresses climate change vulnerability and resiliency. The new Environmental Justice Element focuses on addressing community needs and pollution burden challenges citywide and within disadvantaged communities.

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the City of Garden Grove Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments

The City of Garden Grove, as Lead Agency, hereby gives notice pursuant to the authority and criteria contained in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the CEQA Guidelines, regarding the preparation and completion of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments (FGPUZA or “Project”). The City is proposing to amend the Housing Element, Land Use Element, and Safety Element, as well as prepare a new Environmental Justice Element, to comply with State law requirements. In addition to the General Plan update, the City is proposing various amendments to Title 9 (Land Use) of the Garden Grove Municipal Code in compliance with California Government Code (CGC) Section 65300 et seq. and to make it consistent with the Focused General Plan Update. Therefore, the proposed “Project” that is evaluated in the Draft EIR is adoption of both the Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments (FGPUZA or “Project”).

The Draft EIR is an informational document that evaluates a proposed Project’s potential to significantly impact the environment, while also identifying ways to reduce or avoid environmental impacts through mitigation measures and alternatives to the Project.

The Draft EIR will be available online for public review starting August 23, 2021

  • Click here to view the Draft EIR
  • Written comments may be submitted to the City of Garden Grove Community and Economic Development Department, Planning Services Division. Please indicate a contact person for your agency or organization (if applicable) and send comments to:

    Chris Chung, Urban Planner
    City of Garden Grove, Community and Economic Development Department
    11222 Acacia Parkway, P.O. Box 3070
    Garden Grove, California 92840
    714-741-5314 |

    The City welcomes input during the Draft EIR public review period: August 23, 2021 to October 6, 2021 by 5:00 p.m.

    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.

    RHNA Website

    RHNA Appeal

    Pursuant to State Law, any local jurisdiction within the SCAG region may file an appeal to modify its allocated share or another jurisdiction’s share of the regional housing need included as part of SCAG’s Draft Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Allocation Plan. The period for local jurisdictions to file appeals with SCAG began on September 11, 2020.

    The City of Garden Grove has officially filed two (2) appeal applications to SCAG.

    City of Garden Grove Appeal of the RHNA Allocation of 19,122 Units Letter
    Appeal of the City of Santa Ana’s RHNA Allocation of 3,087 Units Letter

    Following the end of the appeals filing period, SCAG notified all jurisdictions within the region and HCD of all appeals and made all materials submitted in regards to each appeal available on its website. Local jurisdictions and HCD were permitted to comment on the appeals within the 45 day comment period. Comments related to the appeal filings by the City of Garden Grove are linked below:

    Orange County Mayors Comment Letter dated September 18, 2020
    HCD Comment Letter Regarding All RHNA Appeals Filed dated December 10, 2020
    Public Law Center Comment Letter on the City of Garden Grove’s Appeal dated December 10, 2020
    City of Santa Ana Comment Letter In Response to the Appeals of Santa Ana’s RHNA Allocation dated December 10, 2020

    For a full list of all RHNA comment letters received and posted by SCAG please visit, SCAG’s RHNA Comment Letters page.

    SCAG’s Regional Council has delegated the responsibility of considering appeals regarding draft allocations to the RHNA Subcommittee, also referred to as the RHNA Appeals Board. The agenda and hearing materials will be posted on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) website one week before a scheduled hearing date. All hearings will be held via teleconference in accordance with the RHNA Appeals Procedures.

    SCAG has posted a RHNA Appeals Hearing Notice and Schedule (Updated 12/16/20) on its website, which is linked below. The hearings applicable to the (2) appeal filings by the City of Garden Grove are scheduled for January 15, 2021. Click here to view the SCAG Agenda packet/report (Santa Ana Appeal Packet Pages 5-171 / Garden Grove Appeal Packet Pages 430-467).

    RHNA Appeals Hearing Notice and Schedule (Updated 12/16/20)
    SCAG RHNA Appeals Procedures
    SCAG RHNA Appeals Procedures FAQ
    Anticipated SCAG 6th Cycle RHNA Appeals Timeline

    Additional information including Zoom information relevant to public hearings may be found on SCAG’s website:

    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 and Info 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 Wednesday, November 4, 2020 to Friday, November 27, 2020
    Virtual Community Meeting Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 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, December 8, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, at the Garden Grove Community Meeting Center
    City Council Public Hearing Tuesday, January 12, 2021 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.

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    Which Element updates would you like to receive?
    Focused General Plan Update and Zoning Amendments - EIR Scoping Meeting

    Presented on Wednesday, July 14, 2021

    Environmental Justice Virtual Community Forum

    Presented on Wednesday, April 21, 2021