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Housing Element Annual Progress Report

Overview

Over the last 25 years, the City has invested over $26 million in below-market housing programs resulting in 663 rental units and 72 for-sale units – illustrating our commitment to find and implement opportunities for those in our community at the below market income level. In addition, Redwood City is a leader in San Mateo County for the number of Habitat for Humanity below-market units.

More recently, $10 million in City funds earmarked for below market housing were appropriated by the State when redevelopment agencies were dissolved. Redwood City disagrees with the basis on which the State says it can take these funds, and is filing a lawsuit against the State to retain them. If successful, the City will use those funds as intended, to facilitate below market projects.

In 2012, the City issued permits for nearly 800 units, most of which are included in four large-scale projects. These include 40 low or very low income units and 36 moderate income units (approximately 10%). We were able to accomplish this despite the loss of the redevelopment agency and its affordable housing powers and tools.

Redwood City also recognizes the importance of maintaining the existing below market housing in our community – and the City does this through granting CBDG and HOME funds to organizations to support the needs of low and very low income households: below market housing construction, land acquisition, rehabilitation and home improvements, as well as homeless assistance activities and human services. And, the City has a home improvement loan program for low and moderate income homeowners.

There are multiple challenges to providing for very low, low, and moderate income level housing. These challenges include:

  • Elimination of redevelopment agencies
  • Reduction in Federal and State funding sources for below market housing
  • The court’s invalidation of “inclusionary” ordinances for rental units

Despite these challenges, providing a wide range of housing opportunities is an integral part of the long term vision for Redwood City, and that vision is part of our General Plan. We’ve created opportunities for a wide range of additional housing in Redwood City through:

  • A variety of General Plan land use designations offering a level of density which makes them most appropriate for the range of housing that promotes below market rates
  • The City’s Downtown Precise Plan, offering clear guidelines for developers to propose projects which meet the variety of needs in our Downtown
  • Designation of “mixed use corridor” districts (including El Camino, the southern part of Broadway, and sections of Veterans Blvd.), which allow for new and/or higher density residential development in those areas.

The City has worked with developers to obtain below market units through precise plans and development agreements, and with the County, nonprofits, and the community college district to facilitate below market units. We will seek opportunities to work with developers, nonprofits and other entities to provide the range of housing types, sizes, and variety that will support our community.

The City Council will be scheduling a study session within 2013 to examine the potential for including a discussion of community benefits during the review process for future development applications, which ultimately could include gaining resources to support affordable housing in the community.

 


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