Monday, April 19, 2021

RHNA and the Lack of Judicial Review

Every eight years, the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) conducts a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), mandating that local jurisdictions plan and zone for a pre-determined number of housing units. Once that pre-determined number is approved by local planning agencies, cities have no recourse in debating its validity.

In January, the City discussed and sent a letter addressed to HCD regarding the latest RHNA allocation and methodology.  In that letter we identified areas where erroneous data and assumptions were used and we requested that HCD re-examine the RHNA figure allocated to ABAG and revise those figures.

Currently, cities and councils of government are unable to seek judicial review of HCD’s determination of existing and projected need for housing or the regional council of governments’ methodology to allocate the HCD’s housing need determination. If erroneous data or assumptions were relied on by HCD or a council of governments, cities have no legal recourse and could be unable to meet their housing allocations.

New proposed legislation, AB1258 introduced by Assembly Member Nguyen, would give cities the ability to request judicial review and seek the expertise and impartiality of the courts.  Currently AB1258 is not even set for a hearing in the Assembly Housing Committee as it is not part of state leadership’s housing package.  We as a city, ABAG as our local Council of Governments, and individuals should contact Assembly Member Nguyen to offer support so this bill may have a better chance of being brought forward.