Gov. Gavin Newsom in his first State of the State address on Feb. 12 highlighted California’s need for more affordable housing – an issue that remains a hot topic in Elk Grove.
Last month, Elk Grove Planning Commission Vice Chair Mackenzie Wieser said that Elk Grove is “being slammed” for not having enough affordable housing.
Newsom simplified the crisis, which he noted has left 61 percent of California’s young adults in a situation where they cannot afford to buy a home in this state.
“We all know the problem: Too much demand, too little supply,” he said. “And that is happening in large part because too many cities and counties aren’t even planning how to build. Some are flat out refusing to do anything at all.”
Last month, the city of Huntington Beach was sued by state officials for refusing to follow a state mandate that requires cities to have plans to provide more affordable housing.
Newsom, in his address, mentioned that there are 47 other California cities that are not complying with state requirements. But he noted that he does not intend to have lawsuits filed against all of those cities.
According to a list provided by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Elk Grove is not included among the 48 cities that Newsom mentioned as being out of compliance with the state requirement to zone land for lower-income housing needs.
Sarah Bontrager, the city’s housing and public services manager, said that Elk Grove met that requirement in their last housing element plan, which was adopted in 2014.
The Sacramento Area Council of Governments estimated in 2013 that Elk Grove had a need for 7,402 additional housing units by 2021.
Bontrager stated that at the time of the city’s last report in 2017, 84 very low-income units, 76 low-income units, 252 moderate-income units and 324 above moderate-income units had been built in Elk Grove. She added that she is certain the above moderate-income housing goal was met last year.
In updating its General Plan, the city has identified potential development sites to fulfill low-income and moderate-income housing needs. City staff released the update’s draft plan last summer for public review.
Most of the potential lower- and moderate-income sites are in the area bounded by Elk Grove Boulevard, Kammerer Road, Highway 99 and Bruceville Road. This area neighbors the Laguna Ridge and Madeira residential developments as well as the Elk Grove Auto Mall.
Also included among the lower-income sites is an area at Sheldon and Bruceville roads; Elk Grove-Florin Road, between Bond and Sheldon roads; and three small areas within the boundaries of Laguna and Franklin boulevards and Interstate 5.
As part of his address, Newsom vowed to commit $250 million to assist cities and counties in updating their housing plans, to revamp their zoning process and obtain more housing, and $500 million in grant funding for communities that achieve certain milestones.
Bontrager expressed a desire for Elk Grove and other local cities to obtain portions of that funding.
“I’m really hoping that some of the funding that Gov. Newsom is proposing will be ultimately approved in his budget and available to Elk Grove and to the other cities in the region that are facing many of the same challenges that we face,” she said.