The Town certified, adopted and submitted its Housing Element for the 2023-2031 Housing Cycle to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for its review on January 31, 2023. Comments are anticipated in 60 days (approximately April 5).
The use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) continues to be a significant resource for compliance. The Town is hosting an ADU Workshop on April 6 from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at City Hall, 80 Fair Oaks Lane. If you have an ADU, are interested in building an ADU, are interested in renting an ADU or are somewhere in between, come to the Workshop to learn all you can about the opportunities and solutions here in Atherton.
At the Workshop you can connect with HIP Housing, a local non-profit organization that can connect home providers and home seekers. There will also be opportunities to talk with the Town's Planning and Building staff about how to build or add an ADU to your property. Lastly, there will be opportunities to connect with local employers that might have a need to identify housing solutions for their personnel - students, teachers, faculty or others.
In January, an Ad Hoc Subcommittee of the City Council began work to explore some of the recommendations from local residents as well as other options for consideration by the Council. The Council is continuing to explore housing options because it is anticipated that the State will return the Town's Housing Element with additional comments and some of those comments may require the Town to identify additional housing solutions. ADUs continue to be the Town's most beneficial means of compliance; but the Town also needs to prove to the State that the community is up to the task of creating the ADUs as real housing opportunities.
The Council will be discussing the recommendations and potential alternative solutions to explore at the March 15, 2023 City Council meeting - 6 pm. These recommendations include the possibility of converting the Gilmore House at the Park to a housing solution as well as evaluating other solutions throughout Town. The Agenda for the meetings are posted 72-hours in advance o the meeting and, when posted, can be found here.
Other public meetings on Housing:
- November 17, 2022 the City Council hosted a Special Meeting/Study Session to review, in detail, the State’s response letter.
- December 15, 2022 the Council met again at a Special Meeting/Study Session
- January 11, 2023 the City Council Study Session
- January 12, 2023 - Community Engagement Meeting (@Menlo College - Russell Center (space is limited))
- January 18, 2023 - City Council Meeting (@ Council Chambers)
- January 19, 2023 - Planning Commission Special Meeting (@Council Chambers)
- January 31, 2023 - 2 pm - Special Meeting on January 31, 2023 for adoption and submission. At this meeting, the Council can consider submitting the complete/updated Draft Housing Element as Noticed on January 23 OR the Draft Housing Element incorporating some or all of the Planning Commission Recommendations from January 19.
At the January 31, 2023 meeting, the Council did not adopt the recommendations from the Planning Commission, removed the upzoning considered for the 17 parcels along El Camino Real, and incorporated a 10 unit per acre zoning overlay for 23 Oakwood. These revisions were incorporated into the existing draft document along with a revision to the 2nd ADU recommendation, and staff was directed to modify the document, file the CEQA notice of exemption and submit it to the State as the Town's 6th Cycle Housing Element for their review.
"Overlay Zoning" - Overlay Zoning occurs when the Town identifies parcels to be a part of an Overlay Zone that would allow a different density or use than already exists on the parcel. When a parcel is part of an Overlay, the existing use is allowed to continue; but the property owner can choose to demolish and rebuild at the new use. In the situation proposed in the January 19 Planning Commission recommendation, parcels are being considered for an Overlay Zone at a higher density to allow multi-family. The development requirements for multi-family are not yet developed and the Overlay Zone itself would all occur over the next 36 months. Development standards would address height, setbacks, lot coverage, parking, fence heights, screening, etc. as well as minimum and maximum density requirements. With Overlay Zoning, the existing use is not considered non-conforming as it is a lawfully permitted use in both the current zone and the Overlay Zone. In other words, the minimum density allowed in an Overlay Zone would be a single-family home. Overlay Zoning does not prevent the existing uses from continuing nor does it impose restrictions or exceptions to expanding those uses. Overlay Zoning does not force property owners to sell properties, nor does it impose a requirement to tear down existing structures.
For more details, visit the Town's Housing Webpage. Available videos from Council Meetings are available here. To stay engaged on Town topics and issues, sign up for the Town's E-News here. Comments may be sent to email@example.com.