New Consequences for Housing Element Annual Reports


The 2017 Legislative Housing Package passed 15 bills that enact new housing regulations in California.  Assembly Bill (AB) 879 and Senate Bill (SB) 35 placed increased importance on Housing Element Annual Progress Reports (Annual Reports) that are due to HCD by April 1 each year.  New consequences for failing to complete Annual Reports include court sanctions and losing local control over affordable multifamily housing development entitlements to a new streamlined approval process.   If your jurisdiction is behind on its Annual Reports, it could lose local control over affordable multifamily housing development entitlements as early as this year.

Charter Cities Must Complete Report

·         Charter cities used to be exempt from submitting an Annual Report.  They must now submit an Annual Report beginning with the 2017 report due April 1, 2018. 

Failure to Submit Annual Reports

·         Failure to submit an Annual Report within 60 days of the due date could result in court orders to compel compliance, and court sanctions if not completed as ordered.

·         Failure to submit the Annual Report for two or more consecutive years triggers SB 35 provisions streamlining affordable multifamily housing development approvals, losing significant local control over the entitlement process. 

New Annual Reporting Requirements

Local jurisdictions need to track new housing production data in 2018 to include in the Annual Report due April 2019, and ongoing years.  This includes data on:

·         Housing Development Applications and Approvals

·         Housing Production in progress (via entitlement, building permit, or certificate of occupancy)

·         Sites Identified or Rezoned to Accommodate RHNA Need (related to “No Net Loss” provisions passed by AB 166)

HCD will use new Annual Report data to determine if a locality has not issued enough building permits to satisfy its RHNA allocation by income category for a reporting period, subjecting it to SB 35 streamlining provisions until the next reporting period. 

Annual Reports due by April 1 must continue to include the Housing Successor Annual Report for redevelopment housing successors that are not Housing Authorities (Housing Authority reports are due by October 1 and December 31).

Contact Suzy Kim, Senior Associate, at or 714.316.2116, if you have questions or need assistance preparing your Annual Report to retain local control over housing development and avoid court sanctions.

Written by Suzy Kim, a Senior Associate at RSG

Affordable Housing at Its Best

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Alegre Apartments, an example of successful affordable housing development, opened in June 2015 in northern Irvine. The award-winning affordable housing community developed by AMCAL in partnership with the City of Irvine and the Irvine Community Land Trust, won the Kennedy Commission of Orange County’s project of the year award for 2015.

The development achieved LEED Gold building certification with sustainability features. LEED for Homes is a national, voluntary, rating system administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Alegre provides 103 spacious one- to four-bedroom apartments for low, very low, and extremely low income households. Amenities include a pool, kids’ water splash, barbecue area, tot lot, and a large, two-story clubhouse with offices, computer lab, media room, game room, and fitness center.

AMCAL has partnered with LifeSTEPS, Families Forward, the County of Orange and United Cerebral Palsy to provide social services. Alegre is the sixtieth residential community developed by AMCAL.

Without redevelopment property tax increment set aside for affordable housing and federal housing funds constantly threatened to be cut in Congress, financing such affordable housing projects is increasingly difficult. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program gives states and cities money to address local affordable housing needs, but Congress wants to slash funding.

RSG helped the Irvine Community Land Trust develop the Alegre Apartments by requesting and evaluating developers’ proposals, negotiating agreements, and providing additional guidance and insight. Contact RSG to help you develop your own version of the Alegre Apartments!

Written by Hitta Mosesman, a Principal at RSG

New Tools for Old Problems


High technology is everywhere. More technology and apps are being implemented to solve urban planning/real estate challenges.

One such problem is infill development, the process of developing vacant or under-utilized parcels within existing urban areas that are already largely developed. Successful infill development creates complete, well-functioning neighborhoods with residential densities high enough to support transportation, convenience services, and other amenities while offering cultural, social, recreational, and entertainment opportunities, gathering places, and vitality to older centers and neighborhoods.

A case in point for the use of technology is Infill Score, a free tool for citizens, community planners, city managers, and developers to learn strategies to attract investment and revitalize communities. Powered by, Infill Score creates a strong foundation to begin the process of identifying opportunities to have the greatest impact. After taking a self assessment survey, users gain access to 30 strategies to quickly activate and implement their plans. The strategies assure that the new development fits the existing concept and gains neighborhood acceptance while developing a cooperative partnership between government, the development community, financial institutions, non-profit organizations, neighborhood organizations, and other resources, according to one user, Municipal Research and Services Center (MRSC) in Washington State.

RSG anticipates more creative thinking such as this solution to come forward in the future. It reduces the gap between planning and actual project delivery while offering convenience for users.

While technology is a boon to the work we do, RSG still works face-to-face with practitioners and civic leaders to develop new ways to solve age-old problems.

Written by Jim Simon, a Principal at RSG.