The City of Oakley has responded to questions asked by residents on the proposed project at Carol Lane where a Bonus Density has upset neighboring residents. In response to the meeting, Oakley is hosting a larger meeting on Thursday, January 19 at 7:00 pm.
In looking at the Q&A, here are a couple of answers that I found interesting. A couple of questions went overlooked which include police activity and the impact this project has on Orchard Park School.
Question: What is “Affordable Housing?”
Answer: According to the federal government, housing is considered “affordable” if it
consumes no more than 30% of a household’s income. “Affordable housing” is most often
developed using government assistance and a series of mandated development incentives to ensure that development costs are lower in order to achieve lower cost housing.
Only households which meet certain income restrictions qualify for affordable housing (they can’t make too much or too little in order to qualify). Under the federal government’s
definitions, a family is considered “low income” if the household income is below 80% of an
area’s median income (AMI) after adjustment for family size; similarly, a family whose
income is below 50% of AMI is considered “very low income” (after adjustment for family
size), and a family is considered “extremely‐low income” if the household income is below
30% of AMI (after adjustment for family size).
Question: Why is it important that Oakley have a Certified Housing Element?
Answer: If Oakley’s Housing Element is found to be out of compliance with State law, its
General Plan is at risk of being deemed inadequate, and therefore invalid. Because all
planning and development decisions must be consistent with a valid General Plan, a local
government with a non‐compliant General Plan may not proceed to make land use decisions and approve development until it brings its General Plan, including its Housing Element, into compliance with State law. A Housing Element is considered out of compliance if: 1) it has not been revised and updated by the statutory deadline, or 2) its contents do not comply with State law and HCD regulations.
Question: What if a city does not approve a density bonus application?
Answer: If an affordable housing project meets all of the eligibility requires and a city does
not approve a density bonus request, the developer of the project will likely take legal action to exercise his/her rights under State law. Other cities have been successfully sued for taking actions regarding affordable housing that are not consistent with State law and its housing element.
Question: Most affordable housing units in Oakley are apartments. Why?
Answer: To be competitive for Federal tax credits, a major financing mechanism for
affordable housing, the housing must be located proximate to essential services, shops and
transportation. The land in Oakley proximate to these requirements is predominantly zoned for multi‐family development. Additionally, it is most often very cost‐efficient to build apartment‐style homes
Question: Can the affordable housing units be spread out to multiple properties within the City?
Answer: Yes. During each seven‐year housing cycle, the City will have to identify sites in
order to accommodate the RHNA. In doing so, the City through an analysis of available and
underutilized land, can identify one or multiple sites. Many neighborhoods express concern
over affordable housing, therefore, it is common for cities to minimize the number of
neighborhoods impacted and select just two or three, rather than eight to ten areas for these affordable housing zoning designations.
For a full look at the Q&A, please click here