About the Project
The City of Monterey Park is updating key elements of the City’s General Plan and we want to hear from you! This website provides all the information you will need to stay up to date and provide feedback on the project, including upcoming community workshops, City public meetings, reports and resources, and other opportunities.
In 2019, the City updated the Land Use Element of the General Plan, which resulted in changes to allowed land uses and residential and commercial intensities. Now the City will be updating the Housing and Safety Elements and creating a new Environmental Justice element.
Monterey Park General Plan
The City’s General Plan is a policy document that sets the vision for improving the quality of life for all Monterey Park community members, including guiding housing and job growth within city limits and influencing the City’s annual budget process. The General Plan establishes policies for the following topics:
- Land Use
- Open Space
The Housing Element is a policy guide that provides an indication of the need for housing in the community, particularly the availability, affordability, and adequacy of housing. It serves as a strategy to address housing needs across the economic and social spectrum. State law requires that housing elements are updated every 8 years. Monterey Park last updated their housing element in 2013 and is now due for an update.
The Safety Element describes the natural and manmade hazards that could impact people and property in the City. State law requires safety elements to be updated at the same time as housing element updates. New information on impacts resulting from climate change will be added to the Safety Element.
Environmental Justice Element
As part of the City’s update to their General Plan, a new chapter addressing environmental justice will be included. Environmental justice is defined by the State as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races, cultures, and incomes as part of the development and implementation of environmental laws and policies. The new chapter will include policies that look to reducing harm to communities in Monterey Park that have been historically marginalized by institutions and society.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is this project different than the Monterey Park 2040 and Land Use Element Update?
The Monterey Park 2040 updated the Land Use Element that resulted in changes to land use designations. Land use designations establish allowed uses (commercial, residential, etc.) and allowed densities (number of units allowed per acre of land). The Housing Element Update is intended to demonstrate how the City will accommodate housing demand, and also include updates to the Safety Element and creation of a new Environmental Justice Element.
Why update the Housing Element, Safety Element, and Environmental Justice Element?
California State law requires that the City of Monterey update the Housing Element every eight years. These frequent updates are required because housing is critical to ensure economic prosperity and quality of life in our region. The revised Housing Element must be adopted by the Monterey Park City Council no later than October 2021, or the City of Monterey Park could lose eligibility for significant sources of funding currently provided by the State.
Safety elements are now required to be updated at the same time as housing elements.
In addition, State law requires communities updating two or more elements of the General Plan to prepare an environmental justice element if there are disadvantaged communities present in the community. Disadvantaged communities are neighborhoods with low-income households that are exposed to pollution (e.g., freeways, landfills).
What is included in a Housing Element?
The Housing Element is a housing plan that identifies policies and programs the City will implement to meet housing demand.
Housing Element components are largely dictated by the State. The following chapters must be included:
- A detailed analysis of the City’s demographic, economic and housing characteristics.
- A comprehensive analysis of constraints to producing and preserving housing.
- A review of the City’s progress in implementing current housing policies and programs.
- An identification of goals, objectives, and policies, in addition to a full list of programs that will implement the vision of the plan.
- A list of sites that could accommodate new housing, demonstrating the City’s ability to meet the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA).
Because the Housing Element is updated frequently, the City of Monterey Park’s existing element provides a foundation for this update. This update gives the City an opportunity to evaluate the previous element and determine which parts have been effective and which should be improved. Read the 2013-2021 Housing Element for more information on existing policies and programs. (Insert link to the 2014-2021 Housing Element)
For more information, please view the Housing Element Story Map!
What is “affordable” housing?
The City is required to facilitate the production of housing that is affordable to households across various income levels. These income categories are defined by the state and are based on varying percentages of the Area Median Income (AMI), in which earning 30% of AMI is considered extremely low income, 50% of AMI is considered very low income. 80% of AMI is considered low income and between 80-120% is considered moderate income. For each income category, housing is considered “affordable” if occupants pay no more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
The chart below shows 2020 income limits and affordable rents for a family of four in Los Angeles County as set by the State. Extremely Low – up to 30% of county median income.
|Family of 4 Persons
|Extremely Low Income
|Very Low Income
What is RHNA?
RHNA stands for “Regional Housing Needs Assessment.” Every eight years, the State of California provides the number of housing units that should be accommodated in the Southern California region. The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) takes that larger number and devises a methodology to allocate the units among the SCAG region. As part of the Housing Element, Monterey Park must demonstrate to the State that there is available capacity for the units allocated to the city.
This year the regional allocation, and therefore the Monterey Park allocation, was significantly larger than it has been in past years. This larger allocation was a result of the State responding to the housing crisis by considering “existing need” (i.e., units we need to alleviated challenges, like overcrowding and homelessness) and “projected need” (i.e., units we need to accommodate new residents). The allocation also takes affordability into account by identifying the percentage of units that are needed at each income level, including very low, low, moderate, and above moderate incomes.
The RHNA allocation for Monterey Park, as released by SCAG in March 2021 is 5,257 units.
|Number of Units
|Very Low Income
Visit the SCAG website for more information on RHNA and the RHNA allocation process.
Will updating the Housing Element and meeting RHNA result in new housing construction?
Housing construction will be solely reliant on the private market. Through the RHNA process, the City must establish the regulatory framework to allow for a certain amount of housing construction should private developers and homeowners seek to build new housing in the city. As part of the Housing Element update, properties that can accommodate future residential development will be identified. Identification of a properties capacity to accommodate new housing does not guarantee that construction will occur on that site. However, if there are insufficient sites and capacity to meet the RHNA allocation, then the Housing Element is required to identify sites that need to be rezoned to allow for more residential units to increase housing capacity.
Will the City be changing the zoning or densities allowed?
The City is in the early stages of the Housing Element, but initial analysis shows zoning changes are unlikely. The City is not required to build housing as part of the Housing Element, but rather, show capacity for the private sector to build required housing units. The City’s role in meeting the RHNA is to ensure that enough land is zoned to accommodate the units identified in the RHNA. The City accounts for housing potential on vacant and underutilized land that are currently zoned residential or residential mixed-use before changing zoning or densities in Monterey Park.
Why is the Sybil Brand site not considered a potential housing site for this housing element update?
What are the benefits of updating the Housing Element?
State law gives the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) the authority to review local Housing Elements and issue findings regarding the elements’ compliance with the law. When HCD issues a letter stating that the Housing Element is “in compliance” it is referred to as “certification” of the Housing Element. Certification is important for several reasons:
- Local control. The General Plan and its various elements provide the foundation for the City’s planning programs and land use regulations. If the City were challenged in court regarding the validity of the General Plan or zoning regulations, and the General Plan was found to be invalid, a court could assume control over local land-use decisions. HCD certification establishes a “rebuttable presumption of validity” that the Housing Element is adequate under state law, which would support the City’s legal defense.
- More frequent Housing Element updates. When a city does not adopt its Housing Element within the established time frame, subsequent updates must be completed on a four-year schedule rather than an eight-year schedule. A four-year update requirement would create an administrative and cost burden.
- Grant funds. Some state grant funds are contingent upon Housing Element certification or give a higher priority to those jurisdictions with a certified Housing Element.
- Enforcement and Litigation Exposure. Per State law, cities are required to adopt a compliant Housing Element, and failure to do so could result in the State pursuing enforcement action against a non-compliant city.
How can I get involved in the Housing Element Update process?
Please sign up to be notified of the next meeting or opportunity for online input. The success of this update requires extensive community input and engagement. There will be multiple opportunities to participate throughout the update, both in-person and online.