Housing Element Update

The County of Sonoma is in the process of updating its General Plan Housing Element. Find out more about the process here.

Housing Advisory Committee

Permit Sonoma is seeking applicants for a 15-member Housing Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee members will advise staff, review draft concepts, and serve as community ambassadors as Permit Sonoma updates the Housing element of the General Plan. Members’ experiences related to housing need, constraints to housing development, and feasibility of policies and programs will inform policy approaches. Applications will be accepted until November 23, 2021. 

The working group will be composed of up to 15 volunteers and one observer from across the county representing a wide variety of community stakeholders and perspectives. Membership includes: 

  1. Member who rents their primary residence
  2. Developer or builder
  3. Developer or builder (nonprofit)
  4. Member with lived experience of homelessness
  5. Member representing a local non-profit organization (1)
  6. Member representing a local non-profit organization (2)
  7. Member representing a local non-profit organization (3)
  8. Member representing the faith-based community
  9. Member representing the agricultural community
  10. Member with experience as farm labor
  11. Community Member At-Large per Supervisorial District (1)
  12. Community Member At-Large per Supervisorial District (2)
  13. Community Member At-Large per Supervisorial District (3)
  14. Community Member At-Large per Supervisorial District (4)
  15. Community Member At-Large per Supervisorial District (5)
  16. Member of the Planning Agency (observational)

A stipend of $150 will be available for low-income Sonomans who rent their primary residence, have lived experience of homelessness, represent a local non-profit organization, the agricultural community to allow for all Sonomans to participate. Members are expected to attend a two-hour meeting approximately monthly. 

Interested members of the community can apply surveymonkey.com/r/HousingAdvisoryCommittee.

What is a housing element?

The County of Sonoma is updating its housing element as required by State law. The upcoming update is known as the 6th cycle. This process is an opportunity for the County to examine all the policies, market conditions, and other forces that contribute to there being enough homes for everyone in the community, regardless of income. 

Under California law, the housing element is one of the seven mandated elements of the general plan and must be updated on a set schedule. A housing element is required by State law (“Housing Element law”) to establish policies and programs that will support the provision of an adequate housing supply for citizens of all income levels. 

What are the components of a housing element?

The housing element typically includes: 

  1. Housing Needs Assessment: Examine demographic, employment, and housing trends and conditions that affect the housing needs of the community.
  2. Evaluation of Past Performance: Review the prior housing element to measure progress in implementing policies and programs.
  3. Housing Sites Inventory: Identify locations of available sites for housing development or redevelopment to ensure that there is adequate capacity to address the Regional Housing Needs Allocation.
  4. Community Outreach and Engagement: Implement a robust community outreach and engagement program, with a particular focus on outreach to traditionally underrepresented groups.
  5. Constraints Analysis: Analyze and recommend remedies for existing and potential governmental and nongovernmental barriers to housing development.
  6. Policies and Programs: Establish policies and programs to fulfill the identified housing needs.

What happens if a jurisdiction does not adopt a housing element?

If a city or county does not comply with State law, it can be sued. In addition to facing significant fines, a court may limit local land use decision-making authority until the jurisdiction brings its housing element into compliance. Additionally, local governments may lose the right to deny certain projects. These and other consequences are established in state law; housing elements are subject to regulatory oversight by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. 


California Department of Housing and Community Development Housing Element Resources

The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the state agency responsible for certifying housing elements. 

Regional Housing Needs Allocation (Association of Bay Area Governments)

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is responsible for administering the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process. 

County of Sonoma current General Plan Housing Element

Read the County’s existing Housing Element; goals, policies, and programs; and information about sites in existing inventory

Get involved

Sign up for email updates on all Permit Sonoma’s housing policy work, including the Housing Element Update. 

Contact Information

Permit Sonoma
2550 Ventura Avenue
Hearing Room
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.465074, -122.723705

Sign up for updates on Permit Sonoma's housing policy work

General Plan Housing Element


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Napa Sonoma ADU Center
The Napa Sonoma ADU Center is a fiscally-sponsored project of Napa Valley Community Foundation with support from Community Foundation Sonoma County and others. They provide resources for homeowners in Napa and Sonoma counties who want to build an ADU.

Community Development Commission

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The Community Development Commission (CDC) is dedicated to promoting decent and affordable housing, revitalizing communities, and supporting public services.