Housing Element

The housing element is one of 7 state-mandated elements of the city’s General Plan. Housing element law requires local governments to adequately plan to meet their existing and projected housing needs including their share of the regional housing need.  Within each planning period, regional housing needs are identified for each jurisdiction in a process referred to as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) that includes the state and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The City of Menlo Park's allocation for the 2015 - 2023 planning period is 655 dwelling units. The housing element also includes goals, policies, and programs to help guide the city's housing efforts through the planning period.

Housing Element

On April 1, 2014, the City of Menlo Park adopted its Housing Element through the 2023 planning period and on April 16, 2014, the Housing Element was certified by State Housing and Community Development Department (HCD).

Housing Element Annual Progress Reports

The preparation and submittal of the Housing Element Annual Progress Report (APR) to the state Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) and Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) is required by State law. The Annual Report documents past housing-related activities and may identify the timing of upcoming activities, but does not authorize the implementation of programs or expenditure of funds. 

Housing Element Implementation

Concurrent with the Housing Element Update (2015-2023) process, the City also implemented several Housing Element programs.  The City Council adopted Zoning Ordinance amendments pertaining to 1) an emergency shelter for the homeless overlay, 2) transitional and supportive housing and residential care facilities, and 3) reasonable accommodation on April 29, 2014, and the proposed additions and modifications will become effective on May 30, 2014.  In addition, the City Council adopted two Zoning Ordinance amendments related to accessory dwelling units and accessory buildings and accessory structures on May 13, 2014.  These two ordinances will become effective on June 13, 2014.

A link to the adopted ordinance is provided under each respective topic

Emergency Shelter for the Homeless Overlay

For compliance with Senate Bill 2, a City is required to zone to allow an emergency shelter for the homeless in at least one zone without a conditional use permit or any discretionary process. The proposed Zoning Ordinance amendment created an overlay where emergency shelters, up to a maximum of 16 beds in totality throughout the City, would be a permitted use and established written and objective performance standards as part of the overlay zone.

Zone for Transitional and Supportive Housing and Residential Care Facilities

For compliance with Senate Bill 2, a City must demonstrate that transitional and supportive housing are permitted as a residential use and only subject to those restrictions that apply to other residential dwellings of the same type. Similarly, residential care facilities must also be treated as a residential use. The Zoning Ordinance amendment included modifications to the definition of “dwelling” to include transitional and supportive housing and residential care facilities.

Procedures for Reasonable Accommodation

The Zoning Ordinance amendment included the establishment of procedures for seeking reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities to ensure equal access to housing.

Accessory Dwelling Units

The ordinance includes modifications to the development regulations of the existing accessory dwelling unit ordinance, including setbacks, wall height, daylight plane, unit size, parking location, and tenancy. The proposed ordinance also includes a provision for the conversion of legally permitted and constructed accessory buildings (meeting certain criteria) into accessory dwelling units.

Accessory Buildings and Accessory Structures

The amendment includes modifications to the definition of accessory buildings and accessory structures, minimum yards, wall height/daylight plane, separation between buildings, and parking entrance setbacks.