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For Immediate Release

Sonoma County Supervisors approve Housing Element

SANTA ROSA, CA | August 23, 2023

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved an update to Sonoma County’s Housing Element, a component of the General Plan that, among other things, identifies pipeline projects and developable areas to ensure the county meets its obligation to create 3,824 additional housing units by 2031. The document also includes housing policies and creates an inventory of sites in unincorporated areas that can accommodate new housing to meet state mandates. The document must now be certified by the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

“The state gave us a massive mandate, increasing our housing target sevenfold since our last Housing Element update eight years ago,” said Supervisor Chris Coursey, chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “In this update, we needed to strike a balance between providing enough development opportunity to meet housing needs while still adhering to our core land-use-planning principles. That wasn’t always possible under the state’s rules, but with hard work and lots of public input, we got it done.”

The county received its allocation, otherwise known as the Regional Housing Needs Allocation, through the Association of Bay Area Governments, which assigned unincorporated Sonoma County 3,881 housing units. After an agreement with the City of Cloverdale to have the city accept 57 units, the county was left with an allocation of 3,824 new dwelling units, which the county must facilitate being built over the next eight years. This was nearly a 650 percent increase above the 515 housing unit allocation Sonoma County received in the previous housing cycle from 2014 to 2022. 

The housing element, as required by state law, identifies policies and programs that will support the provision of an adequate housing supply for residents of all income levels. It includes specified areas of the county where new housing can be built in the next eight years. These include unincorporated areas around:

  • Cloverdale
  • Russian River
  • Graton
  • Larkfield
  • North Santa Rosa
  • South Santa Rosa
  • Penngrove
  • Sonoma Valley

The approved Housing Element includes a number of programs that protect low-income residents and renters. If certified by the state, the Housing Element will help the county leverage opportunities for funding affordable housing including land trust, housing bonds and other incentives. It will increase housing choices and affordability in moderate and high opportunity areas, which have been shown to help economic mobility. The document will also enhance protections for residents against displacement and result in new outreach efforts to inform residents about housing programs.

The policy development for the Housing Element update was the result of a multi-year and extensive public outreach campaign. The project engaged a diverse Housing Advisory Committee to guide policy development, convened 10 focus groups with equity priority populations, conducted surveys with more than 6,000 participants, held two public workshops, and had two public hearings with the Planning Commission.

To read the updated Housing Element, click here.

Contact Information: 
Bradley Dunn, Policy Manager
(707) 321-0502
2550 Ventura Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95403