|The General Plan Housing Element identifies policies and programs to address existing and projected future housing needs. Updating the Housing Element will:
Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)
- Allow the City to plan for the housing needs of the community;
- Demonstrate the ability to meet future housing growth needs;
- Allow the community to participate in the planning process;
- Address local housing needs;
- Allow the City to be eligible for some State grants and funding sources; and
- Ensure the City complies with State Housing Law.
In March 2021, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) adopted the final RHNA Plan, with Brea’s RHNA for the 2021-2029 planning period set at 2,365 units. The RHNA represents the minimum number of housing units Brea is required to plan for in its Housing Element by providing “adequate sites” through general plan designations and zoning. The following table illustrates the breakdown of the RHNA allocation based on income level.
||Percent of Area
Median Income (AMI)
||0 - 30%
||31 - 50%
||51 - 80%
||81 - 120%
In November 2020, the City Council and Planning Commission conducted a joint study session to kick-off the process of updating the 6th Cycle General Plan Housing Element for the 2021-2029 planning period as required by State law. As part of the development of the Housing Element, staff embarked on a series of outreach efforts for residents and community stakeholders to provide input on housing issues and to recommend strategies important to them.
In an effort to have a robust outreach experience during the COVID19 pandemic and to ensure compliance with State and County health orders, staff utilized new tools and sought out different activities to reach out to the community, including:
- A dedicated community engagement project website called ShapeBrea.net;
- Online study sessions and workshops through Zoom;
- A February 2021 stakeholder workshop with 15 participants in attendance;
- A March 2021 community-wide workshop with 34 participants in attendance;
- An online and printed housing survey with 125 submissions;
- Distributed over 100 building block goodie bags to students as part of the Build Your Dream Home Challenge;
- Received over 90 Build Your Dream Home Challenge submissions;
- Announcements on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter;
- Educational and informational videos in multiple languages; and
- Ads at bus shelters, Downtown kiosks, water bill, BreaLine, and BreaTV.
Build Your Dream Home Challenge Submission (Minecraft) by Alex
Our engagement efforts reached over 4,500 followers on Facebook; 1,200 subscribers on Instagram; 8,500 followers on Twitter; and 1,200 subscribers on Brea Line. Moreover, our new engagement tool, ShapeBrea.net, engaged over 2,000 users with over 200 registering to receive updates on the Housing Element project. Staff also made a concerted effort to provide printed resources to participants at the Senior Center and collaborated with the School District to get the students involved in the Build Your Dream Home Challenge.
Brea Community Center students receiving their
blocks for the Build Your Dream Home Challenge
The feedback received from all of these efforts are compiled and taken into consideration when drafting the Housing Element. A summary of the feedback received at the workshops and survey is included in this agenda packet as Attachment III.
Laurel Magnet School students from Mrs. Galvan's 2nd and 3rd grade class
Housing Plan: Policies and Programs
receiving their Housing Element-branded face masks
The draft Housing Element focuses on establishing City policies and programs intended to address the housing needs of current and future Brea residents. This is detailed in the “Housing Plan” section of the Housing Element. The six goals listed in the Housing Plan remains unchanged from the 5th cycle and is included in this packet as Attachment I. They are:
A total of 34 housing policies and 25 housing programs are proposed for the 6th cycle update. There are minor changes to existing programs with five new policies introduced and six new programs recommended in response to new State law. Staff is seeking input from City Council and Planning Commission on the new policies and programs listed below.
- Maintaining Existing Housing Quality and Affordability;
- Provision of New Affordable Housing;
- Provision of Adequate Housing Sites;
- Removal of Governmental Constraints;
- Equal Housing Opportunities and Special Needs; and
- Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Healthy Community.
||Encourage residential and mixed-use developments that focus on building community, incorporating outdoor features as living space, as well as providing a mix of amenities that benefit the surrounding neighborhood.
||Housing on Existing Commercial Sites
||Explore opportunities to integrate housing in underutilized commercial centers, and to reuse excess or obsolete commercial buildings for housing.
||Accessory Dwelling Units
||Facilitate the creation of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior accessory dwelling units in all residential districts as a means of dispersing small, affordable units throughout the community.
||Objective Development Standards
||Establish objective development standards to create greater certainty for developers and streamline the development review and permitting process.
||Update the City’s parking standards to facilitate compact, well designed mixed use and multi-family development.
New Programs (Result of State Law Changes)
||Density Bonus Incentives
||Provide density and other incentives and concessions to support production of affordable housing.
||Affordable Housing Development Assistance and Implementation Guide
||Provide financial and regulatory incentives to facilitate affordable housing development.
||Brea Core Plan
||Provide expanded opportunities for mixed-use and high-density residential development.
||Objective Development Standards and Administrative Approval Process
||Facilitate quality development that can be approved ministerially.
||Update Parking Standards
||Implement parking standards that address the contemporary needs of mixed-use, multi-family, and other residential product types.
||Zoning Text Amendments for Special Needs Housing
||Facilitate the provision of a variety of housing types to address the diverse needs of residents.
The final General Plan Housing Element for the planning period 2021-2029 must be submitted to HCD by October 15, 2021. Cities are required to submit draft Housing Elements to HCD for review, and must address any comments from HCD prior to final adoption of the Housing Element. A draft transmittal letter is included as Attachment II. After tonight’s meeting, staff will incorporate City Council and Planning Commission’s recommendations into the Housing Plan and the revised draft Housing Element will be submitted to HCD for their 60-day review period.
Following receipt of HCD’s comments, staff will prepare a proposed final Housing Element for review, approval and certification by the City Council and Planning Commission in September, in advance of the October 15, 2021 deadline. Late submittal of a Housing Element can result in a city being required to submit a four-year update to its Housing Element rather the current eight-year cycle. To meet this schedule, Brea will need to follow this recommended timeline:
- June 2021: City Council and Planning Commission review and provide feedback on the draft Housing Plan
- June 2021: Submittal of draft Housing Element to HCD
- June - August 2021: 60-day HCD review period
- August - September 2021: Revise Housing Element Update
- September 2021: City Council and Planning Commission review, approval and certification of final Housing Element
- September - October 2021: Submittal of final Housing Element to HCD