As cities across California prepare reports on the effectiveness of their housing programs and progress toward meeting their housing goals ahead of the state’s April 1 deadline, Dana Point’s progress report shows that the city remains short of meeting its allocated share of regional housing needs.
One year into the current planning cycle, the City of Dana Point remains 214 units short of its very-low- and low-income housing needs and 228 units short of its moderate- and above-moderate housing needs, according to the city’s annual housing progress report.
The current planning period runs from 2021-2029, giving the city roughly six more years to work toward meeting its housing needs.
Dana Point Principal Planner Belinda Deines emphasized that the city is “focused on maintaining a variety of programs that facilitate housing development at all income levels.”
“We are committed to streamlining processes and eliminating barriers for residential construction,” Deines said in an email. “Our challenge is reallocating staff time and resources to accommodate updating the City’s Municipal Code in compliance with several complex changes in State law every year.”
Cities must annually submit progress reports to the state’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) by April, showing their progress toward housing goals outlined in each city’s Housing Element.
The goals in the annual report include the city’s progress toward meeting its needs for very-low-, low-, moderate-, and above-moderate-income housing units, as well as the status of housing programs that the city has implemented.
Based on HCD’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), the Southern California Association of Governments allocates a number of housing units that each county and city must plan for during a housing cycle. For the current planning cycle, Dana Point was assigned 530 units.
Of those 530 units, 231 of them, or 43%, must be designated very-low- and low-income housing, 101 must be moderate-income housing, and 198 must be above-moderate-income housing.
Though cities must show in their Housing Element that they can accommodate projected housing demands over the eight-year planning period, they are not required to ever build any of those units. However, through the Housing Element, cities must include programs that facilitate development.
In 2022, 35 units were issued building permits by the City of Dana Point, with a total of 49 units receiving permits in the current planning cycle.
During her presentation on March 21, Deines explained that “the only affordable housing units built so far have been ADUs (accessory dwelling units).”
Deines also noted that the city anticipates minor updates to its emergency shelter parking requirements, the construction of manufactured homes, supportive housing and low-barrier navigation shelters, as well as revisions to the ADU, density bonus and group homes ordinances to comply with changes to state law.
In the annual progress report, the city also committed to working with the Orange County Housing Authority and coordinating with Orange County United Way’s WelcomeHomeOC program to aid families using housing vouchers.
In 2022, 20 OC Housing Authority tenants used housing choice vouchers in Dana Point, with an additional five vouchers issued to Dana Point residents last year.
Additionally, 22 Dana Point hotel employees received rental subsidies last year. According to the annual progress report, the city will “consider expansion of (the) program to apply toward development of new hotels.”
Dana Point is working with the Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG) to develop the Density Bonus Ordinance, which aims to encourage future housing projects to provide affordable housing. According to a staff report, the city received no requests for density bonuses in 2022.
The city is also working on updating its accessory dwelling unit ordinance to reflect new state law. It will collaborate with the OCCOG to create an ADU tool kit.
The tool kit will include “community outreach templates, website materials and planning counter templates,” according to the staff report.
Dana Point received 15 applications for ADUs in 2022 and issued three building permits and 11 certificates of occupancy.
In the annual progress report, the city also committed to updating its Municipal Code to provide a streamlined and ministerial process for residential applications to facilitate housing construction.
Though no rental rehabilitation projects to preserve existing housing stock began during the previous year, the city stated that it would explore using housing in-lieu funds to rehabilitate existing rental units.
The city also stated that it would continue to apply for Community Development Block Grants and Home Investment Partnership funds from the county.
The city also noted in the annual progress report that it provides a directory of contacts for housing-related assistance and resources on its website and will continue to maintain the directory through its partnership with the Fair Housing Council of Orange County, Legal Aid and other nonprofit housing groups.
The city further committed to continuing to fund a full-time community outreach worker.
“We anticipate partnering with Orange County Council of Governments for assistance with code updates this year,” Deines said in an email. “The Regional Housing Needs Assessment is a regional goal, and the City has programs in place to maintain adequate capacity for Dana Point’s allocation throughout the planning cycle.”