Good news for those opposed to force-fed housing quotas for Novato: Those numbers are going down.
Novato City Manager Michael Frank announced at Tuesday's Novato City Council meeting that targeted figures from state and regional governing bodies are significantly decreasing for the city, alleviating pressure to provide shelter for people expected to move into Novato in the coming decades.
The Association of Bay Area Governments released fresh numbers for the Sustainable Communities Strategy's preferred scenario for housing units and job creation as well as a draft of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment numbers for the next eight-year cycle that starts in 2014.
"In both cases, Novato has significantly decreased numbers," Frank said.
The 30-year housing needs projections for Novato dropped from about 1,600 units to 890 in the Sustainable Communities Strategy report, representing the lowest growth grate for any jurisdiction in Marin County. On the jobs front, the report projected that 3,400 new jobs will be created in Novato over the next 30 years, down from a previous estimate of 6,400.
Last year, Novato was forced to pinpoint locations to zone for 1,241 new housing units in the current Regional Housing Needs Assessment — a quota that prompted a public outcry against forced high-density, low-income complexes that would be needed to meet the state-mandated figures. But the RHNA numbers for the 2014-22 cycle will be 411 units, or about one-third of what the city is zoning for in the 2007-2014 cycle.
Novato residents have been vocal at city and regional meetings about future housing needs, and many opponents will consider the fresh ABAG numbers a major victory. Others who have recognized the need for low-income housing so that people who work in Novato can afford to live in Novato might consider the numbers a huge setback.
What's your response?
For more coverage on this issue, see the article in the Marin IJ.