C/CAG Housing Activities Supporting the Connection between Housing and Transportation

Beginning in Fiscal Year 2005-06, C/CAG has programmed funds to various activities that address the linkage between housing and transportation.  In 2005, C/CAG championed an amendment of State law related to Housing Elements to enable formation of county-level subregions to allocate planned housing growth.  In 2006, C/CAG commissioned a Housing Needs Study.  In 2007 C/CAG published the Housing Needs Study, which quantified a projected housing shortfall of between 35,000 and 50,000 homes through 2025, particularly for lower- and moderate-income households. C/CAG then sponsored the County Department of Housing to produce and distribute a booklet and slideshow that reached approximately 1,000 opinion leaders countywide.  In 2008, the C/CAG Board sanctioned formation of the State’s first Regional Housing Needs Allocation subregion, and also directed staff to propose ways C/CAG might address the housing shortfall.

In 2009, C/CAG Board reviewed and approved staff proposals for housing-related activities in four broad topical areas:  policy leadership, promotion of housing in transit corridor, cost-effective responses to State regulatory mandates, and local funding to meeting housing goals.  The intent of all the proposed programs, taken together was stated as follows:   C/CAG provides tools, technical support and financial incentives to help member jurisdictions plan and produce housing in the transit corridor, downtowns, station areas and El Camino Real of types and at densities that support frequent mass transit and reduce climate impact while strengthening local neighborhoods and the regional economy.

Some of these proposals were for major projects managed by C/CAG directly such as the Transit Oriented Development Housing Incentive Program and the Grand Boulevard Multimodal Transportation Corridor Plan.  Other programs were to be managed by cooperating agencies with sponsorship by C/CAG, for example the Economic and Housing Opportunity Study (ECHO) by SamTrans, and the collection of activities proceeding under contract with San Mateo County Department of Housing (e.g., housing policy primer pamphlet series, RHNA Subregion, 21 Elements housing element update project).  In 2014, the 21 Elements project received the “Best Practices Award” from the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section.  Recently the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors presented 21 Elements, C/CAG, and the Department of Housing with a proclamation recognizing the outstanding work of the 21 Elements Project.  The Board also included the 21 Elements Project in their recent “white paper” of key strategies to encourage the creation and preservation of affordable housing.

21 Elements Project

21 Elements is a nationally recognized collaboration among the County of San Mateo and all 20 cities in San Mateo County. The accomplishments of 21 Elements are significant, and include collaboration on housing element updates, shared research, joint work on best practices, collaboration with non-profits and experts involved in the field of housing, coordination with State agencies, etc. Over the past six years, 21 Elements has assisted all the jurisdictions in San Mateo County in achieving a State-certified housing element for both the RHNA 4 planning period, 2007-2014, and the RHNA 5 planning period, 2015-2023.  Another major accomplishment has been the 21 Elements facilitated implementation of a countywide nexus study that will be used by the fourteen participating cities and the County of San Mateo to establish legally defensible development impact fees and regulations.