Item Coversheet

Agenda Item - 5.a.

City of Garden Grove


To:Scott C. Stiles

From:Lisa L. Kim
Dept.:City Manager 

Dept.: Community and Economic Development 

Discussion of the Land Use Alternatives for the Housing Element Update. (Action Item)



The City Council is requested to provide direction on selection of a Land Use Alternative for the Housing Element Update to allow Staff to proceed with an in-depth analysis of the potential impacts through preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the Draft Housing Element.


The City of Garden Grove is updating its Housing Element for the 2021-2029 planning period, to identify goals and strategies to meet the housing needs of existing and future residents for the production of safe, decent, and affordable housing for all persons in the community.  This plan is required by State Housing Law and must be updated every eight years. The Housing Element must be certified by the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) by October 15, 2021.
The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is mandated by State Housing Law as part of the periodic process of updating local Housing Elements of General Plans. The RHNA quantifies the housing need, for all income levels, within each jurisdiction. Garden Grove’s RHNA allocation for the 2021-2029 planning period is projected to be 19,122 units. The State of California requires the City of Garden Grove to plan for 19,122 future homes to accommodate growth in the region.  The RHNA is not a construction obligation, but rather, a requirement to plan for accommodating housing needs through land use policies and zoning.  The City has officially submitted an application to SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments) to appeal its RHNA allocation.  
As part of updating the Housing Element, the Land Use Element and Zoning Code and Map will also be updated, to accommodate the City’s RHNA allocation.


The process of updating the City’s 6th Housing Element Cycle began in August 2020 with a series of public engagement efforts led by the consulting team, MIG Inc. Potential strategies and approaches were created based on the feedback received from the community, to develop a plan to meet the State’s RHNA allocation. 

State Housing Law also requires cities to specify exact locations where new housing can feasibly be added – this is called Sites Inventory. The City is required to show the exact locations (properties) that can feasibly accommodate the development of 19,122 new residential units.


Public Engagement and Outreach

During the early public engagement stages of the process, the City received valuable input from key stakeholders and members/residents of the community, through focused group interviews and the First Community Survey.  The Second Community Online Survey (“2nd Survey”) was then developed based on feedback received from the early public outreach efforts.  The 2nd Survey was available from November 4, 2020 to January 12, 2021. The 2nd Survey was an interactive mapping tool that helped illustrate the preliminary Land Use Alternative strategies and approaches being considered, as well as garnered community feedback.  The 2nd Survey was posted on the City’s website and available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Korean.  The survey was part of a larger public education and outreach effort that included a Virtual Community Meeting, a study session for the Planning Commission, and a presentation for discussion for the City Council (all meetings were open to the public).
The Public Engagement Plan and an updated summary of the community outreach activities conducted thus far have been attached for reference.  The City’s community outreach efforts are ongoing and will continue to be a primary focus as the City moves forward in the process.


Land Use Alternatives

The first step in developing a plan to meet the City’s RHNA allocation of 19,122 units is to review the City’s current General Plan.  The Land Use Element of the General Plan includes existing residential densities that have already been planned for up to 6,400 additional housing units to account for projected growth in the City.  The challenge lies in developing a plan that includes strategies to account for the gap of 12,722 housing units (19,122 RHNA units – 6,400 Garden Grove General Plan units) that the State’s RHNA allocation has deemed necessary to accommodate existing and future housing needs for the SCAG region.  

The proposed Land Use Alternatives identify certain housing density strategies to achieve a plan to meet the State’s required RHNA allocation of 19,122 housing units.  

At the December 8, 2020, City Council meeting, Staff presented a status report of the Housing Element Update, which included a summary of the public engagement and outreach efforts conducted thus far, and discussed details of the proposed Land Use Alternatives. 

It should be noted, there is no action necessary at tonight’s meeting to officially adopt an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or Housing Element (i.e., by ordinance/resolution).  City Council direction is solely requested on the selection of a Land Use Alternative, which includes specific strategies, to allow Staff to proceed with an in-depth analysis of the potential impacts through preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the Draft Housing Element.  It is anticipated that preparation of the Draft EIR and Draft Housing Element will take approximately six (6) months.  Therefore, time is of the essence to begin the environmental analysis.  The final EIR and Housing Element will be brought to the City Council for formal action and adoption around the beginning of summer 2021, in order to meet the State's deadline of certification of the Housing Element by HCD in October 2021.  Pursuant to CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) Guidelines, the Draft EIR will evaluate all (20) potential factors that may be affected which include, but are not limited to: air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality, noise, public services (i.e., police, fire, schools), transportation, and utilities and service systems.  The Draft EIR will identify where there may be anticipated impacts, and to what degree, as well as any recommended mitigation measures to identify possible ways to minimize any effects.  

There are two items that the City Council is requested to consider: (i) support for the proposed residential density increases to existing Mixed Use General Plan Land Use Designations; and (ii) support for the proposed Sites Inventory (housing opportunity sites, which meet HCD criteria, that can feasibly accommodate the 19,122 RHNA allocation).


The specific increases to each existing Mixed Use General Plan Land Use Designation are as follows (Community Online Survey responses also shown):


Existing Mixed Use

General Plan Designation

Max Density

(Units per acre of land)

Community Online Survey Responses





Don’t Know

Residential/Commercial Mixed Use 2






Residential/Commercial Mixed Use 3

Industrial/Residential Mixed Use 2






Residential/Commercial Mixed Use 1

Industrial/Residential Mixed Use 1

Civic Center Mixed Use






International West Mixed Use







Attached for reference are exhibits showing the proposed density increases to existing Mixed Use General Plan Land Use Designations and the proposed Sites Inventory Map. 


As a reminder, the map exhibits and reference materials have been posted on the City’s Housing Element Update webpage (


It is recommended that the City Council:


  • Concur with Staff recommendations related to Land Use Alternatives to proceed with an in-depth analysis of the potential impacts through preparation of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the Draft Housing Element.