SH City Council okays steps toward future housing

Gráfico que resume los requisitos del Estado para que Signal Hill construya 516 nuevas viviendas unidades durante el sexto ciclo de la Evaluación Regional de Necesidades de Vivienda (RHNA). La ciudad debe construir esas viviendas, diseñadas para diferentes niveles de ingresos, para 2029.

Among other agenda items during its June 9 virtual meeting, the Signal Hill City Council focused on new housing required by the State.

Signal Hill is required to meet its allocation of 516 new dwelling units during the State’s Required Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) 6th Cycle period of October 2021 through October 2029, Community Development Director Colleen Doan said.

To help fund planning for that new housing, the council approved the City applying for a $65,000 Local Early Action Planning (LEAP) grant from the State Department of Housing and Community Development by July 1. The LEAP grant is non-competitive and amounts are based on a city’s population, Doan said.

Doan said the grant would supplement the $160,000 Senate Bill (SB) 2 grant the City already received at the end of last year designed to accelerate housing production.

See related story: Signal Hill City Council approves urban water-management plan, hiring a consultant to help increase housing

Once received, half of the LEAP grant will be used to create conceptual plans, perform density studies of potential sites, and amend planning and zoning codes, which requires an environmental review.

“Funds will be used for the cost to prepare one overarching environmental document for all the housing sites,” Doan said.

The grant will also supplement the SB2 funds in paying to update the city’s Housing Element– including accessory-dwelling units (ADUs)– and to conduct community outreach and a public hearing, Doan said. The revised Housing Element must be submitted to the state by October 2021, according to the staff report.

The State’s previous housing cycle, which ends Oct. 1, 2021, requires Signal Hill to add 169 new residential units across different income levels. The City has built 122 of those units so far, still needing to complete 47 in the “moderate” and “above moderate” income categories, according to the staff report.

“The new total [of 516] is more than three times greater than the 169 units we are currently trying to accommodate,” Doan noted.​

She further indicated that the City doesn’t currently own any sites to zone for the next cycle of development.

The City had hired consultants Castaneda & Associates in April to help develop the 6th Cycle Housing Element, but not the environmental review.

See related story: Signal Hill City Council approves next step in rebuilding Well No. 8

To also prepare the required California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review for 6th Cycle housing, the council approved issuing a request-for-proposals to hire another consultant.

The budget for the consultant’s CEQA report is $150,000, which will be drawn from the City’s General Plan Reserves and SB2 and LEAP grants, Doan said.

She added that the consultant would also perform occasional on-call work related to development and CEQA law.

George Floyd
The council had an extensive and personal discussion of racism at the end of the meeting, initiated by Councilmember Edward Wilson, in light of the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

That discussion can be viewed from here from the 1:53 mark to the end of the meeting.

The council adjourned the meeting in honor of Floyd.

The next Signal Hill City Council meeting will take place virtually on Tuesday, June 23 at 7pm. For information on accessing and participating in the meeting, visit the council’s webpage.

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