Scotts Valley City Council
City Manager Mali LaGoe told Council April 3 Scotts Valley's Housing Element had been certified by HCD. (Drew Penner / Press Banner)

During a report at Council today, Scotts Valley City Manager Mali LaGoe announced the California Department of Housing and Community Development had certified its Housing Element—on its first try.

LaGoe said the City had received the good news about its residential development plan a day earlier.

“It’s an important milestone that we have achieved,” she said, noting the community is the second in the county to get the thumbs-up from HCD. “Huge shout-out to staff and our consultants.”

On Dec. 19, 2023, Scotts Valley received a comments from the State about deficiencies with the Draft Housing Element.

In the ensuing hours, staff worked to quickly address these concerns, and by the following evening, City Attorney Kirsten Powell said she believed the document had been brought into substantial compliance.

Council voted unanimously to adopt the Draft Housing Element on Dec. 20 “with the incorporation of supplemental information to address HCD’s December 19, 2023 Comment Letter.”

The updated version was available for public review from Jan. 25 to Feb. 1.

“The City sent the Housing Element to HCD on Feb. 2,” LaGoe told the Press Banner.

Tweaks included specifying it would “implement” strategies to make sure it will pave the way for housing for people of all income levels, if it ends up falling behind on homebuilding progress.

From 2015-2023, Scotts Valley was required to plan for 140 homes, including 58 “Above Moderate” units, 26 “Moderate” units, 22 “Low” units and 34 “Very Low” units. This time, Scotts Valley is expected to encourage the construction of 1,220 homes—417 “Above Moderate,” 154 “Moderate” units, 257 “Low” units and 392 “Very Low” units by 2031.

Councilmember Jack Dilles, who was mayor during the lion’s share of the planning last year, lauded staff for their success on the file.

“That’s a big deal,” he said. “So, thank you.”

Mayor Randy Johnson said, with the nebulous housing rules coming out of Sacramento, it’s a relief to have a certified Housing Element in place.

“It gives us a little more—I think ‘protection’ is a fair word,” he said. “I know it was a lot of work.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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