After more than a year of community feedback and City Council deliberations, Menlo Park released a first draft of the 2023-2031 Housing Element document on Wednesday.
The more than 700-page document is part of the sixth cycle of a state-mandated process in which all jurisdictions must outline a plan, filled with policies and potential development sites, that can pave the way for more housing in California.
"New for the 2023-2031 planning period is the emphasis on furthering fair housing," the document states. "The overall focus of the Housing Element is to enhance community life, character, and vitality through the provision of adequate housing opportunities for people at all income levels."
In the last Housing Element cycle for the 2015-2023 period, Menlo Park was required to plan for 655 housing units. This cycle, the city's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) projects that Menlo Park will have to plan for 2,946 units – or more than 3,800 units when including a recommended 30% buffer over the minimum.
Most if not all jurisdictions in California have seen an increase in their RHNA numbers as California continues to struggle with a housing crisis.
The document will not only detail the policies and regulations Menlo Park will adopt to encourage more housing but also pinpoint which parcels in the city, or "opportunity sites," are most ripe for development.
This does not mean a particular location is guaranteed to be developed, but it does provide a roadmap that can lead to more housing being built.
Adoption of the final Housing Element update is expected this winter.
The draft is now open for a 30-day public review period. An online version can be read here.
Physical copies are also available for review in the Menlo Park Library at 800 Alma St. and the Belle Haven Branch Library at 413 Ivy Drive.
Comments on the draft can be submitted online here.
For more information on the city's Housing Element visit beta.menlopark.org/housingelement.
The Almanac will publish a story detailing the contents of the 2023-2031 Housing Element soon.