You may recall that I previously reported that the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) had assigned Sunnyvale its latest Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) number, which the city found to be significantly higher than we believed was warranted. ABAG is responsible for ensuring that cities plan for population growth, and it assigns numbers to individual cities (and entire counties in some cases), and those cities are expected to then zone for that much additional housing. There are legal and funding implications if cities don’t make a good faith effort to achieve the housing planning which ABAG requires. In looking into the latest assignments, staff determined that ABAG had based its calculation on a faulty number for the amount of housing that has been built in Sunnyvale going back to 1999. Sunnyvale appealed its allotment, pointing out the error that we believed had happened.
ABAG has now ruled on Sunnyvale’s appeal, as well as appeals given by other neighboring cities such as Mountain View and Palo Alto. While denying the appeal of other nearby cities, Sunnyvale’s appeal was granted, and ABAG intends to reduce Sunnyvale’s housing allocation for 2014-2022 by 531 units, nearly a 10% decrease in the amount of housing that ABAG expects Sunnyvale to plan for over the next decade.
This isn’t final, and it has to go through another public hearing cycle before it can be finalized. But this is very good news for Sunnyvale. Credit goes to our city staff, who proactively identified the problem and pursued the appeal to its successful conclusion.