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Housing Element Update


We are excited to announce that in 2021, the City of Solvang kicked off the update to the City’s Housing Element to plan for housing through 2031. The update is scheduled to for completion in February 2023, and throughout the process, we invite the public to be part of the planning process and provide input on how Solvang should provide housing over the planning period (2023-2031).

This page will be a home for all Project announcements, materials, and documents. We will update the page throughout the Project, so please check back regularly.

2023-2021 Housing Element Certified by the California Department of Housing and Community Development

On February 12, 2024, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) found the City's 2023-2031 Housing Element in substantial compliance with State Housing Element Law. Use the buttons below to download the final certified Housing Element, as well as HCD's finding letter. 

Public Hearings on the Draft Housing Element

Download the Public Hearing Draft Housing Element

Planning Commission
Held: November 6, 2023 @ 6pm

City Council Chambers
1644 Oak Street

Agenda and Staff Report

City Council
Held December 11, 2023 @ 6:30pm

City Council Chambers
1644 Oak Street

Agenda and Staff Report

Revised HCD Draft Housing Element Available Now!

On May 16, 2023, the City received a comment letter from the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) outlining the changes needed to achieve certification. The Project Team has updated the document and submitted the Revised HCD Review Draft to HCD for informal review. Please use the link below to download the Revised Draft, as well as a matrix of HCD's comments and the City's response. 

To comment on the Draft, please use the green "Comments" button on the right hand side of this website. 

Next Steps:

Following HCD's informal review, the City will revise the document to address any remaining comments and will submit it to the Planning Commission for recommendation and the City Council for consideration of adoption through public hearings. Both the Planning Commission and City Council hearings will include opportunities for public input. 

Upon adoption, the City will resubmit the Adopted Housing Element to HCD for formal review and certification. 

HCD Review Draft Housing Element

Click the button below to download the HCD Review Draft 2023-2031 Housing Element. 

HCD Review Draft Housing Element

The HCD Review Draft Housing Element was submitted for initial 90-day HCD review on February 15, 2023. The Draft consists of two parts: the Policy Document and the Needs Assessment. For ease of use, these have been combined into a single PDF for the HCD Review Draft.

  • The Policy Document states goals, policies, implementing programs, and quantified objectives for the development, rehabilitation, and preservation of housing. The Policy Document is presented first in the HCD Review Draft. 

  • The Needs Assessment identifies and analyzes existing and projected housing needs to inform policy development. Within this document, the Resources section provides a list of sites for housing development that are adequate to accommodate the City’s regional housing needs allocation.


The City is currently updating the Housing Element to plan for housing needs through 2031 and we want to hear from you about your thoughts on housing issues and opportunities in Solvang!

The Housing Needs Survey provided residents and stakeholders the opportunity to provide input on housing needs, issues, and constraints in the community. The survey was open from April 20, 2022 to May 21, 2022.

The Project Team has prepared a summary of survey responses. Please use the button below to read the summary.


Actualmente, la ciudad está actualizando el elemento de vivienda para planificar las necesidades de vivienda hasta el 2031 y queremos escuchar sus opiniones sobre problemas y oportunidades de vivienda en Solvang.

La Encuesta de necesidades de vivienda brindó a los residentes y partes interesadas la oportunidad de brindar información sobre las necesidades, los problemas, y las limitaciones de vivienda en la comunidad. La encuesta estuvo abierta del 20 de abril de 2022 al 21 de mayo de 2022.

El Equipo del Proyecto ha preparado un resumen de las respuestas a la encuesta. Utilice el botón de abajo para leer el resumen.

Community Workshop #2

On Wednesday, May 11, the City of Solvang held a Community Workshop to discuss the Housing Element Update and potential housing sites in Solvang. The workshop included an introduction to State requirements and a discussion of sites with residential capacity, as well as an opportunity for the public to provide comments.


Newsletter #1 describes what a housing element is, how and why it is being updated, the project schedule, and how to get involved in the update process.

Boletín: Descripción general del Elemento de Vivienda en español 

Community Workshop #1

On Thursday, March 24, the City of Solvang held a Community Workshop to discuss the Housing Element Update. The workshop included an introduction to the Housing Element and new State requirements, as well as an opportunity for the public to provide comments on housing concerns in the community.

Share your Thoughts with the Project Team!

Use the green "Comments' button on the right side of the page to send us your comments anytime, day or night. 

What is a Housing Element?

Since 1969, every city and county in California has been required to have a Housing Element as part of their General Plan. Unlike other mandatory General Plan elements, the Housing Element must be updated every eight years and is subject to review and approval by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). Major components of the Housing Element include a housing needs assessment, the identification of sites for housing at all income levels, a review of constraints to housing, and updated policies and programs to carry out the goals of the updated element.

The City’s current 2015-2023 Housing Element was adopted in 2015 and was part of the 5th Cycle of housing element updates in the State. This update for the 2023-2031 planning period is part of the 6th Cycle of housing element updates. Between the 5th and 6th Cycles, the State passed over a dozen of new housing laws, many of which aim to lower barriers to building affordable housing. These will all be addressed with this update.

Another major addition to the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update is the inclusion of an affirmatively furthering fair housing analysis. This analysis will examine housing practices in the city to identify any areas that may perpetuate housing inequities in the community. The Housing Element will then include policies and programs to help work towards more equitable housing practices.

What does a Housing Element do?

The purpose of a Housing Element is to:

  • Provide an assessment of current and future housing needs
  • Identify opportunities and constraints on housing production
  • Establish goals, policies, and programs to meet those needs
  • Update City practices and regulations to reflect new State laws

A Housing Element identifies strategies and programs that focus on:

  • Conserving and improving existing affordable housing
  • Maximizing housing opportunities throughout the community
  • Assisting in the provision of affordable housing
  • Removing governmental and other constraints to housing investment
  • Promoting fair and equal housing opportunities

What is the Regional Housing Needs Allocation?

In the process of updating the Housing Element, each jurisdiction is required to accommodate its fair share of the regional housing need. The Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) is the process used to determine housing allocations for each jurisdiction. As part of the RHNA, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) determines the total number of housing units needed across California over the next decade. This Statewide need is apportioned by HCD to each region in the state. The Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) is then tasked with developing a methodology to determine the number of housing units for which each jurisdiction is required to designate suitable sites. Under State law, the RHNA is assigned to the following four income categories:

  • Very low household income
  • Low household income
  • Moderate household income
  • Above moderate household income

The household income for each of these categories is based on a percentage of the Area Median Income (AMI). The breakdown of the RHNA based on these categories is shown below.

The inventory and analysis of adequate sites is a labor-intensive component of the Housing Element Update process. Solvang will need to evaluate General Plan land uses and the zoning ordinance to determine whether there is enough land available to accommodate the assigned RHNA allocation for each income category. If unable to accommodate the RHNA, Solvang will need to plan to rezone enough land to meet the RHNA obligation.

Join the Conversation

Provide your email address to stay up to date on meetings and key milestones. The General Plan Team will send out timely emails throughout the process regarding upcoming events, workshops, meetings, and project documents.

Click the orange "eMail List" tab on the right edge of this website to sign up.


City of Solvang
Planning Division
Attn: Rafael Castillo, AICP, Planning Manager
411 2nd Street
Solvang, CA 93463

Phone: (805) 688-5575

eMail List

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By clicking the "Send" button below, you are requesting to be added to the e-mail list for the General Plan update. You will be sent e-mail announcements about upcoming meetings, events, and documents.

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By clicking the "Send" button below, you are requesting to be added to the e-mail list for the General Plan update. You will be sent e-mail announcements about upcoming meetings, events, and documents.