6th Cycle Housing Element Implementation Program

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Background and CEQA Clearance 

The Newport Beach City Council adopted the General Plan 6th Cycle Housing Element (Housing Element) in September 2022 covering the planning period from 2021-2029. As required by state law, the Housing Element was certified by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in October 2022. The adopted and certified Housing Element includes a housing planning strategy for the City to meet its Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation of 4,845 new housing units with varying affordability levels between 2021 and 2029. To comply with state law, the City must now implement the planning strategy by:

(1) updating policies in the General Plan Land Use Element and Coastal Land Use Plan; and

(2) providing appropriate zoning that will allow for the housing opportunity sites identified in the Housing Element to be redeveloped with housing units.

This implementation must be made effective no later than February 2025. As a note, the City must plan for and provide zoning for these units; however, the City is not mandating that properties be redeveloped with housing nor is the City required to construct housing.

The City and its consultant team have prepared a draft program environmental impact report (EIR) for the land use changes to allow housing units. This document is available at www.newportbeachca.gov/ceqa.

Housing Element Implementation Program Amendments

In August 2023, the City released initial versions of the draft Land Use Element revisions, the draft Housing Opportunity Overlay Zoning Districts, and the draft Objective Design Standards for public review and comment. The purposes of these documents are described in more detail below. Revised versions were posted on January 16, 2024. Based on input received, these drafts have been revised and are now posted for review as of March 29, 2024. In addition to the previously shared documents, the initial draft Local Coastal Program Amendment is also being provided for review.

The City invites the community to provide comments and feedback on these documents. Please be advised, the Planning Commission will be holding a public hearing regarding the proposed amendments on April 18, 2024. You may attend and provide testimony at this hearing or submit written comments to GPUpdate@newportbeachca.gov.  

Land Use Element Update for Housing Element Implementation Only 

The first step in the Housing Element implementation is to revise the necessary goals and/or policies within the City’s Land Use Element to support housing production in the focus areas identified by the Housing Element. City staff has been working in collaboration with the City-Council-appointed General Plan Update Steering Committee and the General Plan Advisory Committee to create draft revisions to the Land Use Element. Please click here for a draft redline-strikeout version of the Land Use Element.

Housing Opportunity Overlay Zoning Districts 

To implement the Land Use Element's policy changes, the City must zone identified properties to allow housing development as an opportunity and to establish appropriate development standards. Please click here for a revised draft version of the Overlay Zoning Districts. Changes made since the second draft are shown in yellow highlights. The draft Overlay Zoning maps are also now available.

Objective Design Standards 

Under new state housing laws, the City is prevented from enforcing subjective development standards and is required to permit certain housing development projects meeting minimum affordability criteria by right. Therefore, it is important to create a set of objective design standards that provide certainty of compliance for housing developers while fostering good design and maintaining the character of Newport Beach. For example, the City is not allowed to include subjective standards in this document, such as requirements for “quality architecture” or “compatible colors and window treatments.” Please click here for a revised draft version of the Objective Design Standards.

Local Coastal Program Amendment for Housing Element Implementation Only

Several of the identified focus areas with housing opportunity sites include properties within the Coastal Zone. As such, the Local Coastal Program must be amended for consistency, including updates to the Coastal Land Use Plan and the Implementation Plan (Title 21). Please click here for an initial draft version of the proposed changes.

Additional Information 

In addition, although a Level of Service (LOS) traffic study is no longer required for the purpose of CEQA, the City has prepared the Housing Element Transportation Analysis as a reference document to provide additional information regarding potential traffic conditions related to the implementation of the City's Housing Element. The reference document is available here.