ALBANY -- In formulating its general plan housing element for 2015-23, the city must show capacity to construct 335 new residential units, with 80 for very low income residents and 53 for low income residents.

Those were the figures presented by consultant Barry Miller at a July 22 open house hosted by the Planning and Zoning Commission, which began consideration the state-mandated element this week, less than two months after the element for 2007-14 was finally approved by the state.

The commission also discussed the element at its regular meeting on July 23.

Miller told the commission that the city's share of above moderate income units (145) will be met by the construction of the senior housing already approved as part of the University of California's mixed-use development at University Village. The other income levels, he said, can be met on "housing opportunity sites" included in the previous element.

Miller cautioned, however, that "What the city doesn't have is anything in the pipeline for the below-market rate."

Miller presented the commission with the results of a city needs assessment that showed Albany added 2,100 residents between 2000-10, mostly due to an increase in household size and also the expansion of the University Village.


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The increase represents the built-out city's fastest growth rate in the city in five decades.

The assessment also showed that one-quarter of Albany households are single-person, that the homeownership rate declined from 50.6 to 48.3 percent and that the age 55 to 64 population increased 88 percent during the decade.

Miller said a symposium will be held later this summer and that a working draft will be released in September. The Planning and Zoning Commission and the City Council will hold study sessions on the draft in late September or early October to finalize the draft for submission to the state Department of Housing and Community Development in October. Revisions would be made based on the department's recommendations.

Municipal governments are required by state law to include a housing element as part of their general plans to show a city has the capacity to construct its share of regional housing for people of all income levels. Cities are not required to actually construct the housing, just to show that the housing could be constructed. Local governments also have to show that their zoning regulations allow for construction.

Albany's housing element for the previous period (2007-2014), languished until it was approved by the City Council in March and certified by the state in June.

Recent history notwithstanding, Miller said the city has a Jan. 31, 2015 deadline to finalize and adopt the updated element.

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