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State rejects Tiburon’s eight-year housing plan

California’s Housing and Community Development Department has broadly rejected Tiburon’s eight-year blueprint for housing, saying the town needs to be more aggressive and specific about its policies to create new units, particularly affordable housing.

In the state’s 90-day review letter, received by the town on Dec. 23 and posted on the town’s website, a 12-page report itemizes nearly three dozen deficiencies in the 2023-2031 housing element. It said Tiburon has not done enough to demonstrate how the town plans meet many of its housing goals, including addressing racial and income inequities and providing realistic opportunities for property owners to develop spaces for multifamily housing.

After two years of workshops, hearings and public comments, the town submitted its state-mandated housing element for review on Sept. 26. Under its regional housing-needs allocation, the town must identify sites where it can realistically accommodate at least 639 units in the next eight years and ensure that local zoning and other policies and programs encourage their creation. Tiburon identified 680 as a buffer in case any sites were rejected — none were — and to ensure the town meets mid-cycle progress reports in case any projects are approved with fewer units than expected.

If a final housing element isn’t approved and adopted by the town and certified by the state by Jan. 31, the town on Feb. 1 will be exposed to the builder’s remedy — in which local zoning doesn’t apply and developers can build under state rules — as well as lawsuits from the state, developers and housing activists. Tiburon is unlikely to meet that deadline, as the state’s rejection of the draft in its current form means more work must be done.

The Town Council’s tentatively set to discuss the state response and the town’s next steps at its Jan. 18 meeting. Revisions will need to go through the Planning Commission and Town Council with at least seven days of public review before the plan can be returned to the state for another analysis. The state housing department will have another 60 days for review, though municipalities that have adhered to the state’s requests have received their letters certifying substantial compliance within a matter of days.

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