A. The State of California has established a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process under which it allocates a "fair share" of the regional housing need, updated periodically, to each local jurisdiction. The "fair share" allocated to Berkeley increased significantly based on the regional housing needs determination finalized in late 2021. The sixth cycle of the RHNA for the San Francisco Bay Area allocates to Berkeley a "fair share" that calls for adequate sites for 8,934 housing units for the period from 2023 to 2031, including sites for 2,446 Very Low Income units, 1,408 Low Income units, and 1,416 Moderate Income units.
B. The Bay Area suffers from a shortage of affordable housing. As the Bay Area region experiences increased economic growth and a high demand for housing, housing prices continue to rise, which leads to displacement of low income residents and exacerbates the shelter crisis that has led to unacceptably high rates of homelessness in the City of Berkeley and the Bay Area region.
C. In 1990, the City established the Housing Trust Fund program to pool available funding for affordable housing development. The Housing Trust Fund program is funded by federal, state, and local revenues, including by in-lieu and mitigation fees paid by developers of market-rate housing projects under the City’s existing affordable housing ordinances.
D. The City Council hereby finds that there is a legitimate public interest in the provision of affordable housing to address the crises of displacement, homelessness, and lack of housing affordability in the City, and that there is a significant and increasing need for affordable housing in the City to meet the City’s regional share of housing needs under the California Housing Element Law.
E. The City Council further finds that the public interest would best be served if new affordable housing were integrated into new market-rate residential developments to facilitate economically diverse housing, while also providing alternative options to the on-site construction of affordable housing such as the payment of fees to replenish the City’s Housing Trust Fund program and allowing for the construction of affordable housing on land dedicated by market-rate housing developers.
F. The City Council intends that this Ordinance be construed as an amendment to the City’s existing affordability requirements, and that the repeal and re-enactment of any requirement shall not be construed to relieve a party of any outstanding obligation to comply with the requirements applicable to any previously approved Housing Development Project.