21 Aug 2014
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Community-Wide Briefing and Dialogue re Housing in Albany

The Diverse Housing Working Group invites all Albany residents to participate in a conversation about future policies for housing in our City.  This community-wide briefing will take place on Tuesday, January 28 at St. Albans Church, 1501 Washington Avenue in Albany. The evening will begin with refreshments at 7:15, followed by educational sessions on the Housing Element and the State’s feedback to the City’s submission of the 2007 – 2014 Housing Element.  This is an opportunity to learn, to voice your opinion on this topic that is so critical to the future of Albany, and to explore future opportunities for shaping the City’s policy.

The agenda will be:

7:15 meet, greet, munch, study charts and graphs relating to the HE on walls

7:30 agenda review, meeting agreements review

7:45 overview, chapter (3 or 4 or 5) breakout, plenary Chap 6

8:15 public comment

8:45 summary, survey, future

9 close

Over the past several months you may have heard the City of Albany is updating its General Plan, including the Housing Element.  You may have wondered what does this mean?  And perhaps more importantly, why should I care?

The Housing Element and General Plan will affect YOU.  They set policy that future Councils will implement, and future School Boards will accommodate.  It isn’t cheap or easy to change these plans after this update stage.  With the mandatory Environmental Impact Report, the General Plan will cost the City about $500,000. This is the time to learn, discuss, and contribute in an informed way to the future of your community. 

Every city in California must have a General Plan. This is the local government’s long-term blueprint for development and must be approved by the State.  The mandatory elements to be included are land use, transportation, housing, open space, conservation, safety, and noise. The plan has a time horizon of about 20 years, giving the city an opportunity to think long-term about what it wishes to preserve and what it wishes to change. Once a General Plan is adopted, it is used by the City Council, local commissions, and City Staff as they make day to day decisions about the community’s future. http://albany2035.org

The Housing Element stands on its own as a separate report, submitted to the State Department of Housing and Community Development. It is updated more frequently, ensuring it is compliant with State housing laws.  Albany is currently working to receive a compliance determination on the Draft Housing Element that covers the period 2007- 2014.  The City has been sued over its lack of an approved Housing Element. That Element will be updated in 2014 to cover the period 2014 -2022.

Unlike other sections of the General Plan, the Housing Element must meet very prescriptive requirements which demonstrate the City is capable of accommodating its fair share of the region’s housing needs. The Regional Housing Allocation for Albany 2007 – 2014 is a total of 276 newly constructed units, with allocations for very low income to above moderate income groups. 

The Diverse Housing Working Group (DHWG) is a community-based advocacy group created to ensure comprehensive implementation of the Housing Element. DHWG includes a City of Albany Community Development Department staff member, representatives from several faith based groups, the business community, and a broad spectrum of community groups, and interested individuals. DHWG is committed to the increase of diverse housing resources in Albany through dialogue and education on all aspects of housing policies in the City.

Recognizing that a strong community includes people from all walks of life and income levels, members of DHWG endeavor to engage and educate the community about housing issues, shape Albany’s housing policy, and facilitate development of housing for all income levels. To help reach this objective, we are hosting this community briefing on January 28.

The members of DHWG hope to see you on January 28 to further the discussion on Albany’s Housing Element.

Alan Riffer, Albany Chamber of Commerce

Alexa Hauser, Transition Albany

Allen Cain, Solano Ave Association

Amber Whitson, Citizens of the Albany Waterfront

Andrew Franklin, Solano Community Church

Brian Johns, Albany Housing Advocates

Caryl O’Keefe, Community Member

Jeff Bond, City of Albany Community Development Director

Catherine Sutton, Transition Albany

Julie Wakelee – Lynch, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church

Kevin Omi, Sycamore Congregational Church, UCC

Peggy McQuaid, Community Member

Rania Ramadan, UC Village

Robert Lieber, Temple Beth El

Todd McComb, Church on the Corner










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