The Housing Element must discuss how many new residential units are needed to address the future housing needs of our community. The number of units that the City must accommodate is derived through a complex process initiated by the State of California. The State develops projections of how many housing units will be needed statewide. Those housing needs are allocated to regional planning agencies, which in turn allocate the required amount of housing to all local agencies including Novato. The regional planning agency for this area is The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The number of housing units that each jurisdiction must accommodate is called its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA).
The RHNA numbers for Novato are provided in this table. The figures are broken down by income category and the City must provide for housing for all income levels as listed in the table. Through discussions between city staff and the state, the City is able to count residential units that have already been approved or are under consideration towards our future needs. This is important because it reduces the number of new units the City must plan for.
In addition, a question has been raised about whether Novato is being asked to accept more than its fair share of housing units. This link addresses this question.