The City of Encinitas is seeking input from the community on the latest housing plan that is currently under review by the State Department of Housing and Community Development, known as HCD. During this review process, residents of Encinitas are able to review the latest draft of the housing plan and provide their input on current housing needs and solutions in Encinitas.

What’s a Housing Element?

The Housing Element is one of several “elements,” or focus areas, included in the City’s General Plan, which serves as the City’s blueprint for the growth and development. Every eight years, the State of California requires cities to update their Housing Elements to address future housing needs.



This draft Housing Element includes updates to the City’s housing policies to allow for the addition of 1,554 housing units by the year 2029. Of these 1,554 total units, 838 are required to be designated as affordable housing for community members with very low to low-income categories. For a family of four, the income threshold to quality is less than $92,400. For a single person, it is $64,700. Example professions of residents who might fall into these categories are healthcare support, restaurant staff, personal care staff, retirees on a fixed income and entry level positions.   


How can you provide input?  

The City values and welcomes input from the community, housing stakeholders, and service providers to inform the draft Housing Element. Visit Encinitas’ Housing Element – Cycle 6 webpage for link to the draft documents. Please submit your comments by Jan. 29, 2021 at 5p.m.

Comments can be provided by:

  • Sending an email to Jennifer Gates, Principal Planner, at [email protected]  
  • Mailing comments to Jennifer Gates, Principal Planner, Development Services Department, City of Encinitas, 505 South Vulcan Avenue, Encinitas, CA 92024
  • Taking the survey:  The City is requesting additional input on the topics of affordable housing for all income levels and fair housing through an online survey. Your input will provide the City valuable information to make informed decision relative to incentivizing the development of affordable housing in our community.

Who decides how much housing a community needs?  

The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the agency responsible for tracking and determining each city’s compliance with state housing laws. HCD and San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) work together to determine housing needs for our region. SANDAG, with input from each member city in San Diego County, determines the number of new housing units needed in each city. The allocation of housing units in each city is often referred to as Regional Housing Needs Assessments or RHNA numbers. The RHNA methodology was approved by SANDAG in July 2020.


Why is this important?

Housing costs in the Encinitas community are on the rise with the median home price over $1 million. By adopting a housing plan that creates housing opportunities for current and future residents of all income levels, Encinitas is creating opportunities for teachers, public safety officers and working class the chance to live in the community that they serve. The City is also creating opportunities for young adults of our community, who grew up here, to live here and stay here.

Additionally, to comply with state law, the Encinitas City Council must adopt an updated Housing Element by April 15, 2021.

Not having an approved plan could also jeopardize the City’s ability to obtain state grant funds available from the state.  

Attaining a legally compliant housing element is a part of the City’s Strategic Plan for FY 2019-2021.

What do these cycles mean?

State law requires updates to the Housing Element every eight years to ensure relevancy and accuracy. The time from one update to the next is called a housing “cycle.” All San Diego jurisdictions are in the fifth housing cycle that began in 2013 and will end in 2021.

Since California passed the requirements for Housing Elements, there have been a total of six, eight-year cycles. Cycle 6 Housing Element updates addresses cities’ housing needs for the years 2021 through 2029.  The City of Encinitas will have to submit a mid-cycle update to reflect progress towards implementing the 6th Cycle Housing Element by April 15, 2025 because the city did to not adopt the last cycle of the housing element within 120 days of April 15, 2013.

List of affordable housing sites

The current Housing Element identified 15 sites to accommodate the very low and low affordable units, which are the same sites identified in the update to the Housing Element. These sites were rezoned to accommodate multi-family housing in 2019.

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Even though these sites have been identified in the Housing Element, the City does not build the housing. That is the role of private developers. Each potential project owner will still need to submit an application, undergo review by city staff and come before City Planning Commission for review and approval.

Housing Element Next Steps

  • End of January 2021:  Public comment period ends for draft Housing Element, however public comment will continued to be received throughout the adoption process.
  • February/March 2021:  Staff and the consultant will complete the required responses to comments and bring forward an updated Housing Element draft for review by the Planning Commission and City Council.  
  • April 15, 2021:  Deadline for adoption of the Housing Element by the City Council.

Other Resources

  • Section 1:  Housing Element Policy Program – Contains the policy program for the Housing Element
  • Appendix A:  Community Engagement Summary  – Provides a summary of community engagement activities conducted and community comments
  • Appendix B:  Housing Profile Report – Provides the requisite analysis of housing need, constraints and resources pursuant to housing element law
  • Appendix C:  Adequate Sites Analysis Part 1 Part 2 – provides the requisite analysis for the provision of adequate sites to accommodate the City’s RHNA need