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Housing Element Basics

This page includes general information on the housing element, its connection to the general plan, and the State requirements that drive the update.

The City of Visalia needs to add
10,791 housing units by 2031

Of the 10,791 housing units needed
6,047 units need to be affordable 

The City needs to update its Housing Element to be in compliance with State law

The City is currently working on an update to its Housing Element for the 2023-2031 planning period. The purpose of the housing element is to identify and analyze existing and projected housing needs in order to preserve, improve, and develop housing for all economic segments of the community. 

The Housing Element consists of two parts: a Needs Assessment and Policy Document. The Needs Assessment analyzes existing housing conditions and projected housing need through 2031. The Needs Assessment includes analyses of housing needs and constraints to housing production, a fair housing assessment, and an inventory of sites available for residential use. The Policy Document includes goals, policies, and programs that respond to the housing needs, constraints, and issues identified in the Needs Assessment and serves as the City’s housing action plan for the next eight years.

The housing element is one of the seven required elements of the general plan. However, it has several unique requirements that set it apart from the other six elements. State law (Government Code Section 65580 (et seq.)) specifies in detail the topics that the housing element must address and sets a schedule for regular updates. State law requires each local government to update its housing element every eight years. The housing element is also the only element reviewed and certified by the State for compliance with State law. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is the State department responsible for this certification.

Certification of a compliant housing element is important to the City’s eligibility for State funding programs for transportation, infrastructure, and housing.

The City’s General Plan was last updated and adopted in October 2014. Click here to learn more about the City’s General Plan.

The 2023-2031 Housing Element builds upon the previous Housing Element and works to respond to new State requirements. Key aspects of this Update include:

  • Affirmatively Further Fair Housing (AFFH) chapter to be added based on new State requirements.
  • Housing Needs chapter to be updated with new data to reflect conditions since the last update.
  • Contraints to Housing chapter to be updated based on new State requirements, the City zoning code, and feedback from stakeholders and the community. 
  • Site Inventory to be updated based on development activity.
  • Goals, Policies, and Programs to be updated to respond to changing housing needs, new State laws, and findings in the AFFH analysis.

The State of California requires each jurisdiction in California to plan for its fair share of the regional housing need. This fair share is determined through a process called the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA). As part of RHNA, HCD determines the total number of housing units needed for each region of the state, a portion of which need to be affordable to very low, low, and moderate income residents. For Tulare County, the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) is then tasked with developing a methodology to determine the number of housing units each Tulare County jurisdiction is responsible for. Each local jurisdiction must then revise its housing element to show how it plans to accommodate its portion of the region’s housing need, including providing potential sites for development. 

HCD determined that the TCAG region needs to add 33,214 housing units across all income categories by 2031.

To distribute these housing units throughout the region, TCAG adopted its 6th Cycle RHNA Plan that covers an 8.5-year planning period from June 2023 through December 2031. Using the approved methodology in the RHNA Plan, TCAG distributed the 33,214 units it was allocated by the State across the region's eight jurisdictions and the unincorporated county, allocating a total of 10,791 new housing units to the City of Visalia (about 31.5% of the region's total RHNA). The allocation of housing units by income category for the City of Visalia is below:

 Very Low Income  Low Income  Moderate Income  Above Moderate Income Total RHNA
 3,741 units  2,306 units  1,321 units  3,423 units 10,791

Learn more about TCAG and the 6th Cycle RHNA Plan here.

Join the Conversation!

Provide your email address to stay up to date on meetings and key milestones. The Housing Element Team will send out timely emails throughout the process regarding upcoming events, workshops, meetings, and project documents.

Click the orange "Join eMail List" tab on the right edge of the screen to sign up.

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Questions? Contact us:

Brandon Smith, Principal Planner 
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
(559) 713-4636

City of Visalia Planning Department
315 E. Acequia Avenue
Visalia, CA 93291

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