SCAG's Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) mandated housing numbers for Sierra Madre. A Sierra Madre Weekly item (May, 10, 2007) entitled "City Stuck With Unwelcome Housing Numbers," laid out the process:
"According to state law, each municipality must meet its fair share of the need for new housing. This year SCAG prepared the assessment. From 2006-2014 Sierra Madre must create opportunity for 138 new housing units including 82 very low, low and moderate income units. The city does not have to build the houses but it does have to make sure zoning codes allow them to be built if a developer is interested."
This was not greeted as being particularly sunny news by many here, especially in light of the fact that in order to make room for the kind of development SCAG was mandating, existing housing would have to be seized and leveled to create the kind of room necessary to build 138 new "housing units."
"'SCAG not too ceremoniously turned down our request for revision of our numbers,' explained Councilman John Buchanan about his recent appearance with City Attorney Sandra Levin and city staff before the SCAG Appeals Board to request a reduction in the number of housing units allocated to the city ... 'We knew ahead of time that these arguments were probably going to fall on deaf ears,' Buchanan explained."
It should be noted here that John Buchanan did have past service time with SCAG at the time of the ruling. And that Councilman Joe Mosca, who also attended the Appeals Board meeting, had two months earlier begun training at SCAG's Leadership Academy.
So this all sounded pretty final, right? SCAG ruled, and our then city leadership apparently tucked tail and accepted this ruling as an unshakable finality.
But now it appears that, under appeals put out by our current city leadership, Sierra Madre's RHNA numbers weren't quite so final as first assumed. Word out of Sacramento has it that SCAG's RHNA #s for Sierra Madre were somehow calculated incorrectly. And that our numbers could be drastically reduced, perhaps by as much as 50%! And at 50% current "granny housing" could very well be adequate to accommodate required low income housing, obviating the necessity for the kinds of dislocations new high density housing would bring.
More on this as it develops.