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Looking to Update Your General, Specific, or Community Plan?

State Planning and Technical Assistance Grant Funding will be Available this March

February 11, 2019
Starting this spring, cities can apply for funding through the SB 2 Planning Grants Program to update general plans, community plans, specific plans, local planning related to implementation of sustainable community strategies or local coastal plans.
 
The purpose of this program is to provide funding and technical assistance to local governments in California to help prepare, adopt and implement plans and process improvements that streamline housing approvals and accelerate housing production.
 
SB 2 (Atkins) aimed at addressing the state’s housing shortage and high housing costs by establishing a permanent funding source for affordable housing. Half of the funding generated in year one will be available to local governments through noncompetitive grants. The year two funding will allocate 70 percent of the funding towards local governments for affordable housing purposes. A large portion of year two allocations will be allocated using the same formula used to allocate federal Community Development Block Grants.
 
The Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for year one will be released in March 2019. Funding will go out to cities beginning in summer 2019, and the SB 2 Planning Grants Program Year One Guidelines are available for review now.
 
The League will be hosting a webinar with the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Institute for Local Government (ILG) in early April to walk cities through the application process. A webinar announcement will be available next week.  
 
What Can This Funding Be Used for?
 
Eligible activities may include:
  • Updates to general plans, community plans, specific plans, local planning related to implementation of sustainable community strategies or local coastal plans;
  • Updates to zoning ordinances;
  • Environmental analyses that eliminate the need for project-specific review; and 
  • Local process improvements that expedite local planning and permitting. 
How Much Money Can Cities Receive?
 
The revenues from SB 2 will vary from year to year, as they are dependent on a variety of real estate transactions with fluctuating activity. Therefore, the minimum and maximum award amounts may be adjusted. Currently, the fees are estimated to generate approximately $250 million per year.
 
The minimum award is $25,000.
 
The maximum award amount will be adjusted on a sliding scale based on population estimates from the Department of Finance as follows:
  • $500,000 for large localities (greater than 200,000 people);
  • $250,000 for medium localities (60,000 to 200,000 people); and
  • $125,000 for small localities (less than 60,000 people). 
Eligibility
 
The program will provide grants to cities and counties through a noncompetitive process to those localities that can demonstrate that their eligible activity has a nexus to accelerating housing production.
 
Eligible applicants must meet these requirements:
  • Have an HCD-compliant housing element;
  • Have submitted a recent Annual Progress report;
  • Must demonstrate a nexus to accelerating housing production; and
  • Must demonstrate that the applicant is consistent with State Planning Priorities or other planning priorities. 
Applicants not meeting housing element requirements may be considered at the discretion of HCD and based on factors such as significant progress in meeting housing element requirements.
 
Partnerships
 
Local governments can also partner with other localities, regional governments, housing authorities, school districts, special districts, community based organizations, or any duly constituted governing body of an Indian Reservation. Applicants seeking partnerships with other local governments will be additive. For example, two large localities could submit a proposal for up to $1,000,000.
 
Application Review
 
Applicants must submit an application to be eligible for funding. An application form will be available upon release of the NOFA and will include forms to demonstrate meeting threshold requirements, a proposed budget and timeline, and a request for letters of support from key stakeholders and decision-makers in the adoption process.
 
Funding Allocation Timeline
 
Planning Grants to Cities (50 percent of funds)                          
Release of Final Guidelines - January 2019
Release of Notice of Funding Availability - Spring 2019

Homelessness Grants from the State (50 percent of funds)
Release of Notice of Funding Availability from CESH program - Spring 2019
Release of NOFA from HHC program - Spring 2019
 
Local Funds (70 percent of Annual Total in Year Two and Beyond)
Initiate Public Outreach - Fall 2018
Development of Guidelines - Spring 2019
Release of Notice of Funding Availability - Summer 2019

ILG Technical Assistance

HCD is in the final stages of securing a team from organizations, including ILG, which will be providing technical assistance to local governments that will range from tool kits and model ordinances to grant writing and administration, as well as onsite technical assistance.    
 
Next Steps
 
The League will be hosting a webinar with HCD and ILG in early April to assist cities to receive funding through this program. In the meantime, cities can review the recently released Planning Grant Program Year 1 Guidelines. A webinar announcement will be distributed through CA Cities Advocate for the League’s SB 2 Planning Grant Program Webinar.


 
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