Frequently Asked Questions

The Housing Element is a key part of a city’s General Plan and must be updated every eight years, per State law. This project will update the Housing Element for the period of 2022 to 2030, addressing San Carlos’s immediate and long-term housing needs. The Housing Element will set forth the city’s goals, policies, and actions to address the need for all housing types in a variety of affordability levels, as well as all other housing-related needs that will be identified as the project unfolds.  Ultimately, a complete review and revision of the existing Housing Element will be developed and adopted by the City Council by the end of 2022 to reflect current housing conditions in San Carlos.


San Carlos’ City Council adopted the previous Housing Element in May 2015. The State of California’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD) issued a Housing Element certification letter on May 20, 2015.


RHNA determines how much housing each municipality must allow through its regulatory procedures to address housing needs. San Carlos is tasked with creating a plan to ensure land use and zoning regulations allow enough housing to meet the needs of the community. San Carlos does not have to provide or develop all the housing needed but must have a plan that allows the housing to be built. 

  • Analysis of projected housing needs for all income levels (very low, low, and moderate as defined by HCD.
  • Identification of vacant or underutilized sites for housing development.
  • Development of alternative approaches to accommodate housing needs i.e. RHNA.
  • Identify strategies for preserving and improving housing development to ensure good, high-quality neighborhoods.
  • Identify and remove any city regulations, policies, or standards that impede the improvement and development of housing.
  • HCD review of the Draft Housing Element and certification that the City’s adopted Housing Element complies with California law.

The Environmetal Safety Element is a part of a city’s General Plan. The San Carlos Environmetal Safety Element is being updated to reflect recent State law requirements and to address resiliency planning.


San Carlos’ City Council adopted the previous Environmetal Safety Element in 2009.


The Environmetal Safety Element will address:

  • fire risk for land classified as very high fire hazard severity zones,
  • flooding,
  • landslides and other geological hazards,
  • climate adaptation strategies,
  • vulnerability assessment,
  • local hazard mitigation, and
  • resiliency strategies.

The City of San Carlos’ Community Development Department will prepare revisions to the General Plan with the assistance of MIG, a professional planning and environmental planning firm.  The Housing Element must be certified by HCD; the Environmetal Safety Element will be reviewed by the State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) to ensure compliance with wildfire laws.


The City is committed to community outreach and public engagement. This will be accomplished through a series of engagement opportunities that may include stakeholder/focus group check-ins, user surveys, and community workshops all tailored to meet current COVID-19 restrictions. All methods of outreach will be announced on San Carlos’ social media sites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Next Door), by email, listed on the project webpage, and provided through intermittent mailers such as the City of Good Living Newsletter and Spotlight throughout the life of the project.  If you have questions or would like to comment on this process, please email or phone Lisa Porras, Planning Manager, at, (650) 454-7785.