2021-2029 Housing Element

Housing Element Cover

2021 Housing Element and Safety Element Update


Refer to the Housing Element Rezone Project page for additional information regarding next steps and implementation of the adopted Housing Element.


All cities in the six-county Southern California region, including the City of Rancho Santa Margarita, must update their General Plan Housing Elements by October 15, 2021.   Housing Elements must include an eight-year plan for new housing growth which has been allocated by the State.   This website provides information regarding the City of Rancho Santa Margarita’s Housing Element Update.  Be sure to check back frequently for updates.   

To be added to the interest list to receive updates on the process, email wstarks@cityofrsm.org.

In conjunction with the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update, and pursuant to Senate Bill 99, the City is required to update the General Plan Safety Element to assess evacuation routes in residential neighborhoods. The City has submitted the Public Review Draft of the Safety Element and related documents to CALFIRE for their review/approval.

The agenda for the January 5 and January 18, 2022 Planning Commission Public Hearing and February 9, 2022 City Council Public Hearing can be found here.

Housing Element Adoption FAQ

Housing Element Adoption FAQ_Page_1

Housing Element Sites Inventory Workshop Staff Reports

For additional information regarding the Housing Element site selection process, please refer to the following reports:

City Council Staff Report, August 11, 2021 - Housing Element Update Sites Scenarios Workshop

Planning Commission Staff Report, June 2, 2021 - Housing Element Update Sites Scenarios Workshop

Mixed-Use Sites Inventory FAQ

Mixed Use Sites FAQ

Housing Element Update Surveys and Focus Groups

Housing Element Update Survey No. 1 was made available for on-line responses from January 29 to March 3, 2021.  This survey focused on existing conditions to better understand the characteristics of households in the City, to identify the community’s housing needs and priorities, and to uncover real or perceived fair housing concerns in the City.  Pursuant to Housing Element Law, the City is required to evaluate housing needs and fair housing issues in the Housing Element Update.   Survey No. 1 received 530 responses.

Housing Element Update Survey No. 2 was available on-line from February 21 to March 29, 2021, and focused on the types of development that should be further explored as the City plans to accommodate the RHNA of 680 housing units.   Eleven potential development types were presented in the survey and respondents were requested to indicate which types they found most acceptable in order to comply with the RHNA.  The survey also included open-ended questions that allowed respondents to provide additional development type ideas, and to share other thoughts on the topic of housing and the RHNA.  Survey No. 2 received 236 responses.

Survey responses are summarized in the Community Survey Results Report.

Based on the results of the community surveys, the City conducted five focus groups to obtain direct feedback on the potential development types, along with reactions to potential sites identified in each of the categories identified in the results of Survey No. 2.  

The focus group meetings are summarized in the Focus Group Summary Report.

Housing Element Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet-RSM-Housing Element
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Regional Housing Needs:

Each California city is required to update its Housing Element every eight years, and each city must plan for its share of housing need as determined and allocated by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).  The draft Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) for the City is 680 housing units that are broken down by income category.

RSM RHNA Breakdown
Income CategoryNumber of UnitsPercent of Total
Very Low Income (<50% AMI)20930.6%
Low Income (50-80% AMI)12017.6%
Moderate Income (80-120% AMI)12518.3%
Above Moderate Income (>120% AMI)

RHNA Penalties Fact Sheet


Housing Element Sites Inventory FAQ

Sites Inventory FAQ_Page_1
Sites Inventory FAQ_Page_2

The following videos were produced by the Orange County Council of Governments and the Association of Cities- Orange County to explain RHNA and the Housing Element process.

This video talks about RHNA, and the importance of housing opportunities for all:

Housing Orange County Part 1

This video talks about meeting the RHNA, players, and their roles in meeting RHNA objectives:

Housing Orange County Part 2 graphic

This video talks about housing element certification and its importance to cities:

Housing Orange County Part 3

This video talks about why California has a RHNA Process:

Housing Orange County Part 4

The City’s current Housing Element was updated in 2013 and covers the period 2013-2021

Housing Element (2013)

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Your input is important.

Throughout the process, we will ask the community to participate in brief surveys to help us determine local needs and priorities. We hope you will consider sharing your input with us by completing the surveys as they are available to provide meaningful input to the City.

Finally, please check back on this webpage as there will be numerous opportunities for you to provide the City with input on the Housing Element.  If you have questions or comments or would like to be added to the Housing Element interest list, please contact Principal Planner Wendy Starks at wstarks@cityofrsm.org or 949-635-1807.