SCAG’s 6th cycle RHNA allocation for the entire 6-county region is 1,341,827 units compared to 412,137 units in the 5th cycle. There are two main reasons why the 6th RHNA allocation is so much higher than the 5th cycle.
First, the 5th cycle RHNA allocation was established in 2012 while the severe economic effects of the “Great Recession” were discouraging growth. As a result, the 5th RHNA was uncharacteristically low. For comparison, SCAG’s 4th cycle (2006-2013) RHNA allocation was approximately 700,000 housing units.
Second, for the 6th cycle the State made a major modification to the process for determining RHNA allocations. In prior RHNA cycles, total housing need was based only on projected population growth. However, for the 6th RHNA cycle the State added existing need to the total RHNA calculation. Existing need includes households that are currently overcrowded (defined as more than one person per room) or are overpaying for housing (defined as more than 30% of gross income).
The total 6th cycle RHNA allocation for the SCAG region is comprised of the sum of existing need and projected need, as follows:
Existing need: 577,422 units \ Projected need: 764,405 units
Total need: 1,341,827 units
As seen from this breakdown, if existing need were excluded (as was the case in prior RHNA cycles) the total need would be similar to the 4th cycle RHNA.
With regard to jurisdictional RHNA allocations, the methodology adopted by SCAG for the 6th cycle places greater emphasis on the proximity of jobs and public transit rather than vacant developable land. As a result, the urbanized areas of Los Angeles and Orange counties are assigned much higher housing need as compared to prior cycles even though they generally have much less vacant land than inland areas.
Diamond Bar’s RHNA allocation in the 5th cycle was 1,146 units; therefore, the draft 6th cycle allocation of 2,514 units is about 2.2 times the prior cycle. By comparison, SCAG’s total 6th RHNA allocation is 3.3 times the 5th cycle total.