State finds County of Kern out of compliance in County’s housing element

December 15, 2021 /

The State Department of Housing and Community Development has notified the County of Kern it is out of compliance in the County’s housing element.

The housing element — a guiding document for development including housing, transportation, land use and much more — called for Kern County to rezone 214 acres of land throughout Kern County to developing housing projects for multi-family housing for low-income families in Kern; however, the County has not rezoned the land.

“The reason why they had to rezone is because they have a short fall in regional housing needs,” said Emma De La Rosa, a Policy Advocate for the Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability.

Instead of rezoning the land outlined in the housing element, the County has submitted an inventory of land to the State Department of Housing and Community Development, requesting this land be rezoned than the original 214 acres.

De La Rosa said this presents a problem. The inventory of land that the County submitted to the State was not analyzed to ensure adequate infrastructure is available, such as utility connections and environmental constraints, such as flooding.

The 214 acres outlined in the housing element has already been analyzed, indicating the land appropriate to develop housing on it.

Since the County is out of compliance, De La Rosa said the County now has two options: to rezone the land the County committed to rezoning or to properly analyze the inventory of land submitted to the State.

De La Rosa said it is unclear what the County will do.

“It is (the County’s) responsibility to facilitate housing development for our low-income communities,” De La Rosa said. “This is the County’s failure to comply and a huge disregard for communities.”