Public Participation


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Public Participation

kids working on a wall mapHousing issues affect the entire community —  residents, employers, and the public and private sectors. The public participation requirement of housing-element law presents an opportunity to engage constituents in a dialogue — defining problems and creating solutions. The inclusion of community stakeholders (including residents) in the housing-element public participation process helps ensure appropriate housing strategies are more efficiently and effectively evaluated, developed, and implemented. An inadequate public participation process may lead to anti-development initiatives, and strong, vocal community opposition to greatly needed housing development. Successful public participation is important because a diverse cross section of the population can be engaged in defining the housing problem and in crafting solutions that work for everyone in the community. Broad participation and true engagement of the public increases the likelihood that the community members involved in the discussion and planning processes will support new housing strategies and housing developments.

Government Code

Government Code 65583(c)(7) requires: "The local government shall make a diligent effort to achieve public participation of all economic segments of the community in the development of the housing element, and the program shall describe this effort."

Government Code 65585(b)(1) requires: “The local government of the planning agency shall make the first draft revision of a housing element available for public comment for at least 30 days and, if any comments are received, the local government shall take at least 10 business days after the 30-day public comment period to consider and incorporate public comments into the draft revision prior to submitting it to the department. For any subsequent draft revision, the local government shall post the draft revision on its internet website and shall email a link to the draft revision to all individuals and organizations that have previously requested notices relating to the local government’s housing element at least seven days before submitting the draft revision to the department.”

Requisite Analysis

City of Richmond

a parked City of Richmond vanTo announce workshops on the update of its general plan, the City of Richmond mailed more than 32,000 newsletters to households and placed ads and announcements in local newspapers, on the radio, and on its website. In addition, the city created a mobile planning department, known as the “Plan Van.” The Plan Van made stops in the community at neighborhood events and throughout the city to provide residents with information, encouraging them to share their ideas for the city and learn more about the general plan update.
Photo credit: City of Richmond Planning Department

Who Should Participate?

Approaches to Public Participation

Helpful Hints

During Outreach and Implementation

Facilitate Meaningful Participation

A Note to Those Who Wish to Comment on Jurisdictions’ Housing Elements

As part of its review of the housing element, HCD must consider any written comments received from any public agency, group, or person. If an organization or individual plans to provide comments to HCD on a jurisdiction’s housing element, early contact with the assigned review staff member is encouraged to ensure that HCD is aware of this intent. To ensure that HCD has sufficient time to consider comments in the review of the housing element, written comments should be provided within the first 30 days of the review. Written comments can be provided directly to the assigned HCD Analyst or emailed to

Sign up to receive a weekly listing of housing elements received by HCD, sign up by clicking this link HCD Email Signup ( and selecting the box labeled “Housing Element Review Notification."

Sample Analyses