City of Pleasanton

PLEASANTON — The council has begun the work of updating the city's Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) blueprint for 2023-2031 as mandated by the state.

“This is the beginning of an 18-month process to comprehensively update the city’s housing element, and a key piece of this process is to complete planning, and to identify sites, for 5,965 future housing units,” said Ellen Clark, Pleasanton’s community development director. 

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission will soon begin issuing draft RHNA allocations and timeframes for the local reviews and appeal process. 

The city will use the unit estimates as a guideline and begin scheduling public outreach forums and workshops per state regulations. 

“There will be opportunities for the public to provide input and comments, and to cover the content in detail,” said Jennifer Hagen, Pleasanton’s associate planner. “This will include outreach events, stakeholder meetings and planning commission and city council meetings.”

In order to meet the new RHNA numbers, the council will need to identify and ultimately rezone a number of parcels throughout the city. The council will begin looking at current RHNA inventory and then close the gap by identifying additional sites. According to city staff, there may be as many as 250 acres that have to be rezoned at various densities and zoning levels. While the city must show that it has appropriate zoning to develop the required housing, it’s not mandated to build the units.

Vice Mayor Julie Testa said that while Pleasanton has fallen short in the affordable housing elements, the council remains committed to meeting the mandate. 

“When we are looking at these projects, the low-income projects that we have had in Pleasanton have been of incredible quality and provided quality of life,” said Testa. “We want (that again). We want affordability, but we also want quality projects.”

The new RHNA regulations require the inclusion of an income category. Affordable housing is specifically decided by the state government based on percentages of area median incomes in Alameda County. Housing is considered affordable if occupants pay no more than 30% of their income on housing. The new income levels for a family of four are extremely low, $39,150; very low, $65,250; low, $104,400; and moderate, $143,050.

“This will be a delicate balance,” said Mayor Karla Brown. “We are going to have to find a way to still provide a quality of life for residents and all the amenities that make us a high-opportunity community.”

Brown added that she believed the affordable housing units should be spread across the city.

“They need to be done throughout Pleasanton,” she said. “It will help balance schools and traffic, and I think make everyone more comfortable that they are not on the side of town with 6,000 units … these numbers come from the State of California, and it's our job to implement them.”

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