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Marin County Documents


Marin Countywide Plan

The Marin Countywide Plan (CWP) guides the conservation and development of Marin County.  California requires every city and county to adopt a long range plan for physical development with specific requirements for 9 mandated plan elements. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) provides guidance for the mandatory elements of Land Use, Circulation (transportation), Housing, Conservation, Open Space, Noise, Safety and, where there are disadvantaged communities, Environmental Justice and Air Quality.  Marin’s CWP incorporates all of these requirements into three elements:  The Natural Systems and Agriculture Element, The Built Environment Element, and The Socioeconomic Element.  

Housing Element

Marin’s 2023/2031 Housing Element is the 6th update cycle covering the 8 years from 1-31-2023 through1-31-2031.  

Housing Element Background

Marin’s Housing Element is part of its Countywide Plan and one of nine state-mandated plan elements.  Its purpose is to assure the availability of housing for all Californians. 

California requires all counties and cities to adopt a comprehensive long-range general plan for the physical development of the jurisdiction. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) divides the state into regional planning districts; Marin is part of the nine county SF Bay Area planning district. 

California’s Housing Element Law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address the housing needs and demand of Californians, local governments must adopt plans and regulatory systems that provide opportunities for (and do not unduly constrain) housing development.  As a result, housing policy in California rests largely on the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements.  It is the most specific and directive of the mandated plan elements with detailed guidance and reviews.

OPR works with the CA Dept. of Housing and Community Development (HCD) which has unique authority over the Housing Element.  HCD develops housing unit allocations for each planning district. 


Each jurisdiction is required to revise its Housing Element on a specified schedule (currently every 8 years for Marin Co.).  HCD must review and certify the Housing Element for each jurisdiction.  All jurisdictions are required to provide OPR and HCD with separate General Plan and Housing Element Annual Progress Reports by April 1 each year. 


CA Dept. of Housing and Community Development (HCD) uses the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA), a state-mandated process, to identify the total number of housing units by affordability level that each jurisdiction must accommodate in its Housing Element.  HCD identifies this total housing need for the 9 counties in the San Francisco Bay Area for an 8 year cycle (currently from 2023 to 2031). 

The Assn. of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) develops a methodology to distribute the SF Bay Area allocation to local governments.  Local governments may appeal their allocations.  When a local government has received its final RHNA, it must revise its Housing Element to show how it plans to accommodate its portion of the region’s housing need.  


Safety Element

Marin’s Safety Element is part of the Marin Countywide Plan – see Section 2.6 of the CWP.


Marin County Municipal Code Title 22 – Development Code

The Marin County Development Code regulates the uses of land and structures in unincorporated areas.  The Development Code implements the policies of the Countywide Plan.

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