Housing & Public Safety Element Update


The City of Poway is currently in the process of updating its Housing and Public Safety Elements of the City’s General Plan. The State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) requires the update to be completed by August 13, 2021 to avoid any penalty. The Housing Element update is required to address housing constraints and needs, including HCD requirements to meet the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). The Public Safety Element update is required to meet the requirements of SB1035 with the adoption of the update to the Housing Element. As such, the City is updating the Public Safety Element in conjunction with the update to the Housing Element.

This website provides up-to-date information on the Housing and Public Safety Element Update process. It will provide you with information on upcoming community workshops, meetings, documents prepared for the Update, and opportunities to be involved in the process and provide feedback.

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Housing and Public Safety Online Survey

On Wednesday, November 4, 2020, the Planning Division released an online public survey regarding housing and public safety in Poway. This survey was available through November 30, 2020. There were 529 survey respondents. Respondents were asked to respond only one time per household, however, there were no limitations on the number of survey responses provided the responses were not from the same IP Address (typically the same device could not respond more than once). When asked where responders first heard about the questionnaire, the top source was direct email (69%) and Facebook, Nextdoor, and the Chieftain accounted for other significant marketing resources. Except for six respondents, almost all of respondents were Poway residents including 79% who identified themselves as property owners and 4% who identified themselves as renters. Other respondents included Poway business owners (7%) and housing advocates (1%). Topics for the survey included demographic information, public safety, wildfire prevention, architectural styles, and housing needs, opportunities, and constraints. Review the survey responses here.

Virtual Community Workshop 1 Summary

On Thursday, November 19, 2020, the City hosted a Virtual Housing and Public Safety Element Workshop regarding housing and public safety in Poway. The workshop is the first in a series of two workshops and included moderation by the City’s Planners, Fire Marshal, and Crime Prevention Specialist. At least 16 persons were in attendance. Several attendees were proud of the City being safe and many attendees felt that more affordable housing opportunities would be a good change for the City. Comments included, but were not limited to, retaining the City’s rural character/motto, preserving open space, providing housing within the urban core and more ADA accessible, multigenerational, and affordable housing, providing diverse designs compatible with surrounding areas and with the City’s rural character, promoting walking, biking, and other outdoor opportunities, reducing risks from wildfires and providing more education, enforcing defensible space regulations, reducing traffic speeds, and increasing pedestrian lighting. The Poway Chieftain newspaper also published an article summarizing the workshop. Review the article here.

Draft Housing Element Update for 6th Housing Element Cycle (June 30, 2020 to April 15, 2029)

The City prepared the draft update to the Housing Element of the General Plan. The draft was released for 20-day public review on April 15. Comments were requested to be submitted up to end of day May 4. Public comments included general interest in reduced building heights, additional open space, connections, and parks, native and drought tolerant landscape, fire resistant landscape and construction materials, gray water systems, energy conservation including use of electric appliances, charging stations and solar systems, and evenly distributing affordable housing throughout the City. The San Diego Housing Federation requested that additional funding sources be added in the programs section.  

The City hosted a virtual community workshop to engage the public about housing in Poway and the Draft Housing Element on Thursday, April 29. The workshop was held via zoom from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with a total of 21 attendees. Planners from Development Services moderated the workshop and provided participants with the purpose of updating the Housing Element, the requirements of the update, and an overview of the Draft 2020-2029 Housing Element. Multiple attendees were concerned about a disparity between North and South Poway related to affordable housing, particularly with South Poway assuming to have more affordable housing units. One attendee expressed concerns about having affordable housing in North Poway. Several attendees stated Poway needs more affordable housing and several attendees said less was needed. Multiple attendees were concerned about developing housing at the Big Stone Lodge site (Site 1 of the Residential Sites Inventory, Table 4-5, of the Draft Housing Element). Other notable feedback included the following:

  • Updating the overall vision for Poway;
  • Encourage use of native and/or drought tolerant plants and water conservation; 
  • Prepare a Climate Action Plan and provide for electric vehicles, solar, and shade trees;
  • Prepare a smoke-free housing ordinance;
  • Preserve open space;
  • Provide connectivity with electronic vehicle and bicycle pathways in Poway Road Specific Plan, Town Center District;
  • Provide better property maintenance and traffic mitigation;
  • Incorporate crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) with new housing;
  • Provide for more parks and parking with new housing; and
  • Provide more housing opportunities for homeowners wishing to downsize.

A detailed summary of all of the feedback received is incorporated into Chapter 1 of the Draft Housing Element submitted to HCD on May 10.  Many of the issues raised are already addressed within the Draft Housing Element and much of the feedback is not pertinent to the purpose of the Housing Element.  

On May 4, the City Council held a public workshop regarding the draft at their regularly scheduled Council meeting and directed staff to send the Draft to HCD for review. Similar feedback was received from that of the previous community workshops.  

The City submitted the update to the Draft Housing Element of the General Plan to HCD on May 10 for a 60-day review. The Draft Housing Element addressed all comments received from HCD as a part of their preliminary review and addressed feedback from the San Diego Housing Federation consistent with City Council direction. HCD is required to provide written comments on the Draft Housing Element within 60 days of receipt. Once comments are received from HCD, staff will determine whether any revisions to the document are required. Staff will incorporate comments from HCD into a final Housing Element Update document and release it for public review and comment.  Staff will present the final document to City Council on August 3 for adoption. Upon adoption of the Housing Element, the document will again be submitted to HCD for certification, however, the adoption will avoid any penalties.


  • Brief Online Community SurveyReleased for Public Submissions (November 4 to November 30, 2020) – completed, results posted at Housing and Public Safety Element webpage (www.poway.org/hpse)
  • Virtual Community Workshop 1 (Thursday, November 19, 2020; 7 to 8:30 p.m.) - completed, results posted at Housing and Public Safety Element webpage (www.poway.org/hpse)
  • City Staff Prepares Draft Housing Element Update (Spring, 2021) – completed, Early Draft Housing Element Update released for public review April 15, 2021
  • Virtual Housing Element Community Workshop 2 (April 29, 2021 at 7 p.m.) – completed, results posted at Housing and Public Safety Element webpage (www.poway.org/hpse)
  • Virtual Housing Element City Council Public Workshop (May 4, 2021) – completed, the City Council held a public workshop regarding the draft at their regularly scheduled Council meeting and directed staff to send the Draft to HCD for review  
  • Draft Submission of Housing Element Update to HCD (May 10, 2021) – completed, the City submitted the update to the Draft Housing Element to HCD for a 60-day review  
  • City Council Review of Final Housing Element Update (August 3, 2021); Final HCD deadline to adopt Housing Element Update is August 13, 2021
  • HCD Certification (Summer, 2021)
  • Virtual Public Safety Community Workshop 2 and Preliminary Draft Release for Public Review (Summer/Fall 2021) 
  • Draft Submission to Public Safety Element Update to CalFire for 90 day review (Summer/Fall 2021)
  • City Council Review of final Public Safety Element Update (Winter 2021/2022)

How To Submit Written Comments

If you wish to provide written comments, you may email, mail, or fax your comments to David De Vries, City Planner, via email , “Attention David De Vries, City of Poway, 13325 Civic Center Drive, Poway, CA 92064,” or (858) 668-1211 (fax). Please indicate “Housing & Public Safety Element Update Comments” in your subject line. Comments are encouraged to be provided at your earliest convenience, but will be accepted until 3 p.m. on the date of the City Council meeting (anticipated in August 2021).  Comments will not be read out loud during the meeting, but will be provided to City staff and members of the City Council and will be available to the general public on the City’s website. Please be advised that any communications directed to the City, including City Council and City staff, are subject to disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act.  Communications will not be edited for redactions, except in compliance with State law.


For any additional questions or comments, e-mail or call Scott Nespor, Associate Planner (Housing Element Update) via email or at (858) 668-4656, or Austin Silva, Senior Planner (Public Safety Element Update) via email or at (858) 668-4658.  

Para poder participar en comunicados actualizados de alojamiento y seguridad favor de comunicarse con Hector Salgado, planificador, al 858-668-4659.

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