Peter Cloven

Mayor wants residents to say where to add 570 more housing units in Clayton

Peter ClovenCLAYTON, CA (Feb. 21, 2022) — Clayton has been assigned 570 units of housing in the 6th Regional Needs Housing Assessment (RHNA).

We are not alone, as every city in California is being saddled with similar dilemmas with the requirements to zone up to 20% more housing. No city desires these mandated changes, but the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) outright denied all the cities’ appeals – including Clayton’s.

While we are not required to build the 570 units, we are required to plan and zone their location and make room for the prescribed ratio of affordable housing. Those 570 units represent an approximate 14% increase to the existing 4,000 housing units in our small city. Clayton has little remaining vacant land. Adding these units will cause challenges to infrastructure and transportation, and environmental concerns.

It is understood that many longtime residents see these new mandates as overbearing, while others see zoning this housing as a need to do our part in the housing crisis. Considering the sparse amount of vacant or underutilized land in Clayton, finding space will be a challenge for zoning this state-mandated quantity of housing.

The city wants your help to shape the future of Clayton. Initial community outreach has included community meetings and an initial online survey of potential housing sites. The City Council looked at a preliminary map of housing locations on Jan. 4. The next step is to hone those maps with additional public input.

The city of Clayton is launching an assertive campaign to inform residents of the need for their participation in this housing discussion. The campaign will include newspaper, internet/social media, public billboard and door hanger distribution of literature to homes. We need as many voices as possible to discuss how to meet the requirements while maintaining our city’s small-town character and Western charm that we all love.

Balancing Act

In late February, the city will introduce the online simulation game “Balancing Act” to engage the community in the housing discussion. The game will allow residents to create their own “housing element” to plan and place 570 housing units (or more if desired) in preliminary mapped areas of Clayton. The game allows the player to change densities on parcels (e.g., 3 to 30 units per acre) and identify other potential areas for consideration.

In this manner, residents can indicate which locations in Clayton are preferable for higher density. This allows for the serious discussion of future downtown use as well as outlier areas away from downtown.

I personally urge interested residents, friends and family to join in the conversation. Information on efforts and preparation for the 2023 Housing Element can be found on the “Housing Element” button on the front page of the city website, Go to the “Get Involved” tab and sign up for updates, so you don’t miss important upcoming communications.

Contact Mayor Peter Cloven at or 925-673-7320.