The Galt City Council gave its final approval to the city’s updated housing element on Sept. 7, with Mayor Shawn Farmer voting against. The memory of fallen Galt police officer Harminder Grewal was a constant presence at the regular meeting, which also included awards for community members who exemplify respect for others.
Council’s 4-1 vote capped off months of public outreach, meetings by the council and the Planning Commission and interaction with state regulators.
Through the state-mandated 2021-2029 Housing Element, the city describes its anticipated housing needs for the next eight years and lays out plans to meet those needs.
Each city receives a Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), which is how the California Department of Housing and Community Development quantifies how many new units will be needed to house an area’s residents.
Galt’s RHNA rose significantly, from 679 in the previous element to 1,926 in the current one. The city has reached this requirement largely through existing development plans.
Farmer and Council Member Rich Lozano expressed frustration with the requirements, feeling that they undermine local control. Farmer felt that the city had been “singled out” in the region, with a relatively high RHNA.
Lozano noted that while the city is being asked to provide opportunities for development, this does not mean that the development will happen immediately.
Galt Respect Award
The Galt Community of Character Coalition recognized three people with its 2021 Galt Respect Award: Marengo Elementary School teacher Michelyn Farrell, Lake Canyon Elementary School teacher Linda Ekstrom and Galt Sunrise Rotary President Mark King.
The award highlights people who, among other things, “affirm the basic dignity of each person” and “demonstrate due regard for the feelings, wishes and concerns of others.”
Grewal and fellow officer Kapri Herrera were brought up multiple times during the course of the meeting.
The officers were seriously injured in a head-on collision on Aug. 22, with Grewal dying of his injuries days later. Herrera was released from the hospital on Sept. 3 to continue recovering at home. Grewal’s funeral is scheduled for Sept. 13.
“There has been an overwhelming amount of support in our community from everyone,” Vice Mayor Paul Sandhu said. “We will never forget all that officer Grewal did for all our community. He will forever be in our hearts.”