On January 1, 2023 Assembly Bill 2234, an important new post-entitlement accountability and streamlining law that amends the Housing Accountability Act and adds new sections to the Planning and Zoning Laws, takes effect in California.

Continue Reading New California Law Addresses Delays by Public Agencies in the Post-Entitlement Permitting Process

California is in the midst of the 6th Regional Housing Needs Allocation cycle known as RHNA, a state-mandated process that requires all cities and counties to timely update the housing elements of their general plans to plan for their fair share of California’s housing needs to people of all income levels.  Many cities have failed to timely adopt an updated housing elements in substantial compliance with state housing element law and more are expected to follow, giving rise to the viable use of the colloquially-named “Builder’s Remedy” in the Housing Accountability Act.

Continue Reading “Builder’s Remedy” Provides Key Housing Production Opportunities in California

NIMBY project opponents rely on an ever-shifting array of flimsy arguments to challenge new housing developments, especially those with affordable housing components.  Among the most frequently stated concerns is the notion that building new affordable housing will reduce local property values and/or increase crime.  Many studies have been conducted that show the fallacy of these assertions.  The latest comes from the Livable Cities Lab at UC Irvine, which studied the effect on local housing values and local levels of crime following the construction of affordable housing in the County of Orange, California.

Continue Reading New UC Irvine Study Debunks NIMBY Claims That New Affordable Housing Development Reduces Local Property Values and Increases Crime

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is an extremely well-funded Los Angeles-based non-profit that now engages in some of the most pernicious anti-housing activities in California.  The organization recently challenged the approval by the City of Los Angeles of a 26-story mixed-use building within the area covered by the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan.  The project includes 200 dwelling units, of which 5% would be reserved for very-low income households, and 7,000 square feet of commercial space.

Continue Reading Court Holds that the Legislature Really Did Dissolve Redevelopment Agencies and Rendered the 15% Affordable Housing Requirement Inoperative

In late 2020, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the creation of a “Housing Strike Force” within the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce state housing laws by beginning to put teeth into often-ignored laws that restrict local authority over new housing development.

Continue Reading California Attorney General Continues to Enforce State Housing Laws

On February 2, 2022, in Bankers Hill 150 v. City of San Diego, __ Cal.App.5th __ (Case No. D077963), the Fourth District Court of Appeal relied on fundamental provisions of California’s Density Bonus Law in rejecting a challenge by local NIMBY’s to a 20-story mixed-use project in San Diego on the grounds that the project is inconsistent with the neighborhood because it is too dense, too tall, and too close to the street.  The Court recognized that the NIMBY group sidestepped the implications of the Density Bonus Law, which shapes and limits a city’s discretion in reviewing a project.

Continue Reading State Housing Law Again Preempts Subjective Local Development Standards

On January 12, 2022, in Old East Davis Neighborhood Association v. City of Davis, __ Cal.App.5th __ (Case No. C090117), the Third District Court of Appeal reversed a trial court decision that granted a writ petition in favor of project opponents on the basis that the record did not support the City’s decision.  In so doing, the Court applied a deferential standard of review and affirmed the City’s general plan consistency determination, holding that the decision was not unreasonable and that substantial evidence supported approval of a mixed-use project.

Continue Reading Court Affirms City’s Determination That Substantial Evidence Supports Approval of Mixed-Use Development Project

For decades developers and landowners have considered San Francisco as a City that is unfriendly to property rights.  From the City’s Hotel Conversion Ordinance, which severely restricts the conversion of hotels from residential to tourist use, to the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, which gives non-profit organizations the right of first offer and the right of first refusal to purchase certain multi-family properties offered for sale in the City, San Francisco has a longstanding reputation as being hostile to constitutionally-protected property rights.

Continue Reading California Department of Housing and Community Development Warns San Francisco About Potential Violations of State Housing Law

On September 16, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed several new key housing bills, all of which take effect January 1, 2022, to increase the supply of new housing in California and address the state’s ongoing housing supply crisis.  In so doing, the Governor issued a statement explaining that the housing crisis “is undermining the California Dream for families across the state, and threatens our long-term growth and prosperity.  Making a meaningful impact on this crisis will take bold investments, strong collaboration across sectors and political courage from our leaders and communities to do the right thing and build housing for all.”

Continue Reading California Enacts New Housing Legislation to Increase Supply and Address Housing Crisis

Despite hyperbolic and misleading criticism from various NIMBY groups, California is one step closer to important new state-level land use and housing reform. Contrary to bald statements that these bills would “crush” single-family zoning or “end homeownership” in California, these are modest, incremental measures that preserve substantial local control and respect private property rights.

Continue Reading California Poised to Enact New Housing Production Laws Despite NIMBY Opposition