February 2019

By Al Ricci


And why is that important to our local area? Governor Gavin Newsom is enforcing state housing laws to encourage cities to pursue high-density, affordable housing, while discouraging low-density, high-cost housing.

Californians spend more of their income on housing costs than residents of almost any other place in the country. Demographic data show that the huge costs are driving people further away from their jobs and sometimes out of the state, Newsom says. He stresses that the state does not take this action lightly, but that housing costs are eroding the quality of life for families across the state. 

Under state law, California cities are required to adopt a housing plan that meets the needs of its economy, including zoning for development that is affordable to residents. 

The state is accusing Huntington Beach of blocking the production of affordable housing.  The state may revoke a city’s existing housing plan if it is noncompliant, and refer potential cases to the state attorney general for litigation. Huntington Beach is the first such case.

The governor recognized that most of the new housing must be produced by the private marketplace, and that one of the stumbling blocks is local governments’ planning and land use. The current administration will no longer simply advise local agencies on how to meet those needs, but will now oversee and enforce regional housing goals and production. 

The aggressive plan provides funding and grants, subsidized loans and tax credits to motivate investing in affordable housing. Along with the special election and the economic challenges of running a city, our newly elected Orange City Council will have a busy term balancing the needs of the citizens it serves. 

It will be interesting to see how small cities like Villa Park respond to the oversight. Maybe more guest houses will be built on the larger lots? 

Stay tuned to see the impact state law will have on our local zoning.  

Governor sues the City of Huntington Beach