Why doesn’t the City simply ignore State housing element law?

If a city refuses to meet its statutory planning requirements for housing, the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) can deny or revoke certification of the city’s housing element, potentially preventing the city from approving development of any kind in the city. Cities that do not have compliant housing elements can also be sued by the California Office of the Attorney General.  Cities that continue to refuse to comply after being sued by the Attorney General could be subject to fines beginning at $10,000 per month and escalating to up to $600,000 per month as provided for in Assembly Bill 101 (https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient .xhtml?bill_id=201920200AB101). The Court could ultimately even appoint a receiver empowered to make land use decisions on behalf of the city. Cities that fail to comply with State housing laws in considering housing projects are also subject to lawsuits from any person eligible to apply for residency in the development, as well as from any housing organizations (Government Code 65589.5 – https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/ codesdisplaySection.xhtml ?lawCode=GOV&sectionNum=65589.5).

Sources:

Office of Governor Gavin Newsom - https://www.gov.ca.gov/2019/01/25/housing-accountability/.

California Department of Housing and Community Development – Accountability and Enforcement - (http://www.hcd.ca.gov/community-development/accountability-enforcement.shtml).

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1. Explain the current zoning, conditional use permits, and land use for the 68-acre property [Village at Laguna Hills] and adjacent developments. What can/can’t the City Council control?
2. What is the status of the plan MGP showed the community at their April 2019 Community Forum? How does it compare to the approved 2016 plan?
3. How much housing does the City’s Zoning Code allow on the property?
4. Does the City consider traffic in evaluating development proposals in the UVSP?
5. In 2016, the City approved over 926,000 sq. feet of retail and office building area and 988 dwelling units. If MGP is an established developer, why has Five Lagunas taken so long to get started?
6. What does the City Council see as a viable solution for the development of the site? When considering a new development, does and can the City Council factor in the greater good of the community?
7. How do the new and future proposed/approved Oakbrook apartments factor into any decision making?
8. What are current vacancy rates for existing apartment complexes?
9. Why doesn’t the City insist MGP provide more retail space and less office and housing space?
10. What creates the most value for the city and community: High-density multifamily housing, retail, or commercial office?
11. What kind of retail space can residents expect to see since the outlook for traditional storefronts is so negative?
12. How much revenue has the City lost from the mall closing?
13. How has the City responded to this loss of revenue?
14. How will property taxes benefit the city and how much will the city actually receive?
15. How does more development on the site, especially more residential development, impact community infrastructure such as police services, fire and paramedic services, traffic, water, schools, etc.?
16. What were the projected traffic levels for the originally approved Five Lagunas Project? What is the difference between retail development and apartment development with respect to traffic?
17. How will high-density apartments/multifamily housing benefit residents? Did the 09 General Plan call for 200 apartments w/ options to add more in future phases? Are the approved 988 units mandated
18. What if residents do not want to see more housing developed beyond the 988 units approved in 2016 in a future project?
19. Why doesn’t the City simply ignore State housing element law?
20. What is the City’s obligation to help address the Statewide/federal affordable housing shortage, including low-income and homeless shelters?
21. What exactly is the Housing Crisis Act (SB 330) and how does it impact the new project submitted by MGP?
22. What are the key steps involved in the entitlement process?
23. How long will it take for the project to reach the public hearing?