HB Taxpayers & Local Control at Risk if City Violates State Housing Law

State Housing Law set requirements for each city to adopt zoning that would allow for additional housing to be built in in order to further the State’s goal of making housing more affordable for middle class residents and the next generation of homeowners in California.

The State announced there may be penalties for any California city that does not comply with this state housing law.  Consequences to the City violating this state housing law may include:

  • Loss of Local Control – the Courts have authority to take over the city’s ability to issue residential and nonresidential building permits for new construction or remodels, grant zone changes or approve subdivision maps until the city’s General Plan and housing element is in compliance with State law.
  • Financial Penalties – The state can ask the court to fine cities that are not following state housing law up to $100,000 per month.  If the non-compliant city doesn’t pay the fine, the court can raise the fine to $600,000 per month.
  • Streamlined Approvals – The state has the ability to eliminate local public hearings and approve proposed housing developments through “ministerial” approvals in order to hasten the construction of new housing in cities that have chosen not to comply with the state’s housing law.
  • Lawsuits and Attorney Fees – Cities that don’t comply with the state housing law are subject to lawsuits from individuals, third-party advocates, building developers and the State of California.  The City will not only have to pay its own legal fees for these court battles, but if the City loses, the Court could force the City to pay the legal fees of the plaintiffs as well.

The Huntington Beach City Council will make a determination whether to follow state housing law at its November 15, 2022 meeting.

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