In Deal With State, Malibu Agrees to Complete Plan for Affordable Housing

In Deal With State, Malibu Agrees to Complete Plan for Affordable Housing

Homes in Malibu, Calif., on Sept. 24, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

5/1/2024

Updated: 5/1/2024

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Another California city has agreed to build its “fair share of housing” as state leaders continue to push for for more construction amid what they call a housing crisis.
Malibu is the latest to form an agreement with the state to complete its overdue “housing element,” a state-mandated zoning plan that includes affordable housing, which city officials agreed to finish by Sept. 23. The initial deadline for California cities like Malibu was in 2021.
“To communities large and small, affluent, or otherwise—everyone must build their fair share of housing. Rather than further delay action through litigation, Malibu has decided to work with the state,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press release last week.
Mr. Newsom joined California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in filing a lawsuit April 22 against the coastal city, seeking a mandated timeline for city officials to finally turn in their plan.
Under state law, cities are required to plan how they will build affordable housing every eight years. If they miss a mandated deadline for such plans, as did Malibu in 2021, they’re subject to penalties including what’s known as “builder’s remedy,” which allows a developer to bypass certain local zoning, density, or land-use regulations for proposed developments that include 20 percent “affordable” units sold below market rate. They’re also subject to fines.
Under the settlement, the city acknowledges that until it adopts a state-approved housing element it cannot deny any builder’s remedy projects, it could be subject to fines if a plan isn’t turned in within 12 months of the settlement’s approval, and it will work on an “expedited timeline” to adopt such a plan by Sept. 23.
“We are facing a housing crisis of epic proportions. When local jurisdictions like Malibu do their part and allow more homes to be constructed, all Californians benefit,” Mr. Bonta said in the same announcement.
Gustavo Velasquez, director of the state’s department of housing and community development, added that the recent agreement provides an “enforceable contract” with the city.
“We are very appreciative to the city of Malibu for working with us to create this path to compliance with state housing law,” he said.
Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring said the city is committed to doing its part to complete the plan, noting recent events that have delayed the process.
“Despite the challenges we’ve encountered, such as the devastation of the Woolsey fire and the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and staff turnover, our partnership with HCD has been pivotal in guiding us toward a resolution,” he said in the press release.
To receive approval, the city must zone for 79 units of housing, including 47 for low and very-low income households in a plan good through 2029. Compared with other cities, Malibu had one of the lowest allocations in the state. In Los Angeles, city officials were required to zone for over 456,000 units of housing and nearby Santa Monica was given a nearly 9,000-unit requirement.
Earlier this year Fullerton agreed to complete its housing element by November after also missing the deadline, reaching a similar agreement with state officials that was announced in January. City officials said in a press release at the time that the delay came in part because of a turnover in staff and consultants.
According to the city, the state’s recent requirement that it zone for over 13,000 housing units for its plan through 2029 is a six-fold increase compared to its prior plan that ended in 2021, which required it zone for just under 2,000 units.
According to the state’s housing department, 84.5 percent of cities have approved housing elements.
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Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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