Judge Denies Early Trial in State’s Housing Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach

Judge Denies Early Trial in State’s Housing Lawsuit Against Huntington Beach

(L-R) Huntington Beach Mayor Tony Strickland, City Attorney Michael Gates, and Councilman Casey McKeon gather with residents to challenge state housing laws in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Feb. 14, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Rudy Blalock

Rudy Blalock

7/25/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

A judge denied a request July 20 for an early trial by California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the state’s housing department in their lawsuit against Huntington Beach over state housing laws.
The state was seeking an expedited hearing on or before Oct. 11.
Instead, San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal ruled Huntington Beach has until Oct. 20 to challenge the legal sufficiency of the state’s claims.
The case was transferred from Orange County Superior Court to that in San Diego this month with no reason given, according to court documents.
Under the lawsuit filed March 8, California sought to strike down Huntington Beach’s ban on the processing of applications under SB 9—which was passed by the California Legislature in 2021 and allows up to four homes on lots where only one existed previously—and for accessory dwelling units, better known as ADUs or “granny flats.”
But a month after initiating the bans, city officials unanimously voted March 21 to resume accepting the applications, complying with state law.
California then filed a fresh motion April 10 alleging the city is intentionally failing to adopt a mandatory “housing element,” which is a state-mandated affordable housing plan, after city officials couldn’t come to an agreement on it during an April 4 council meeting. They have yet to approve it. The plan was due last October.
City staff, during the April meeting, recommended not approving the plan, indicating it would create “significant and unavoidable,” environmental impacts, such as exceeding thresholds for such things as air quality, greenhouse gases, water quality, and noise.
The housing element requires the city to zone for over 13,000 units of housing by 2029. City officials have argued the amount is disproportionate to other cities, and the largest allocation in the state based on a city’s size and population.
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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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