Los Angeles County Superior Court prevents City of Huntington Beach from blocking affordable housing

Additional coverage by:
The Orange County Register
The Los Angeles Times

On November 12, 2015, PLC secured a victory for displaced veterans when the Los Angeles County Superior Court struck down the City of Huntington Beach’s efforts to block affordable housing. A May 2015 amendment to the Beach-Edinger Corridor Specific Plan would have blocked the development of affordable housing at the city’s primary location for residential development, the Beach-Edinger Corridor. Two formerly homeless veterans and the Kennedy Commission (a non-profit dedicated to advocating for affordable housing in Orange County), represented by the Public Law Center, the California Affordable Housing Law Project, and Jones Day, filed a petition challenging the amendment on July 31, 2015. The Court granted petitioners’ request and declared the amendment void.

“This ruling means that affordable housing is once again possible in Huntington Beach,” said Cesar Covarrubias, PLC Board Member and Executive Director of the Kennedy Commission. “Huntington Beach faces a worsening housing crisis, as one-third to one-half of all residents spend an unaffordable share of their income on housing costs. We look forward to working with developers and the city to achieve affordable housing within Huntington Beach.”

In filing the Petition, the Petitioners sought to force Huntington Beach to implement its state-approved General Plan Housing Element. The General Plan Housing Element– often referred to as the city’s “constitution” for all planning and development–allowed for the development of high-density low-cost housing along the city’s Beach-Edinger commercial corridor. The voided amendment would have blocked low-cost housing by imposing a development cap, costly and time-consuming discretionary permit requirements, and burdensome parking, setback, height and use restrictions.

The action is a result of months of efforts by the Kennedy Commission, which advocated vigorously before the City Council against the amendment in the months leading up to its adoption, as well as efforts by two displaced veterans, who were forced to leave Huntington Beach due to the lack of affordable housing in the city.