FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Western Center on Law & Poverty and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation submit Motion to Intervene in the case of Huntington Beach v. State of California
The Motion is submitted on behalf of advocacy organizations Housing California and the California Coalition for Rural Housing
Los Angeles, Calif. (June 28, 2019) – Western Center on Law & Poverty and California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation have filed a Motion to Intervene in the matter of Huntington Beach v. State of California, on behalf of their clients, Housing California and the California Coalition for Rural Housing (CCRH). The Motion will be heard in the Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 23, 2019.
In February, Huntington Beach filed suit against the State, claiming the requirements via Senate Bills 166 and 1333 that make sure cities can accommodate high density housing are unconstitutional. The city asserts that zoning is a local issue, and that California’s 121 charter cities should be free to make their own decisions. “Charter cities like Huntington Beach must stop pretending like their actions don’t affect housing affordability across the state; the poorest and most vulnerable among us are who pay for their bad actions. We are filing this motion to intervene for Housing California and CCRH – organizations that fight for affordable housing for Californians with the lowest incomes, because our state can’t rely on reluctant cities like Huntington Beach, of which there are many, to do the right thing. The costs are too great.” – Navneet Grewal, Senior Attorney at Western Center.
The claims made by the City of Huntington Beach in the matter fundamentally threaten the ability of both Housing California and CCRH to carry out their missions to facilitate increases in affordable housing throughout the state on behalf of low-income Californians. “Low-income families are disproportionately affected by California’s housing shortage crisis. As part of our mission to ensure social justice and equity for California’s rural poor, CRLAF works vigorously to ensure the development and maintenance of safe, clean, and affordable homes for rural workers and their families,” said Cecilia Guevara Zamora, Staff Attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation.
Housing California works to curb homelessness and promote the development of affordable housing. Should Huntington Beach find success with its claim that charter cities do not have to plan for the development of affordable housing, Housing California’s efforts and strategies to expand affordable housing in communities across California will be significantly impacted; charter cities make up over 50 percent of the state. “What affects one part of our state affects us all. Providing affordable homes in all communities ensures that people can live where they work, which means less traffic, cleaner air, and healthier communities for everyone. The future of our state relies on a more inclusive California – if Huntington Beach wins its case, we will be taking a step backwards.” – Lisa Hershey, Executive Director of Housing California.
Similarly, CCRH’s work to promote and preserve affordable housing in rural California communities, which have unique land and development constraints, would be severely impacted by such a decision as well. There are approximately 45 charter cities in rural California – the negative consequences for those communities could be severe. “Cities in rural California have a long history of erecting barriers to affordable housing through land use and zoning – including onerous limits on the production of multifamily housing and higher density development, as well as requirements for parking that restrict how many units can be built. That’s why state legislation to relax those barriers is critical to our members whose mission it is to build homes for hard-working, low-wage workers who live in rural communities,” said Executive Director of CCRH, Robert Wiener.
In light of its dramatic housing crisis, California cannot afford for cities, charter or otherwise, to eschew zoning requirements that facilitate the creation of high-density housing that accommodates low- and moderate-income households. When an individual city does not do its part, it harms its neighbors and the state. As stated in the lawsuit filed by the State against the City of Huntington Beach in January, “The failure of local governments to plan for the necessary housing supply has been a key factor contributing to this crisis.”
The decision made in the case of Huntington Beach will not only impact the Proposed Interveners, it will also have impacts that ripple all over California. This intervention seeks to ensure that the City of Huntington Beach’s actions do not expand to other municipalities, posing significant harm to low- and moderate- income families, and exacerbating California’s housing crisis.