State sues Huntington Beach over lack of affordable housing

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a lawsuit Friday against the city of Huntington Beach, accusing the Orange County surfing haven of blocking the production of affordable housing and thus exacerbating the statewide housing crisis.

“The state doesn’t take this action lightly,” Newsom said in a statement. “The huge housing costs and sky-high rents are eroding quality of life for families across this state. California’s housing crisis is an existential threat to our state’s future and demands and urgent and comprehensive response.”

There was no immediate response from the city.

According to Newsom’s office, the city has refused to comply with state housing law, “even after extensive attempts to offer partnership and support from the California Department of Housing and Community Development.”

The state argued that cities are required to enact housing plans that meet “the needs of the broader region and its economy.” The state Department of Housing and Community Development found Huntington Beach’s housing plan to be deficient in 2015. According to Newsom’s office, the city was in compliance two years earlier, but it then amended its housing plan “and significantly reduced the number of new housing units able to be built.”

The city later rejected a proposed amendment that would have added the ability for more units to be built, according to the governor’s office.

“Cities and counties are important partners in addressing this housing crisis, and many cities are making herculean efforts to meet this crisis head-on,” Newsom said. “But some cities are refusing to do their part to address this crisis and willfully stand in violation of California law. Those cities will be held to account.”

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