In a surprising announcementlast month, the State of California filed a lawsuit against theCity of Huntington Beach, alleging that the city is blocking accessand development of affordable housing. Governor Gavin Newsom hastaken a hardline approach to the state's affordable housing crisis,and this could be the first of more lawsuits to come, boththroughout the state and particularly in Orange County.

“The lawsuit has merit and it should be concerning to citiesacross the state that have elected to ignore state housing laws,”Kristina Lawson, an attorney specializing inentitlement, land use, environmental and municipal matters at lawfirm Hanson Bridgett, tells “Over thepast several years, the City of Huntington Beach has actively takensteps to reduce the potential for future residential development inthe City by thousands of units. In addition, the City hasroutinely failed to meet housing production goals established bythe state.”

This is the first lawsuit of its kind under the new law AB 72,and will be somewhat of a test case on the requirements of citiesto provide affordable housing options to residents.  “Thisis the first case under a new law AB 72, which allows the state tofile lawsuits against cities that fail to comply with existingstate housing laws,” explains Lawson. “There are other pastexamples of the state intervening in housing-related litigation,but this lawsuit is the first of its kind. In many ways,Huntington Beach's actions could be seen as a response tovoter/resident demands. Is this a good enough reason to halthousing development?”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.