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In a surprising announcement last month, the State of California filed a lawsuit against the City of Huntington Beach, alleging that the city is blocking access and development of affordable housing. Governor Gavin Newsom has taken a hardline approach to the state’s affordable housing crisis, and this could be the first of more lawsuits to come, both throughout the state and particularly in Orange County.

“The lawsuit has merit and it should be concerning to cities across the state that have elected to ignore state housing laws,” Kristina Lawson, an attorney specializing in entitlement, land use, environmental and municipal matters at law firm Hanson Bridgett, tells GlobeSt.com. “Over the past several years, the City of Huntington Beach has actively taken steps to reduce the potential for future residential development in the City by thousands of units. In addition, the City has routinely failed to meet housing production goals established by the 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 cities to provide affordable housing options to residents.  “This is the first case under a new law AB 72, which allows the state to file lawsuits against cities that fail to comply with existing state housing laws,” explains Lawson. “There are other past examples 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 to voter/resident demands. Is this a good enough reason to halt housing 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 GlobeSt.com 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.

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