CBS Los Angeles – March 22
The ongoing battle over affordable housing between the state and Huntington Beach was intervened this week by a federal judge in Huntington Beach v. Newsom, who denied Huntington Beach’s request to temporarily block enforcement of the state’s housing laws. Earlier this month, Attorney General Bonta, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Housing and Community Development filed a lawsuit against the city of Huntington Beach for violating state housing laws. The lawsuit followed a decision by the Huntington Beach City Council, which declined to ban the processing of applications for SB 9 projects and accessory housing units or granny flats, in violation of several state housing statutes.
Santa Monica Mirror – March 23
Santa Monica has been using a pioneering water recycling facility since November to capture rain and store it underground for future use. Because Southern California seems to rain constantly, the city has collected stormwater, city runoff, and municipal sewage and purified it for reuse as drinking water. Located under a parking lot, this unique facility features a 1.5 million gallon rainwater tank and an advanced 1 million gallon per day water treatment system. The recycled water can be used for irrigation, flushing toilets in buildings with double water supply, and replenishing aquifers.
Los Angeles Daily News – March 22
The Los Angeles City Council last Wednesday unanimously approved a motion directing its housing department to develop recommendations for the establishment of an ordinance and program for tenants at risk of eviction in the city. This follows a measure that would have extended protections for certain apartment tenants by a year across Los Angeles County, which the board of directors rejected on Tuesday. The resolution would have banned landlords from evicting a tenant without a valid reason and protected tenants from eviction who have added additional residents and/or pets during the three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Real Deal – March 27th
Los Angeles has a notoriously slow permitting process and high costs that contribute to a regional housing shortage. A report released Thursday helps put the issue in context: Los Angeles, a city with a strong economy and a population of around 4 million, still has more than 40,000 acres of undeveloped land.
In a significant shift in direction, Santa Barbara County added 19 new residential locations to its Housing Element for a total of 2,151 new units. The county found itself in an opposition buzzsaw after its draft Housing Element proposed redefining farming on the fringes of Goleta. At the time, county officials said they had scoured the county looking for housing and planted the farmland “only as a last resort.” While the agricultural sites are still under consideration in the housing element, the county has now proposed housing on seven of its own lots.
The San Diego Union-Tribune – March 27
Last week, city council members approved an ordinance aimed at revitalizing vacant non-compliant buildings (e.g. commercial buildings in residential areas) by granting a temporary occupancy permit for up to seven years. The idea is that these permits allow property owners to generate income from the temporary use of their buildings, allowing more time for redevelopment. The city council could also consider rezoning an area, but the process is lengthy as it would need to consider how changes might affect other lots. Some interim uses that the city could approve include co-work office space, art studios or galleries, or pop-up retail and resource centers offering everything from healthcare services to tax services. Design-specific buildings, such as auto repair shops, would also qualify, but their temporary use would be treated on a case-by-case basis.