C.A.R. Housing Group Sues Six So Cal Cities Over Failure to Plan for Housing

Californians for Homeownership, a nonprofit organization that aims to address California’s housing crisis through impact litigation, announced that it has filed lawsuits against six Southern California cities for violating state laws that require cities to plan for the development of housing. The cities are Bradbury, La Habra Heights, Laguna Hills, Manhattan Beach, South Pasadena, and Vernon.

The litigation aims to enforce the requirements of California’s RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) and housing element laws. Under the RHNA system, the state and local governments work together to identify regional housing needs and distribute them among a region’s cities and counties. Each city and county must then develop a “housing element” — a component of the city’s general plan that identifies sites available for future housing development sufficient to meet the city’s RHNA allocation. If the city cannot identify adequate sites, it must change its zoning to allow additional housing development.

Housing elements in the Southern California region were due on October 15, 2021. Some Southern California cities embraced the process, but all six cities targeted for litigation missed the state law deadline.

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