State lawmakers adopted dozens of housing laws in the past six years, arguing suburban cities are limiting construction to keep out apartments, condos and low-income housing.

Lawmakers also tightened the rules for developing homebuilding goals, making the process more cumbersome.

To beef up enforcement, the state created a housing enforcement unit and Justice Department housing strike force.

Local leaders pushed back, saying Sacramento is usurping local control.

Here are some of the key laws at issue in this latest round of Surf City vs. California:

RHNA: The 54-year-old Regional Housing Needs Assessment law requires local governments to plan for housing at all income levels, drafting new plans once every five to eight years to meet that need. Lawmakers have added teeth to RHNA in recent years, saying the law was ignored and ineffective.

As a result, Southern California’s RHNA mandate tripled this decade to 1.3 million new homes. Huntington Beach’s increase is even steeper, jumping tenfold to 13,368 homes.

Charter cities: The state constitution allows cities that adopt their own charters to control their municipal affairs, but they still are subject to state laws on other matters. Court rulings have held that some state housing laws still apply in charter cities.

Senate Bill 9: The California Home Act, passed in 2021, ends single-family zoning by allowing “lot-splits” in single-family neighborhoods, with up to four units. Minimum lot sizes are needed to qualify. Huntington Beach has yet to receive any SB 9 applications.

Accessory dwelling units: Thousands of new backyard and garage apartments are being built throughout the state, thanks to a series of new laws easing restrictions on ADUs. Local governments were forced to allow bigger units on smaller lots, with up to two ADUs on a site. New rules also make them easier to rent.

Builder’s remedy: A 32-year-old provision in the state’s “Anti-NIMBY” Housing Accountability Act requires jurisdictions without a state-certified “housing element” to approve developments, regardless of zoning, so long as they include affordable housing.

In 2019, SB 330 made it easier to apply by allowing bare-bones “preliminary applications” to lock in builder’s remedy rights. Huntington Beach has yet to receive a builder’s remedy application.

Senate Bill 1333: This 2018 law was adopted in response to a court ruling in Huntington Beach’s favor. The measure applies portions of the state’s planning and zoning law to charter cities. In its federal lawsuit, Huntington Beach alleged Thursday that SB 1333 deprives charter cities of their constitutional rights.


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