A premature victory lap…SB35 and you.


Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates recently scored a victory against the Kennedy Commission with regards to the City Council’s decision to scale back the number of allowable units originally specified in the Beach Edinger Corridor Specific Plan HDD blitzkrieg passed by the previous Don Hansen led City Council. (Dwyer, Bohr, Hansen, Carchio, Coerper, Green, Hardy)

 In a recent LA Times / Daily Pilot article, Gates had the following to say…

Click to read the Daily Pilot Article on the Kennedy commission victory…

“We are gratified that the Court of Appeal has agreed with the city and affirmed our legal arguments in defense of the city on this important case regarding local control,” Gates said in a statement. “This is a huge win for Huntington Beach and the city attorney’s office.

“Many said we would never prevail. We did. We were right all along, and now the city of Huntington Beach can exercise the local control that outsiders, like the Kennedy Commission, claimed we couldn’t.”

Gates called the case an example for all charter cities not to “give up local control by giving in to special interests outside your city simply because of another lawsuit or threat of a lawsuit.”

Cesar Covarrubias, executive director of the Kennedy Commission, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The commission could appeal to the California Supreme Court, according to Gates.

The Court of Appeal ruling also still allows the commission to argue some of its original claims in Los Angeles County Superior Court, which handled the original complaint.”

Gates deserves a pat on the back for the win, the only trouble is, The State has now stepped in to accomplish most of what the Kennedy Commission was seeking to accomplish.

The Kennedy Commission, while having a very serious sounding name, is nothing but a shell for a group of developers that seek to profit from Low income housing and the tax incentives it offers. They simply shifted gears and used some sympathetic or paid off official to implement  the state legislative weapon, in much the same way that the Teacher’s unions do.

Gates is entitled to his victory lap, but it appears that essentially, it is all for naught.

Click here to read about the signing of housing legislation on September 29, 2017.

Click here to read the full text of SB 35 …

Note… Paragraph 1 (3) The bill would make findings that ensuring access to affordable housing is a matter of statewide concern and declare that its provisions would apply to all cities and counties, including a charter city, a charter county, or a charter city and county.

Michael Gates isn’t getting around this one.

The “Charter City” argument… Is now moot.

Local control has been usurped by the State.


 From the League of California Cities…

“SB 35’s approach is very simple and crafted so it will be easy for the state officials to administer: state demographers estimate the state’s annual housing needs across various income (low, very-low, moderate, etc.) categories with specific allocations assigned to individual cities and counties; state officials will then closely monitor each city and county’s housing approvals; if state officials determine that a city or county is not approving housing each year at its assigned level that means it is the local government’s fault and as a penalty it loses community control over certain housing approvals and environmental review.”

“For example: a city is allocated regional housing need numbers that include 1,000 units of moderate-income housing, 500 units of lower income, and 300 units of very-low income housing. The city adopts a state-approved housing element for its eight-year cycle and zones the land. State officials will then calculate their new SB 35 housing approval numbers by dividing each number by eight. “

Moderate 1,000/8 = 125 per year
Low Income 500/8    = 62.5 per year
Very Low Income 300/8    = 37.5 per year

“If the state determines that the city is not on pace to achieve its allocation for all categories each year, then it loses community approval authority until the city catches up. “
“While such a process may help for bureaucratic measurement and efficiency, it lacks any connection to private market realities or the availability of resources to construct units affordable to low or very low income households.”
“Local governments have long been required to zone sufficient amounts of land in an extremely detailed housing element process. These plans are subject to state approval by the Department of Housing and Community Development. “
“State policy makers have also recognized that while locals can plan for housing, they do not control the vagaries of the housing market place. Local governments do not control investment decisions by individual developers and landowners; nor do they control conditions in the national or state economy, interest rates, bank underwriting requirements, construction labor availability, regional water supplies, state environmental policies that may affect housing production and other market factors. “

The only way to comply with State mandates will be to build additional HDD units, as Huntington Beach is built out.

Up is the only option.

At this point, the die is cast. The only thing we can do this time around is to insist on mitigation efforts, architectural excellence and proper siting, close to a freeway on ramp.

When Boeing finally packs it in soon,(and trust me…its just a matter of time before the remainder of the H.B jobs are shipped off to low tax Huntsville Alabama or St. Louis Missouri) the  current Boeing campus will actually make a great location for a HDD project.
Bolsa Chica has multiple freeway access points to the 405 and the 22 southbound and an alt route down Westminster to the Northbound 405 and 605 and is already three lanes wide.
In the 90’s I worked on a project called One Ford Road off of Jamboree and Ford Road in Newport Beach. It involved a partnership between Ford Aeronautics and a developer to redevelop the Ford campus into homes. It was a huge success.
The Boeing site can support numerous single family homes, condos and even a high density development or two, provided they are well thought out and mitigated…this time, fucking beforehand.
As long as we don’t repeat the mistakes of the HDD Blitzkrieg on Edinger, HDD is doable.

It’s coming. Get used to it.

Just do it right this time.

“Unchecked Growth solely for the purpose of growth….is the philosophy  of cancer.  Well managed, mitigated thoughtful growth, is a sign of leadership. ” –

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