California on Friday reached an agreement with the city of Coronado over its housing plan, ending a battle between state officials and the coastal city of San Diego County.
The state argued that Coronado failed to comply with California’s Affordable Housing Act. That law requires all California cities and counties to regularly update their housing plans to meet the Regional Housing Needs Allocation — its share of regional and statewide housing needs. The current cycle is for 2021 to 2029.
Coronado must update its housing plan by April 15, 2021, to meet the 912-unit goal. While the city has updated the plan, state officials have determined it is not in compliance with the law. A revised plan also did not meet state benchmarks, although the city adopted it in July 2021 and sent it the following month to the state Department of Housing and Community Development.
The city’s challenge to its Regional Housing Needs Allocation went to the Fourth Appellate District in 2022, which ruled against Coronado. The Housing and Community Development Department then referred the issue to the state Department of Justice for enforcement, which led to negotiations.
In Friday’s ruling, Coronado agreed to allow the construction of 912 new homes.
“Every single city and county in the state has a responsibility to build their fair share of housing,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “The state is doing more than ever to accelerate construction, and we will continue to work with communities to build more homes, faster to support Californians.”
The agreement calls for Coronado to adopt an appropriate housing element by April 16. It must update the zoning code and local coastal plan by May 7, to address the housing element.
Those elements are essential for the construction of moderate, low, and very low-income housing. Income limits for categories vary by county. In San Diego County, a one-person household with less than $77,200 is low income. A person earning less than $48,250 has a very low income.
Currently a proposed scheduled judgment, the agreement must be approved by a court.
Coronado also agreed to follow the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing statute. That law makes local governments take action to combat diversity and help communities be inclusive. In addition, the city said it will not deny housing projects based on zoning or inconsistencies in a general plan.
The Department of Housing and Community Development’s agreement says the 374 planned units at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado could go toward the city’s 912-unit goal.
Failure to comply with the settlement may result in the loss of Coronado’s ability to approve or deny certain developments. The city could face fines if it doesn’t comply a year after the agreement.
“This agreement gives the city of Coronado the certainty and state support it needs to achieve a compliant Housing Element,” Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said in a statement. “Battled with an RHNA allocation that is much larger than in previous cycles, the combined creativity of the city and state was brought to bear to make this solution. found the resolution of a year-long challenge. ”
Gustavo Velasquez, director of the Department of Housing and Community Development in California, said that all communities in the state should be responsible for developing housing for all income levels. If the communities miss their deadlines on the housing element, Velasquez said his department must hold them accountable.
“We are pleased to see the city of Coronado commit to bringing their housing element into compliance with the Housing Element Act,” he said. “HCD will continue to work with the city, and monitor them, to ensure compliance and hold them to the commitments they made in this settlement.”
Attorney General Rob Bonta thanked Coronado, calling the state’s housing crisis “enormous.” Solving this problem requires that all local governments comply with the law and build their fair share of houses.
“Today should serve as a valuable lesson to counties and cities across the state: Regardless of your situation, state leaders are ready and able to help you deliver housing for all your residents.