Calif. Government Code §65589.5
Amended by A.B. 678
Effective date: January 1, 2018

To be deemed a housing development project, a mixed-use development needs to dedicate at least two-thirds of the square footage for residential use.

When a local government rejects any housing development project for noncompliance with local ordinances or standards, the local government is to provide the applicant written documentation identifying the relevant provisions and an explanation of the project’s noncompliance. The documentation must be provided:

  • within 30 days of the application date when the project contains 150 or fewer housing units; and
  • within 60 days of the application date when the project contains more than 150 units.

When a local government fails to provide the above documentation, the housing project is deemed compliant with local ordinances and standards.

Receipt of a density bonus does not constitute a valid reason to find a housing development project inconsistent with local ordinances and standards.

An applicant may file a court action against a local government to enforce proper review procedures. A court action must be filed no later than 90 days from the later of:

  • the effective date of the local government’s disapproval or imposition of conditions; or
  • the expiration of any statutory time period provided to local governments for development approvals following an environmental report.

An applicant who files a court action is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees.

A court may issue an order compelling a local government to approve a housing development project when the court finds the local government violated review requirements or did not reject the proposal in good faith. A local government which fails to comply with a judgment within 60 days is subject to minimum fines of $10,000 per housing unit, to be deposited within five years into a housing trust fund for financing newly constructed housing units for low-income households.

Editor’s note — This bill amends the Housing Accountability Act, an anti-NIMBY action aimed at preventing local governments from rejecting housing development projects. This is one of several bills passed by the California legislature to address the state’s housing shortage.

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