Surplus Land Act Ruling Will Be Felt in Charter Cities

San Jose and more than 100 other charter cities must offer any surplus public land to affordable housing developers before it can be sold, an appeals court has ruled. The decision came down on Nov. 24 from a three-judge panel from the Sixth District Court of Appeal, which overruled a previous decision by a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge.

The Surplus Land Act requires cities and counties in California to prioritize affordable housing developers in the sale of surplus land. As Courthouse News Service notes, San Jose argued the home rule doctrine for charter cities under the California constitution supersedes that law. The sixth Circuit disagreed.

In determining that charter cities are bound by the Surplus Land Act, the panel cited the “well-documented shortage of sites for low- and moderate-income housing and the regional spillover effects of insufficient housing.”

Read more about the ruling and its implications here.