Huntington Beach made clear Thursday that it has no intention of abandoning its fight against state housing mandates. City Attorney Michael Gates filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit after a judge ruled the city had no standing to sue California over the requirements.
The latest Regional Housing Needs Assessment requires Huntington Beach to zone for 13,368 units this housing cycle. Gates has argued that Surf City shouldn’t have to comply with RHNA mandates since it’s a charter city.
“General law cities are widely accepted as subdivisions of the state,” Gates explained in a Daily Pilot interview. “But a charter city, there is some level of emancipation from the state of California. That’s what a charter’s all about, it’s basically somewhat of a Declaration of Independence, and that independence is to govern local affairs. Zoning and housing and planning and land use have always been considered a matter of local governance.”
He argues that charter cities also have a right to sue the state in federal court, contrary to U.S. District Judge Fred Slaughter’s ruling in November. Slaughter cited City of S. Lake Tahoe vs. California Tahoe Reg’l Plan. Agency, in which the petitioners were found to lack standing to invoke the jurisdiction of the federal courts. But unlike Huntington Beach, South Lake Tahoe is a general law city.
While Huntington Beach continues its fight over housing mandates, the state is also suing the city for its refusal to comply with the requirements.