A Los Angeles County judge has issued a moratorium on all new building permits except for new residential development in the city of Beverly Hills. The moratorium is punishment for the city’s failure to plan for affordable housing. It means any Beverly Hills resident seeking to renovate their existing home won’t be able to get the permits necessary to do so.
“I’m shocked by the judgment,” real estate attorney Murray Fischer told the Los Angeles Times. “It would mean that the city is at a standstill.”
The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by the nonprofit, Californians for Homeownership. The plaintiff says the housing plans Beverly Hills has submitted to the state deliberately overestimate the ability to turn commercial properties into residences. They accuse the city of stymying affordable housing development.
Beverly Hills is not the first city to face a permitting moratorium, but it may be the most affluent. Under a legal settlement, San Bernardino is facing a similar punishment if it fails to approve a compliant housing plan this year.
The question is, will more California cities begin to see similar penalties?
Beverly Hills officials are appealing the decision, and they’re continuing to issue permits anyway. That means the impact hasn’t been felt by the city’s rich and famous — yet.