HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA — Huntington Beach City Council members were warned by Attorney General Rob Bonta Monday to not pass a local ordinance against a state law allowing more freedom to sidestep city zoning when a municipality lacks a housing plan and a project includes at least 20% affordable housing.

A bare majority of the city council mentioned their intent in a Dec. 20 meeting to take on the state’s builder’s remedy law. The city’s planning commission is scheduled to talk about the proposal during its Tuesday meeting.

“California is facing a housing crisis of epic proportions, and it’s going to take all of us, doing our part, to ensure that Californians have access to affordable housing,” Bonta said in a news release. “The city of Huntington Beach’s proposed ordinance attempts to unlawfully exempt the city from state law that creates sorely needed additional housing for low- and moderate-income Californians.”

Interested in local real estate?Subscribe to Patch’s new newsletter to be the first to know about open houses, new listings and more.

According to the news release, the builder’s remedy provision is triggered if a city doesn’t enact a state-mandated affordable housing plan. As long as a developer has a project that includes 20 percent for low-income or 100 percent for moderate-income then the builder can ignore local zoning laws — but not state environmental laws.

The city’s ordinance would seek to prohibit any projects under the state’s builder’s remedy law, which was signed into law in 1990 by former Gov. George Deukmejian.

Interested in local real estate?Subscribe to Patch’s new newsletter to be the first to know about open houses, new listings and more.

Mayor Tony Strickland and Councilman Casey McKeon will join City Attorney Michael Gates for a meeting with reporters Tuesday afternoon on the issue, but declined any comment until then.

Councilman Dan Kalmick, who voted against the council majority’s plans in December, told City News Service that Bonta’s letter concerned him.

“I’m really worried that we got a letter from the Department of Justice threatening to sue us,” Kalmick said. “I was against filing suit (against the state) and passing an ordinance to make state law illegal. What’s the next step? Are we going to try to make motorcycle helmets illegal in Huntington Beach? Allow people to smoke inside? It’s disappointing. I’m worried about the path this new council majority wants to take. It’s wild.”

City News Service contributed to this report.

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

The rules of replying:

  • Be respectful. This is a space for friendly local discussions. No racist, discriminatory, vulgar or threatening language will be tolerated.
  • Be transparent. Use your real name, and back up your claims.
  • Keep it local and relevant. Make sure your replies stay on topic.
  • Review the Patch Community Guidelines.

Time is now for parents to gain digital control

Retired Sheriff’s Deputy happy to be part of Tustin Police Department