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Monday, June 15, 2015

California Supreme Court Will Rule On Affordable Housing Requirements Today

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 10:15 AM

click to enlarge GLENN SAPADEN/FLICKR
  • Glenn Sapaden/Flickr

Update: The California Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing cities to retain broad authority in establishing affordable housing mandates. 

The California Supreme Court will rule today in a case about affordable housing requirements that could affect nearly 200 cities across the state, including San Francisco.

In 2010, the city of San Jose passed a law requiring some new residential developments to designate 15 percent of units as below-market rate. The California Building Industry Association fired back, arguing the city didn’t justify its 15 percent mandate nor demonstrate the negative impact of market-rate housing.

As The Associated Press reports, attorneys with the building association wrote, “ Local governments, housing advocates, purchasers of affordable housing, developers and purchasers of market-rate housing all need to have a clear legal standard to determine whether such ordinances are constitutionally valid.”

For its part, San Jose says that establishing land-use restriction is the city’s prerogative.

Per The Associated Press, city attorneys responded, “"The alleviation of the severe shortage of affordable housing is an important public purpose and serves the general welfare. There is no basis for the courts to second-guess the City Council's considered judgment in adopting an inclusionary housing ordinance as a means to comply with its affordable housing aims."

A state appeals court sided with San Jose, but now the case is before the state Supreme Court. A ruling in favor of the building industry could mean less affordable housing in many cities.

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Jeremy Lybarger


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