California Construction News staff writer
The City of Coronado has reached a settlement with California after violating the state’s Housing Element Law, agreeing to update the housing plan by April 2024 to allow construction of 912 new housing units for Californians at all income levels.
Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Director Gustavo Velasquez announced a settlement with after the city failed to plan for new housing as required by law to alleviate California’s ongoing housing crisis.
“Every single city and county in the state will be held accountable for building their fair share of housing. The state is doing more than ever to streamline construction, and we will continue working with communities to build more housing, faster in order to support Californians, Newsom said.
Under the state’s Housing Element Law, every city and county in California must periodically update its housing plan to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) – the municipality’s fair share of regional and statewide housing needs. RHNA is a crucial tool for building housing for moderate-, low-, and very low-income Californians, including those harmed by historical redlining and disinvestment.
The City of Coronado was required to update its housing plan by April 15, 2021 to plan for 912 new housing units. A 2021 update was not found to substantially comply. After receiving a notice of violation from the State, the City and State conferred in good faith to chart a course for the City to attain compliance.
“This agreement provides the City of Coronado the certainty and State support necessary to attain a compliant Housing Element,” said Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey. “Grappling with a RHNA allocation that is much greater than in prior cycles, the combined creativity of the city and state was brought to bear for this workable solution.
“With a shared goal of developing a meaningful and achievable plan to reach compliance, we’ve found resolution to a years-long challenge.”
Under the settlement:
- Coronado will adopt a compliant housing element by no later than April 16, 2024 and agrees to comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing statute (AFFH). AFFH requires local governments to take meaningful actions that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities, free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.
- Coronado must modernize its zoning code and local coastal plan by May 7, 2024 in order to meet the housing targets set forth in its compliant housing element.
- HCD agrees that the 374 planned housing units on the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado can be credited towards the City of Coronado’s 912-unit RHNA, based on the Navy’s current plans.
- Coronado acknowledges that, until the time it adopts a substantially compliant housing element, it will not deny housing projects on the basis of zoning or general plan inconsistencies.
- If the city fails to abide by the settlement, it may lose its authority to approve or deny certain types of development. Additionally, monetary penalties will be imposed if Coronado remains noncompliant 12 months after the effective date of the stipulated judgment.