What’s the Challenge? SB9 and HCD/RHNA
California cities and counties are increasingly under the thumb of aggressive state housing policy.
Legislators claim that access to affordable housing is a matter of statewide concern and not a municipal affair. However, over the years, state policies are worsening the cost of home ownership and rental housing and increasing the number of homeless.
Last year, SB9 used broad strokes to systematically deny jurisdictions the right to plan and zone for their own growth. Instead, legislators put controls into the hands of outside housing developers and investors. Six Southern California cities have filed two lawsuits in protest.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, jurisdictions are scrambling to find housing sites to meet the inflated housing quotas handed down by the CA Housing and Development (HCD) Department. In this 2023-3031 cycle, the state is dictating to cities that they have to build double or even triple the number of housing units they built in the past eight-year Regional Housing Need Assessment (RHNA) cycle. California cities are exploring the potential for a lawsuit against HCD for faulty methodology and quotas that threaten the safety and well-being of residents.
What’s a Solution? Join the Lawsuits
Catalysts for Local Control is tackling the challenge of state overreach that removes local authority to plan for growth and zone for housing in a 4-part Town Hall Series called “Stop State Takeover: Preserve Local Control.”Details about the series, including speakers, topics, dates, and registration, are here. Litigation resources including Fact Sheets, the lawsuits, letters, and articles, are here.
ACTIONS for City Council members, Boards of Supervisors and Constituents
Learn about the objections to SB9
- Illegal and unconstitutional. SB9 is an illegal and unconstitutional state law that preempts local zoning and allows the conversion of a single-family R-1 zoned property into as many as four units.
- No requirement for affordable housing. The law passed with a shallow promise to meet the need for affordable housing, but it does not require any affordability covenants or deed restrictions. Thus SB9 housing could be sold or leased at market rate prices which are likely to execrable unaffordability and will most certainly increase density four-fold.
- Unfunded state mandate. SB9 imposes unfair financial burdens on the local city/county for long-term infrastructure expenses like streets, sewers, and safety services.
- Rushed and reckless policy. The League of CA Cities and 241 CA cities (of a total of 482 jurisdictions) opposed the law. The confusing bill was controversial. In August, the Assembly vote was 28/7/5 (Yes, No, No Vote Recorded). In the Senate, the vote was 45/19/15. In September Governor Newsom signed the bill and implementation began on January 1, 2022
Learn about the objections to HCD/RHNA
- Flawed, flaky housing data. The CA State Audit concludes “The Department of HCD must improve its processes to ensure that communities can adequately plan for housing.”
- Violation of CA Constitution. HCD violated the California Constitution when it established the RHNA methodology (CA Code: 65584.01(b)(1)
- Unrealistic, inflated RHNA numbers. HCD methodology generated RHNA numbers double, triple, or more than the quotas of any previous eight-year cycle.
- Unsafe conditions. Regional agencies, enacting HCD policy, rejected city and county safety requests for reduced quotas related to fire, flood, buildable sites, and other factors of local concern.
- City Councils and Boards of Supervisors:
- Put joining the lawsuits on the agenda with notice for public participation.
- Talk to colleagues in cities that are parties to the lawsuits.
- Invite a presentation to your local city council or coalition of elected officials.
- Host your own Town Hall to educate and engage the public.
- Constituents and Community Leaders
- Discuss the lawsuits at your Neighborhood Association or Homeowner Association meeting. Invite a rep from the City Council or BOS to join you,
- Present the findings of your deliberation to the City Council or BOS.
- Hold a rally before the meeting. Invite the press. Hold signs. Chant your demands.
- If your neighborhood doesn’t have an association, get one started by inviting people to a living room organizing meeting.
- Join the Catalysts Call on Zoom on Mondays at 5 pm.
- Link up with other statewide groups.
We face genuine housing issues that should be addressed with incentives and collaboration, not bullying and threats. Local sovereignty is being replaced by outside special interests. SB 9 and HCD’s RHNA worsen, rather than improve, housing affordability
Register for the Town Hall series. Forward to friends.
JOIN THE LAWSUITS!