In Orange County, pushback over state’s homebuilding goal

Lawsuit claims California greatly exaggerates housing shortage

Los Angeles /
Jun.June 29, 2021 10:00 AM
Anaheim Councilmember Trevor O’Neil  (Facebook, iStock)
Anaheim Councilmember Trevor O’Neil  (Facebook, iStock)

Orange County cities are pushing back against a state-mandated goal to zone for the construction of 1.3 million homes across California this decade, including over 180,000 in its area.

The Orange County Council of Governments — a joint-powers authority representing city governments — is suing California’s housing department to cut that number to 650,000, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Too much housing construction will lead to overcrowding, according to the lawsuit. Meanwhile, at $900,000, Orange County had the highest median home price in Southern California in May. High housing prices remains a persistent problem across the state, though lawmakers have so far failed to substantially expand zoning laws to allow for more density and development.

California periodically sets housing goals for each region statewide. The latest state goal to provide for 1.34 million new homes by 2030 was certified in March by a wider regional body, the Southern California Association of Governments.

Southern California cities and counties must revise their general plans to account for the goal. Orange County’s share of the goal is about 183,000 new homes. The O.C. Council of Governments contends in the suit that the data “grossly overestimates the projected housing needs” of the county, according to the report.

Trevor O’Neil, chairman of the Council of Governments, also faulted the state for failing to “follow the statutes outlined in state law to develop the projected number of units needed in the next eight years to adequately house Orange County’s population.” O’Neil is also an Anaheim Councilmember.

The latest state calculation was the first time that officials had to account for overcrowding and cost-burdened households in the region, increasing the zoning requirement.

L.A. County has the heftiest goal, requiring it to zone for 812,000 new homes, including about 340,000 affordable homes.
The California Housing Partnership, an independent pro-housing organization, estimates that L.A. County is short about half a million affordable homes.

[LADN] — Dennis Lynch





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