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Housing and Homelessness

Huntington Beach Wants To Take On California Over Duplexes, ADUs

A two-floor house with a garage on the back topped by a small house painted in white and light blue, surrounded by a wooden fence.
A Highland Park homeowner created a "granny flat" by adding an extra story to their garage as part of L.A.'s ADU pilot project.
(Photo courtesy of LA Más)
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Update, Feb. 22
  • The Huntington Beach City Council voted 4-3 Tuesday to mount a legal challenge against the state over laws intended to boost housing. 

The Huntington Beach City Council will consider mounting a legal challenge against state housing law and ceasing permitting of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) at its Tuesday evening meeting.

Last November, Huntington Beach residents voted in a strongly conservative city council majority and re-elected City Attorney Michael Gates. The new council promptly vowed to fight state laws and mandates that overrule city zoning rules and would force it to allow more dense housing developments.

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Housing laws under the microscope

The city council will vote on whether to direct the city attorney to challenge:

  • Senate Bill 9, which makes it easier for property owners to subdivide lots zoned for single-family homes
  • Senate Bill 10, which streamlines permitting for developments of up to 10 residential units
  • State laws that require cities to permit ADUs.

Huntington Beach is already considering adopting a rule that would exempt it from the state "builder's remedy," which allows developers to bypass local zoning if a city lacks an approved housing plan.
And it's certainly not the first time the traditionally conservative beach town has faced off with the state over housing.

The state reacts

Attorney General Rob Bonta and the California Department of Housing and Community Development have both warned Huntington Beach in recent weeks against trying to circumvent state housing law.

“We need partners in building a more affordable California, not more political grandstanding,” Bonta said in a Tuesday news release. “I urge Huntington Beach to reconsider its latest proposal.”

The Huntington Beach City Council will meet this Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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Updated February 22, 2023 at 2:13 PM PST
This story was updated to add a link to LAist's latest coverage.
Updated February 21, 2023 at 3:47 PM PST
This story was updated with new details from the California Attorney General's Office.
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