CA reaches settlement with city of Fullerton over state housing law

By SDCN Editor

Sacramento, CA–Governor Gavin Newsom and other state officials announced a settlement with the city of Fullerton requiring the city to comply with the state housing law. 

The city also will adopt a plan to allow for the development of 13,209 housing units, of which 5,187 will be low- or very low-income.

“Fullerton has committed to stop litigating and start building. California is facing a housing crisis, and the status quo is simply unacceptable. More communities must step up and do the right thing by building their fair share of housing or be held accountable, Newsom said.”

Under the state’s Housing Element Law, every city and county in California is required to periodically update its housing plan to meet its share of regional and statewide housing needs. Fullerton failed to adopt a housing plan on time and then took no action after it received a letter from the California Department of Housing and Community Development finding that its draft did not substantially comply with the Housing Element Law. The agency contacted and met with the city on several occasions and ultimately, due to the lack of compliance, referred the matter to the California Attorney General’s Office for enforcement.

“California’s Housing Element Law is an essential tool in our fight to equitably address our housing shortage, and local governments must follow the law and do their part,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “I applaud the Fullerton City Council, and its planning and legal team, for recognizing that public resources should be directed at collaborating, rather than further litigating, our way out of California’s housing crisis.”

“The city of Fullerton is more than two years late in adopting a compliant housing element, but this settlement lays out a clear path to compliance with milestones, as well as consequences if they fail to meet those commitments,” Gustavo Velasquez said.

As a result of the settlement, the city will now adopt a compliant housing element no later than November 5, and modernize its zoning code by December 29 to accommodate thousands of affordable homes. The settlement also resolves separate but related claims filed by Californians for Homeownership, Inc.

The city agrees to comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing statute to foster a more inclusive community and adopt a substantially compliant housing element. It will not deny housing projects based on zoning or general plan inconsistencies.

If Fullerton fails to abide by the settlement and does not cure its default, it may lose its authority to approve or deny certain types of developments.

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