What is the Builder’s Remedy?

Builder’s Remedy is a legal provision of the State Housing Accountability Act. It takes away local control by preventing cities from rejecting development proposals that do not align with local zoning and planning requirements if a city does not have a State-certified Housing Element. Recently, its usage has increased across California, raising concerns about its impact on local communities.

How It Operates

If a city lacks a certified Housing Element, its power to deny or condition housing projects is significantly reduced. This loophole is available to developers, leading to the approval of projects that are potentially inconsistent with a community’s character and planning standards as there are no caps on building heights or density. Furthermore, Builder’s Remedy notably supersedes Measure B, Yorba Linda’s Right-to-Vote Amendment, empowering voters to approve or reject major adjustments to the City’s land use documents. Under Builder’s Remedy, Yorba Linda voters’ stamp of approval will not be required because the provision has California state law backing and will supersede local ordinances.

The Threat to Yorba Linda

Yorba Linda currently holds a conditionally-certified Housing Element. The conditionality of our Housing Element rests in the November 2024 ballot measure vote to approve the revised Housing Element that was updated based on feedback from residents. If the ballot measure fails, Yorba Linda’s Housing Element will be decertified and the City will be subject to Builder’s Remedy applications inhibiting the City’s local control over developments. This could lead to developments that alter the City’s open space and character of single-family neighborhoods.

A Theoretical Local Example: The Fairmont Site

Under Builder’s Remedy, developments like the proposed “Hills Preserve” Apartment Project in Anaheim could bypass existing zoning regulations. This means increased housing density without the City’s input or control, leading to unforeseen and often unwanted transformations. This could theoretically happen to the “Fairmont Site” in Yorba Linda under Builder’s Remedy purview.

Builder’s Remedy in Southern California

Below is a list of the cities in Los Angeles County and Orange County where a developer has submitted a Builder’s Remedy application:

  • Alhambra
  • Beverly Hills
  • Claremont
  • La Cañada Flintridge
  • La Habra
  • Laguna Hills
  • Lawndale
  • Los Angeles
  • Manhattan Beach
  • Mission Viejo
  • Orange
  • Pasadena
  • Redondo Beach
  • Santa Monica
  • South Pasadena
  • West Hollywood

The Importance of a Certified Housing Element

In terms of avoiding the negative impacts of Builder’s Remedy, obtaining and maintaining a certified Housing Element in line with state requirements is essential. Doing so not only helps the City avoid substantial fines and other penalties, but ensures that Yorba Linda maintains control over local development, safeguarding the City’s character and quality of life.


The sites below in green are the locations where zoning changes have been identified in the revised Housing Element to meet our State-mandated housing quota. They comprise less than 2% of all the land in Yorba Linda. If Builder’s Remedy is available to developers, these sites and many areas outside these sites could be subject to Builder’s Remedy projects.

In Summary

Builder’s Remedy presents a tangible threat to Yorba Linda’s ability to control local developments. Adopting a certified Housing Element is not just a legal necessity; it is a crucial step in protecting our City’s future, ensuring that development aligns with our community’s needs and values.

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