There are diverse views on the battle to maintain local control, but the general trend is that State mandates preempt local control and the State politics on this are trending toward more State control. Under current law and threats made by the State, here are a few likely outcomes if we fail to adopt a Certified Housing Element.

  1. Become subject to Builder’s Remedy, a legal provision that prevents cities from rejecting development proposals that do not align with local zoning and planning requirements. Builder’s Remedy allows a builder to take any residential property in a city and, if they commit to a certain percentage of affordable units, can build high density on that land and the city will have little to no authority on the design or amount of density of that development. As an example of this threat, see this article about a developer who proposed a swath of tall apartment towers directly adjacent to single family residences in Santa Monica. There also are a growing number of Builder’s Remedy projects occurring in Orange County cities, including the cities of Orange and La Habra.  
  2. Lose access to Grants and other State Funds. The City applies for and receives grant funds from the State of California and other regional governments. If the City does not have a Certified Housing Element, the City can be prevented from receiving State grants such as SB 1 funding that helps pay for local streets or funding that is used by Yorba Linda to contribute to our regional homeless solutions. It would have a significant impact on the City’s operating budget. Yes, it is unfair that Yorba Linda residents pay taxes to the State, then have those taxes held back from the City to benefit taxpayers who paid them; but, at this time, that is State policy.
  3. Lose local control over land use.
  4. Forfeit protection over some open space, allowing developers more control.