Beverly Hills, a city known for luxurious mansions, must come up with a new plan to comply with a California law that requires it to offer housing for moderate- and low-income residents, a judge ruled.
(Bloomberg) — Beverly Hills, a city known for luxurious mansions, must come up with a new plan to comply with a California law that requires it to offer housing for moderate- and low-income residents, a judge ruled.
The city failed to meet a regional plan target of 3,104 housing units, more than half of which would be affordable to low- and very low-income households, by 2029, according to a lawsuit filed by Californians for Homeownership, a not-for-profit organization sponsored by the California Association of Realtors.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge this week granted the organization’s petition to order the city to redraw its plan.
The ruling comes amid a broader effort to enforce affordable housing requirements in California, which faces among the worst housing shortages in the US. Fees, regulations and delays have pushed building costs to among the highest in the nation, and the state adds far fewer new units than it needs each year to meet demand.
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“For far too long, cities and counties have used unrealistic and underdeveloped housing plans to skirt around state planning rules,” Jennifer Branchini, president of the state Realtors group, said in a statement. “This case proves that the Legislature’s recent improvements to housing element law go a long way toward solving this problem, so long as these new laws are vigorously enforced.”
The average home price in Beverly Hills’ 90210 Zip code was $5.34 million, according to Zillow Inc.
Under state law, cities are required to identify sites for potentially affordable housing. Beverly Hills chose swaths of the city that are occupied by office, retail, medical and cultural buildings that have little realistic chance of being used as housing sites, according to Matthew Gelfand, a lawyer for Californians for Homeownership.
Beverly Hills City Attorney Laurence Wiener said the city would appeal the court’s decision.
“Approximately 60% of the residential units in the City of Beverly Hills are rental units and in excess of 40% of those rental units are occupied by lower-income individuals,” Wiener said in a statement, adding that the city was one of the state’s “earlier adopters of rent stabilization”
He said Beverly Hills has a mixed-use zone “to direct new development away from multi-family areas to preserve rent-stabilized units and avoid displacing tenants,” and is working with the state “to further revise its housing element.”
(Adds city’s response at end.)
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