State Sues Huntington Beach Over Housing

California filed a landmark lawsuit against Huntington Beach Friday as part of a renewed effort to compel cities and counties to step up affordable home building.

The state's latest move is a warning shot to cities and counties everywhere, especially the more than 50 that are out of compliance with state law. California’s lawsuit was made possible by a recent amendment to the law which gives the state more power to clamp down on out-of-compliance localities. It's also a sign of Newsom's determinaiton to increase affordable housing in California.

“Many cities are taking herculean efforts to meet this crisis head-on,” the governor said. “But some cities are refusing to do their part to address this crisis and willfully stand in violation of California law. Those cities will be held to account.”

The suit states that “the failure of local governments to plan for the necessary housing supply has been a key factor contributing to this crisis.”

Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates disputes California’s characterization of the city’s policies and said the lawsuit makes it more difficult for officials to settle ongoing legal issues to remedy the problem.

Median home values in Huntington Beach now top $834,000, according to real estate website Zillow, and more than half of renters spend over 30% of their income on housing.

While state officials have long vowed to fix the state’s affordable housing crisis, Newsom has taken a far more ruthless approach, even threatening to withhold transportation funds from local governments that fail to meet housing goals. 

Read more about Friday's lawsuit and its possible implications here