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Huntington Beach Refusing State Order to Build Affordable Housing

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Surf City council has rejected several plans to build more housing, in spite of a state order

It doesn't look like Surf City will be getting more affordable any time soon. In a unanimous decision on Monday, the Huntington Beach City Council voted down a measure to create low-income and high density housing at several sites in the city; with an overflow crowd pouring into City Hall to protest the initiative, the council elected to side with the assembled public over the demands of the California state government.

In June, the California Department of Housing and Community Development alerted the city that it was not in compliance with state standards for affordable housing construction, but the council has repeatedly rejected proposals that would have allowed the city to meet its quota (it is now more than 400 units short). Huntington Beach has until September to meet the state's demands for construction.

Huntington Beach Mayor Jim Katapodis does not believe the city's aggressive NIMBYs are resisting affordable housing, so much as just plain old change. He tells the Orange County Register "I think people are seeing a lot of building going on (and) they just want it to stop."

It seems the city is gearing up to take that mandate to the state, though—the council is reportedly considering appealing the affordable housing quota assigned by the Southern California Association of Governments. City Councilmember Erik Peterson is blunt about the city's unwillingness to comply with the state, telling the Huntington Beach Independent "I think this is something the city residents want, and I think our city forefathers chose to be a charter state, which means we have more autonomy from the state.... I think we really need to push that."

The city is also appealing a decision by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge that sided with an advocacy group in forcing Huntington Beach to proceed with an affordable housing plan that the council had attempted to halt.