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12 LA County cities could face new pressure from the state to build housing

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They include some of the wealthiest cities in the county

Most California cities aren’t meeting housing goals, but some aren’t planning for those goals.
By GConner Photo / Shutterstock

During his first State of the State address last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom reiterated plans to take cities to task for not building housing, and a dozen cities in Los Angeles County could be among those targeted.

In his speech, the governor said that 47 California cities are “not complying with their planning requirements” by resisting a mandate that cities create plans to meet housing goals imposed by the state.

Curbed reviewed a compliance report from the state’s housing and community development department and found that nine LA County cities—Bradbury, Claremont, La Puente, Maywood, Montebello, Paramount, Rolling Hills, South El Monte, and Westlake Village—are out of compliance with California’s planning requirements.

Another three cities—Covina, Huntington Park, and La Habra Heights—have missed due dates to submit housing plans to the state.

Shortly after taking office, Newsom warned that cities would be held accountable for not meeting housing goals, and last month the state sued the city of Huntington Beach for “willfully refusing to comply with state housing law.”

Newsom met with officials from some of these cities in Long Beach Tuesday, where he told reporters he “can’t promise” that Huntington Beach will be the only city to face a lawsuit from the state.

During his campaign, the governor promised to preside over construction of 3.5 million new homes to address a statewide housing shortage driving up costs for both renters and homebuyers.

One part of making that happen is ensuring cities are updating “housing elements,” planning documents that identify ways to build enough new homes to account for population growth.

Right now, most cities in the state (including Los Angeles) aren’t meeting goals identified in those housing elements. Some, like Huntington Beach and the 12 LA County cities cited in the compliance report, haven’t yet cleared their housing elements with the state.

Newsom warned last week that he would not “preside over neglect and denial,” citing Montebello and Huntington Park as examples of cities that “need to summon the political courage to build their fair share of housing.”

Montebello submitted a draft of its housing element to the state in 2017, but as of last summer had not replied to a request for revisions from the housing department.

Following Newsom’s speech, the city of Huntington Park, which has a population density of nearly 20,000 residents per square mile, issued a statement indicating that its housing element is “in the final stages of adoption.”

The LA County cities cited in the compliance report vary dramatically in terms of population and demographics. Rolling Hills, La Habra Heights, and Westlake Village are among the wealthiest communities in the county. South El Monte, Maywood, and Huntington Park are among the poorest.