By Brian Johnson
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors
California continues to face an unprecedented housing crisis. The biggest factor is a lack in the supply of new housing. Policies related to the supply of new housing are created at a local level and local governments often create those policies based on voter interests and do not consider our local and regional housing needs. NIMBYs (Not in My Backyard) and municipalities using exclusionary housing policies are a major driver of the housing crisis. These policies are used across the state to restrict or deny new housing projects, including housing projects that would increase access to affordable housing.
While the state of California continues to pass laws designed to limit these practices and to make it easier for property owners to build there is not a lot they can do to monitor implementation at the local level. Without a strong organization to stand up for individuals’ property rights there is often little that property owners can do to force these cities to change their practices. Californians for Homeownership is a non-profit organization that was founded to work on behalf of the citizens of California against these policies.
Californians for Homeownership monitors compliance with the laws and when necessary they will file suits to make sure they are enforced. This can come in the form of lawsuits aimed at making sure cities review and approve projects in a timely manner, do not overcharge for development fees or to make sure that cities do not discriminate with regards to the approval of projects.
After several recent victories across the state, Californians for Homeownership has filed suit against the City of Coronado over practices meant to discourage the building of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the community. ADUs are secondary housing structures built on single-family properties. Often referred to as “granny flats”, these are an innovative way to increase the supply of housing throughout the state. The suit states that City staff denies ADUs when homeowners file for permits for the construction of a new home and an ADU at the same time. This violates the City’s written ADU policies and state ADU law.
The housing crisis cannot be solved by cities and communities working against their own residents in denying or restricting the creation of new housing. Only through cooperation and collaboration will we be able to solve our housing crisis. Organizations like Californians for Homeownership work to help protect the rights of property owners and to further the supply of new housing across the state. To learn more about Californians for Homeownership please visit their website at www.caforhomes.org.
Brian Johnson is a California licensed real estate agent and the Managing Director of Radius Commercial Real Estate. Brian handles all types of commercial real estate transactions but has a special focus on multifamily investments. He can be reached at 805-879-9631 or firstname.lastname@example.org