Coronado Agrees to Build More Housing

WHAT TO KNOW: California reaches settlement with the City of Coronado for violating state’s Housing Element Law, resulting in an update to their housing plan by April 2024 to allow for construction of 912 new housing units for Californians at all income levels

SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Director Gustavo Velasquez today announced a settlement with the City of Coronado for failing to plan for new housing as required by law to alleviate California’s ongoing housing crisis.

As a result of the settlement, Coronado will allow construction of 912 new housing units.

“Every single city and county in the state will be held accountable for building their fair share of housing. The state is doing more than ever to streamline construction, and we will continue working with communities to build more housing, faster in order to support Californians.”  Governor Gavin Newsom
Under the state’s Housing Element Law, every city and county in California must periodically update its housing plan to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) – the municipality’s fair share of regional and statewide housing needs. RHNA is a crucial tool for building housing for moderate-, low-, and very low-income Californians, including those harmed by historical redlining and disinvestment.

“The Los Angeles Times said that Coronado ‘might be California’s biggest violator of affordable housing law.’ Today’s settlement puts an end to that distinction,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The City of Coronado has wisely chosen to collaborate with us and confront its housing challenges head on. There’s no question that this moment is long overdue — I want to thank the current Coronado City Council for finally doing the right thing. The housing crisis we are facing in California is enormous, and the only way we can tackle it is if every local government follows the law and builds its fair share of housing. Today should serve as a valuable lesson to counties and cities across the state: no matter your situation, state leaders are willing and able to help you deliver housing for all of your residents. If we could get it done in Coronado, an island city where a military base and a port sits on more than half of it, we can get it done elsewhere, too.”

The City of Coronado was required to update its housing plan by April 15, 2021 to plan for 912 new housing units. The City submitted a Housing Element Update in 2021, but was not found to substantially comply. After receiving a notice of violation from the State, the City and State conferred in good faith to chart a course for the City to attain compliance.

“All California communities must take seriously their responsibility to facilitate housing development at all income levels through the housing element process, and HCD is here to help,” said Gustavo Velasquez, Director of the California Department of Housing & Community Development. “But when local jurisdictions miss their housing element deadlines, HCD must enforce the law and hold them accountable. We are glad to see the City of Coronado commit to bringing their housing element into compliance with Housing Element Law. HCD will continue to work with the City, and monitor them, to ensure compliance and hold them to the commitments they have made in this settlement.”

“This agreement provides the City of Coronado the certainty and State support necessary to attain a compliant Housing Element,” said Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey.  “Grappling with a RHNA allocation that is much greater than in prior cycles, the combined creativity of the City and State was brought to bear for this workable solution. With a shared goal of developing a meaningful and achievable plan to reach compliance, we’ve found resolution to a years-long challenge.”

Under the settlement:

  • The City of Coronado will adopt a compliant housing element by no later than April 16, 2024. 

  • Coronado must modernize its zoning code and local coastal plan by May 7, 2024 in order to meet the housing targets set forth in its compliant housing element.

  • HCD agrees that the 374 planned housing units on the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado can be credited towards the City of Coronado’s 912-unit RHNA, based on the Navy’s current plans.

  • The City of Coronado agrees to comply with the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing statute (AFFH). AFFH requires local governments to take meaningful actions that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities, free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics.

  • The City of Coronado acknowledges that, until the time it adopts a substantially compliant housing element, it will not deny housing projects on the basis of zoning or general plan inconsistencies.

  • If the City of Coronado fails to abide by the settlement, it may lose its authority to approve or deny certain types of development. Additionally, monetary penalties will be imposed if Coronado remains noncompliant 12 months after the effective date of the stipulated judgment.

A copy of the petition and proposed judgment can be found here and here, respectively.