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Apr 24, 2024

Governor Newsom and Attorney General Bonta Announce Agreement with City of Malibu on State Housing Law

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Newsom Administration and Attorney General Bonta have reached an agreement with the city of Malibu, to bring them into compliance with state Housing Element law. Under the agreement, the city will expedite the approval of its housing plan by September of this year.

SACRAMENTO – Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta, and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), announced a settlement with the city of Malibu to bring the city into compliance with the state’s Housing Element Law.

To communities large and small, affluent, or otherwise – everyone must build their fair share of housing. Rather than further delay action through litigation, Malibu has decided to work with the state to plan for the development of more housing.

Governor Gavin Newsom

With dedicated technical support from the state, the City will adopt a housing plan by September 23, 2024, to allow for the development of 79 housing units, 47 of which must be affordable to low- and very low-income households.

“Our housing laws are not optional; they apply to all cities and counties in California. Today’s settlement with the City of Malibu underscores that basic principle,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “We are facing a housing crisis of epic proportions. When local jurisdictions like Malibu do their part and allow more homes to be constructed, all Californians benefit. My office will continue working closely with HCD to make sure that every single city and county comes into compliance and plans for the future.”

“Malibu is a community that holds both tremendous need for affordable housing, and tremendous opportunity. This agreement provides an enforceable contract to ensure those housing needs are met,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “We are very appreciative to the City of Malibu for working with us to create this path to compliance with state housing law, and my team will provide every resource to help them be successful in that effort.”

“We understand the importance of adhering to the State’s housing element law and are dedicated to fulfilling our obligations,” said Steve Uhring, Mayor of Malibu. “Despite the challenges we’ve encountered, such as the devastation of the Woolsey Fire and the issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and staff turnover, our partnership with HCD has been pivotal in guiding us toward a resolution. This settlement reflects the shared goal of the City and State of California to address housing needs effectively in our community.”

Under the settlement:

  • Malibu will take several required actions to adopt a compliant housing element by September 23, 2024. The housing element process is typically lengthy — for example, local governments must meet certain public participation requirements and HCD must review every local government’s housing element to determine whether it complies with state law and provides written findings back to each local government — but Malibu has agreed to work on an expedited timeline from this point forward and ensure the public’s participation.
  • Malibu acknowledges that, until it has adopted a substantially compliant housing element, it may not deny certain low-, very low-, and moderate-income housing development projects based on the City’s current, outdated general plan and zoning code. This is known as the Builder’s Remedy.
  • Malibu could be subject to monetary penalties if it remains noncompliant 12 months after the effective date of the stipulated judgment.

A copy of the petition and proposed judgment, which details the settlement terms and remains subject to court approval, can be found here and here, respectively.