Santa Paula Times
Home
Menu

Council splits on supporting SCAG lawsuit over future housing requirements

April 13, 2001
Santa Paula City Council

On a split vote, the City Council agreed to join a lawsuit over mandated housing numbers by joining forces with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and possibly the Ventura Council of Governments in a legal action where the city would be a participant in name only

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesOn a split vote, the City Council agreed to join a lawsuit over mandated housing numbers by joining forces with the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and possibly the Ventura Council of Governments in a legal action where the city would be a participant in name only.At issue is the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and their support of the numbers being disputed by various cities for development future housing units.The Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) numbers are contradictory and overblown, the lawsuit claims, and if adhered to would fail to conform to the Federal Clean Air Act requirement. Such non-compliance would threaten the receipt of federal funds, according to a letter from Colin Lennard of Fulbright & Jaworski of Los Angeles.So far those involved in the lawsuit are SCAG, the Orange County Association of Governments, San Bernardino Association of Governments, and the Coachella Valley Association of Governments.
According to a report by City Attorney Phil Romney, the dispute has arisen over the Department of Housing and Community Development’s refusal to accept the RHNA numbers determined by SCAG. The key issues are that the HCD has no authority to determine what numbers SCAG uses to make housing allocations, and the numbers actually used are based on the most recent Census data as opposed to older information used by HCD on which it based its refusal.Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez is leading the charge for Ventura County cities, in a letter to Mayor Don Johnson noting that VCOG has no “independent authority to proceed in this type of matter without the concurrence of its members,” as a whole. Lopez wrote that VCOG could serve as a forum for future information if enough cities support the lawsuit.Oxnard has its own lawsuit over RHNA numbers, claiming that the number of low- and moderate-income units it is calling for is unfair in light of the city’s already high low-income housing numbers.In November 1999, SCAG approved a draft RHNA, but noted to HCD that the draft warranted a further examination of growth, especially in light of new projections of growth and subsequent housing needs.City Councilwoman Laura Flores Espinosa asked at the April 2 meeting that the two agenda items concerning the lawsuit be pulled for roll call vote. She cast the lone no vote on both.