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Housing justice advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced on Sept. 23 AHF’s filing of a lawsuit challenging a provision in Senate Bill 10, a housing production bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The complaint, filed on Sept. 22, challenges the constitutionality of a provision in the bill intended to streamline the process for cities to zone for multi-unit housing. A clause in the legislation states that “notwithstanding … restrictions enacted by local initiative, a local government may adopt an ordinance to zone a parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel.”
Unlike zoning ordinances passed by local government, ordinances adopted by initiative measure may not be amended or repealed without a vote of the people. AHF asserts this provision that allows legislators to override zoning restrictions violates the constitutional right of initiative by allowing local government to repeal or disregard initiative measures.
According to a press statement issued by Newsom upon signing SB 10 (and SB 9), the bill “…creates a voluntary process for local governments to access a streamlined zoning process for new multi-unit housing near transit or in urban infill areas, with up to 10 units per parcel.”
“We believe SB 10 includes a blatant constitutional overreach in its provision allowing two-thirds of members a city council, board of supervisors or other such ‘members of a legislative body’ to override local initiatives, including those with zoning restrictions, that may have been legally put in place by voters through the initiative process,” AHF president Michael Weinstein said. “This provision ignores the intent and will of voters totally disregarding the sanctity of voters’ rights.”
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