City Ordered to Disregard Voter Approved Housing Cap
In a first of its kind ruling, an Alameda County judge has ruled that the City of Pleasanton's voter-approved cap on the number of residences in the city (a measure intended to limit growth and congestion in the Tri-Valley town), violates a state law requiring all cities to take on their share of regional housing needs. The ruling, which the City may appeal, orders the city to change its zoning to accommodate new housing, about 4,000 new units by 2014, three-quarters of which must be affordable for low-to-moderate-income residents. The ballot measure, passed in 1996 and reaffirmed by voters in 2008, allows no more than 29,000 units in the city, the city currently has more than 27,000.
The Urban Habitat Program and a schoolteacher seeking affordable housing filed the suit in 2006. It was joined by Attorney General Jerry Brown last year, who said Pleasanton's housing limits added to urban sprawl, and led to increased vehicle use, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The city argued that the housing limit is a valid exercise of municipal land-use authority. The court noted that the Association of Bay Area Governments ("ABAG"), the organization that decides each city's housing allotment, assigned specific housing unit figures to Pleasanton which it had failed to meet in 2007 and would fail to meet in 2014 if its housing limits remained in effect.ShareThis