Malibu Developing 79 Additional Housing Units

April 29, 2024 ·

The city of Malibu is moving forward with an additional 79 housing units including for low-income individuals. Photo courtesy of Allison Huang via Unsplash.

MALIBU—On April 25, the city of Malibu announced that it will be allowing the development of 79 housing units, 47 which are required to be affordable to low-and very low-income homes. The housing plan is expected to be adopted by September 23, 2024. It is a settlement with California Attorney General Rob Bonta, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) Director Gustavo Velasquez allowing the city to reach compliance with the state’s Housing Element Law.

The agreement, which is in the form of a proposed stipulated judgment and must be approved by the court, is related to California’s sixth “housing element update cycle” for the 2021-2029 time period.

Under the state’s Housing Element Law, each city and county in California must periodically update its housing plan to meet its Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), or share of the regional and statewide housing needs. Located in Los Angeles County, Malibu was required to update its housing plan by October 15, 2021 to accommodate its 79-unit RHNA target. The city submitted a Housing Element Update in 2022, 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.

“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.”

A compliant housing element must include an assessment of housing needs, an inventory of resources and constraints relevant to meeting those needs, and a program to implement the policies, goals, and objectives of the housing element. Once the housing element is adopted, it is implemented through zoning ordinances and other actions that put its objectives into effect and facilitate the construction of new homes for Californians at all income levels.

The housing element is a crucial tool for building housing for moderate, low, and very low-income Californians and redressing historical redlining and disinvestment. State income limits for what constitutes moderate, low, and very low-income Californians vary by county and can be found here. In Los Angeles County, the median income for a one-person household is $68,750. A one-person household that earns less than $70,650 is defined as low-income, and a one-person household that earns less than $44,150 is defined as very-low income.

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 an expedited timeline and ensuring 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.

The city of 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 viewed here and here.

By Trevor

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