Gov. Gavin Newsom suing Huntington Beach over lack of low-income housing

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Newly elected Gov. Gavin Newsom is using a new law to sue the city of Huntington Beach over a lack of low-income housing.

"I take exception to Sacramento telling us we haven't always been following the law. We have been," Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates said in response to the lawsuit filed against the city by the state of California.

Newsom announced the action, accusing Surf City USA of standing in the way of affordable housing production, contributing to the housing crisis.

In a statement, Newsom said: "Cities and counties are important partners in addressing this housing crisis, and many cities are taking herculean efforts to meet this crisis head-on. But some cities are refusing to do their part to address this crisis and willfully stand in violation of California law. Those cities will be held to account."

"Our shortfall right now is approximately 400 units, so compare to the 1,353 we were assigned in 2014, 400 is not bad," Gates added.

The lawsuit alleges the city council changed a plan in 2013 that would've met state standards for low-income housing.

Gates contends there's inaccuracies in the suit and says developers are required to provide a percentage of low-income housing with every new multi-unit project.

"Lawsuit is surprising because we have been working, we literally have been in discussions with HCD the past couple of months," Gates said.

He also said he believes more than 50 cities are out of compliance, yet Huntington Beach is the only defendant.

"It makes it a lot more difficult for the city to move forward in a particular direction when we're constantly being challenged about our methods, our process," he said.

Gates said he plans to meet with the city council and discuss ways to fight the lawsuit.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.