Home>Articles>AG Rob Bonta, State of CA Sue Elk Grove Over Alleged Affordable Housing Law Violations

CA Attorney General Rob Bonta. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

AG Rob Bonta, State of CA Sue Elk Grove Over Alleged Affordable Housing Law Violations

‘The state is pushing for approval before we can even see if it all works’

By Evan Symon, May 2, 2023 2:32 am

Attorney General Rob Bonta announced on Monday that he, Governor Gavin Newsom, and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will be suing the city of Elk Grove in Sacramento County over their rejection of a plan for 66 units of affordable apartment housing and allegedly violating a 2017 state law designed to quickly approve low-income housing.

In 2022, the city of Elk Grove denied approval of the proposed Oak Rose Apartments over conflicts with the zoning rules of the city. The rules, which state that ground floor space be zoned for business and commercial space, threw the project off the fast-track route that the state provided for similar projects. In particular, the project could not fall under SB 35, a 2017 law designed to have low-income housing projects be approved if the city is short of the state’s standards for low-income units.

During this time, the state began going after violators of SB 35 and other similar laws. Most notably, the state sued the city of Huntington Beach in March for not allowing more units built on properties due to application limits. With Elk Grove not budging on rapid approval, the state officially sued them on Monday. In a press statement, the Attorney General’s office said that they “filed a lawsuit against the City of Elk Grove, challenging the city’s denial of a proposed supportive housing project in the city’s Old Town Special Planning Area (OTSPA).” They also added that “the lawsuit filed today alleges the city’s denial of the project violates state laws including Senate Bill 35 (SB 35), the Housing Accountability Act (HAA), and fair housing laws intended to prohibit discriminatory land use practices, including the Nondiscrimination in Land Use Law and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing statute (AFFH).”

In a statement, Bonta said that the housing would specifically go towards those with low-incomes and at risk of becoming homeless, with Elk Grove’s refusal of approval possibly worsening the homeless situation in the area as a result.

“Our state is in a housing crisis and local governments must do their part to allow for affordable housing options for all members of our communities, regardless of their income level,” noted Bonta in a statement. “Everyone deserves to have a place to call home. California has critically important laws designed to combat housing discrimination and increase affordable housing opportunities. Today’s lawsuit against Elk Grove sends a strong message to local governments: if you violate fair housing laws, we will hold you to account.”

Governor Newsom added, “Communities that fail to build their fair share of housing, including those refusing to develop desperately needed affordable housing, will be held to account. Under my Administration, the state has provided unprecedented support, including billions in funding and resources to help guide communities as they work to meet their housing needs.  However, when local governments repeatedly fail to uphold their obligations and blatantly look for ways to skirt state law, we will use every tool available, including legal actions to ensure that Californians have access to needed housing.”

Housing Law Conflict In Elk Grove

However, Elk Grove city officials have strongly denied that they violated the law and that a final decision on Oak Rose has yet to even be given. The city also noted that over 1,000 affordable units are currently under construction which didn’t violate city codes.

“Elk Grove has a strong track record for supporting affordable housing projects and continues to engage in good faith discussions with the Oak Rose Apartments applicant in hopes of reaching a mutually agreeable solution,” Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen said on Monday.

Many residents backed the city, explaining that the state was specifically targeting areas that had issues with state law, but had not outright rejected the new units.

“Yeah, it’s not like we don’t want more affordable apartments here,” private Elk Grove apartment finder June Carrol told the Globe on Monday. “It’s just that the city has certain laws. You know, to create more solid complex, you need stores or business space on the bottom. For example, people running out to work get a quick coffee there while the coffee shop employs people there who can now afford an apartment right there. And then the coffee company makes money and the city and state get taxes from it all. Everyone gets something they want. But the state doesn’t see it that way and are pushing for speed on approval before we can even see if it all works out in that place beforehand. That’s dangerous.”

Elk Grove is expected to defend their actions in the suit.

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4 thoughts on “AG Rob Bonta, State of CA Sue Elk Grove Over Alleged Affordable Housing Law Violations

  1. Quote from Google search. “With its excellent schools, thriving local businesses, and beautiful parks, Elk Grove….” Not for long if they lose Bonta’s lawsuit. I guess Elk Grove isn’t 3rd world enough.

  2. Why would any community willingly build housing in it’s area knowing ahead of time that low-income renters will be occupying the finished product? What’s the upside here for that community because I’m just not seeing it.

  3. Good thing our chief law enforcement officer is going after the fentanyl crisis, human trafficking and the collapse of San Francisco. Oh wait, he’s Newsome’s chief bully…what was i thinking? Maybe they could redirect these potential renters to Daryl Town down on Power Inn & Fruitridge. Oh, again, my bad….What a joke!

  4. When is the ethically challenged Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta going to sue wealthy Democrat controlled cities and counties in the SF Bay Area that have no low income housing like like Atherton and Burlingame that have strict zoning regulations permit only one single-family homes of a certain size on large lots? Hasn’t Marin County been excempt from building any low income housing?

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