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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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San Mateo loses housing ruling with big statewide implications

By Curtis Driscoll, San Mateo Daily Journal, September 14, 2021

“The California Court of Appeals has ruled that the San Mateo City Council did not meet the Housing Accountability Act requirements when it denied a condominium development proposal in 2018, disappointing the city but emboldening housing proponents.

“The Housing Accountability Act limits a city’s ability to reject proposals for housing developments that satisfy general plan and zoning requirements.

“The city had argued its position was defensible legally because the proposed development objectively violated the city’s multifamily design guidelines aimed at smoothing height differences between properties with transitional features, such as setbacks.

CaRLA Executive Director Dylan Casey said the decision sets a precedent that cities and trial courts will follow, and strengthens the Housing Accountability Act. Casey believes the decision will help lead to housing element plans that ensure housing is allowed and approved by cities, even if … controversial.

“He said the decision could also lead to San Mateo revisiting its design review standards for developments to look at more uniform, objective design standards for applicants interested in housing development, a key distinction in the case. […]”

Read the full article here. (~3 min.) Also in this issue: Calif. court upholds limiting local governments’ ability to deny housing developments

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