In the Headlines
March 1, 2024

Wealthy Calif. City Fighting Uphill in 'Builder's Remedy' Suit


West Coast Land Use and Environment attorney Ryan Leaderman was cited in a Law360 article on a Los Angeles judge's tentative ruling that a California suburb violated state housing law by rejecting a project that qualified for "builder's remedy" approval. 600 Foothill Owner LP, the project developer, sought approval for a mixed-use development in La Cañada Flintridge that included low-income units using the "builder's remedy" provision of the state's Housing Accountability Act; under this provision, cities that fail to have a compliant housing element are stripped of local zoning authority, meaning the state can approve residential projects that meet affordable housing requirements, regardless of local ordinances. After La Cañada Flintridge denied 600 Foothill's application, the developer sued the city and City Council, among others, asserting its right to the builder's remedy approval and alleging violations of a host of housing laws. Mr. Leaderman, who leads the Holland & Knight team representing the developer, said he was pleased with the decision in favor of his client but also urged the judge to go one step further by finding La Cañada Flintridge acted in bad faith, which would lead to an automatic project approval.

"[The city] has pulled out all the stops to thwart this mixed-use housing development project. And there are many examples where we believe that the city has acted in bad faith, and we urge you to reconsider the tentative with respect to that claim," he argued.

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