California Attorney General Wants to Get Serious About Housing

A bill sponsored by the AG’s office would give the state’s top attorney more power to intervene in lawsuits related to the state’s housing laws.

2 minute read

March 29, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


NAPA / Shutterstock

California’s Attorney General is asking the state legislature to empower his office to more strictly enforce state housing laws, which many California cities have been attempting to skirt or challenge since the state strengthened its enforcement of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), reports Dustin Gardiner in the San Francisco Chronicle.

The proposal comes in the form of Assembly Bill 1485, which would give the state’s Attorney General the “unconditional right” to get involved in lawsuits regarding state housing law.

“Two years ago, Bonta’s office launched a Housing Strike Force, a special division within his office that’s designed to hold cities accountable for skirting laws the Legislature has passed in recent years to fast-track some local processes that are often used to fight denser housing, including planning, zoning and permitting approvals.” However, when Bonta tried to intervene in housing-related lawsuits, he has sometimes been delayed by judges. 

The proposed law would let the Attorney General’s office intervene in third-party cases more easily and confront anti-housing interests more directly. According to Todd David, special projects director for the Housing Action Coalition, “This is another tool that indicates to recalcitrant municipalities that the state is really concerned about this issue.”

State Sen. Scott Wiener, co-author of the bill, says the Attorney General, unlike individual developers engaged in lawsuits, “has a broader public interest to protect the enforcement of state housing policy and to prevent a patchwork of legal interpretations that could be harmful.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in San Francisco Chronicle

Black and white Rideshare Pick-Up Zone sign

The Slow Death of Ride Sharing

From the beginning, TNCs like Lyft and Uber touted shared rides as their key product. Now, Lyft is ending the practice.

June 1, 2023 - Human Transit

Urban sidewalk shaded by large mature trees

Cool Walkability Planning

Shadeways (covered sidewalks) and pedways (enclosed, climate controlled walkways) can provide comfortable walkability in hot climates. The Cool Walkshed Index can help plan these facilities.

June 1, 2023 - Todd Litman

Traffic on the 405 interstate freeway through the Sepulveda Pass at Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, California

Congestion Pricing Could Be Coming to L.A.

The infamously car-centric city is weighing a proposed congestion pricing pilot program to reduce traffic and encourage public transit use.

May 30, 2023 - Los Angeles Times

"Welcome to Texas" road sign with Texas flag and "Drive Friendly - the Texas way" slogan

Report: Austin’s State Roads Deadlier Than City Roads

Traffic fatalities and serious injuries grew on state-owned roads in the Texas capital, even as city-owned streets saw death rates plateau.

19 minutes ago - Smart Cities Dive

View from lakeside with green grass and pink blooming flowers

Who Benefits Most from Land Conservation Efforts?

A new study estimates that recent land conservation generated $9.8 billion in wealth nationally through the housing market and that wealthier and White households benefited disproportionately.

1 hour ago - PNAS

Close-up of black parking meter with blurred street in background

Richmond Repeals Parking Minimums, Encourages Off-Street Parking and Transit

The Virginia city is replete with underused off-street parking lots, which city councilors hope to make available for parking at more times while encouraging transit use.

2 hours ago - Next City

Project Manager III

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

UDO Transportation Planner

City of Charlotte - Charlotte Area Transit

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.