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Four-Year Statute of Limitation for Housing Elements Bill Moves from Committee

City Officials Testify in Opposition

May 13, 2013
AB 325 (Alejo) squeaked out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday, May 8, on a vote of 5–3.
Opposed by the League and other organizations, the bill expands the current statute of limitations to sue local governments on their housing elements to more than four years. Assembly Member Alejo’s bill makes no distinction between jurisdictions that obtain a state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD)-certified housing element and those that do not adopt a housing element.

Three council members testified in opposition on behalf of the League: Petaluma Council Member Mike Healy, San Rafael Council Member Barbara Heller and Tiburon Vice-Mayor Alice Fredericks. In their testimony they highlighted the fact that the public has substantial opportunity to participate in the development of their city’s housing element before it is ever adopted. They also emphasized how the threat of lawsuits for four years into a housing cycle destabilizes certainty and planning and could have devastating effects on the development of affordable housing.
Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), the committee’s vice chair, was the only Democrat to vote against the bill. The League greatly appreciates Mr. Levine listening to the concerns of local government and withstanding pressure to provide a courtesy vote for a bill in its house of origin. Committee Chair and Assembly Member Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo) voted against the bill. Assembly Member Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) also voted against the measure.The remaining members, while voting for the bill this time, requested the author to work with the League before this bill is brought before a vote on the Assembly Floor.
The League would like to thank the city officials who travelled to the Capitol to testify before this key committee and urges cities to remain engaged on this bill. Requiring a four-year statute of limitations for HCD-certified elements makes no sense. 
Cities are encouraged to send letters of opposition on AB 325, and call their Assembly Member and ask them to vote “No’ on this bill on the Assembly Floor if the League’s issues are not addressed.
The League’s opposition letter, sample opposition letter and bill language are available online.

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