HomeLettersLCF Is a Test Case for Housing Law

LCF Is a Test Case for Housing Law

Please be assured, I am not a real estate investor or developer, and have nothing personally to gain or lose from what becomes of 600 Foothill Blvd, LCF. As a 30-year resident of LCF and an attorney, not only do articles in the Outlook Valley Sun about pickleball pique my curiosity, but reading esoteric pleadings is, in fact, what I do for a living. It’s not just me, either; journalists, attorneys and pro-housing advocates throughout the state of California are reading the pleadings and writing about the saga of La Cañada Flintridge and its battle to control what get built, or not, at 600 Foothill Blvd.
LCF now has the dubious honor of being a litigant in what is known in the legal community as a “test case,” described by one of my colleagues like this: “A case this summer tested whether a local jurisdiction could achieve certification of a substantial compliance of its housing element by other means. In Californians for Homeownership v. City of La Cañada Flintridge, the court held the city of La Cañada Flintridge failed to timely adopt a housing element and could not self-certify its housing element to avoid penalties like the builder’s remedy …” (Justin A. Zucker, Aug. 31, 2023, California Lawyers Association, “Housing Element Non-Compliance Spurs Builder’s Remedy Projects.”)
The two subsequently filed cases against LCF (23STCP02614 and 23STCP02575) are about whether a penalty known as a “Builder’s Remedy” will allow the owner/developers of 600 Foothill Blvd. to move forward with their proposed project in spite of what the city approves or not. Did I correctly read that the city’s argument is that the California Department of Housing and Community Development does not have authority to enforce the law?
A judge, or a panel of them, could very well be making the ultimate decision about what can be built at 600 Foothill Blvd. if a resolution isn’t reached. After watching what transpires in courtrooms for more than three decades, I can count on one hand the number of judicial officers I would trust to make a decision about my life or property, so good luck with that.
Perhaps it is time to rise to the occasion and admit that “bedroom communities,” like LCF purports to be, are the direct result of white flight, racism, and red-lining and nothing to be proud of.
To this end, it was very gratifying to read the Sept. 21 front-page article of this very newspaper entitled “Residents, Councilman Address Questions of Inclusion.” Thank you, Councilman Bowman, Pastor Sears, Mr. Plowman, the Williams family, and the members of the community who know that it is a moral, as well as legal, imperative that LCF complies, in good faith, with the law of the state of California when it comes to facilitating the development of low- and moderate-income housing.
“We all belong to each other.” — Father Greg Boyle.

Lisa MacCarley
La Cañada Flintridge

First published in the September 28 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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