The long-running drama of whether the Huntington Beach City Council would approve a state-mandated housing element for Surf City’s general plan finally came to a conclusion on Tuesday night.
Councilmember Casey McKeon, whose recusal at the March 21 meeting had created a 3-3 deadlock between the council’s divided conservative and liberal wings, settled the issue.
“I was informed by the Fair Political Practices Commission that I do not have a conflict and am glad to vote on this,” he said. His vote tipped the issue and the council voted 4-3 to not approve the element, despite a threat from Gov. Gavin Newsom that such defiance could have grave consequences.
At issue is the city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment in which state officials state that Huntington Beach must – in the next 10 years – zone for but not necessarily build – 13,338 more residences in the city as way of coping with California’s housing shortage.
Rhetoric grew heated. Some members foresaw a collapse of city government if Huntington Beach didn’t agree to plan for its assigned RHNA. “The state rolls in and places us in a receivership,” argued Councilmember Dan Kalmick.
Mayor Tony Strickland countered that “if we lose this fight, the community we love is gone.” Another council member, acknowledging the possibility of losing the battle against what he called “overreach” by Sacramento, said he would “rather die on my feet than live on my knees.”
An attempt to find a way to submit the element to the state without agreeing to the RHNA was suggested, a process termed “self-certification,” but city planning staff said there’s no process available to do that.
Categories: Huntington Beach