Today we are announcing a final victory in our Housing Accountability Act lawsuit against Sausalito for an unlawful denial of a housing project. In 2016, David Holub, the owner of the project at 77 Crescent Avenue, proposed a modest addition to his property that would add one new unit of housing to the Bay Area’s already scarce housing supply. On September 11, 2017, Sausalito City Council voted to deny David’s project.
Today, our lawsuit against the City of Sausalito was dismissed as part of settlement proceedings. The City of Sausalito approved the housing project, reversing its previous denial. After the lawsuit was initially filed, the City of Sausalito attempted to circumvent their obligations under the state’s Housing Accountability Act by approving a reduced, infeasible project. CaRLA fought back, resulting in David Holub receiving a final approval for a slightly modified project with the same square footage which will ultimately result in one additional unit of housing added to the Bay Area’s already scarce housing supply.
The City of Sausalito denied the project on the grounds that the project is “out of scale with the village like quality of Sausalito”. We alleged that the city’s reason for denial of the project was based on subjective criteria, which is a violation of the Housing Accountability Act’s requirement that projects can only be denied for objective, legally-defined criteria; the organization prevailed as the city saw no alternative but to settle.
Today, the City of Sausalito learned a valuable lesson: No suburb is safe from the watchful eye of CaRLA. In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor cities alike from denying the human right to housing. When the State of California fell short on its enforcement responsibilities, CaRLA was there to secure the human right to shelter for all. We will remain vigilant as always in our work to reign in malicious municipalities intent on restricting this right to only those with the most means.
We’ve recouped attorneys’ fees as part of the settlement, putting other cities on notice that there are material consequences to violating state housing law. As CaRLA continues to enforce state housing law, cities across the state are beginning to see the writing on the wall and opting to avoid lengthy trials by reversing these unlawful denials early on, further expediting much needed additions to the state’s housing supply.
“CaRLA rescued me from an unlawful denial of my project,” adds applicant David Holub, “Until they showed up I was entirely on my own against neighbors and politicians determined to negate my property development rights. Their Housing Accountability Act law suit compelled the City of Sausalito to treat my applications fairly, entirely in conformity with the applicable codes, as they should always have been treated, but unfortunately never were.”