AG Files Notice of Appeal to Overturn Superior Court Decision on Senate Bill 9

AG Rob Bonta

Special to the Vanguard

Oakland, CA – AG Rob Bonta this week filed a notice of appeal to reverse a judgment by the Los Angeles County Superior Court that would prevent the California Department of Justice from enforcing Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) against five charter cities on the basis that it violates their state constitutional authority. Under SB 9, local agencies must provide a “ministerial,” or streamlined, approval process for homeowners to build a duplex on, or subdivide into two lots, a lot zoned for single-family homes.

The underlying lawsuit challenging SB 9 was filed on March 29, 2022, by four Southern California cities—Redondo Beach, Carson, Torrance, and Whittier. The City of Del Mar joined the lawsuit on February 7, 2023.

The petitioners argued, “SB 9 violates the California Constitution because it is neither reasonably related to its stated concern of ensuring access to affordable housing nor narrowly tailored to avoid interference with local government.”

On April 22, the Superior Court in Los Angeles County agreed.

The Court found that while the state legislature “may enact legislation to ensure access to affordable housing” and may “act to address the different concern of a statewide shortage in housing more generally,” however, “because the provisions of SB 9 are not reasonably related. and sufficiently narrowly tailored to the explicit stated purpose of that legislation—namely, to ensure access to affordable housing—SB 9 cannot stand.”

The AG’s office disagrees.

“We firmly believe that SB 9 is constitutional as to every city in the state,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As the California Second District Court of Appeal recently held, ensuring housing availability and affordability in California is a matter of statewide importance. My office has vigorously defended the Legislature’s efforts to provide dignified housing to every Californian, and we will continue doing just that with SB 9.”

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