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Builder's Remedy Expands in Southern California

“Builder’s Remedy” Expands in Southern California

A little-known and rarely-used California measure added to the Housing Accountability Act in 1990 known as “builder’s remedy” has suddenly become the focus of developers looking to bypass typical zoning rules and build high-rise apartment projects. It’s because nearly half of California cities and counties don’t have a state-approved “housing element” which was required in Southern California back in 2021.

According to the Press Enterprise, nine SoCal cities have received 26 builder’s remedy applications in the past eight months, seeking to construct over 8,500 new residences. Two of the projects include a six-story apartment building in Orange and a 2,000-unit, 20-level complex in Santa Monica.

The key to the provision is low-income housing, which is what the builder’s remedy measure was designed for. Under the provision, cities and counties without a compliant housing element can’t deny housing projects where 20% of the units are set aside for low income residents, even if they don’t meet local zoning rules.

Cities like Santa Monica are now scrambling to find a solution while Huntington Beach is looking to outlaw builder’s remedy altogether, claiming it’s not subject to such laws.


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Builder's Remedy

About Mark Nieto

Mark comes to ConnectCRE with an extensive background as a business and news reporter in San Francisco radio, as well as 35 years as a traffic reporter on several stations including KGO, KNBR, KCBS and KFRC. As a business reporter, Mark covered the tech world in Silicon Valley where he became familiar with real estate transactions in the hot Bay Area marketplace. He attended San Jose State University with a BA in Radio and TV Broadcasting and currently resides in the Lake Tahoe area where he gets to frequently enjoy all of his favorite activities: Golfing, Fishing, Hiking and Skiing.