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Santa Monica Lawyers Up To Push Back On Thousands Of Units Approved Due To Loophole

Santa Monica

Through a strange turn of events, growth-averse Santa Monica seems on the hook to allow thousands of proposed units, but it will not go down without a fight.

The city has hired lawyers and is gearing up to stop the units from being built, The Real Deal reports. 

“We did engage outside counsel,” Santa Monica City Attorney Doug Sloan told the city council last week. “It’s important to realize that, when looking at this builder’s remedy issue and the Housing Element law, that the rules were not always very clear, and it was somewhat of a moving target from the state.”

Santa Monica's housing element was out of compliance with state rules beginning in February, meaning that the document that outlines its rules about what can be built and where in the city was suspended.

Projects that were submitted in the window when the document was suspended are supposed to be approved, even if they are not in line with the city's rules guiding development. The city could add nearly 5,000 units because of the lapse. 

The window was closed Oct. 14, when the city's new housing element was certified by the state's Department of Housing and Community Development.