On October 28, 2019, we filed a lawsuit against Huntington Beach for illegally rejecting a 48-unit mixed-income condominium complex.
The Ellis Avenue Condominium Project
The Ellis Avenue Condominium Project is a proposed 4-story mixed-use project planned for 8041 Ellis Avenue in Huntington Beach, near the intersection with Beach Boulevard. The project would provide 48 condominium units (including 5 income-restricted affordable housing units) on a site that currently contains a liquor store, a single family home, and part of a car wash. The project would be built across the street from a 6-story 274-unit apartment building developed in 2015 at roughly twice the density of the proposed project. The project site is highlighted in yellow below:
Image attribution: Google; Maxar Technologies; U.S. Geological Survey; USDA Farm Service Agency.
Under Huntington Beach's "Beach and Edinger Corridors Specific Plan," this area was selected to become one of the hubs of a walkable urban neighborhood with shops and multifamily housing. The developer worked closely with city staff for two years to design a project that met all of the city's requirements. As a result, it earned the recommendation of city staff.
The Huntington Beach Planning Commission and City Council overrode the professional judgment of the city's professional planning staff and rejected the Ellis Avenue Condominium Project, citing vague, unsupported concerns and inapplicable guidelines.
After the City Council made its final decision, we sent the city a letter offering it a choice: either re-consider the decision, or face a lawsuit. The city never responded. We filed our lawsuit a month later. Click here to view a copy of our Petition for Writ of Mandate against the City of Huntington Beach.
After we filed our lawsuit, the City agreed to reconsider the Project but rejected it again, citing the same vague concerns. After this second rejection, the developer and another non-profit organization, California Renters Legal Advocacy & Education Fund (CaRLA), filed their own lawsuit challenging the City’s decision. The developer, CaRLA, and Californians for Homeownership have worked collaboratively on the litigation in the time since.
On October 4, 2021, the Orange County Superior Court held that the City of Huntington Beach “did not proceed in the manner required by law in denying approval of the project.” In an accompanying Proposed Statement of Decision, the Court explained that the Housing Accountability Act required the City’s elected officials to accept the reasonable findings of its professional staff, who had determined that the project met all of the City’s development standards. Click here to view a copy of the Order, and click here to view a copy of the Proposed Statement of Decision.