The California Supreme Court has denied a request from Latinos Unidos del Valle de
Solano -- known as LUNA -- to review a State Court of Appeals ruling that determined
that Napa County’s land-use regulations do not violate state and
federal fair housing and land-use laws.
The Court’s decision to deny LUNA’s petition to review the Appeals Court’s ruling marks the end of the lawsuit, which was originally filed in November 2009. County officials said they were notified of the decision earlier this week.
In December 2011, the Superior Court ruled in favor of the county on all three claims included in the lawsuit; LUNA appealed the Superior Court’s decision to the Court of Appeals. After further extensive briefing and oral argument, the Appeals Court ruled in the County’s favor on two of the three actions in July 2013.
then brought its case before the State Supreme Court, filing a request
for review in August 2013, essentially seeking to relitigate matters
that had been extensively heard in two other courts. The Supreme Court
denied the petition for review on Oct. 16.
“We are gratified by the court system’s ongoing support for our housing policies,” said District 3 Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon. “But it is frustrating that we continue to have to spend tax payers’ dollars defending against LUNA’s claims, instead of spending that money addressing our mutual goal of providing affordable housing.”
County Counsel Minh Tran noted that he expects LUNA to continue to pursue the matter further in connection with its claim that the County’s Density Bonus Ordinance is invalid. LUNA raised three technical arguments challenging the ordinance, and the Appeals Court ruled in favor of LUNA on one of those. The remaining challenges were rejected.
As directed by the Court, the county intends to revise the ordinance. The requested changes will result in developers having to provide less affordable housing to obtain a density bonus than they would under the existing ordinance.
“Continuing to pursue this litigation after having lost at trial, and again with the Appeals Court, doesn’t do anything to provide affordable housing,” said Larry Florin, the County’s director of housing and intergovernmental affairs.
Supreme Court’s action comes as the County is beginning the process of
updating the Housing Element of its General Plan for 2014-2022, as
counties and cities are required to do every seven years under state
That process kicks off with public workshops on Oct. 28 and Nov. 6. Visit www.countyofnapa.org for information.