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Mark Scaramela of the Anderson Valley Advertiser has an excellent article on a lawsuit against Mendocino County intended to force compliance with otherwise toothless state mandates for “inclusive housing” in the general plan.

The first three paragraphs:

Back in 2004 the Ukiah office of Legal Services of Northern California (formerly Redwood Legal) sued Mendocino County because the County’s “Housing Element,” a state-mandated ingredient of county general plans, did not comply with state law. Mendo’s Housing Element wasn’t worth the fancy paper it was written on — the fancy paper known as the General Plan.

The County has argued that all it’s required to do is submit a piece of paper called “Housing Element” with some boilerplate and numbers on it. Once the piece of paper is filed the County has a Housing Element for its General Plan, neither of which happen to exist, or are likely to exist, beyond their paper assertions.

Predictably, Mendocino County’s Housing Element bore no resemblance to known or even conceived reality. The County’s numbers (for the unincorporated areas where the majority of Mendolanders live) were not based on housing for human-type beings who require indoor plumbing and the other fancy amenities normally associated with “House.” The County says all it’s required to do is submit the piece of paper called “Housing Element.” They’re not supposed to be held to it, for the goddess’s sake! This is Mendocino County. Nobody holds anybody to anything, so to actually zone land for “affordable housing,” aka “inclusionary housing” as required by state law is a step Mendocino County has not taken.

Has anybody looked at the Humboldt County general plan from this angle? I seem to remember mention of a lawsuit by the Arkley group about making lands available for development, but I’m wondering if Humboldt’s general plan more broadly meets state mandatory (or “directory”) guidelines.


November 2007