Zen, the Housing Accountability Act, and the Art of Applying Objective Standards

APA California Chapter


Tuesday, October 9, 2018
3:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.50
L | 1.50

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As the legislature and the courts turn their attention to limiting local agency discretion, planners may be left wondering what their options are when reviewing housing development applications. The Housing Accountability Act and SB 35 limit review to the application of objective standards, but this answer only raises more questions. This panel will focus on statutory interpretation and case law that provides guidance on what constitutes an 'objective' standard to help planners understand what tools are available to evaluate housing projects. Ultimately, a well-crafted set of objective standards can benefit cities and applicants by providing certainty throughout the development process, and incorporating such standards into a specific plan unlocks a range of CEQA streamlining options for future projects.  Accordingly, the panel will also discuss El Cerrito's recently-approved Specific Plan, which uses form-based codes and objective standards to regulate development while stimulating growth through local streamlining mechanisms. The presentation will focus on recent changes in the Housing Accountability Act and the addition of SB 35 along with case law with respect to the application of 'objective' standards. 2017 amendments have increased legal risks to cities and counties associated with denying or conditioning housing development projects, and the panel will focus on legal information to help planners comply with the new requirements.


Dolores Dalton

Dolores Bastian Dalton has more than twenty years’ experience litigating and mediating commercial, public entity and nonprofit issues on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal trial courts, and on appeal. She has specialized expertise in summary judgment and appellate work. Ms. Dalton has been certified by the ... Read More

Barbara E. Kautz, FAICP, JD

Barbara E. Kautz practices in the areas of land use (especially housing-related land use), CEQA compliance, real estate, economic development, fair housing, and affordable housing. She has assisted public agency clients in a wide variety of matters including compliance with planning and zoning law, real estate transactions, redevelopment dissolution issues ... Read More

Eric Phillips, JD

Mr. Phillips practices in the areas of real estate, affordable housing, land use, and CEQA compliance. Mr. Phillips represents clients in all phases of the development process, including property acquisition, entitlement and administrative approvals, CEQA compliance, fair housing compliance, and negotiating real estate disputes. Specifically, Mr. Phillips assists private clients ... Read More

Contact Info

Hanson Hom, hansonapa@gmail.com