October 3, 2023 Housing Action Coalition

Regulatory Committee | Accelerating Housing Development & Builders Remedy Lawsuit Insights

In our recent Regulatory Committee meeting, Judson True and Matt Gelfand offered insightful presentations on accelerating housing development and illuminating discussions on Builder’s Remedy lawsuits in La Canada Flintridge , respectively. Below we delve into the valuable takeaways from these discussions.

Accelerating Housing Development: Judson True

Judson True, Director of Housing Delivery for Mayor London Breed, shared invaluable insights on expediting housing delivery in San Francisco. Drawing from his experience with significant housing projects like Mission Rock and Treasure Island, True emphasized the necessity of streamlined collaboration between city departments and applicants to facilitate a seamless housing delivery process.

True’s approach focuses on predictability and a hassle-free experience for applicants, advocating for transparency and accountability at every step. The commitment to ensuring that “housing moves at the speed of capital” is evident in his endeavor to simplify complex procedures and improve the coordination among housing coordinators for new projects, enhancing the efficiency of housing development initiatives in the city.

Violations and Litigations: Insights by Matt Gelfand from Californians for Homeownership

Matt Gelfand represented Californians for Homeownership (C4H), a nonprofit affiliated with the California Association of Realtors. C4H is committed to addressing California’s housing crisis through impactful litigation, aiming to facilitate the development of low-cost housing across the state.

In his presentation, Gelfand discussed specific violations in La Cañada Flintridge and Beverly Hills, highlighting the critical issues and legal proceedings involved.

La Cañada Flintridge Violations:

La Cañada Flintridge failed to meet the deadline for its sixth cycle housing element, leading to significant legal complications. The city argued that the deadlines were directory and that Housing and Community Development (HCD) reviews were advisory. However, the court rejected these arguments, emphasizing the mandatory nature of Section 65583’s deadlines, thus holding the city accountable for non-compliance.

This non-compliance has implications under Section 65588(e)(4)(C)(iii), meaning the city’s housing element will not be considered substantially compliant until the required rezoning is complete. This scenario limits the city’s ability to deny developments for low-cost housing under the Housing Accountability Act unless it has a substantially compliant housing element.

Beverly Hills Violations:

Beverly Hills’ housing element was found deficient for various reasons. The issues included inaccurate calculations in the sites inventory, lack of adjustments based on land use controls for new construction, absence of analysis on governmental constraints affecting housing development, and no adjustments in the sites inventory based on the typical densities of existing or approved residential developments with similar affordability levels in the city.

These deficiencies highlight the importance of meticulous planning and adherence to regulations, providing valuable lessons for other cities and developers involved in housing projects.

C4H’s Approach to Litigation:

Californians for Homeownership adopts a proactive litigation strategy: “sue early, sue often.” This approach aims to ensure compliance with housing regulations and facilitate the development of affordable housing across California. The organization’s impactful litigation work serves as a beacon of support for housing initiatives, providing a robust framework for addressing and navigating through housing-related legal challenges.


Our Regulatory Committee meeting provided a platform for valuable insights and discussions on housing development and legal considerations. The shared expertise of Judson True and Matt Gelfand offers guidance and support for housing developers and city departments alike, fostering a collaborative environment to navigate through the complex landscape of housing development and regulation in California.

For those interested in engaging further with the speakers, you can reach out to Judson True for insights on accelerating housing development, and Matt Gelfand for understanding the nuances of housing-related legal challenges and litigation. Their knowledge and experience is an invaluable resource for individuals and organizations working towards the development of affordable and compliant housing in California.

Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

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