June 7, 2024 Ali Sapirman

We’re Suing The City of San Mateo

Over the last year and a half, we’ve worked diligently to hold cities accountable for meeting their state-mandated housing goals. It’s frustrating when wealthy cities like San Mateo think they can get away with not building their fair share of housing. As the Bay Area faces an extreme housing shortage and affordability crisis, every city must step up to create the housing we badly need.  

San Mateo’s Housing Element – its state-mandated plan to meet its housing goals for the next eight years – does no such thing. Instead, it lists potential housing sites that are impossible to use or highly unfit for future redevelopment. 

That’s not a housing plan – it’s a sham. And it’s illegal under state housing law. That’s why we decided to file a lawsuit with Farella Braun + Martel, LLP against the City of San Mateo. We’re determined to hold cities accountable when they avoid their obligations to build the housing the Bay Area desperately needs. 

We have given the city of San Mateo ample opportunities to improve their site inventory and list realistic sites for housing. The city thinks their Housing Element is good enough, but good enough doesn’t equate to legal compliance, nor does it help the Bay Area meet its housing goals.

In The San Francisco Standard, our Peninsula and South Bay Organizer Ali Sapirman said: “If San Mateo is serious about building housing, it is crucial the city identifies realistic sites now…What cities need to do is simple, they need to follow the law.”

Read more about our lawsuit here:

  • CBS News: “City of San Mateo sued by nonprofit over new housing plan” 
  • The Real Deal: “Housing Action Coalition says mall parking lot won’t become homes anytime soon”
  • Davis Vanguard: “Lawsuit Challenges San Mateo’s Housing Element”
  • The Mercury News: “A pro-housing group says that San Mateo is trying to avoid sweeping rezones that would allow for more density around the city”
  • The San Mateo Journal: “San Mateo faces suit over its housing plan” 

Read our formal complaint here:

We are hopeful that lawsuits like these will set the precedent for cities to make honest efforts to meet their housing needs, and that this sends a message to cities that want to skirt state housing law. 

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