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Attorney General Lockyer Defends Sacramento's Affordable Housing Ordinance

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today took action to intervene in a current lawsuit that threatens to block Sacramento County's newly-adopted affordable housing ordinance and could serve to discourage cities and counties throughout California from adopting similar measures.

"The American dream of owning your own home has become an unrealistic fantasy for too many Californians," said Lockyer. "With home prices at record highs, these ordinances are essential to meet the housing needs of our state. If developers are successful in blocking Sacramento's ordinance, similar policies throughout California may be abandoned or thrown out, and the notion of an affordable home could become a relic of history."

Sacramento County's ordinance, adopted on December 8, 2004, requires that new housing projects sell or rent at least 15 percent of new units at affordable rates for people with modest incomes. The median home price in Sacramento County is $330,000 and, according to a recent survey, nearly half of all Sacramento residents cannot afford to buy a home in the area.

On March 7, 2005, the Building Industry Association of Superior California filed a lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court challenging the validity of Sacramento's ordinance. Today, Lockyer formally requested court permission to intervene in the pending suit.

Many cities and counties throughout California have enacted similar affordable housing provisions. Lockyer noted that if the Sacramento lawsuit is successful, existing measures in other communities could be called into legal question.

In 2001, Lockyer helped fight a similar legal challenge waged against the City of Napa's affordable housing ordinance. The ordinance was upheld by a state court of appeal.

A hearing on the Attorney General's motion to intervene is scheduled for May 24th.

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