A Supreme Court pass gives affordable housing advocates a win

February 29, 2016
Advocates of low-cost housing scored a legal victory Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court left intact a ruling by California’s highest court allowing cities and counties to require builders to include a percentage of affordable units in each new development.
     The building industry had argued that those requirements amount to a government confiscation of property and should be allowed only if a particular development would cause a shortage of affordable housing. The state Supreme Court rejected those arguments unanimously in June, and the nation’s high court denied review Monday. The case involved a San Jose ordinance, passed in 2010 but not yet in effect, that requires developers of 20 or more units to make at least 15 percent of those units affordable to low- or moderate-income buyers and renters. Similar laws are in effect in more than 170 California communities, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Richmond and unincorporated areas of Contra Costa, Marin and San Mateo counties.