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The Oceanside City Council unanimously approved a resolution expressing their support for retaining local control over housing and zoning decisions. Courtesy photo
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Oceanside joins fight to take back housing control from state

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside City Council has joined the emerging fight between municipal governments and the State of California over local control of zoning and housing decisions.

Deputy Mayor Ryan Keim and Councilmember Peter Weiss brought forward a joint request asking the rest of the council to express its support for “strengthening local democracy, authority and control” relating to local zoning and housing issues.

“I think one of the most critical issues facing our local cities is the lack of self-control that Sacramento legislators are taking from us,” Keim said.

A sample resolution included in the item brought forth by the two council members addresses how a “number of bills” proposed by the state are usurping the authority of local jurisdictions to determine for themselves the best land-use policies for each city.

According to the resolution, the state’s imposed mandates don’t take into account the needs and differences of each jurisdiction.

As examples, the resolution includes the ability of jurisdictions to determine which projects require review beyond ministerial approval, appropriate parking requirements, and which development plans and programs suit each community as ways the state has wrested local control from cities like Oceanside and throughout the state.

Weiss specifically cited Senate Bill 9, recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom, as another way that the state has taken local control away from cities. Aimed at addressing the state’s housing crisis, SB 9 allows property owners to build two units on one parcel of land, then also allows owners to split their parcels into two, which means a parcel of land that was previously designated for a single-family home could have up to four units if the property owner desires.

A group’s ballot initiative proposed in recent weeks would allow city and county land-use and zoning laws, including housing laws, to override most conflicting state laws. Our Neighborhood Voices is a coalition currently gathering signatures for the Brand-Huang-Mendoza Tripartisan Land Use Initiative, which includes major backers, such as Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand.

The initiative, if passed, would prevent state and local legislative bodies from passing laws invalidating voter-approved land-use or zoning initiatives and prohibit the state from changing, granting or denying funding to local governments based on their implementation of the initiative.

“It’s a shame when the state passes these various laws and requirements that take full authority away from local agencies,” Weiss said, urging people to visit Our Neighborhood Voices’ website to support the cause.

The council unanimously approved the resolution.

Mayor Esther Sanchez noted she was also working with other mayors throughout the state on a resolution expressing support of amending Article 11 of the state’s constitution to designate zoning and land use as part of community affairs.

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