Did the City of Newport Beach successfully challenge a state law, Senate Bill 2, that mandates a city's zoning codes accommodate emergency shelters and transitional housing?

No. Newport Beach did not successfully challenge Senate Bill 2, which became law in 2008, nor did it adopt an ordinance to limit or regulate transitional housing. However, Newport Beach unsuccessfully litigated regulations for "sober-living" group homes. Ultimately, Newport Beach settled for $5.25 million and spent more than $4 million defending three lawsuits. The litigation lasted seven years and cost taxpayers $9.25 million.

In January 2008 and after having received complaints from Newport Beach residents about traffic issues, cigarette smoke, loitering and noise, Newport Beach adopted an ordinance that placed strict limits on group living arrangements. Group homes are residential facilities in which individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction temporarily reside. The ordinance effectively prohibited new group homes, housing seven or more residents, from opening in most residential areas with some exceptions in multifamily zones. It also required existing group homes to complete a permitting process within 90 days for a special use permit, which required extensive findings in order to allow the group home to operate. The rules could be waived only if the applicant could show a reasonable accommodation was required under either state or federal housing laws.

Newport Beach was sued by three operators, who contended that the ordinance violated anti-discrimination and fair housing laws. They claimed the ordinance forced out many of the group homes serving a protected class because they could not qualify for permits.

A U.S. District Court judge first ruled in 2010 that the nature of the ordinance was not discriminatory and granted summary judgment to Newport Beach. The case was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2013, a three-justice panel, ruled that the ordinance may have illegally discriminated against group homes for people in recovery based on disability. The Court found that where there is direct or circumstantial evidence that the city acted with a discriminatory purpose and caused harm to members of a protected class, such evidence is sufficient to permit the protected individuals to proceed to trial under a disparate treatment theory. Newport Beach requested a review of the opinion by the U.S. Supreme Court, which denied review. Newport Beach subsequently settled with the three operators for $5.25 million.

The court case is Pacific Shores, LLC v. City of Newport Beach 730 F.3d 1142 9th Circle 2013 (PDF).

It is noted that the Newport Beach case addressed group homes and group living arrangements that predated the adoption of Senate Bill 2, which added the requirement in state law that cities must treat transitional housing the same as other residential uses in the same residential zone. Therefore, unless the conditions apply to all residential uses, they cannot be imposed on transitional housing. Imposing conditions or permit requirements exclusively for transitional housing but not to other residential uses would likely result in the same conclusion reached in the Newport Beach case.

Show All Answers

1. What is the plan for addressing sewage coming from Mexico? – EPA has planned several projects to address cross-border sewage.
2. What is the status of funding for the EPA’s plan? – $494 million committed, $130 million still needed.
3. Will the proposed projects result in more raw sewage being discharged to the Ocean? – No! EPA’s plan will improve the status quo.
4. Will EPA’s plan reduce sewage coming from the San Antonio de las Buenos treatment plant further south in Mexico? – Yes! By as much as 95%.
5. Was the Coronado Senior Association moved out of the John D. Spreckels Center to make room for the City’s Cultural Arts senior management analyst?
6. Since the Spreckels Center does not have the word “senior” anywhere on the facility, does the City have a true “senior center” that addresses the needs of those 50 and older?
7. Do I have to recycle my food waste now that EDCO has announced its new Organic Recycling Program?
8. Why does the City waste money watering the synthetic turf at the Lawn Bowling Green?
9. Does the City’s affordable housing provider San Diego Interfaith Housing treat tenants in an arbitrary, unpredictable, discriminatory fashion and evict people without cause?
10. Are the current asphalt repairs simply “make-work” and unnecessary?
11. Are there fresh water aquifers in Coronado that could be used for a supply of potable water?
12. Did the City of Newport Beach successfully challenge a state law, Senate Bill 2, that mandates a city's zoning codes accommodate emergency shelters and transitional housing?
13. Did the new traffic signal at Alameda Boulevard and Fourth Street cause a back-up of traffic east of the intersection on Wednesday, November 6?
14. Does refinancing the former redevelopment agency’s bonds and loans create more density in Coronado?
15. Does the City’s affordable housing provider San Diego Interfaith Housing treat tenants in an arbitrary, unpredictable, discriminatory fashion and evict people without cause?
16. How can the City leave the lights on at the Coronado Public Library overnight especially during the current heat wave and with potential rotating outages?
17. How does a City get selected to Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Best Beaches in America list?
18. Is it true that enterococci bacteria can be caused by decaying kelp and why doesn’t the City think the current advisory at Avenida del Sol is related to sewage impacts from the Tijuana River or Mexico
19. Is the City going to make changes at Coronado Cays Park?
20. Is the City not respecting its beautiful historic sidewalks?
21. Is the City trying to extend San Diego’s Lindbergh Field into Coronado?
22. Is the water quality being affected in South Beach and is Central Beach being tested for the Fourth of July?
23. Is there still time to have a say on the Coronado Cays Park Master Plan?
24. It has been reported in national news stories based on a local report that the City of Coronado’s beach was closed for several weeks. Is that true?
25. Questions have come up in the community about what uses are allowed in the City of Coronado’s R-1A residential zoning code. What are those uses?
26. The City has fire rings at North Beach that get very busy during the summer. What is the City’s fire ring policy? How does the City monitor behavior at the fire rings and is it enough?
27. What are the white cones along the Silver Strand State Highway?
28. Is the National Citizen Survey conducted by the National Research Center valid?
29. What is the current status of the Golf Course Water Recycling and Turf Care Facility project or the environmental review? How are the potential environmental impacts being addressed?
30. What role does the City have in the redevelopment of the Coramart building and has the City prevented its redevelopment?
31. What was the odor in Coronado on Easter Sunday?
32. Why are there two construction sites at Spreckels Park? And why is the site near Seventh only a concrete pad?
33. Why is the City ending its participation in the Rotary Santa program?
34. Why isn’t the City extending service to the Cays this year?
35. Why were two palms recently removed from the beach?
36. Why is the Glorietta Bay Boat Launch Ramp closed and when will it reopen?