January 9 court filing by Oak Rose plaintiff says Elk Grove Mayor, City Council violated SB35's hearing procedures

Even though Elk Grove Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen declared a "settlement in principle" on January 9 with the plaintiff suing the city, documents filed that same day painted an unflattering picture of the city.

The document filed on behalf of the Oak Rose housing project developer claimed that several hearings held by the city did not comply with SB 35 requirements.

On page 26, the plaintiff argued:

"The City’s Hearings And Improper Bases For Denial Violated SB 35. 
     SB 35 Authorizes only a limited “public review” of ministerial applications, which must “be objective and strictly focused on assessing compliance with criteria required for streamlined projects,” and “shall not in any way inhibit, chill, or preclude the ministerial approval provided by this section or its effect.” (§ 65913.4(d) [emphasis added].) The City violated these requirements here. Not counting continuances where the matter was not heard in full, the City held a total of three separate full public hearings on the Project, before the Planning Commission on June 2, 2022, and before the City Council on July 27, 2022 and September 27, 2023. The City failed to take any steps to ensure the various hearings complied with SB 35 requirements. (§ 65913.4(d).) Instead, unrestricted discussion by both members of the public and City decisionmakers on a variety of irrelevant and improper topics were held on the record as part of the City’s formal public review proceedings for the Project. (See, supra, Sections II.g., f., and i.) 
      City decisionmakers also stated numerous legally irrelevant and improper “discretionary” Grounds for denying the Project on the record during their formal deliberations in open hearing, including, among other things:"

In their filing, the plaintiff's attorneys requested the following:

"Oak Rose respectfully requests that the Court issue a writ of mandate ordering the City to approve the Project’s SB 35 ministerial application and Density Bonus requests. Oak Rose further requests that the Court find that the City violated SB 35, the Density Bonus Law and the HAA in denying the Project, and find that the City acted in bad faith under the HAA. Oak Rose also requests that the Court maintain jurisdiction over the matter to ensure compliance with the Court’s order under the HAA to ensure appropriate judicial oversight of the City, which is well warranted in light of the City’s pattern of hostility to the Project, its proposed future residents, and the requirements of state law."

This document was recorded sometime on Tuesday, January 9. The city council went into closed session at 5 p.m. that day and, when they returned, announced the tentative settlement. 

Pages 30 and 31 of the January 9 document can be viewed below. 


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D.J. Blutarsky said...

As we approach Wednesday's meeting of the City Council, imagine the stage set: Packed house of angry Old Town NIMBYS waiting to pounce; City Council and legal staff huddled in closed session rehearsing their lines; Oak Rose in absentia listening online from their war room in Long Beach; EGN readers anxiously sitting at their keyboards with anticipation; and the City Manager's performance evaluation at the top of the agenda to boot!

I don't have a crystal ball, but it is pretty obvious that the Mayor and her crew will settle this case out of court in order to clear their political plates of loose ends as we enter the election season--or the Schmooze Season as I call it. 

This Oak Rose debacle has cost the City dearly in terms of civic reputation and political standing in the state. But this debacle will cost us taxpayers a whole lot more! Oak Rose submitted their application two years ago--punitive damages and legal fees (by both parties) has got to be eye popping--and budget busting. 

When the dust settles, I challenge the City Council to reveal what the total cost of this NIMBY-supported lawsuit (make that two lawsuits) has been. See, when your campaign flyers promised greater City transparency, I believed you. For the sake of your re-election, please don't prove yourselves to be liars. It's time to cut your losses and ours as well.

Randy Bekker said...

There is no NIMBY in the majority of Old Town residents. It is always easy to complain but you need to see the brighter side of things and no matter there was always going to be a cost to the tax payers no matter what the city did. When you have a project like Oak Rose it is not your normal affordable housing development. So where is the best location in the city to offer the best services and provide a much better over all for the residents of Oak Rose and as well as our community? Especially since the city has a list of properties set aside for developments like Oak Rose. Yes, these types of housing will always see push back but putting it in Old Town is not the right place as I have stated numerous reasons in the past. So, Stay tune, and watch the magic happen right before your very eyes.

Sid Vicious said...

You stated Oak Rose is not a "normal affordable housing development".
What makes it abnormal?

Furthermore, aside from the loud-mouth bar owner and a handful of longtime Old Town residents, what makes it so special and why should another neighborhood have "abnormal" people, as you imply, that many say are meth heads and pedophiles, foisted on them? I'd argue there are more kids in the newer neighborhoods.

PS And please, don't tell me it is the central business district. Those of us west of 99 NEVER go there. Old Town in a relic of Elk Grove's dubious race-related history. Remember when Pat Hume talked about Elk Grove's redneck heritage? I do.

Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Regarding Mr. Bekker's comment "watch the magic happen right before your very eyes," there seems to be an acknowledgement that the city will pay whatever price, monetary or otherwise, to make their political problem go away. That's not magic, that's the dismal science of economics.

The question is not about magic, it is how much will this cost taxpayers. As significant, what precedent is the city council establishing? They'll score a political victory with District 2 voters, but will they be willing to work, as Mr. Bekker says, their "magic" for other neighborhoods when confronted by a NIMBY project?

Steve L said...

This is ALL about NIMBYism. Always has been. You. A put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. A small 67 unit facility maintained and monitored by professionals who have vetted the tenants (none will be pedophiles, rapists,etc) as Randy and crew have led you to believe. We’ll wait to see how big and costly the new facility will be. Watch what you ask for, you might get it x3.

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