Attorney General Jerry Brown isn’t shy about diving into disputes involving land-use decisions and greenhouse gas emissions. Just ask San Bernardino County.
But Brown put a new twist on things Wednesday when he announced that he’s joining a lawsuit challenging the city of Pleasanton’s cap on residential housing.
He’s against housing, he’s for housing … It’s so confusing! Relief, after the jump.
You might think that a housing cap would limit urban sprawl, that it would prevent the kind of road-centric development that the attorney general’s office fought in the Inland Empire. But Brown argues that Pleasanton’s housing cap, along with plans for job growth, is pushing current and future workers down the congested, pollution-generating highways toward commute communities in the Central Valley and elsewhere.
“Pleasanton's draconian and illegal limit on new housing forces people to commute long distances, adding to the bumper-to-bumper traffic along 580 and 680 and increasing dangerous air pollution,” Brown said in a press release. "It's time for Pleasanton to balance its housing and its jobs and take full advantage of its underutilized land and proximity to BART."
The AG’s complaint in intervention (.pdf) cites the cap’s alleged potential for increased greenhouse gas emissions but does not list that as an actual cause of action. Instead, the state says the cap violates California laws requiring cities to accommodate their fair share of regional housing needs.
Brown is joining a lawsuit originally filed in 2006 by the nonprofit group Public Advocates.
Pleasanton City Attorney Michael Roush said Wednesday that the attorney general was “just another” plaintiff. The city, he said, has filed a motion to dismiss the case in Alameda County Superior Court.
“We feel that the housing cap is a valid exercise of the city’s land-use authority,” Roush said.
— Cheryl Miller
Follow me on Twitter