In May 2023, the City of Redondo Beach dealt a blow to Leo Pustilnikov's proposal to redevelop the 50-acre AES power plant site near the waterfront, when the City Council voted unanimously to reject the project on procedural grounds. But the One Redondo development, which was the first in a bevy of "Builder's Remedy" projects proposed for housing-averse cities in Southern California, may not be dead yet.

This week, YIMBY Law announced that it has filed a lawsuit against the City of Redondo Beach over its rejection of the project, which calls for the construction of up to 2,700 homes - including 540 affordable units - as well as a hotel, other commercial uses, and 22 acres of open space.

“Redondo Beach has ignored state law as well as their own municipal code by not treating their housing plan as a meaningful, effective part of the general plan,” said YIMBY Law policy director Rafa Sonnenfeld in a news release. “Because of their actions, they don’t have a compliant housing plan and the builder’s remedy applies in the city. These homes must be approved.”

Location of the AES power plantGoogle Maps

In its lawsuit, YIMBY Law argues that the Redondo Beach is obligated by its charter to bring major changes to its general plan to the voters for approval. As the city's housing element is a component of the general plan, YIMBY contends that Redondo Beach has not adopted its housing element, although state officials have certified the plan. Should that argument hold, Redondo Beach could still be open to developers filing projects using the Builder's Remedy.

The requirement for voter consideration of major land use decisions is a result of the 2008 citizen's initiative Measure DD, which was passed overwhelmingly by Redondo Beach voters. One such project put up to a vote was CenterCal's proposed $300-million revamp of the Redondo Beach pier, which was voted down by 57 percent of those casting ballots in 2017.

YIMBY Law is not the first party to take Redondo Beach to court over the rejection - that would be Pustilnikov himself, who has made similar arguments regarding the city's housing element in his pending case, New Commune DTLA, LLC, A California Limited Liability Company, et al. vs. City Council of the City of Redondo Beach. That case, filed in June 2022, is set to be decided in the near future.

While Redondo Beach was the first Southern California jurisdiction hit with the Builder's Remedy, it has seen more prolific use in other cities. Santa Monica recently moved to settle with developer WS Communities over its flood of Builder's Remedy projects, and AES developer Leo Pustilnikov has proposed a number of additional projects in Beverly Hills.

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