California’s Affordable Housing Law Doesn’t Work for Wheatland, City Manager Says

WHEATLAND -- Gov. Gavin Newsom says making more affordable housing in California is one of his administration's top goals.

Last month, Newsom announced the state was suing Huntington Beach for failing to meet its obligations on providing enough affordable housing. During his State of the State address, Newsom also called out other cities, including the city of Wheatland, for not meeting those same obligations.

"Some cities are trying, like Clovis, but others respectfully, like Wheatland, Huntington Park, Montebello, they’re not," Newsom said during his speech.

Wheatland City Manager Jim Goodwin says the state's requirements are unfair for smaller, more rural communities.

"The City of Wheatland, with 35 hundred residents, is not going to be the solution to the state's housing crisis," Goodwin told FOX40.

Goodwin says the state's housing element certification, which asks for high-density housing of 20 units per acre, does not work with his rural city's current zoning laws.

"There’s no block on housing, no effort to try to keep housing out," Goodwin said. "We actually want to see that housing develop. We simply don’t meet, currently, a standard that’s been set by the state with regard to 20 units per acre."

Goodwin says, despite what the governor believes, Wheatland is trying to be in compliance with state law.

In 2014, the city annexed a massive piece of land but so far there's no infrastructure and the zoning has not been finalized. Still, even if the land was zoned, Goodwin says a small city like Wheatland wouldn't be building the homes.

"We don't build houses. You know the private housing community does build houses and when they're ready to make those investments, they will make those investments. We simply are doing our part to be prepared for them to do that," Goodwin said.

Gov. Newsom says there are 47 cities that aren't in compliance with his affordable housing law, but says he will not file a lawsuit against all of them. They are all listed in the document below:

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