Dublin – Ashton at Dublin Station
On January 9, 2018, CaRLA gave testimony at a meeting of the Dublin City Council describing in detail the ways that a denial of 220 homes at Dublin BART would bring about a lawsuit against the city. Having heard this and given it consideration, Mayor Haubert said into the public record that the city should “take our chances with a lawsuit”.
Ashton at Dublin Station has a long history, starting out in 2002 with the East Dublin Specific Plan’s approval. It took nearly 20 years, but the city finally voted to deny the project. In the process they transgressed so much more than just the Housing Accountability Act; the developer of the project filed separately with numerous claims of discrimination against protected classes in their public testimony. Not only are they violating the HAA, they’re violating the Fair Housing Act, a 15 year old development agreement, the equal protection clause of the US Constitution, the Fair Housing and Employment Act, and others.
This project is also CaRLA’s first affordable housing project. Ashton at Dublin Station includes 33 affordable homes, for 15% of the total project, as is required by Dublin’s zoning for the site. Affordable housing is a rare bird in suburban communities, and CaRLA is proud to be supporting this. When non-profit developers of affordable housing have razor thin margins and tight funding deadlines, any kind of delay or hiccup in the approval process could spell disaster. Combined with low density zoning that effectively outlaws new apartment buildings, it is almost impossible to propose an affordable housing project in an exclusionary suburb and see it to completion.
CaRLA’s lawsuit against the City of Dublin sends a strong signal to other cities and affordable housing developers: Cities like Dublin must follow their own rules, or expect consequences. We are working to restore a legal environment in which California builds housing equal to its needs. Part of that work is filing lawsuits such as this, and our previous cases in suburban towns avoiding their responsibilities to provide the human right to housing such as Sausalito, San Mateo, and Berkeley.
How It ended
Exclusionary suburbs with good public transit constantly undermine California’s efforts to improve housing affordability and fight climate change. We desperately need more large multifamily developments where people are able to live and commute without cars, but so many suburbs with transit do everything they can to prevent this obvious solution.
Dublin denied a 220-unit development, including 33 units income restricted affordable housing, right next to their train station. Upon denying the development, the mayor remarked that they would “take their chance on a lawsuit” rather than try to comply with state law. We sued under the HAA to reverse this backwards decision.
After facing the prospect of a lawsuit and slim chance of success, the city agreed to settle the case and bring the project back for reconsideration. On reconsideration, the original project was approved and construction is in progress.