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District court rules against Stanford in county affordable housing ordinance

Santa Clara County officials have welcomed a judicial order last Thursday that dismissed a Stanford University lawsuit challenging a county ordinance that requires the university to include affordable housing units when it develops market-rate housing.

In that decision, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Stanford had not provided any basis for the court to determine that the county’s affordable housing law was unconstitutional.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian said:

“The county’s adoption of an inclusionary housing ordinance is something that other cities and counties in our area have been doing for years.”

“It’s a commonly used, effective tool to generate additional affordable housing. I’m pleased the court has confirmed that fact.”

Thursday’s ruling is a critical step in requiring developers to be accountable for the effects of their large-scale development without affordable housing, county officials said.

The county’s inclusionary housing ordinance, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in September 2018, requires 16 percent of new market-rate housing units that are built on Stanford lands in unincorporated areas to be made affordable to low-income residents.

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