Suit Seeks to Revive Low-Cost Housing Plan

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A $10-million lawsuit has been filed against the city of Hidden Hills, pressuring the City Council to build a controversial low-cost housing project for senior citizens over the objections of some residents of the exclusive gated community, a lawyer announced Tuesday.

After being served with the suit, the council reversed itself late Monday and decided, tentatively, to renew its application to annex land on which to build the 46-unit complex, which would be outside the San Fernando Valley community's gates.

The Los Angeles Superior Court suit, filed by a partnership operated by Tarzana developer Danny Howard, cited the city's withdrawal last month of its annexation application as evidence that Hidden Hills was reneging on agreements to build the project. The complaint seeks $10 million in damages for alleged breach of contract, along with court orders forcing the city to proceed with Howard's project.

"There's definitely a long history of seclusion here, spanning some 35 to 40 years now" Howard's attorney, Benjamin M. Reznik, said Tuesday at a press conference.

State law requires California cities to make provisions for housing that can be afforded by lower-income groups in their planning and zoning laws. It also requires that 20% of revenues from redevelopment agencies--such as the one Hidden Hills initiated in 1984 to fund flooding improvements--be spent on such affordable housing.

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