‘Gimme Shelter’: What happens when a basketball star opposes townhomes near his mansion

Closeup of a professional basketball player in a jersey that says Golden State Warriors.
Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry during a Western Conference playoff series in April 2022 in Denver.
(David Zalubowski / Associated Press)

Last month, Golden State Warriors basketball star Steph Curry asked town leaders where he lives in Atherton to help him play zone defense.

Curry was objecting to a plan to build up to 16 townhomes on a property near his mansion in the Silicon Valley enclave.

“We hesitate to add to the ‘not in our backyard’ [literally] rhetoric, but we wanted to send a note before today’s meeting,” Curry and his wife Ayesha wrote to Atherton officials on Jan. 18. “Safety and privacy for us and our kids continues to be our top priority and one of the biggest reasons we chose Atherton as home.”


The Currys’ resistance to the development may not matter even if the town ultimately sides with them. That’s because state housing officials have not signed off on Atherton’s plan to zone for sufficient new development by a Jan. 31 deadline. The town’s failure to do so, a similar situation faced by more than 100 other communities in the Bay Area, could allow developers to take advantage of a provision in state law known as the “builder’s remedy.” The measure could allow developers to build whatever they want, provided they set aside some homes for low-income residents.

On this episode of “Gimme Shelter: The California Housing Crisis Podcast,” we discuss the viability of the builder’s remedy and its potential popularity. In Southern California, developers in Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and elsewhere have attempted to use the builder’s remedy to get approval for thousands of new apartments.

Our guest is UC Davis law professor Chris Elmendorf who has written extensively about the builder’s remedy.

Gimme Shelter,” a biweekly podcast that looks at why it’s so expensive to live in California and what the state can do about it, features Liam Dillon, who covers housing affordability issues for the Los Angeles Times, and Manuela Tobías, housing reporter for CalMatters.

You can subscribe to “Gimme Shelter” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud and Google Podcasts.