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Southwest Mobile Storage - Best Mobile Storage & Office Containers In Huntington Beach, CA

Southwest Mobile Storage is a family-owned shipping container business founded in 1995. Our strength for more than 25 years comes from the specialized knowledge and passion of our people, along with serving over 24,000 commercial, construction and residential customers. Our facility and expertise in maintaining, manufacturing, and delivering corrugated steel containers is unrivaled in the industry.

While the rental side of our business is regional with branches throughout the Southwest, our container sales and modification operations are nationwide and becoming global. Huntington Beach, CA offers a wide selection of portable offices and mobile storage containers you can rent, buy or modify.

Our experts in container rental, sales and customization are committed to providing you the highest quality and best experience from service to delivery - our reputation depends on it.

Whether your need is for storage, office space, moving, multi-purpose or custom use, we've got your back. Here's how:

Storage Containers Huntington Beach, CA



We bring your storage container to you for convenient, easy access at your home, business or jobsite. Plus, you'll get more choice in storage space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of a pod or add on building, saving money and energy.


Not enough room to keep a storage container at your business, home or construction site? No problem - we can store it for you. Plus, you get 70% more space and better security, for a fraction of the cost of public storage units.


Need a permanent storage solution for your business, residence or construction? We sell new and used shipping containers in many sizes with a variety of add-ons. Or customize a container to your specific storage needs with our certified fabrication experts.


Take your time packing with our moving containers. We'll deliver to your business or home and pick it up whenever you're ready to move. So, you don't have to stress about moving or making multiple trips in one day, like if you rented a moving truck.


Our moving container solutions ensure the long-distance move of your home or business is highly efficient and affordable throughout the southwest. In fact, we usually cost 20%-40% less than full-service movers.


We understand move-in and move-out dates might be different. We can store your moving container at our highly secure facilities until you're ready to move to your new home or business location, and you can conveniently access it at any time.


Whether you need a workspace, conference room, or other office requirement, our ground-mounted mobile offices meet any and all of your business needs. Plus, it's faster and easier than building additions.


If you need your shipping container to serve multiple uses, such as office-storage combos, breakrooms and even utilities, we've got you covered. We'll modify a custom container to fit your business needs and bring your business to the next level


We'll create a custom container to fit your unique needs anywhere in the US. With our container modification expertise, we make any idea a reality. From pop-up stores to multi-story structures, our unrivaled facilities and fabrication experts do it all.

You'll get your own dedicated storage and container expert to serve as your one point of contact for easy, convenient service you can trust.
With our wide selection of intermodal containers for sale and rent, you'll find exactly what you need, from size, to type and condition.
We maintain our rental fleet to the highest standard - our integrity depends on it.
Our certified, experienced Conex container modification experts have more than 500 years combined experience modifying ISO containers.
All of our containers come with high security dual-locking system for no additional charge, so you can rest assured your stored items stay safe and that you don't have to pay extra for it.
At our unrivaled 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility, ensuring your custom shipping container is made exactly to your specifications.
With our level of service, quality and expertise, you won't find a better value anywhere else.
Our portable offices include lighting and electrical outlets, internet hookups, HVAC and were crafted by our in-house steel container fabrication experts for top-quality construction.

Premium Quality - High Security

With Southwest Mobile Storage, you get much more than a POD or typical Conex box. You also get high security, unparalleled service and unmatched container modification expertise and facilities. No other company offers that much.

Shipping containers and storage containers come in a range of sizes. The most common external lengths are 20ft and 40ft with a width of 8ft. ISO Containers are typically 8ft 6in tall, but high cube containers are 9ft 6in tall. We also have steel containers in a variety of sizes from 10ft long to 45ft long to rent or buy, and we can modify shipping containers into any size you want.

 Rent Storage Containers Huntington Beach, CA

SMS Mobile Storage Containers have these high quality features:

1/8" thick steel plate bottom side rails
High strength steel supporting cross members
1 1/8" thick hardwood floor with galvanized self-tapping screws
16-gauge corrugated steel walls
16-gauge roof
270-degree swing cargo door(s)
High security dual-locking system*
Spot-grinded, primed & repainted with a beige high-grade water reducible alkyd direct-to-metal enamel*
* Comes standard on all rental units

SMS portable workspace containers have these structural features:

High security window bars, lever & deadbolt set with lock box
Studs & R-19 Insulation covered with wood paneling
1 1/8" marine board floor is covered with a durable single part gray epoxy coating
Dual pane low-E horizontal sliding windows with screens and miniblinds
18 Gauge steel polystyrene core 3-hour fire rated personnel door
All of our workspaces are manufactured in-house and arrive new or restored to factory specifications
Exterior load center operating on 100 Amp single phase 230 Volt power
Light switch, receptacles and 4' light fixtures; all wiring is Romex 12/2
CAT-6 voice and data lines with electrical junction box
HVAC units ranging from 1 ton to 2 ton on rentals; ability to customize up to 10 tons of cooling

Having flexible storage containers options is important, but security is crucial to protect your peace of mind and your possessions.

At Southwest Mobile Storage, we don't believe in leaving things to chance. We want you to rest easy knowing your inventory, documents, tools, equipment and other items are safe 24/7. That is why we equip SMS high-security slide bolt locking systems and lockboxes on our entire fleet of rental freight containers.


High-security slide-bolt locking system and extra-long lock box, giving you twice the security and peace of mind.
No holes to ensure your rental shipping container is wind and water-tight.
No rust for your safety.
14-gauge corrugated steel for strength and reinforcement.

Contact us to speak with a helpful, friendly representative to better understand our full range of capabilities. We are happy to answer any questions you have, go over pricing and set up a time and place to deliver your Conex box. Our quotes are 100% free and you are under no obligation to pay for your consultation.


When you own a business or manage one, it's crucial to have efficient, affordable ways to store inventory and supplies, whether it's to grow your business or adapt to changes in the market, like the many caused by the pandemic.

Renting storage containers to keep at your business eliminates the cost and hassles of sending your staff to offsite storage facilities. Steel containers with roll up doors make storing and retrieving items faster and easier. Auto repair shops and other businesses that need easy access throughout the workday to secure storage for tools, parts, equipment or supplies find renting shipping containers to be the best solution for their business storage needs. Southwest Mobile Storage has your back.

 Storage Containers For Rent Huntington Beach, CA

Renting portable offices gives your business more workspace, breakrooms, pop up stores, security booths and more, without the cost and red tape associated with constructing building additions. Plus, a steel storage container fits neatly into one parking space and provides much stronger security than Pods and way more convenience than self-storage units.

If you have a specific need, we can modify shipping containers to build whatever you need to grow your business. Whether it's a portable workspace to run your business, like a pop-up container bar, or a durable facility for scientific research, like a container laboratory, or even a container gym, our unrivaled fabrication facility and modification experts got you covered. Our full-time, in-house staff of certified welders, engineers, electricians, carpenters and painters have over 500 years combined experience modifying thousands of container projects for just about any business use you can imagine.


Offsite storage alternatives cause a mess of hassles and headaches. Expanding office space and storage capacity at your location saves time, money and hassle of making multiple trips offsite.
We offer more choice in security, size and features in steel Conex boxes or ISO shipping containers than a public storage unit or Pod for less cost and far greater service.
We offer flexible, month-to-month rental agreements and prorate by the day after your first 28-day billing cycle.
With us, you get a dedicated account manager you can rely on, so you can focus on running your business than waste time with a different person every time you call that doesn't know or care as much.
While other companies may have some staff for modifying containers, most outsource the work, so you don't know who is actually doing the modifications or how much they're marking up the price.
 Mobile Storage Containers Huntington Beach, CA
When you modify a shipping container for your business, you won't have to worry about expensive, lengthy and complicated construction.
We have modified thousands of containers nationwide and internationally for more than 25 years for NASA, US Navy, GCP Applied Technologies, Helix and Sundt to name a few. And rent containers to Amazon, Walmart and many of other nationally recognized brands.
Our extensive staff makes it possible to custom build multiple projects simultaneously and our 90,000 sq ft indoor fabrication facility prevents contaminants from interfering with fabrication, which delivers better quality and precision.


With an extensive in-house staff and 90,000 sq ft container modification facility, we're able to deliver consistently high quality and work on multiple projects simultaneously for a fast turnaround.

Other companies don't have the facility, staff or resources to modify shipping containers and will outsource the work to various shops who may not have the special experience or tools needed to modify the right way.

You can rest assured knowing your custom container is safe in our hands. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications through every step of the process.

Renting a moving container from us makes your move much less stressful because you won't have to rush to pack your whole house into a moving truck in one day. Instead, you can take your time packing over the course of a month.

Our ISO shipping containers are weatherproof and come with vault-like security, so you don't have to worry about theft or damage to your belongings.

You won't get that level of security from U-Haul or other moving truck companies.

Renting a storage container at your home keeps your belongings close and gives you convenient 24/7 access, so you're always able to retrieve the contents of your container when you need to.

We know move in and move out dates don't always line up. We can store your packed rental container at our secure facility until your new home is ready.

With our mobile storage containers for rent in Huntington Beach, CA, you can save up to 40% when compared to full-service long-distance movers, while gaining more flexibility in your schedule.


We know your needs may change suddenly. With our extensive inventory and variety of sizes of portable offices and shipping containers to rent, buy or modify in Huntington Beach, CA, we provide fast service and the best value possible so it's easy for you to get whatever you need when you need it.

Renting storage containers and portable offices from us gives you more flexibility when it comes to your schedule and options. If you don't have enough space at your current location or simply would prefer offsite storage, you can keep your rental storage and office containers at your location or ours - whichever is most convenient for you. You also get more options to choose from when it comes to size and features, like portable offices with divided rooms for private meetings or office/storage combos for storage and office space in one container. All while costing a fraction of the price of a pod or self-storage facility.

You can also buy new or used freight containers from us and choose from a variety of add-ons, including lights, electricity, doors and windows. Or fully customize a shipping container to save time, money and energy by skipping the expensive, lengthy process of constructing building additions. We can modify a Conex box into whatever you can imagine for any use you need, from construction tool cribs to office buildings, monitoring stations, mobile communication towers and much more. The possibilities are endless.


You'll never face hidden fees or surprises with us. We give you transparent billing up front at the best prices.

With us, you get a reliable, dedicated point of contact, who keeps you updated every step of the way. You can rest assured knowing you'll always get what you need, when you need it.

No other company has the breadth and depth of staff and experience that we do when it comes to modifying shipping containers. Our certified welders, engineers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters have more than 500 years of combined experience in fabricating custom steel containers.

We prorate your rent by the day after the first 28-day billing cycle, so you don't have to pay for a full month when you only have your mobile containers and offices for a few days.

While other companies may be able to do small container modifications, most don't have an in-house fabrication staff or 90,000 sq ft fabrication facility like we do. As a result, they outsource the work on your custom container, so you don't know who's actually building it.

Rest assured knowing your modified shipping container will be built to the highest quality standards. Our certified weld and quality control inspectors check every step of the fabrication process to ensure everything is structurally sound and built to your specifications.


Whether you're in need of a storage container for your commercial business, a portable office for your construction site, or a moving container for your home, our process is simple and straightforward.

Choose Your Container

Choose the mobile storage solution that works best for your needs. In this step, you will let us know the number of containers you need, their sizes and what types of doors to equip.

Choose Your Options

Let us know if you would like to add any of our rental options, like a folding table or shelving.

Choose Your Security

Choose from padlocks, puck locks and other enhanced security options. All of our storage containers come standard with dual-locking, vault-like security.

Choose Your Delivery Timeframe

You can expect standard delivery within 3-5 days of your order. If you need expedited delivery, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your needs.

Pick-Up Planning

Do you need to keep your shipping container at our location? Prefer to have our team deliver your packed container to a location of your choice? Let us know, and we'll be by your side to work out the logistics.




Let our team know where we should deliver your mobile storage container for rent in Huntington Beach, CA. Be sure to let us know if there are any special conditions that might prevent our drivers from entering your chosen destination. Before you schedule your delivery, let us know which direction you would like the doors of your container to face.



Our drivers can deliver your storage container Monday-Friday, between the hours of 6AM and 2PM local time. Our two-hour delivery window is the most precise in the industry. If you desire another delivery time outside of our standard delivery options, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. As a courtesy, our driver will call you at least 30 minutes before they arrive at your drop-off destination.



Before we deliver your Conex box, prepare your delivery area by ensuring that there are no low overhangs, arches, wires, trees or any other obstacles that could interfere with your delivery. It's a good idea to mark the space where you would like your steel container placed.



When our driver arrives, they will back our truck into the space where you would like your shipping container placed. Once we arrive, we will ensure that your container is delivered safely and securely. If placed on asphalt or pavement, we will use wood dunnage pads to make sure your ground surface is protected and the container is level.


Check out our FAQ page or reach out to our helpful customer service team today @

Latest News in Huntington Beach, CA

Officials show off project in Huntington Beach to prevent flooding in storms

Flood control improvements unveiled Tuesday, Aug. 15, in Huntington Beach are part of a decades-long series of projects that federal and local officials say will improve flood protection in western Orange County.The $83 million project transformed a section of the East Garden Grove-Wintersburg Channel from Warner Avenue near Springsdale Street to Goldenwest Street. Once a trapezoid shape with sloped sides, the man-made channel that moves storm water out to the ocean is now rectangular with vertical barriers along the sides to increase...

Flood control improvements unveiled Tuesday, Aug. 15, in Huntington Beach are part of a decades-long series of projects that federal and local officials say will improve flood protection in western Orange County.

The $83 million project transformed a section of the East Garden Grove-Wintersburg Channel from Warner Avenue near Springsdale Street to Goldenwest Street. Once a trapezoid shape with sloped sides, the man-made channel that moves storm water out to the ocean is now rectangular with vertical barriers along the sides to increase water capacity – where once it was rated for a 20-year storm it is now ready for a 100-year storm, officials said.

And these changes may save homeowners on their insurance.

“As design requirements have evolved and changed, flood control channels of today are required to effectively handle a greater amount of water,” James Treadaway, OC Public Works director, said. “We are delivering these infrastructure projects as safely, quickly and cost-efficiently as possible to bring the county’s flood controls channel up to today’s standards and protect our neighboring homes and businesses.”

In 2017, the county initiated a study with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resulting in several flood protection improvement projects planned the Westminster watershed, which encompasses about 74 square miles and includes portions of Anaheim, Stanton, Cypress, Garden Grove, Westminster, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos, Seal Beach, and Huntington Beach.

“What you have is a lot of sediment, a lot of dirt, a lot of sand with no natural deposits so we can’t channel water to go out to the ocean like you have in the central part of the county with the Santa Ana River,” First District Supervisor Andrew Do said during a press conference, adding that an increase in rain has put these areas at a higher risk of flooding.

Construction of the East Garden Grove-Wintersburg Channel started in August 2020, increasing its water capacity by 50%.

The county participates in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s national flood insurance program and community rating system. This project and future projects will make homeowners eligible to receive discounts on flood insurance premiums, officials said. Homeowners benefited by this project could qualify for an approximately 25% discount, officials said. People who may qualify should work directly with their insurance company.

The next phase of the project will be to improve the channel bridges at Warner Avenue, Springdale Street and Edwards Street. Construction is expected to begin next month.

“Flood improvement projects have an impact on everyone, not just those living along flood channels,” Do said. “Orange County’s Public Works staff have done a tremendous job executing on our plan for improvements to local infrastructure.”

Hyatt Regency opens new beachfront restaurant in Huntington Beach

Aug. 11, 2023 2:37 PM PTExecutive chef Manfred Lassahn and food and beverage director Michael Halloran went on road trips to other beach locales after the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa made the winning bid on a beachfront concession a few years ago.They traveled to spots like Santa Monica and Venice Beach, to name a couple, just to see what the beach food scenes were like...

Aug. 11, 2023 2:37 PM PT

Executive chef Manfred Lassahn and food and beverage director Michael Halloran went on road trips to other beach locales after the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa made the winning bid on a beachfront concession a few years ago.

They traveled to spots like Santa Monica and Venice Beach, to name a couple, just to see what the beach food scenes were like.

“We watched more what people were buying than what they were offering,” Lassahn said. “What were they walking away with?”

The Hyatt team hopes that its new concession, located just steps from the sand at Huntington City Beach, is a Shor thing.

Shor restaurant held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday evening, featuring Huntington Beach officials including Mayor Pro Tem Gracey Van Der Mark and Councilmen Pat Burns and Dan Kalmick.

The location had a soft opening about three weeks ago, Hyatt Huntington general manager Peter Rice said, and received its liquor license a few days after that. Hotel guests can reach it via the pedestrian bridge across Pacific Coast Highway, and walk-up guests are also welcome.

Though the vibe is casual, patrons do get full service, chef Corina Rodriguez said. So far, the mix has been about half and half in terms of local customers and hotel guests.

The menu features about 25 items. Rodriguez said the top seller is the Shor Burger, a classic burger with double beef, double American cheese, Shor sauce and caramelized onions on a brioche bun.

A fish-and-chip sandwich is another highlight of a menu that also includes items like salads, pizza, tacos, a spicy tuna wrap and plenty of sides. Drink options include cocktails, with the passion fruit mai tai as a signature drink, along with draft beer and wine.

Rodriguez said everything on the menu is made totally from scratch.

“That goes for sauces, we hand-bread our fish, we do everything from scratch entirely,” she said. “We want to do comfort, familiar classics but done up with a spin. We’re really emphasizing flavor, giving it something a little bit extra that makes it original. We’re trying to set ourselves above the rest.”

Shor, 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy., is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended weekend hours until 7 p.m. this summer.

Is Huntington Beach, CA, a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons to Help You Decide

If you’re considering a move to Huntington Beach, California, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Known for its iconic beaches, surfing culture, and laid-back lifestyle, Huntington Beach offers a unique living experience. Whether you’re looking to buy a home in Huntington Beach or ...

If you’re considering a move to Huntington Beach, California, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. Known for its iconic beaches, surfing culture, and laid-back lifestyle, Huntington Beach offers a unique living experience. Whether you’re looking to buy a home in Huntington Beach or rent an apartment, we will explore in this Redfin article ten key aspects to help you determine whether Huntington Beach is the right place for you.

Pros of living in Huntington Beach

1. Beautiful beaches and outdoor activities

Huntington Beach is famous for its stunning beaches, with miles of pristine coastline and excellent surf breaks. Whether you enjoy sunbathing, swimming, surfing, or simply taking a leisurely walk along the shore, the beach lifestyle is a major attraction in Huntington Beach. You can also engage in various outdoor activities like beach volleyball, biking along the boardwalk, or exploring the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, a coastal wetland with abundant wildlife.

Interested in moving to the area?

Partner with an experienced agent who knows the local market. Contact a Redfin agent 2. Active outdoor community

With its year-round pleasant climate, Huntington Beach encourages an active and healthy lifestyle. The beach offers opportunities for jogging, yoga classes on the sand, and outdoor fitness activities. The city also has numerous parks, like Bauer Park and Seabridge Park, trails, and recreational facilities for sports enthusiasts, including golf courses, tennis courts, and skate parks.

3. Vibrant surfing and water sports culture

Huntington Beach is often referred to as Surf City USA due to its deep-rooted surfing heritage. The city hosts prestigious surfing events, such as the US Open of Surfing, attracting world-class surfers and enthusiasts from around the globe. If you’re a fan of water sports or want to learn how to surf, Huntington Beach provides an ideal environment for you to embrace the surf culture.

4. Frequent cultural events and festivals

Huntington Beach hosts a variety of cultural events and festivals throughout the year, adding vibrancy and entertainment for those in the city. From the annual California Wine Festival to the Surf City Nights weekly street fair, you have access to a diverse range of cultural experiences and celebrations. These events showcase local talent, art, music, and culinary delights, providing opportunities for you to engage in the local community and enjoy unique cultural offerings.

5. Diverse dining and entertainment options

Huntington Beach boasts a vibrant dining and entertainment scene, catering to a variety of tastes and preferences. From casual beachfront eateries to upscale dining establishments, the city offers a diverse range of culinary experiences. Additionally, Downtown Huntington Beach, also known as Main Street, is lined with shops, boutiques, restaurants, and bars, providing plenty of options for entertainment and nightlife.

Cons of living in Huntington Beach

6. High cost of living

One of the main drawbacks of living in Huntington Beach is the high cost of living. The desirable beachfront location and proximity to major cities contribute to elevated housing prices and overall expenses. Current homes in Orange County cost 51% more on average than the national average, making it challenging for some to find affordable housing options in desirable areas. For example, the median home sale price as of June was $1,020,000 versus a national average of around $408k, and rentals currently going for about $2,900 on average versus $1,393 nationally. It’s important to carefully consider your budget and financial situation before committing to living in Huntington Beach.

7. Expect crowds of tourists during summer

As a popular beach destination, Huntington Beach experiences a significant influx of tourists during the summer months. While this brings economic benefits to the city, it can also result in crowded beaches, parking difficulties, and longer wait times at local establishments. If you prefer a more peaceful and less congested environment, the tourist season may be a factor to consider.

8. Limited public parking

Also, with its popularity as a beach destination, finding public parking in Huntington Beach can be a challenge, especially during peak seasons and weekends. The limited availability of parking spaces near popular beach areas and downtown can be difficult. Residents may need to plan accordingly or explore alternative transportation options to navigate the parking situation effectively.

9. Potential for coastal hazards

Living in a coastal city comes with the risk of coastal hazards such as flooding, erosion, and coastal storms. Although Huntington Beach has protective measures in place, such as seawalls and sand replenishment programs, it’s essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with living near the ocean and stay informed about emergency protocols.

10. Traffic congestion

Like many cities in Southern California, Huntington Beach experiences traffic congestion, particularly during peak commuting hours. The proximity to major highways and popular tourist attractions can contribute to increased traffic volume. It’s important to consider the potential commute times and traffic conditions when planning your daily activities.

Deciding whether Huntington Beach is a good place to live really boils down to your own personal preferences, lifestyle, and priorities.Does Huntington Beach align with what you are looking for as a place to live?

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

California Attorney General Bonta and Department of Housing and Community Development Again Put City of Huntington Beach on Notice for Potentially Violating Multiple Housing Laws

In separate letters, state officials put Huntington Beach on notice and urge its city council to reject a proposed moratorium on SB 9, SB 10, and ADU projectsSACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) today each issued letters under their separate enforcement authority urging the Huntington Beach City Council to reject a proposed moratorium on housing projects under Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) and Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), as well as accessor...

In separate letters, state officials put Huntington Beach on notice and urge its city council to reject a proposed moratorium on SB 9, SB 10, and ADU projects

SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) today each issued letters under their separate enforcement authority urging the Huntington Beach City Council to reject a proposed moratorium on housing projects under Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) and Senate Bill 10 (SB 10), as well as accessory dwelling units (ADUs). In the letters, the Attorney General and HCD make it clear that the proposal — currently set to be considered by the city council today — is unlawful and directly threatens statewide efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing.

“We need partners in building a more affordable California, not more political grandstanding,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “I urge Huntington Beach to reconsider its latest proposal. Our state is facing an existential housing crisis. It is past time to work together to put the people of our state first. My office is ready to take action as necessary to enforce our laws, but Huntington Beach still has time to course correct. My message to Huntington Beach is simple: Work with us and we will work with you.”

“The City of Huntington Beach continues to attempt to evade their responsibility to build housing, but they will simply not win,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “City leaders have a choice – build more housing or face very real consequences – including loss of state funds, substantial fines, and loss of local control. Californians need more housing in all communities and Huntington Beach is no exception. Communities that fail to meet this moment will find out that the status quo will no longer be tolerated.”

“The actions being considered by the Huntington Beach City Council should raise concerns with every resident in the city,” said HCD Director Gustavo Velasquez. “This is another blatant attempt to evade state housing law, denying private property owners’ rights to house aging family members or build income through accessory dwelling units, and preventing the development of affordable housing when it is needed more than ever.”

Under SB 9, local agencies must provide a “ministerial” approval process for any proposed duplex within a single-family residential zone, or for any proposed lot split of a single-family residential parcel. Ministerial review is where the public official ensures that the proposed development meets all the applicable objective standards for the proposed action but uses no special discretion or judgment in reaching a decision. An SB 9 project may only be denied under limited circumstances. In addition, Huntington Beach already has an ordinance in place establishing objective development and design standards for SB 9 projects. As a result, it is unclear how the city council can direct its city manager to cease the processing of any SB 9 applications on the grounds that any SB 9 project would purportedly be inconsistent with the city’s current zoning. With respect to SB 10, Huntington Beach has not chosen to adopt an ordinance under that statute and instructing the city manager to ban the acceptance of SB 10 housing projects makes no real-world change to the city’s current practices. This further demonstrates the city's lack of support for strategies that promote housing production at all income levels.

Under state laws aimed at addressing California’s housing crisis, homeowners can build ADUs — sometimes referred to as “in-law units” — or additional homes (SB 9 units) on their lot under specific circumstances. The city council’s proposed action would also be an unlawful attempt to preempt the application of state ADU laws. State law requires permitting agencies to approve or deny ADU applications ministerially and without discretionary review within 60 days of a complete application’s submittal. Should a city deny an ADU application, it must provide in writing a full set of comments to the applicant with a list of items that are defective or deficient and a description of how the application can be remedied by the applicant. State law makes it clear that no other local ordinance, policy, or regulation shall be the basis for the delay or denial of a building permit or a use permit. Refusing to process ADU permits would have the effect of reducing access to housing and also runs afoul of the Housing Crisis Act’s broad prohibitions on local government moratoriums seeking to restrict or limit housing development.

Today’s letters reflect the latest in a string of troubling actions by the city. In a continuation of efforts to evade state housing law, the city is moving to strip private property owners of the right to add housing units, despite the dire need for additional housing. On February 13, HCD and the Attorney General warned the city’s planning commission that the proposed adoption of an ordinance banning “builder’s remedy” projects would violate state law. The builder’s remedy refers to a provision of the Housing Accountability Act prohibiting cities and counties that have not adopted a compliant housing element from denying housing projects for inconsistency with zoning if at least 20% of the proposed homes are affordable to low-income households. Huntington Beach has not adopted its housing element, even though HCD found its draft compliant with state law.

Governor Gavin Newsom launched a Housing Accountability Unit in 2021 increasing stringent enforcement and oversight at the local level to create more housing, faster across California. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the creation of a Housing Strike Force within the California Department of Justice aimed at advancing housing access across the state. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the California Department of Justice’s Housing Portal and HCD’s website for more resources and information aimed at supporting access to housing.

A copy of the California Department of Justice’s letter to Huntington Beach is available here. A copy of HCD’s letter is available here.

Huntington Beach Blocks State Housing Law, Sets Up Confrontation with CA Attorney General

Huntington Beach city leaders voted to block a state housing law on Tuesday night despite threats from Sacramento that they could be in for a lawsuit over the ban.The state law they blocked locally is known as “builder’s remedy,” which allows a developer to build a project in the city without their approval if the city doesn’t have a housing plan approved by the state and if the proposed development offers affordable housing units.[Read: ...

Huntington Beach city leaders voted to block a state housing law on Tuesday night despite threats from Sacramento that they could be in for a lawsuit over the ban.

The state law they blocked locally is known as “builder’s remedy,” which allows a developer to build a project in the city without their approval if the city doesn’t have a housing plan approved by the state and if the proposed development offers affordable housing units.

[Read: Will Builder’s Remedy Create Housing Without Local Approval in Orange County?]

Huntington Beach, along with most Orange County cities, does not currently have an approved housing plan, with the council’s next discussion on the plan set for later this month.

Huntington Beach leaders argue that the builder’s remedy law is illegal, and that the state should not have the power to overrule local zoning decisions or mandate zoning for over 13,000 new housing units in the city.

Mayor Tony Strickland pointed out the council’s promise to voters during the 2022 campaign to fight back against housing mandates, saying the state was unfairly targeting Huntington Beach.

“There is a war on the automobile and there is a war on suburbia and they want to urbanize California,” Strickland said. “We have a checks and balances system in this country. When we believe the state is overstepping their bounds, we have an avenue and that avenue is the courts.”

And that court battle could be right around the corner.

State leaders like Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta have repeatedly warned that a push to overturn builder’s remedy or any other state laws will be met with a lawsuit.

“With today’s letter, we’re putting the City on notice that adopting this ordinance would violate state law,” Bonta said in a letter sent to the city last month. “I urge cities to take seriously their obligations under state housing laws. If you don’t, we will hold you accountable.”

[Read: Sacramento Tells Huntington Beach To Back Off Housing Fight Against Builders’ Remedy]

The city also received another letter from the state’s department of Housing and Community Development, warning them that if the ban was passed it would be a violation of state law.

To read the letter, click here.

While the council approved the motion to block builder’s remedy rules in a 4-3 vote, several council members asked why the city didn’t just focus on approving a housing plan instead of fighting builder’s remedy.

“The way to stop builder’s remedy is to approve and receive a certified housing element,” said Councilwoman Natalie Moser. “If the council was serious about wanting a certified housing element, it would not proceed with a direct violation of housing law.”

Precise details on how the city plans to fight off any lawsuit are hazy, with city attorney Michael Gates saying he can’t discuss the issue publicly without giving away the city’s legal strategy.

“This is the kind of thing that basically expresses succinctly in one paragraph what our entire body of zoning code already says,” Gates said. “This is as legal as our current zoning law.”

Gates also said Huntington Beach was being picked on, claiming that 60% of California cities don’t have an approved housing plan but that Surf City was the only one at risk of a lawsuit.

“There are currently approximately 280 cities out of housing compliance,” Gates said. “Yet Huntington Beach is being picked on…we’re the focus of enforcement while the other 280 cities aren’t.”

“Well, we’re passing an ordinance that goes against state law,” Moser said. “That would be a reason to pick on us.”

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC reporter and corps member with Report for America, a GroundTruth initiative. Contact him at or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

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