Court denies Leo Pustilnikov’s builder’s remedy project in Redondo Beach

A Los Angeles court has denied Leo Pustilnikov’s application to build a 35-unit apartment project in Redondo Beach, following a tentative ruling a week ago.

“The court rules in accordance with its tentative ruling,” according to court papers. 

Pustilnikov plans to appeal the decision.

“It’s clear the housing laws apply throughout the state, not just the non-coastal areas,” he told TRD. “The Coastal Act is intended to provide housing equality, not housing exclusivity.”

Last week, L.A. County Superior Court Judge James Chalfant ruled that the site, located at 1021 North Harbor Drive, is not zoned for residential property.

Chalfant wrote that “nothing in the Coastal Act, the Local Coastal Program and the Coastal Ordinance prevents low- and moderate-income housing from being built in the coastal zone,” while noting that “it must be based in residential zones within the coastal zone.” 

The case is closely watched by developers and cities as one of the earliest builder’s remedy applications filed last year, offering insight into the future of the builder’s remedy provision in California after a flurry of filings in 2023.

Despite the court’s denial of Pustilnikov’s project and his planned appeal, the case adds to the growing body of legal decisions demystifying how the builder’s remedy works and its potential applications.

“That’s what this decision and the larger narrative that this decision contributes to,” Chris Elmendorf, a professor at UC Davis School of Law, told TRD last week. “There are more and more signals that state officials are going to have the backs of the people who are trying to build housing.” 

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