Press Release

Published on March 31, 2023


Alameda Superior Court Concludes that Counties Have No Authority to Regulate in Incorporated Cities

In a landmark ruling by Alameda Superior Court Judge Victoria Kolakowski, the court concluded that counties may not regulate within incorporated cities, as that authority is reserved to the City Council.

Before this decision, there has been long standing ambiguity about whether counties may legislate or regulate within incorporated cities in times of emergency. The City of Alameda has consistently taken the position that, consistent with the California Constitution, the existence of an emergency does not and should not change the default rule that counties may not legislate or regulate within incorporated cities. 

“Indeed, having potentially conflicting regulations can be particularly harmful in times of emergency, where members of the public seek and deserve clarity of leadership from their local government,” said Alameda City Attorney Yibin Shen. “We agree with the court that local legislative and regulatory authority, regardless of emergency status, squarely rests with the City Council as set forth by the California Constitution.”

The City of Alameda has consistently been a leader in adopting nation leading laws and regulations that protect residents, businesses, and visitors, especially during times of emergency, including during the COVID-19 emergency. As the City carefully transitions away from the COVID-19 emergency, the Council has adopted thoughtful legislation, especially in the rent control and fair housing context, to keep Alamedans safe and housed.

Anyone with questions regarding the City’s rent control and fair housing laws are welcome to contact the Rent Program at 510-747-7520 or email

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