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The town of Woodside in San Mateo County has found a way to thwart new housing development: invoking the supposed endangerment of mountain lions.

Woodside, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau has a median household income of more than $250,000, has blocked any new development under Senate Bill 9 under a clause in the bill prohibiting development in the habitat of an endangered species. SB 9 was an attempt to encourage more housing development in established neighborhoods by allowing property owners to split large lots and bypass public hearings.

“We love animals,” Mayor Dick Brown told The Almanac. “Every house that’s built is one more acre taken away from (mountain lions’) habitat. Where are they going to go? Pretty soon we’ll have nothing but asphalt and no animals or birds.”

Mountain lions have not been added to the state’s list of “endangered” species but are “threatened” and granted protections under the California Endangered Species Act.

State Sen. Scott Wiener — one of the architects of SB 9 — predicted legal action against the town.

“Woodside announced it’s exempt from state housing law because of … mountain lions,” he tweeted. “I’m all for mountain lions. I’m also for people. You know, the ones who need homes. Can’t wait for the lawsuit against Woodside for this brazen violation of state law.”

While invoking mountain lions seems to be the most creative way to hide from SB 9, other California cities have taken similar steps to weaken the legislation’s effects. The city of Alhambra in the San Gabriel Valley passed an ordinance at the start of the year in an attempt to preserve more restrictive local housing laws.