Irvine announced Thursday that it would sue a regional government group that had demanded that the city plan for 35,660 new homes in the next seven years to accommodate regional growth.
Many of the homes would be designated low- and moderate-income housing.
City leaders say Irvine lacks the land to meet the goals that had been mandated in a housing plan that was approved this month by the Southern California Assn. of Governments.
Irvine, the county's second-largest city by size with 65 square miles and a population of 200,000, is known for its master-planned neighborhoods and business parks.
In March, the city asked the government group to reduce its requirement to 8,833 homes.
But the request was denied.
Mark Asturias, Irvine's housing manager, called the group's mandate "unfair, unreasonable, unattainable and inequitable."
The city official stated that the mandate required Irvine to provide more than 43% of the low-cost houses in Orange County.