Senate Bill 9 (SB-9)

On September 16, 2021, Governor Newsom signed California Senate Bill 9 (SB-9) into law, which is intended to increase residential densities within single-family neighborhoods across the State. SB-9 goes into effect on January 1, 2022.

What Does SB-9 Do?

SB-9 will functionally eliminate single-family residential zoning in California by allowing all properties within a "single-family residential zone" to be developed with two units and to be subdivided into two parcels, irrespective of local standards. In short, the law allows for two new types of development activities that must be reviewed ministerially without any discretionary action or public input:

 

  • "Proposed Housing Development" allows a single-family residential parcel to accommodate two primary dwelling units instead of one, as well as accessory dwelling unit(s) (ADUs).

 

  • "Urban Lot Splits" allows a single-family residential parcel to be divided into two parcels as small as 1,200 square-feet and for each parcel to also accommodate two primary dwelling units. However, ADUs are not required.  

 

In most circumstances, SB-9 will result in the potential creation of four dwelling units from an existing single-family parcel, generally in the four (simplified) scenarios depicted, below. In comparison, a single-family property is currently permitted three units, inclusive of a single-family dwelling, an ADU, and a JADU.

SB-9

What Can the City Do?

SB-9 is not optional and there is no mechanism for the City to "opt-out" of the law. However, the City may adopt objective zoning, design, and subdivision standards, as well as procedural requirements in order to provide for orderly implementation of SB-9. Note that the City may not impose any standard(s) that would physically preclude the construction of two units of less than 800 square feet each per property. Additionally, the City is also precluded from imposing side or rear setbacks greater than 4-feet or requiring onsite parking spaces for properties one-half mile walking distance of either a high-quality transit corridor or a major transit stop, or within one block of a car share vehicle.

What is the City Doing?

On December 7th, the City Council adopted an interim ordinance to implement SB-9 before the law went into effect on January 1st. A formal ordinance will be considered by the Planning Commission at its meeting of March 22, 2022. The draft ordinance and associated materials are available in the agenda packet at this link.

Where can I apply for an SB-9 project?

You can submit an application for an SB-9 proposed housing development through the MyGovermentOnline application portal. Please refer to the Single Family Residential Application Checklist for details.