What is Senate Bill 9 (SB9)?
In 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 9 (SB9) to further address California’s housing shortage. SB9 went into effect January 1, 2022. This law establishes a streamlined process to develop two primary residential dwelling units on one eligible single-family zoned parcel, and to split one eligible single-family zoned parcel into two separate parcels of approximately equal size. SB9 also provides more flexible property setbacks and parking standards and extends subdivision approval expirations for eligible parcels.
Is my project eligible for the SB9 Application Process?
In order to be eligible for the streamlining provided by the bill, a parcel must meet specific criteria. The table below provides a general overview of the eligibility criteria, while the SB9 Pre-Screen Application (pdf) specifies the criteria in detail. Prior to submitting an SB9 Application, an Eligibility and Objective Standards Pre-Screen with Planning staff is strongly recommended to confirm that your project is consistent with the eligibility criteria required by State law. If eligible, the City will also review the proposed project (land division or new construction) to ensure the preliminary design is consistent with objective standards. Additional information and/or revisions to your project may be required to ensure it is consistent with objective standards.
Single-Family Zone within Urban Area
The parcel must be zoned for single-family residential use, which includes the following zone districts: RE, RDL, RDM or RDH. The parcel must also be wholly within a Census-designated urban area.
Not Within Protected Resource Areas
The project site cannot be in a conservation area or hazardous waste site, and cannot contain protected species habitat, designated historic resources, prime farmland, farmland of statewide importance, wetlands, or conservation easements.
Consistent with Objective Standards
The project must be consistent with objective zoning, subdivision, and design review standards. Only reduced rear and side setbacks are allowed by SB9.
Not Within Hazard Areas
The project site cannot be in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) as designated by CalFire. Projects in other hazard areas may be permitted if it mitigates hazard(s) and meets Building Code standards.
The project cannot involve demolition of affordable housing or rental housing, and no more than 25% of exterior structural walls can be demolished if the site has had rental housing units in the last three years.
Long Term Rental Requirement
If the project creates a rental unit, it must be a long term rental (>30 days).
SB9 Land Divisions and Owner Occupancy
Parcels are not eligible for an SB9 land division if they were created by a previous SB9 urban lot split. A new lot cannot be less than 40 percent of the size of the existing lot. Property owners are also required to occupy one of the lots as their primary residence for a minimum of three years.
How many housing units are allowed for SB 9 projects?
SB9 allows for up to four units per eligible single-family zoned parcel, in the following combinations:
What are Objective Standards?
Objective standards are standards that involve no personal or subjective judgment by a public official. For example, a building height limit of 28 feet is an objective standard. In comparison, a requirement that a building blend appropriately with the neighborhood character is a subjective standard. The City's development standards within the zoning portion of the Municipal Code as well as City Objective Standards guide details that will apply to your project.
What is the SB9 Application Process?
The SB9 Flowchart contains the detailed steps and required application forms. The City recommends a preliminary review prior to submitting a full application to ensure that an application is eligible for SB9. Application fees for SB9 are non-refundable should an application be determined to not be eligible for SB9.