house surrounded by 2 big houses

Livable California provided an update in our February Meeting about SB 9 which would allow 6-8 units where there is one now.

FACTS: SB 9 allows 6 units without public input where 1 single-family home now stands. It ends single-family zoning statewide, overriding city powers.

SB 9, a return of the divisive SB 1120 which died in Sacramento in 2020, is soon heading to hearings before the legislature.

SB 9 is not, as misreported by media outlets, a “duplex” bill. It is a radical density experiment, unheard of in the U.S. Oregon is about to launch its experiment with duplexes on single-family lots. SB 9 allows three times that level of density on your streets.

In 2020, even the respected League of Cities misunderstood SB 1120, not realizing the fine print allows 6-unit density without hearings. Now some legislators are waking up to its copycat, SB 9.

SB 9 lets developers choose from 3 upzoning scenarios, without public hearing or public review:

  • 4 stand-alone houses or 2 duplexes where 1 home stands now;
  • 6 units, a mix of houses, duplexes and granny flats, where 1 home stands now;
  • 8 units, a mix of houses, duplexes and granny flats unless a city rejects that plan

How can this possibly fit on a lot?

  • SB 9 works hand-in-hand with existing ADU law, or Accessory Dwelling Unit law, to quickly multiply upward from a simple “duplex” to 6 units, and even 8 units;
  • No garage required, just 1 parking “space” per unit, to squeeze in extreme density;
  • No parking required within ½ mile of major transit, or in a designated historic district, or when the Accessory Dwelling Unit is part of another building;
  • No yard required, just 4-foot setbacks, crowding up against neighbors;
  • SB 9 allows speculators to create this density on lots as small as 1,200 sq. feet;

Whether poor, working-class or well-off, from South L.A. to Santa Barbara to Oakland, homeowners would lose all say over the zoning of the street they put their savings into.

Top scholars agree that such state-ordered upzoning will drive land costs very high, and in turn housing costs will spiral upward, not down.

Find out how to submit a letter to your legislators on Livable California.