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Sacramento Torn as Lawmakers Attempt to Rezone Single-Family Lots

Housing Markets

Sacramento Torn as Lawmakers Attempt to Rezone Single-Family Lots

August 26, 2021
Photo: Sundry Photography |

Only permitting new multifamily developments on single-family lots is the most recent move by Sacramento lawmakers meant to address the housing shortage, but it’s expected to make little impact. It’s not the first time Sacramento officials have attempted to help the housing crisis by rezoning housing density, but past attempts remain unsuccessful, says the Los Angeles Times. The legislation, SB 9, would allow up to four new housing units on a single-family lot in certain neighborhoods. Supporters say this is a good way to add affordable homeownership opportunities in traditionally high to middle-income areas but naysayers think it’s financially inaccessible for most homeowners.

SB 9 was further narrowed on Monday when it was amended to include a requirement that property owners who want to subdivide their property and build new units be residents on that property for at least three years, a change requested by the California Assn. of Realtors as a way, it said, to limit developers and gentrification in lower-income communities of color.

It was also changed to allow local governments to block projects that community officials believe would adversely affect public health and safety, including homes subject to high fire risk.

The bill exempts homes in rural areas, historic districts and properties where a tenant has lived for at least three years. Cities can still impose certain design standards, and the bill does not outlaw single-family homes or mandate any new development.

After making it way out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday, it will face a vote on the Assembly floor in the coming weeks and then head back to the Senate for a final vote.

SB 9 rose from the ashes of a more sweeping, high-profile proposal that sought to allow fourplexes in single-family neighborhoods and mid-rise apartments near public transit — a clash that pitted suburban homeowners and tenants rights groups against housing advocates who see density as key to alleviating the state’s affordability crisis.

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