SB Nein? How Cities Cheat on Housing Reform

Nov 4, 2022 | Blog, News

A new analysis by David Garcia and Muhammad Alameldin (California YIMBY alumni) at the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation unpacks the challenges arising from local implementation of Senate Bill 9, California’s landmark housing bill that ended single-unit-only zoning and legalized duplexes throughout the state.

Key takeaways:

  1. While SB 9 permits duplexes and lot splits on most single-family parcels, cities and counties still have broad leeway to impose additional standards that can limit feasibility for housing production. As the authors observe, “no two [local] ordinances were alike.”
  2. In the paper’s 10 case study jurisdictions, local governments imposed widely varying requirements, including standards for parking, open space, and easements that may render many SB 9 units infeasible.
  3. In addition to clarifying legislation at the state level, the Terner Center recommends that cities learn from successful ADU programs by providing technical assistance, pre-approved design plans, and even construction financing.