Few property owners are using SB9, which allows lot splits

An attempt by the state Legislature to eliminate single-family home zoning and squeeze more people on the same lot hasn’t worked out as planned.

Fewer 500 property owners in California have sought to subdivide their land under a law known Senate Bill 9 or SB9, according to a report in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal. Reporting by the Daily Post has found that very few cities in the mid-Peninsula have received SB9 applications.

SB9 allows owners of properties with single-family homes to sell or split off part of their lot, and each lot can contain up to two duplexes.

The law was meant to address the high cost of housing. But it was met with fierce opposition from residents in single-family neighborhoods.

Many cities have imposed limitations on height, square footage and landscaping to make it more difficult for homeowners to subdivide their land profitably, the Wall Street Journal article said.

The article points out that Temple City, a suburb of Los Angeles, barred SB9 properties from having driveways or off-street parking, and those residents are prohibited from getting overnight parking passes. Temple City also requires 1,000 feet between structures, and that the new buildings are designed in the Spanish Colonial Revival or Craftsman styles.

Temple City has yet to receive any applications under SB9.

What’s more, a number of Southern California cities challenged SB9’s constitutionality in court. They won a court victory in April when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled the law didn’t apply to them. That’s thrown the future of SB9 into doubt, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The author of SB9, state Sen Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said she is working on legislation to fix the problems the law has created.

1 Comment

  1. Despite the potential benefits of SB9, it seems the complexities and costs involved in lot splits are deterring many property owners. Streamlined processes and financial incentives might encourage more participation.

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