A modern duplex development in North Park. Photo by Chris Stone

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday signed a key housing bill introduced by Senate President Toni Atkins that permits infill development of duplex and four-plex homes in neighborhoods currently zoned for traditional single-family homes.

Senate Bill 9 allows owners of single-family lots to split them into two parcels and build up to four units.

“The intent of SB 9 is clear — to streamline the process so homeowners can create a duplex or subdivide their existing property up to four units — and aims to set California’s housing availability on a path of inclusion so that more families can attain the California dream,” said Atkins after the governor’s signature.

The bill was criticized by some neighborhood groups and Republican legislators, who argued that the state should not interfere in local land-use decisions.

But Atkins, who represents coastal and central San Diego County, called SB 9 a “critical piece” of efforts by the Democrats in the Legislature to increase the supply of housing.

Companion legislation includes Senate Bill 7, signed in May, which exempts small housing projects from some environmental reviews, and Senate Bill 10, also signed Thursday, that lets a local government rezone single-family parcels to allow as many as 10 units near public transit hubs and within urban areas.

California currently faces a shortfall of as many as 3.5 million housing units, but most of the state is zoned for single-family homes.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.