Infill townhouse projectr
An infill townhouse project in San Jose. Photo by Wingchi Poon via Wikimedia Commons

California Senate President Toni Atkins introduced legislation Monday to modify landmark Senate Bill 9 to make it easier for owners of single-family homes to subdivide their property to build new housing.

The San Diego Democrat’s new Senate Bill 450 would modify SB 9 from 2021 to to make it easier for homeowners and “prevent anti-housing cities from dodging their responsibilities.”

The changes in the new legislation include:

  • Local governments must either approve or deny an application for a new SB 9 unit or lot split within 60 days.
  • If an application is denied, a local government must provide homeowners with a reason and remedy.
  • Local governments cannot impose overly-burdensome requirements on units and lot splits created using SB 9.
  • The California Department of Housing and Community Development’s Housing Law Unit can enforcement these provisions.

“Based on feedback from Californians, these amendments make the process easier to follow for homeowners, and help state officials prevent anti-housing cities from dodging their responsibilities,” said Atkins. “There is so much opportunity in SB 9 — I’m pleased these fixes can help open up even more.”

Atkins’ original bill gives homeowners the ability to build a duplex or split their current residential lot, allowing for a maximum of four units on a single-family parcel, to encourage new housing construction.

Neighborhood groups and some local governments have fought the law, arguing that new construction will change the residential character of their area.

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