SINGLE-FAMILY ZONING IN JEOPARDY

Unbelievably, the State of California is poised to eliminate single-family zoning state-wide.

We have a serious shortage of affordable housing in California, but destroying our existing neighborhoods, as Senate Bill SB9 and Senate Bill SB10 would do, is NOT the answer. Actions you can take are at the bottom of this page. Only a few minutes are needed. Note this is not a Democratic or Republican issue. No one should want to see the destruction of our single family neighborhoods.

Bills SB9 and SB10 have already passed the senate and await approval by the assembly.  Ominously, last year, SB 9 bill passed both chambers and failed to become law only because of a technicality.  So the votes for approval were there last year. Our representatives need to be dissuaded from approving these bills this year. Note that the rezoning required for these higher density projects would be approved under state law. Local elected officials have no say; there is no local control. We need to take every action possible to defeat these bills, and as quickly as possible. Final approval by the legislature could come in about a week.

To quote from Tina Richards’ editorial in the August edition of the Foothills Sentry:

“ Positioned as a way to solve the “housing crisis”, the bills will override local land-use plans and zoning designations.  They will pave the way for split lots and multifamily dwellings to replace single-family homes, with little oversight and no public input.  Neither bill, however, stipulates affordable housing, referring to the new units as market rate.”

The pending legislation, for example, would allow North Tustin’s large residential lots to be subdivided to allow for two single-family homes (or duplexes) on each half.  Those units could be joined by accessory dwelling units (ADU’s) and junior ADU’s which have already been exempted from local control by legislation.  That means each property could host up to 10 units. Note that approval would result in a large increase of population density but no upgrades in utilities (sewer, water, and electricity) are required. Whether the existing utilities will support the increased in housing units is not considered – just build and worry later.  Cities and counties will have to raise property taxes to pay for utility upgrades.

Large lots, however, are not the primary target.  “Middle class” neighborhoods, like most of Orange and the flatlands of North Tustin, are central to the scheme because they are more attractive to investors.  The legislation would allow for splitting on smaller properties as long as each new plot is 1,200 square feet. . . .

SB9 rezones, by state statute, virtually all parcels within single-family residential zones.  It preempts local zoning, prohibits public hearings and discretionary decisions on split-lot housing and exempts those developments from environmental review.  Current HOA rules, zoning, CC&Rs, high-risk fire zones, and specific plans are overruled.

Developers are not required to contribute to infrastructure or provide parking. . . .

SB10 will allow 10-unit “market-rate” apartment buildings, plus granny flats to replace a single family residence. One parking space per unit is required unless the building is within 1/2 mile of a bus line (e.g., Irvine Blvd and Newport Ave); in that case, no parking is required as residents can use the bus.

The “market rate” requirement seems to work against any real increase in affordable housing.  And lest you think we will all get uber-rich subdividing our properties, read the fine print:  Homeowners who want to do this must first pay off their mortgages when they split their lots, and the new parcels well be reassessed at the resulting higher value.  Oops!

To quote Tina’s editorial again:

“Homeowners may not want to take on a higher property tax burden, but developers will.  And why not?  Backed by a stable of investors, developers can outbid families looking for a home and replace a single residence with up to 10 units, with no pesky local ordinances to work around, no environmental impact reports to produce, and no public hearings to endure.”

It’s important to take action to increase our housing supply, but these bills are not the way.  The only winners here are the real estate developers, at the expense of our existing single-family residential communities.

Both these bills are inches away from becoming law. Help oppose these terrible bills!  And here’s how:

Contact our State Senator David Min by his official contact form, capital office phone, and his Irvine office. Note that Senator Min voted for SB 9 & SB 10 when it passed the Senate earlier this year. He needs to know his constituents are extremely disappointed that he approved these bills. This is important because if the Assembly makes changes to the bill it will go back to the Senate for a new vote. If that happens, he needs to vote NO.
  • Contact Form
  • Capitol Office:  916.651.4037
  • Irvine Office:  949.223.5472
Contact our State Assemblyman Dr. Steven Choi via his official contact form, capitol phone, and Irvine office phone. Assemblyman Choi could be voting within the  next week.
  • Contact Form
  • Capitol Office: 916-319-2068
  • Irvine Office: 714-665-6868
Assuming the bills are approved by the Senate and Assembly, they will go to Governor Newsom for approval or denial. He needs to know how his constituents feel. His contact Information: