By MICHAEL EDLEN | Special to the Palisadian-Post
There is a relatively new law (December 2020) that enables additions of accessory development units (ADUs) to most properties in the state. It provides for a variety of creative ways such additional housing can be done, even when there has been local restrictions or zoning provisions that prevented having more than one home on a single-family lot.
The costs are far less to add an ADU, which is generally much smaller than a conventional home, than to build an entire regular home. The intent was to provide far more possibilities of affordable housing, as well as to accommodate relatives with their own private space. An ADU can also be used for supplemental income, thus benefiting both the owner as well as the new occupant.
Two new bills were just passed in the State Assembly in late August that have an even greater direct impact on single-family zoning. There is a great deal of controversy about these potential new laws, particularly because of the possible increase in housing density (more people and cars) in many urban areas, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In theory, both bills were intended to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis by easing perceived land use and increase density while streamlining the production of multi-family developments. However, ironically SB 9 does not appear to require any “affordable” housing units.
Senate Bill 9 could lead to four or six units where one home exists now. It would require cities to approve lot splits on residential lots larger than 2,400 square feet, and each lot could contain a duplex or two homes (plus “adu”s). It would supersede even homeowner association restrictions.
Senate Bill 10 will allow cities to forego environmental review and override local land-use restrictions when approving developments of up to 10 units on single-family lots that are in areas close to transit lines. Unlike SB 9, it is up to local agencies on whether they want to deploy SB 10 or not.
Some of the controversy arose out of concerns that developers would buy a lot of properties to do the maximum allowable number of lot splits, or would partner with owners of lots to do so. One amendment to SB 9 to address this concern is to require a property owner to sign an affidavit agreeing to reside in one of the housing units for at least three years.
Los Angeles City Council came out in opposition to the proposed SB 9 and SB 10 legislation. Pacific Palisades Community Council has noted that increased density would put all homes in Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones at greater risk, due to increasingly clogged routes of ingress and egress during emergency evacuations.
If fully cleared in the Senate, the governor will then have until October 10 to sign or veto the bills.
Michael Edlen is available for complimentary consultations about real estate concerns and issues. Please contact him at 310-600-7422 or email@example.com about questions you may have.
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