Senate Bill 450 Seeks to Strengthen Senate Bill 9  

Jacqueline Woo, Senior Associate

Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (San Diego) has introduced Senate Bill 450 to respond to roadblocks created by jurisdictions throughout the State in the implementation of Senate Bill 9 (2021), which eliminated single-family zoning in California.

SB 9 promotes infill development by allowing homeowners to split their lots and build a duplex on each new lot. Jurisdictions have found creative ways to stop SB 9 projects from moving forward by ignoring the law or by establishing policies and processes that make development challenging, including onerous design review and strict rules about setbacks and height limits. SB 450 would make it harder for local agencies to stop eligible SB 9 projects from moving forward.

Specifically, SB 450 would:

  • Prohibit jurisdictions from creating objective zoning, subdivision, or design standards for an SB 9 project that are not applied to the underlying single-family zoning.
  • Clarify that objective standards can be applied if they are related to the design or improvement of a site.
  • Set a 60-day timeframe for jurisdictions to respond to an SB 9 application or the application is deemed approved.
  • Set requirements for application denials that would require jurisdictions to provide a complete list of items that are deficient and to identify how these concerns can be rectified.

Require that the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) provide notification to any jurisdiction of a violation of SB 9 and to notify the Attorney General.