Will SB 9 and SB 10 Make Any Difference?

In dramatic fashion, the movement to undo single-unit zoning is going statewide in California with the passage of SB 9 in California. It's an emotional, moral victory for housing advocates—and a ton of work for the state's planners.

September 6, 2021, 9:00 AM PDT

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310


California State Capital

cmshepard / Shutterstock

"Most broadly, the two wins are the biggest yet for the YIMBY movement. It has matured from a cheeky idea a few years ago into a true advocacy movement and a lobbying force. Its constituents--both vocal activists and a silent majority of renters, young adults, and other people who feel the direct pressure of the housing market--have only grown in number. The bigger the crowd, the louder the cheers."

"The real emotional punch, if something as staid as housing legislation could be said to have such a thing, comes in the form of SB 9. For all the housing bills that have addressed zoning, affordable housing finance, the Regional Housing Needs Allocation Process, density bonuses and all the other soporific arcana of planning, SB 9 operates at an enticingly human scale. It addresses that fundamental unit of human habitation: the house."

"If anything, SB 9 is going to be a bonanza of local control, as every single city in the state gets to decide how to implement it. They can consider design guidelines, parking regulations, financing mechanisms, fire safety, massing, setbacks, flat or sparkling, cream or sugar, and, yes, affordability incentives." 

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