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SB 9 & SB 10

Duplex

California Senate Bill (SB) 9 allows for the ministerial (staff-level) approval of certain housing development projects containing up to two dwelling units (i.e., duplexes) on a single-family zoned parcel. The legislation also allows for the ministerial approval of certain lot splits to allow property owners to construct up to two units on the newly created lots.

SB 9 was passed by the California Legislature on September 1st and takes effect January 1, 2022.

Qualifying Projects

SB 9 allows housing development projects containing no more than two dwelling units on a single-family zoned parcel to be permitted on a ministerial (staff-level) basis, upon satisfaction of a number of qualifying criteria that include the following:

  • The project site is zoned Single Family Residential.
  • The project site is not within a very high fire severity zone, a hazardous waste or hazardous list site, within a delineated earthquake fault zone, or within a 100-year flood zone.
  • The project would not require demolition or alteration of any housing that has been occupied by a rental tenant in the last three years.
  • The project site cannot have been withdrawn from the rental market (i.e., under the Ellis Act) within the past 15 years.

Development Standards

Objective zoning, subdivision, and design review standards may be imposed provided:

  • Such objective standards do not preclude the construction of either of the two units being less than 800 square feet in floor area.
  • No setbacks are required for an existing structure or a structure constructed in the same location and to the same dimensions as an existing structure. In other circumstances, four-foot side and rear yard setbacks may be required.
  • Parking of no more than one space per dwelling unit is specified, except no parking is required for projects a) within a half-mile walking distance of a high-quality transit corridor or a major transit stop or b) within one block of car share. El Camino Real is considered a high-quality transit corridor, and the Burlingame Caltrain and Millbrae BART/Caltrain stations are considered major transit stops.
  • The rental of any unit created must be for a term longer than 30 days (no short-term rentals allowed).
  • Individual units may be either attached (duplex) or detached (cottages), provided the structures meet building code safety standards and are sufficient to allow separate conveyance.

Projects that conform to the objective zoning, subdivision, and design review standards shall be approved ministerially, and are not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Lot Splits

In addition to permitting two units on a single family lot, the legislation allows qualifying lot splits to be approved ministerially pursuant to a parcel map, upon meeting a number of criteria, including many of the same criteria for the two units described above. Additional criteria include the following:

  • Each parcel must be at least 40 percent of the original parcel's size.
  • Each parcel must be at least 1,200 square feet in lot size.
  • There cannot be a sequential lot split on the same parcel, nor can there be a lot split if the owner of the parcel being subdivided (or someone working in concert with that owner) has subdivided an adjacent parcel pursuant to this lot split legislation.
  • No right-of-way dedication or off-site improvement may be required. However easements for public services and facilities, and/or access to the public right-of-way may be required as conditions of approval.
  • The parcel must be limited to residential use.
  • An affidavit that the applicant intends to use one of the housing units as a principal residence for at least three years from the date of approval is required.
  • A condition that requires correction of nonconforming zoning conditions shall not be imposed.
  • Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or Junior ADUs (JADUs) may be restricted if there is a lot split.

In addition to the increase in density in single-family zones and lot splits in single-family zones, SB 9 increases the extension of a map life from 12 months to 24 months and allows four years of extensions in lieu of three years for subdivision maps with off-site improvements above qualifying costs (Gov't Code Sec. 66452.6).

Information contained in this summary is for general education and knowledge, but is not designed to be, and should not be used as, legal advice.

Click here to review the Senate Bill (SB) 9 legislation

Adoption of SB 9 Regulations 

Currently the City of Burlingame proposes to adopt SB 9-compliant regulations in two phases:

Phase 1 (Fall 2021) will incorporate basic objective development standards into the ongoing Zoning Ordinance Update. Standards will be based on existing R-1 standards for building size, lot coverage, setbacks, and building height (unless conflicting with standards summarized above).  The intent is to have basic standards adopted prior to the SB 9 legislation taking effect on January 1, 2022.

Phase 2 (Spring 2022) will refine the basic standards to further reflect the building patterns particular to Burlingame's neighborhoods. This phase will focus on detailed objective design standards, and will involve community engagement.  

Senate Bill (SB) 10 

California Senate Bill (SB) 10 allows (but does not require) local agencies to adopt an ordinance to allow up to 10 dwelling units on any parcel if the parcel is within a transit-rich area or urban infill site.

While the City encourages housing production to meet the needs of its residents and workforce, there are currently no plans underway to adopt such an ordinance. Multiunit residential developers and builders are advised to focus on the City's many multiunit residential and mixed use zoning districts, some of which have no density limits as an incentive to accommodate new housing.  

Click here to view the City's Zoning Maps