SB 9 Urban Lot Split
Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, is State legislation that attempts to develop solutions to the statewide housing crisis. SB 9 adds two new sections to the Government Code (section 65852.21 and section 66411.7) that make it easier to add a second single-family residence or split an existing lot (urban lot split) in areas which meet the requirements. SB 9 went into effect on January 1, 2022.
The goals of the legislation include:
- Promote strategic infill growth;
- Preserve historic neighborhoods;
- Respects local control (local zoning standards);
- Establishes a maximum number of units (up to 2 primary units on a single-family parcel, plus one or two ADUs);
- Benefits homeowners and local property owners – not land speculators or institutional investors; and,
- Provides options for homeowners to build intergenerational wealth.
SB 9 intends to streamline the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing single-family lot. Rather than requiring the usual Tentative Parcel Map process under the Subdivision Map Act (i.e., a public hearing process), SB 9 allows for administrative approval of a Parcel Map by staff (i.e., without a public hearing). This saves time and streamlines the approval process compared to pre-2022.
What are the criteria under SB 9?
Parcels/Lots that CAN support an SB 9 lot split (must meet ALL criteria below):
- Parcel lies completely within a U.S. Census Bureau designated urban area; and,
- Parcel is in a single-family residential zone (R-1, R-1-D, R-S, R-A, R-A-A, R-E, R-R, or R-R-A zoning districts); and,
- Parcel is not individually listed by the City of Redlands as an individually designated historic or scenic property, and not on the California Register of Historical Places; and,
- Parcel is not within a City of Redlands listed historic or scenic district; and,
- Parcel is not within a Fire, Flood, or Earthquake Hazard Zone; or if within a Fire, Flood, or Earthquake Hazard Zone then the hazard will be mitigated so there are no resulting adverse impacts; and,
- Parcel is not on Prime Farmland or Farmland of Statewide Importance; and,
- Project does not demolish or alter affordable housing, housing that has been rented within the past 3 years, or housing from which a tenant was evicted within the past 15 years; and,
- Parcel is not listed as a Hazardous Waste Site (PRC 65962.5), or if the parcel is a Hazardous Waste Site then it has been cleared for residential uses; and,
- Parcel is not under a Conservation Easement; and,
- Parcel does not contain habitat for any protected species; and,
- Parcel does not contain a Wetland; and,
- Parcel can demonstrate adequate wastewater capacity.
The property owner will be required to live in one of the dwelling units (i.e., permanent occupancy) located on the subject property for a minimum period of three (3) years from the date of final map recordation of an urban lot split.
An affidavit or similar documentation will be required by the City as a condition of map approval. In addition, the City may ask for future verification of compliance with the occupancy requirement within those three years.
What Can Be Built
What can be built under SB 9?
SB 9 can be used to:
1) add new units to existing parcel;
2) divide one existing house into multiple units; or,
3) divide a parcel and add units.
The process requires Building Permits for construction in accordance with the Redlands Municipal Code. In some cases, a Grading Permit may also be needed.
- The City may deny an SB 9 application if the Development
Services Department makes a written finding, based upon a
preponderance of the evidence, that the proposed housing
development project would have a specific, adverse impact, as
defined by PRC 65589.5, upon public health and safety or the
physical environment and for which there is no feasible method to
satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the specific, adverse
- For residential units connected to an on-site wastewater
treatment system, a percolation test completed within the last 5
years, or, if the percolation test has been recertified, within
the last 10 years.
- All applications will be subject to the Redlands Municipal
Code and other applicable design regulations as they are adopted
at the time of approval of the application, and no project shall
- The property owner will be required to live in one of the dwelling units (i.e., permanent occupancy) located on the subject property for a minimum period of three (3) years from the date of final map recordation of an urban lot split. An affidavit or similar documentation will be required by the City as a condition of map approval. In addition, the City will ask for future verification of compliance with the occupancy requirement within those three years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I use SB 9 to build a second primary dwelling unit on my property?
A: This depends on several criteria including where the parcel is located.
- A parcel must be located within a single-family residential zone, cannot be an individually designated historic resource, and cannot be located within a historic or scenic district.
- The parcel cannot have a conservation easement, habitat for special status species, prime farmland, or wetlands.
- The parcel cannot be located within a high fire hazard area, geologic or earthquake hazard zone, or flood hazard zone (or if it is within one of these hazard zones, then the structure can be built in accordance with code requirements to adequately mitigate the hazard).
- The parcel must have or be able to provide sufficient water and sewage service.
- The City may deny an application if there is a specific adverse impact to public health and safety that cannot be mitigated.
Q: Can I use SB 9 to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU or Junior ADU) on my property?
A: No. Separate provisions in current State law may allow the construction of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU or Junior ADU) on a parcel zoned for residential uses. State law may prohibit ADUs and JADUs under certain circumstances, such as when the lot is subdivided pursuant to SB 9 and there are already two units existing on each lot. Please refer to the SB 9 Fact Sheet (pages 5-6) for further information about using ADU law in conjunction with SB 9.
Q: What permits do I need?
A: For qualified parcels, the process can be as simple as obtaining building permits depending on the specifics of the project. Some projects may also require a grading permit. In no case will a public hearing be required for a subdivision or development under SB 9.
Q: Can I rent out the units created by an SB 9 project?
A: Applicants for an urban lot-split under SB 9 must sign and record a deed restriction that they will use one of the units as their primary residence for a minimum of three (3) years. Otherwise, units may be rented, but for terms of at least 30 days (i.e., no short-term rentals).
Q: Is the property owner (subdivider) required to live in one of the units?
A: Yes. The property owner must live in or intend to occupy one of the dwelling units located on the property for a minimum period of three (3) years from the date of final map recordation of an urban lot split. An affidavit or similar documentation may be required by the City as a condition of map approval, as well as future verification of compliance with the occupancy requirement.
Q: Can SB 9 be used for parcels located in a High Fire Hazard Severity Zone?
A: It depends on the particular circumstances of the parcel. SB 9 provides that any proposed two-unit development or urban lot split must comply with Government Code §65913.4(a)(6)(D), which excludes projects in high or very high fire hazard severity zones unless either: (1) the site was excluded from the zone by the City; or (2) the site has adopted fire hazard mitigation measures “pursuant to existing building standards or state fire mitigation measures applicable to the development.” Please refer to RMC Chapter 15.30 (Wildland-Urban Interface Code) for additional methods of construction within designated high fire hazard zones. Proposals may also be denied on a case-by-case basis where the City’s Building Official makes a written finding that the project would have a specific, adverse impact on public health and safety or the physical environment and there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the impact.
Q: If a parcel is in an area with substandard existing sewer infrastructure, would that parcel be excluded from SB 9 applicability?
A: If a parcel is in such an area, the application may be denied if the Building Official determines that the proposed project would have a specific, adverse impact on public health and safety or the physical environment, if there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigate or avoid the impact.
Q: Can the City prohibit someone from constructing a new unit or creating a new unit in an existing structure that would be below the Base Flood Elevation?
A: SB 9 generally does not allow development within a flood plain or floodway, as delineated on FEMA maps, but there are exceptions if the impact can be mitigated (see Government Code §65913.4 (a)(6)(G), (H)). Please refer to RMC Chapter 15.32 (Flood Damage Prevention), section 15.32.110(C), for methods of construction within a designated flood zone.
Q: How does the Permit Streamlining Act apply if these are ministerial actions?
A: Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), also effective as of January 1, 2022, extends the requirements of the Permit Streamlining Act to housing projects of one unit or more that require no discretionary approvals. As a consequence, SB 9 projects are subject to the Permit Streamlining Act’s requirements for completeness determinations (within 30 days of submittal) and approval deadlines (within 60 days of determining that the project is exempt from CEQA).
Q: Does SB 9 apply to a homeowner’s association (HOA)?
A: SB 9 does not address rules or restrictions adopted and implemented by a homeowner’s association or included in covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs). The City does not enforce or monitor private CC&Rs.
Q: How do SB 9 urban lot-splits relate to the Subdivision Map Act and the fact that the Subdivision Map Act requires general plan conformance?
A: The language in SB 9 overrides any conflicting provisions of the Subdivision Map Act. Specifically, Government Code § 66411.7(b)(2) provides that “[a] local agency shall approve an urban lot-split only if it conforms to all applicable objective requirements of the Subdivision Map Act…, except as otherwise expressly provided in this section.” General Plan and specific plan conformance is not required if it would preclude urban lot splits mandated by SB 9.
Q: Do minimum street frontage requirements apply to restrict urban lot-split subdivisions?
A: Minimum street frontage requirements continue to apply unless the requirements would physically preclude the urban lot split or the construction of two units of at least 800 square feet each. The resulting parcels must have access to or adjoin the public right-of-way.
Q: May the city require “easements” in some cases?
A: Yes, the City may impose a requirement for easements to accomplish the following: a) provision of public services; and b) access to the public right-of-way for the subdivided lots.
Q: If the City can’t require “dedications,” but a property owner wants to put some improvements in the right-of-way, could the City require that those improvements meet the County’s standards for right-of-way improvements?
A: If an applicant includes improvements to the public right-of-way in its SB 9 application, then the improvements must meet objective City standards. The City may also require an encroachment permit prior to the work being performed.
Q: Is the 4-foot setback provision similar to that for accessory dwelling units (ADUs)?
A: Yes. The City cannot impose a rear or side setback greater than 4 feet. If an existing structure is closer than 4 feet from the property line, a new dwelling may be constructed in the same location and with the same dimensions as an existing structure.
Q: Does the requirement for one parking space per unit supersede other local minimum parking requirements? For example, if local parking standards require two covered spaces per residential unit, or other requirements.
A: Yes, SB 9 supersedes local City parking standards.
Q: Can the applicant seek variances from zoning requirements?
A: SB 9 provides that the City may apply objective zoning standards. However, exceptions must be granted to the limited extent that those standards would physically preclude the construction of two units of at least 800 square feet each with 4-foot side and rear setbacks. (No setbacks are required if the unit is constructed in the same location and with the same dimensions as an existing legal structure.) In that situation, the applicant would not need to apply for a variance.
Q: Can I partially or completely demolish an existing dwelling for my SB 9 project?
A: You may not demolish the dwelling if it is rent-controlled, subject to affordable housing restrictions, or a renter was evicted from the dwelling in the past 15 years. You may not demolish more than 25% of an existing dwelling’s exterior walls if the dwelling has been a rental property in the past three years.
How to Apply
Development Application Form to apply for an
SB 9 urban lot split. Submittal requirements and instructions are
included in the Development Application.
Include the SB 9 Supplemental Application Form with your submittal.
Forms also available here: https://www.cityofredlands.org/post/planning-permits
Application filing fees (may be combined on one check):
- Planning Div. application fee: $706.00
- Engineering Div. application fee: $690.00
- TOTAL = $1,396.00
- Completed and signed Development Application Form (for ministerial review)
- Completed and signed Supplemental Application Form
- Most recent Grant Deed that identifies the current property ownership
- Evidence of vacancy or owner occupancy (such as: property tax records, income tax records, utility bills, vehicle registration, or similar documentation).
In addition, the following items are required for TWO-UNIT DEVELOPMENT applications:
- Fully dimensioned Site Plan, drawn to scale and containing all information required for site plans as described in the Development Application Form (i.e., ministerial review)
- For properties with on-site septic systems: A Percolation Test conducted within the last 5 years; or, a recertification obtained within the last 10 years
In addition, the following items are required for URBAN LOT SPLIT applications:
- Chain of title for the last three (3) years, including the latest vesting deed or title report.
- Numbered Parcel Map, prepared to the specifications of the Subdivision Regulations (RMC Title 17) and the Subdivision Map Act, for ministerial review.
- Signed and notarized Affidavit guaranteeing Owner Occupancy for a minimum of three (3) years from the date of map recordation. Please contact the assigned staff Planner (after you have filed your application) as soon as possible to obtain the required Affidavit form, and return the signed affidavit within 30 days of application filing.
Note About Construction Permits:
Building Permits: A separate application for one or more building permit(s) would need to be submitted to the Building & Safety Division (after SB 9 subdivision approval) in the One Stop Permit Center.
Grading Permits: If any grading permits are required, then a separate application for a grading permit would need to be submitted to the Engineering Division (after SB 9 subdivision approval) in the One Stop Permit Center.
The following links are provided for informational purposes only.
SB 9 Fact Sheet (by the Calif. Dept. of Housing & Community Development)
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