Senate Bill (SB) 9
The SB 9 Ordinance has been approved.
On Tuesday, November 15, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. The Town Council approved Ordinance 2334 - An ordinance of the Town Council of the Town of Los Gatos amending Chapter 29 (Zoning Regulations) regarding Two-Unit Housing Developments and Urban Lot Splits in all Single-Family Residential Zones. (SB9).
On November 1, 2022 the Los Gatos Town Council discussed and provided direction on a permanent SB 9 Ordinance to provide standards and processes for Two-Unit Housing Developments and Urban Lot Splits in all single-family residential zones as allowed by State law.
SB 9 went into effect on January 1, 2022, and requires ministerial (staff-level) approval of certain housing development projects and lot splits on single-family zoned parcels. The Town’s existing interim urgency ordinance (Ordinance 2327) is set to expire on December 31, 2022.
Where Can I Apply for an SB 9 Project?
You can submit a Two-Unit Housing Development Application or Urban Lot Split Application for an SB 9 proposed housing development through the Town’s Citizen Application Portal. If you have any questions regarding SB 9, please email Planning@losgatosca.gov or call 408-354-6872.
Is SB 9 Allowed on my Property?
SB 9 is allowed on a legal parcel located within a single-family residential zone (R-1 or Single-Family Residential Zone; R-1D or Single-Family Residential Downtown Zone; HR or Hillside Residential Zone).
The following parcel conditions are excluded from SB 9 and would not be able to apply for a SB 9 application:
- Historic Property – A parcel that contains a Historic Structure (Town Code Section 29.10.020), is listed on the Town of Los Gatos Historic Resource Inventory, is within a Historic Preservation, or is within a LHP (Landmark and Historic Preservation) Overly Zone. Primary structures constructed prior to 1941 are considered a Historic Structure. You may search your property using the Town’s GIS system to determine if the property is within a historic overlay zone.
- Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone – A parcel that is within a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, as determined by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. You may search your property using the Town’s GIS system to determine if the property is within the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.
- Please note: this rule does not apply to the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone within Town limits as the Town of Los Gatos has adopted fire hazard mitigation measures pursuant to existing building standards.
- Hazardous Waste Sites – A parcel that is identified as a hazardous waste site pursuant to Government Code Section 65962.5 or a hazardous waste site designated by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. You can verify this through the Department of Toxic Substances Control website.
- Earthquake Fault Zone – A parcel that is located within a delineated earthquake fault zone as determined by the State Geologist. You can research this through the following link: Geologic Hazard Zones (arcgis.com).
- Please note: this rule does not apply to properties within Town limits as the Building Code requires compliance with applicable seismic protection standards at time of building permit submittal.
- Flood Zone – A parcel that is located within a special flood hazard area subject to inundation by the 1 percent annual chance flood (100-year flood) on the official maps published by FEMA, found here: FEMA's National Flood Hazard Layer (NFHL) Viewer (arcgis.com).
- Natural Habitat – A parcel that has recognized habitat for protected species, fully protected species, or species protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act, California Endangered Species Act, or the Native Plant Protection Act.
- Prime Farmland and Wetlands – A parcel that contains either prime farmland or farmland of statewide importance designated by the Farmland Mapping and Monitoring Program, or a wetland as defined in the US Fish and Wildlife Service Manual. You can check the prime farmland map here and the wetlands map here.
Senate Bill (SB 9)
On September 1, 2021, the California Legislature passed California Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) and it was signed into law by Governor Newsom on September 16, 2021, with the intent to increase residential densities within single-family neighborhoods across the State. SB 9 went into effect on January 1, 2022.
In late March, 2022, the California Department of Housing and Community Development published this SB 9 Fact Sheet.
What Does S B9 Do?
SB 9 requires ministerial (staff-level) approval of certain housing development projects and lot splits on a single-family zoned parcel. The law allows for two new types of development activities that must be reviewed ministerially without any discretionary action or public input:
- "Two-Unit Housing Development" – Two homes on an eligible single-family residential parcel (whether the proposal adds up to two new housing units or adds one new unit to one existing unit).
- "Urban Lot Split" – A one-time subdivision of an existing single-family residential parcel into two parcels. This would allow up to four units (two units on each parcel).
In most circumstances, SB 9 will result in the potential creation of four dwelling units from an existing single-family parcel, generally in the four (simplified) scenarios depicted, below. In comparison, a single-family property is currently permitted three units, inclusive of a single-family dwelling, an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), and a Junior ADU (JADU).
The Town may adopt objective zoning, design, and subdivision standards, as well as procedural requirements in order to provide for orderly implementation of SB 9. Note that the Town may not impose any standard(s) that would physically preclude the construction of two units of less than 800 square feet each per property or hold any public hearings for units that meet the State rules (with limited exceptions). Additionally, the Town is also precluded from imposing side or rear setbacks greater than four feet or requiring on-site parking spaces for properties one-half mile walking distance of either a high-quality transit corridor or a major transit stop, or within one block of a car share vehicle.
What is the Town Doing?
On December 21, 2021, the Town Council adopted an Urgency Ordinance to implement SB 9 before the law went into effect on January 1, 2022. The Urgency Ordinance and associated staff report may be viewed at the links below.
- Original Urgency Ordinance
- 12/21/2021 Town Council Meeting - Staff Report
- 11/01/2022 Town Council Meeting - Staff Report
- 11/15/2022 Town Council Meeting - Staff Report
On February 1, 2021, the Town Council adopted an extension of the Urgency Ordinance to implement SB 9. The extension of the Urgency Ordinance, including minor modifications, and associated staff report may be viewed at the links below.