Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

SB 9: What it says and what it doesn’t

By Naphtali H. Knox, FAICP, editor

One- and two-family houses sit side-by-side in this pre-zoning, pre-1912 neighborhood where I was raised. Credit: Google Street View

Here’s a one-hour webinar recording you won’t want to miss. One of the great things about it is that it breaks neatly at 30 minutes (after the first presentation) so you can — as I did — break for coffee and come back for the second presenter and the Q and A.

This webinar from September 20, 2021, was developed by Joshua Abrams and Kristy Wang of Baird + Driskell Community Planning for the Association of Bay Area Governments, Regional Technical Assistance Program (RHTA). The webinar does not constitute legal advice.

The two presenters (20 minutes each) are Barbara Kautz, FAICP, attorney with Goldfarb & Lipman, followed by David Garcia, policy director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley. Kautz developed her presentation from an initial SB 9 analysis by Nazanin Salehi, also an attorney at Goldfarb.

Kautz is a well-known and highly regarded practitioner in the areas of land use (especially housing-related land use). Before becoming an attorney, she worked for 30 years as a planner and planning director, concluding her career as Community Development Director and Assistant City Manager for the City of San Mateo. Garcia leads the Terner Center’s engagement in local, state, and federal housing policy.

Ms. Kautz takes us through the content of SB 9, informing us where there are ambiguities in the legislation. The session explains ministerial two-unit developments and ministerial lot splits. It covers which projects qualify; the criteria that cannot, must be, or may be used by cities and counties; how SB 9 intersects with other laws — all addressed by Kautz. She cautions we can anticipate, “as with all new bills, some shakeout about what some of these provisions mean.” Mr. Garcia covers the projected impacts in jurisdictions across the state. As with the state’s ADU legislation, he notes, “We’re probably in for a couple more rounds of cleanup legislation.”

Be aware that the webinar is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice or opinions regarding specific facts. For more information about SB 9, please contact your own legal counsel.

Video recording. Note: You can save yourself two minutes as Mr. Abrams and Ms. Wang set up the slides: just skip from 3:45 on the recording to 5:45.

Legislative Presentation (23 graphics)

Terner Center Presentation (seven graphics)

Terner Center full analysis.

Wait, there’s more.

As a followup, ABAG’s RHTA is hosting three Question-and-Answer sessions with staff from Goldfarb & Lipman LLP to discuss SB 9 and other new housing legislation. Jurisdictions are welcome to join one or more of the sessions to get answers to your questions — or just to listen in to and learn from other jurisdictions:

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