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

Creating great communities for all

Atherton sees SB 9 applications trickling in, while neighboring towns have not

By Angela Swartz, The Almanac, May 9, 2022

“With California’s new lot-split law (SB 9) in effect, Atherton has received four applications to subdivide properties and build new homes since late February. And the town expects more to come.

“Owners can already add accessory dwelling units (ADUs) or junior ADUs to their properties, but SB 9 allows an owner to create a new lot.

“Owners must sign an affidavit that states they will live in one of the units as their primary residence for at least three consecutive years, a requirement added to the law to reduce investor speculation.

“SB 9 could result in about five new housing units per year in town, according to a February staff presentation. This would result in about 40 new units that would go toward the town’s 2023-31 Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) numbers. Atherton is required by the state to plan for the development of 348 new housing units compared to just 93 during the prior eight-year cycle.

“SB 9 projects are more likely to take place on properties with an older residence, staff noted.

“So far, the neighboring towns of Woodside and Portola Valley have not received any SB 9 applications.

“Both towns have stricter limits on building SB 9 projects.”

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