Local News

City Council to discuss limits to SB 9

State mandate ends single family zoning

The City Council will have an opportunity to protect Fullerton’s neighborhoods with an Urgency Ordinance on Dec. 21 at 6:30pm to reduce the impacts of SB 9 which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022.  SB 9 allows developers to build 4-6 units on most single family lots throughout the entire city, with the exception of designated historic landmarks and districts, leaving non-designated historic neighborhoods unprotected, the same as recently built neighborhoods. SB 9 would not allow public hearings for the vast majority of projects it permits, a concept sometimes  known as “by right.”

Mayor Fred Jung requested the Urgency Ordinance following public comment by former Mayor Greg Sebourn who said, “SB 9 is taking local control over development away from cities.” Sebourn also expressed concerns that SB9 would attract “international investors” to fund residential lots for conversion, remove affordability, and displace families with, “no requirements to mitigate impacts to city infrastructure.”

When asked for comment, former Mayor Leland Wilson stated, “I’m in the Real Estate industry, but this is going way too far. I understand the need for affordable housing, but SB9 lets for-profit developers come in and change the character of the city and its neighborhoods with no way to stop them and, not surprisingly, with no requirement for affordability. This will price people out of the City.”

While cities throughout the state are penning local ordinances to try to lessen the impact of SB9, some are also challenging the law, arguing that cities should retain their traditional role in deciding the appropriate level of development in their communities. Also in the works is a statewide citizens initiative funded by the Brand-Huang-Mendoza Tripartisan Land Use Initiative Committee that would re-establish local planning, zoning, and decision-making after SB9 goes into effect. (OurNeighborhoodVoices.com)

The City Council meeting will take place Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 6:30pm City Hall. Participate in person or via Zoom.

Zoom Meeting Details: www.zoom.us/join

Meeting ID: 978 4219 1797

Telephone Option: 1-669-900-9128

Fullerton City Hall. Photo by Jesse La Tour.

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11 replies »

  1. I suppose we will learn, but how would replacing an unaffordable single family home with 4-6 units _increase_ unaffordability?

    One would think that increasing the land available for home construction (here by increasing the number of units that could be constructed on a single lot) would give cities like Fullerton far more options to reach their RHNA goals than otherwise … and that would benefit _everyone_.

    Currently, to do so right (putting no more than 30% of one’s household income into paying for housing) to rent a 1 bed-room appartment in OC requires a household income of $30/hr or two-and-a-half fulltime mininum wage jobs.

    The solution to this is increasing housing stock. Or do we really prefer people reduced to living in boxes or sputtering RVs on our streets …

    • “I suppose we will learn, but how would replacing an unaffordable single family home with 4-6 units _increase_ unaffordability?”

      Well, let’s see if I can explain this in real simple terms. An 8 thousand sf lot with the potential for six units on it is worth more than a an 8 thousand sf lot with a single house on it. Therefore, the price of that lot/house goes up making it more unaffordable for somebody who wants to buy a single family house. It’s not all that complicated.

      • “for somebody who wants to buy a single family house.”

        Key bit there. The idea is to increase affordability in general by increasing the supply of housing. Not supply of (single family) houses.

        Something’s gotta give.

      • David, if one wants to buy a _single family house_ then sure that’s actually possible. BUT that should actually make every _greedy_ single family home owner in OC and across California jump for joy.

        However, one is converting A SINGLE UNIT into FOUR TO SIX UNITS. Hence _housing supply_ goes up. And while the price of land on which those units stand may go up, the price per housing unit will go down.

        So if one doesn’t want to buy a single family home, just one of those 4-6 units, the _per unit price_ would go down and that would benefit _everyone_.

        To put it another way, and perhaps the only way a large segment of Orange County residents seem to understand — SINGLE FAMILY HOME OWNERS STAND TO MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BY SELLING THEIR PROPERTY FOR SUCH CONVERSIONS.

        So if one chooses to oppose this for fear of the poor or of people with accents or of people with darker skin complexions, then one stands to lose a lot of money as a result 😉

        Again, if one refuses to be good, then one should at least try to be smart…

  2. Sadly, the housing is necessary. NIMBY sentiment created the current housing affordability nightmare. And here we see NIMBY sentiment looking to reassert somehow over state law. Every once in a while our capitalist society gives our own principles a shot, let’s see where it goes.

  3. Even sadder is that new housing costs more to rent or buy unless explicitly required to be affordable to very-low and low income earners.
    The idea that simply building more homes creates affordability contradicts the capitalist economic system we live in where builders will stop building before creating a glut of housing that would drive rent and sales prices down.
    SB9 has zero affordability requirements. What it will gets us is more investors buying up family homes to subdivide properties, squeeze in as many units as they can, and rent them out for as much as they can with no regard for the impacts to local infrastructure and a lack of parking.
    Hopefully Fullerton can help craft some way to provide benefits to the community such as mandatory affordability, maintaining yards and trees, and consideration for the neighborhoods that will be impacted.

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