SB9 - The CA HOME Act

What La Verne Residents Need to Know About Senate Bill 9

At its adjourned meeting on March 7, 2022, the La Verne City Council discussed Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, and its potential impacts on the City. SB 9 is the state’s multi-year effort to address the statewide housing crisis by providing more opportunity for homeowners to develop multi-family units on their existing single-family residential lot. 

“The City of La Verne intends to comply with this statewide effort while upholding our community’s values and preserving our neighborhoods,” commented La Verne Mayor Tim Hepburn, “The City will continue working to ensure that the implementation of SB 9 aligns with the needs of our residents.”

SB 9 simplifies the process for La Verne homeowners to construct a duplex or subdivide their existing lot. The goal of this bill is to allow infill development in urbanized areas that are currently zoned for single-family homes, while maintaining the existing character of those neighborhoods.

SB 9 sets guidelines for property owners to construct two (2) units on a single existing lot plus an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU), or up to four (4) units from a single original lot by splitting their property in two; the resulting parcels must be at least 40% of the size of the original property and larger than 1,200 square feet. In addition, SB 9 does not affect cities’ current practices for the construction of ADUs, meaning La Verne’s existing zoning requirements for ADUs will remain intact. Additionally, the City is not required to approve ADUs for projects that utilize the lot split provisions of SB 9.

  • SB 9 establishes the following criteria for developers:
  • Applicants must agree to live on the property for a minimum of three years.
  • Adjacent properties cannot be developed under SB 9 provisions by the same owner.
  • Owners are prohibited from using the additional units as short-term rentals.

The demolition or alteration of existing residential buildings that restrict rents to affordable levels, are subject to rent control or have been occupied by a renter in the last 3 years is prohibited.

Beyond these measures, there are further exceptions to SB 9 that are designed to protect the integrity of existing communities, such as excluding historic and landmark properties identified under the Mills Act from SB 9.

The bill also allows cities to impose objective standards to ensure developments meet the needs of their community. The City of La Verne is permitted to implement standards to maintain the look and feel of the City, such as height limits, yard setbacks, building separation, lot coverage and street frontage requirements. Additionally, the City will still be able to assess and apply impact fees for the construction of new units.

The City Council is expected to adopt an ordinance this summer to implement the state’s standards under SB 9 and establish priorities to consider when developing multi-family units.