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With more enforcement power than ever, state relies on activists to enforce the 'duplex law'

California leaders say enforcement of Senate Bill 9 and the creation of more duplexes largely falls to private enforcement. Photo by Andrea Gemmet.

Lea este artículo en español.

The passage of 2021's Senate Bill 9 was supposed to herald the end of the single-family zoning that many point to as a culprit of California's housing crisis. But four months into the new era, little has changed, and the scant enforcement of the law has come about largely because of pro-housing activists.

The new law, which allows duplexes and split lots on land previously marked as single-family only, has been met with stiff resistance by cities across the state that have passed ordinances effectively — but not directly — blocking the law in their area.

The state of California — with an annual budget north of $280 billion — is largely reliant on YIMBY, or "yes in my backyard" activists, to find out about law-breaking cities.

"The bulk of how we're going to learn about these cases is through complaints that we receive from ordinary citizens, through advocates, and other stakeholders," said David Zisser, who leads the Housing and Community Development Department's newly created Housing Accountability Unit. "The fact that we've gotten complaints about 29 different jurisdictions is a good example of how it's working."

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No one knows how many permits cities have issued statewide to split a lot or build a duplex, as that information is not tracked in any centralized database. Nor is there a centralized way to track the slew of local ordinances cities have passed to limit its use, state officials told CalMatters.

But some lawmakers don't see the reliance on outside watchdogs as a problem. In fact, advocates have long been the main enforcers of housing law in the state.

"It would be abnormal if we were monitoring every action by each of the 500 cities at all times," said Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who has been a vocal leader in the Legislature promoting housing production. "We have to have a robust advocacy network that is monitoring, reporting and sometimes filing lawsuits. In fact, it's a healthy sign that that's happening."

The attorney general has sent two sternly worded letters to cities about the law so far, and the housing department is gearing up to do the same. The jury is still out on how cities will respond.

New cops on California's duplex beat

The state housing department received a $4.65 million budget allocation last year to build out a team of 25 staff members — not all of whom will work on enforcement full time — to make sure 16 housing laws they received explicit authority to enforce are followed.

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That's a dramatic departure from the status quo, according to Valerie Feldman, a staff attorney at Public Interest Law Project. The nonprofit legal services organization has been suing cities for decades that don't build enough housing for low-income residents.

"It's a big change," she said. "But it will take time. And they will always need connections on the ground."

Zisser, who leads the unit, said his department hadn't received explicit statutory authority over the duplex law. One of the laws they can enforce limits a city's ability to restrict the development of new housing, which is a concern with many of these duplex-hostile ordinances. The housing department's main priority at the moment is the housing element, by which cities have to plan for enough housing to accommodate the growing population.

'The bulk of how we're going to learn about these cases is through complaints that we receive from ordinary citizens.'

-David Zisser, California Housing and Community Development Department

Neither the attorney general nor the housing department is dispensing their limited resources to track the local city council and planning meetings in which duplex law related-ordinances unfold, and in which city council members say things like, "What we're trying to do here is to mitigate the impact of what we believe is a ridiculous state law."

Instead, they depend largely on advocates and local journalists to report on the shenanigans. That's how Bonta's office found out about Woodside, a Silicon Valley town that claimed immunity from the duplex law because the town, in its entirety, was a mountain lion habitat. The local newspaper, The Almanac, first reported the story, and it went viral on Twitter — where many YIMBY activists pointed to Cougar Town as a poster child of the NIMBY ("not in my backyard") mindset.

Woodside attempted to block housing projects under SB 9, arguing the town could be considered a mountain lion habitat. Embarcadero Media file photo.

Several news stories later, Bonta wrote the city a letter, and Woodside reversed course.

"What we're doing is new, in terms of active, visible, aggressive enforcement, so it has a statewide implication and impact," Bonta said. "I think we need to see how that plays out. But I think we could always do more, we could always do it faster."

What could that look like? Bonta suggested maybe pouring more resources into enforcement and requiring that cities submit their duplex law implementation rules for state approval, as is the case for accessory dwelling unit ordinances. While he sees the value in centralization, he said that's not the norm.

"Most laws don't work that way," he said. "You create the law for the state of California and you expect the locals to comply with it."

Dylan Casey, executive director of the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, a YIMBY group, said he and an intern have spent most of their recent Fridays culling through city council and planning commission agendas for more than 200 cities, marking which weekday meetings to watch and ordinances to review. The group has sent warning letters to a few of the 64 cities they say have restrictive ordinances, and filed multiple complaints with the state — which are triggers the state uses to look into cities.

Meanwhile, two employees of YIMBY Law, another pro-housing group, with the help of dozens of volunteers across the state, have created a spreadsheet of 80 cities with restrictive ordinances and shared it with the state housing department. Homestead, a development startup looking to help homeowners split their lots under the new duplex law, has also deployed two employees to track and explain these ordinances to potential clients.

Zisser and Bonta said they plan to review complaints from these groups, developers and homeowners and step in when a law is broken. On which agency takes on what city, Bonta said, "We don't spend too much time figuring out if it's them or us, as long as it's somebody."

ADU deja vu

Accessory dwelling units — the small studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms cropping up across California's backyards — were technically legalized in 1982. But it wasn't until 2016 that state lawmakers made it feasible for homeowners to actually build them by stripping away prohibitive local regulations and fees. Permits for these backyard units exploded over recent years, making up about 10% of new housing stock in 2020.

When the first laws to boost ADU construction went into effect in 2017, Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat from Fremont who has authored five ADU bills, was flooded with calls from homeowners struggling to get permits. The cries for help eventually translated to stronger enforcement: Now, cities have to submit their ADU ordinances, if they have them, to the state housing department for approval, and the attorney general can step in when the local rules don't pass muster.

"You don't want to spend all your money on enforcement," Wieckowski said. "On the other hand, you can't expect a homeowner to become the plaintiff in the lawsuit against their city."

Accessory dwelling units are subject to streamlined approval under a new state law, but state officials say those rules need enforcement. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Cities often repeat the mantra of local control, and liken their fight against the state to David and Goliath, he said. "No, it's the city who's the Goliath."

Regardless of cities' resistance, Wiener said he expects new duplexes will take several years to materialize.

"You have to figure out, does it work on this parcel?" he said. "Is there an existing building there? Can I do a lot split? Do I have to hire an architect to see what can be designed? What will work and what won't? And so people don't just immediately file for a permit. It's not surprising that it's been a slow start."

Housing crisis enforcement on social media

Cities and the state have been clashing over solutions to the housing crisis for years, but the new enforcement approach feels punitive for some local elected officials.

Susan Candell, a city councilmember from Lafayette and member of California Alliance of Local Electeds, a new group established last year to oppose "one-size-fits-all" housing solutions from the state, said cities were coming up with these hit-and-miss ordinances because the duplex law provides too much flexibility and not enough guidance. The housing department, coincidentally, has received a complaint about Lafayette's restrictive ordinance, to which she responded: "We'll take every advice. If we've fallen into a pit hole, I apologize."

When Pasadena, a Los Angeles suburb, claimed in its ordinance that landmark districts would be exempt from SB 9, Bonta wrote a stern warning letter that such districts were not exempt — historic districts were — and that these could be interpreted as large swaths of the city. They also shared the warning on Twitter.

In a two-page letter response, Mayor Victor M. Gordo told Pasadena residents the state had got it all wrong, and the city was indeed in compliance. In his sign-off, Gordo "respectfully encouraged" the attorney general to get to know his city before tarnishing its good name on social media.

"By now, we should all understand that governance by Twitter is ineffective," the mayor wrote.

The letter points to a wider shift in enforcement of housing law. Esoteric city council and planning commission meetings are now broadcast online by a growing number of YIMBY activists. Admonishments once delivered to city attorneys privately can now go viral on Twitter.

'By now, we should all understand that governance by Twitter is ineffective.'

-Victor M. Gordo, mayor, Pasadena

"What I see is they're enforcing laws that historically have not been enforced. Part of that enforcement is in the right vein, and part of it is haphazard," said David Coher, a planning commissioner for the city of Pasadena.

He attributes the visible, if haphazard, enforcement to mounting pressure on the state from pro-housing activists.

"This is playing to an audience in a way that it never played to an audience before," he said.

Chris Elmendorf, a UC Davis Law professor focused on state housing law, said the mayor's statement belies itself.

"Even though there may not be a very systematic way of gathering information about what cities are doing, cities are more in the public eye than they used to be. And Twitter is a big part of that story," he said.

Bonta told CalMatters the state wasn't yet ready to file a lawsuit against Pasadena, but would if it didn't reverse course. His office is already gearing up to fight a lawsuit from a group of four LA County cities, led by wealthy Redondo Beach, that claims the duplex law "eviscerated" cities' land use control. Bonta recently filed a brief in defense of a similar bill that makes it easier for local governments to zone for denser housing near transit.

"The question is, what are the points of leverage?" Elmendorf asked. "What are the things that you can do efficiently that cities will honor and that will ultimately hold up in court? And I think that's the stuff that is really, really unsettled."

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Email Manuela Tobias at [email protected]

CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics. Read more state news from CalMatters here.

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With more enforcement power than ever, state relies on activists to enforce the 'duplex law'

by Manuela Tobias / CalMatters

Uploaded: Tue, May 3, 2022, 9:35 am

Lea este artículo en español.

The passage of 2021's Senate Bill 9 was supposed to herald the end of the single-family zoning that many point to as a culprit of California's housing crisis. But four months into the new era, little has changed, and the scant enforcement of the law has come about largely because of pro-housing activists.

The new law, which allows duplexes and split lots on land previously marked as single-family only, has been met with stiff resistance by cities across the state that have passed ordinances effectively — but not directly — blocking the law in their area.

The state of California — with an annual budget north of $280 billion — is largely reliant on YIMBY, or "yes in my backyard" activists, to find out about law-breaking cities.

"The bulk of how we're going to learn about these cases is through complaints that we receive from ordinary citizens, through advocates, and other stakeholders," said David Zisser, who leads the Housing and Community Development Department's newly created Housing Accountability Unit. "The fact that we've gotten complaints about 29 different jurisdictions is a good example of how it's working."

No one knows how many permits cities have issued statewide to split a lot or build a duplex, as that information is not tracked in any centralized database. Nor is there a centralized way to track the slew of local ordinances cities have passed to limit its use, state officials told CalMatters.

But some lawmakers don't see the reliance on outside watchdogs as a problem. In fact, advocates have long been the main enforcers of housing law in the state.

"It would be abnormal if we were monitoring every action by each of the 500 cities at all times," said Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat from San Francisco who has been a vocal leader in the Legislature promoting housing production. "We have to have a robust advocacy network that is monitoring, reporting and sometimes filing lawsuits. In fact, it's a healthy sign that that's happening."

The attorney general has sent two sternly worded letters to cities about the law so far, and the housing department is gearing up to do the same. The jury is still out on how cities will respond.

The state housing department received a $4.65 million budget allocation last year to build out a team of 25 staff members — not all of whom will work on enforcement full time — to make sure 16 housing laws they received explicit authority to enforce are followed.

That's a dramatic departure from the status quo, according to Valerie Feldman, a staff attorney at Public Interest Law Project. The nonprofit legal services organization has been suing cities for decades that don't build enough housing for low-income residents.

"It's a big change," she said. "But it will take time. And they will always need connections on the ground."

Zisser, who leads the unit, said his department hadn't received explicit statutory authority over the duplex law. One of the laws they can enforce limits a city's ability to restrict the development of new housing, which is a concern with many of these duplex-hostile ordinances. The housing department's main priority at the moment is the housing element, by which cities have to plan for enough housing to accommodate the growing population.

Neither the attorney general nor the housing department is dispensing their limited resources to track the local city council and planning meetings in which duplex law related-ordinances unfold, and in which city council members say things like, "What we're trying to do here is to mitigate the impact of what we believe is a ridiculous state law."

Instead, they depend largely on advocates and local journalists to report on the shenanigans. That's how Bonta's office found out about Woodside, a Silicon Valley town that claimed immunity from the duplex law because the town, in its entirety, was a mountain lion habitat. The local newspaper, The Almanac, first reported the story, and it went viral on Twitter — where many YIMBY activists pointed to Cougar Town as a poster child of the NIMBY ("not in my backyard") mindset.

Several news stories later, Bonta wrote the city a letter, and Woodside reversed course.

"What we're doing is new, in terms of active, visible, aggressive enforcement, so it has a statewide implication and impact," Bonta said. "I think we need to see how that plays out. But I think we could always do more, we could always do it faster."

What could that look like? Bonta suggested maybe pouring more resources into enforcement and requiring that cities submit their duplex law implementation rules for state approval, as is the case for accessory dwelling unit ordinances. While he sees the value in centralization, he said that's not the norm.

"Most laws don't work that way," he said. "You create the law for the state of California and you expect the locals to comply with it."

Dylan Casey, executive director of the California Renters Legal Advocacy and Education Fund, a YIMBY group, said he and an intern have spent most of their recent Fridays culling through city council and planning commission agendas for more than 200 cities, marking which weekday meetings to watch and ordinances to review. The group has sent warning letters to a few of the 64 cities they say have restrictive ordinances, and filed multiple complaints with the state — which are triggers the state uses to look into cities.

Meanwhile, two employees of YIMBY Law, another pro-housing group, with the help of dozens of volunteers across the state, have created a spreadsheet of 80 cities with restrictive ordinances and shared it with the state housing department. Homestead, a development startup looking to help homeowners split their lots under the new duplex law, has also deployed two employees to track and explain these ordinances to potential clients.

Zisser and Bonta said they plan to review complaints from these groups, developers and homeowners and step in when a law is broken. On which agency takes on what city, Bonta said, "We don't spend too much time figuring out if it's them or us, as long as it's somebody."

Accessory dwelling units — the small studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms cropping up across California's backyards — were technically legalized in 1982. But it wasn't until 2016 that state lawmakers made it feasible for homeowners to actually build them by stripping away prohibitive local regulations and fees. Permits for these backyard units exploded over recent years, making up about 10% of new housing stock in 2020.

When the first laws to boost ADU construction went into effect in 2017, Sen. Bob Wieckowski, a Democrat from Fremont who has authored five ADU bills, was flooded with calls from homeowners struggling to get permits. The cries for help eventually translated to stronger enforcement: Now, cities have to submit their ADU ordinances, if they have them, to the state housing department for approval, and the attorney general can step in when the local rules don't pass muster.

"You don't want to spend all your money on enforcement," Wieckowski said. "On the other hand, you can't expect a homeowner to become the plaintiff in the lawsuit against their city."

Cities often repeat the mantra of local control, and liken their fight against the state to David and Goliath, he said. "No, it's the city who's the Goliath."

Regardless of cities' resistance, Wiener said he expects new duplexes will take several years to materialize.

"You have to figure out, does it work on this parcel?" he said. "Is there an existing building there? Can I do a lot split? Do I have to hire an architect to see what can be designed? What will work and what won't? And so people don't just immediately file for a permit. It's not surprising that it's been a slow start."

Cities and the state have been clashing over solutions to the housing crisis for years, but the new enforcement approach feels punitive for some local elected officials.

Susan Candell, a city councilmember from Lafayette and member of California Alliance of Local Electeds, a new group established last year to oppose "one-size-fits-all" housing solutions from the state, said cities were coming up with these hit-and-miss ordinances because the duplex law provides too much flexibility and not enough guidance. The housing department, coincidentally, has received a complaint about Lafayette's restrictive ordinance, to which she responded: "We'll take every advice. If we've fallen into a pit hole, I apologize."

When Pasadena, a Los Angeles suburb, claimed in its ordinance that landmark districts would be exempt from SB 9, Bonta wrote a stern warning letter that such districts were not exempt — historic districts were — and that these could be interpreted as large swaths of the city. They also shared the warning on Twitter.

In a two-page letter response, Mayor Victor M. Gordo told Pasadena residents the state had got it all wrong, and the city was indeed in compliance. In his sign-off, Gordo "respectfully encouraged" the attorney general to get to know his city before tarnishing its good name on social media.

"By now, we should all understand that governance by Twitter is ineffective," the mayor wrote.

The letter points to a wider shift in enforcement of housing law. Esoteric city council and planning commission meetings are now broadcast online by a growing number of YIMBY activists. Admonishments once delivered to city attorneys privately can now go viral on Twitter.

"What I see is they're enforcing laws that historically have not been enforced. Part of that enforcement is in the right vein, and part of it is haphazard," said David Coher, a planning commissioner for the city of Pasadena.

He attributes the visible, if haphazard, enforcement to mounting pressure on the state from pro-housing activists.

"This is playing to an audience in a way that it never played to an audience before," he said.

Chris Elmendorf, a UC Davis Law professor focused on state housing law, said the mayor's statement belies itself.

"Even though there may not be a very systematic way of gathering information about what cities are doing, cities are more in the public eye than they used to be. And Twitter is a big part of that story," he said.

Bonta told CalMatters the state wasn't yet ready to file a lawsuit against Pasadena, but would if it didn't reverse course. His office is already gearing up to fight a lawsuit from a group of four LA County cities, led by wealthy Redondo Beach, that claims the duplex law "eviscerated" cities' land use control. Bonta recently filed a brief in defense of a similar bill that makes it easier for local governments to zone for denser housing near transit.

"The question is, what are the points of leverage?" Elmendorf asked. "What are the things that you can do efficiently that cities will honor and that will ultimately hold up in court? And I think that's the stuff that is really, really unsettled."

Email Manuela Tobias at [email protected]

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 3, 2022 at 3:36 pm
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 3, 2022 at 3:36 pm

The highest density housing should be next to the Downtown Transit Hub
CalTrain/VTA/Bus/Shuttles/Taxis
CalTrain can get you to BART
There are plenty of examples of very high density housing near BART stations

Instead, we limit the height of buildings downtown Mountain View
The first and last miles are the hardest for commuters

Instead in Mountain View, the strategy is to distribute increased density out into the neighborhoods
We have poor (relative to cities such like SF/Oakland/Berkley) public transport to feed the MV
Transit Hub. In addition, what will be needed to improved public transport and capacities of water/sewer/electricity to service high density neighborhoods?

Seems a bit backwards.
High density should be next to the Transit Hub, not out in the neighborhoods.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 3, 2022 at 6:50 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 3, 2022 at 6:50 pm

I agree. Who wants to start a petition to upzone downtown?


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 5, 2022 at 11:24 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 5, 2022 at 11:24 pm

Pretty stupid argument. It doesn't rely on YIMBY factions to detect SB9 issues. Any land owner who is trying to do this and finds problems can simply complain to HCD. The only "unit" needed to detect this is a simple call center. They can claim they have no idea, but it would then be a case of them not answering the calls or not tabulating them.

Honestly, this CalMatters spin is truly absurd. If HCD is truly not listening, then that's on HCD.

What it likely means is that the demand so far from actual property owners has been very limited.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2022 at 3:08 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on May 6, 2022 at 3:08 pm

"Honestly, this CalMatters spin is truly absurd ... What it likely means is that the demand so far from actual property owners has been very limited."

I am more cynical than you, @LongResident. I think that this "messaging" is primarily a ploy to generate continued pro-YIMBY sentiment (and to continue to scapegoat homeowners for being the primary cause of high housing costs). The reality is that the YIMBYs won last year! They wanted unpopular mandates SB9 and SB 10 signed into law, and state politicians gave them what they wanted! The TRUTH is now unfolding that these measures were FALSELY passed under a banner of "affordable housing", they were never going lower the rent for low-income or even average income workers. The real winners from these bills were the DEVELOPERS.

Now YIMBYs are cast as some kind of heroes, providing "scant enforcement" of the law that the state (who gave them these laws!) is unwilling to do? So a gullible public falsely believes that the laws were good ones, but are just not being "enforced"? Is a homeowner who does not split their lot some kind of law breaker now too? Outrageous. Love how state politicians go so quickly from being HEROES to ZEROES, though.

How many cities are actually "resisting" compliance? Kind of an important detail to leave out, eh? From the reporting, it looks like a small subset. Let it be known that the City of Mountain View is not one of them. We have "zoning" here, not "exclusionary zoning". I live across the street from duplexes already, I've happily done so for several decades. Down the street are apartments and condos!

SB9 and SB10 were "sold" under false pretences, and now their failure to provide affordable housing is being explained away. The pain of high housing costs is very real, it pains me to see persons trying to profit from the situation by providing false solutions.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 8, 2022 at 2:05 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 8, 2022 at 2:05 pm

I don't disagree with Leslie. I just see two things going on. Calmatters is taken in by the mass hysteria which over emphasizes a housing shortage and distorts the crisis as going beyond housing for lower income people. We have a real issue where speculation and corporate growth have driven up housing prices. That's not due to a shortage, but it directly targets those at lower income levels. At the same time many programs which used to help lower income residents secure housing have eroded over the years. So that all goes to WHY the Calmatters piece is off the mark.

But then apart from that there is a lot of terrible logic in the Calmatters slant. First of all, we are only 4 months into SB9. It's really too early to tell what will happen. NO one has left anything to anyone yet. A new homes takes a couple of years to be constructed. We couldn't possibly see any effect of SB9. It never did make sense to expect SB9 to have much of an effect with regards to adding units to the supply. And then there's the idea of enforcement. How can you say YIMBY's are enforcing this? Really, have they had more success than state government has? They both look like equal nothings at this point. It's a civil matter and so up to the courts.

One thing about SB9 is that it has some misleading features. It appears that HCD and the rest of the state bureaucracy are holding that it affects building just one unit on a property. Now if you remodel an older home, so as to add square feet, you can use a side and rear setback of only 4 feet, regardless of how big is your parcel. This has nothing to do even with maximizing living space. SB9 is going to have more effect in this regard than in adding units or splitting lots.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on May 10, 2022 at 9:47 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 9:47 am

Why the 'conspiracy theories'? This seems pretty straight forward - as the CalMatters author is reporting.

New law, new process, starting to have some effects (proponents are collecting wide ranging data). Data on non-compliance with state law is getting reported to the state legal system.

Loud Opponents are not a majority. Very Very Loud (Los Altos, Pasadena) councilmembers/mayors are not sovereign government forces! (cities are creatures of the state - and subservient political units)


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on May 10, 2022 at 10:28 pm
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 10:28 pm

@Steven, not sure why you throw out words 'conspiracy theories'. The author asserts that

1) "The passage of 2021's Senate Bill 9 was supposed to herald the end of the single-family zoning that many point to as a culprit of California's housing crisis."

True. Those in favor of SB9 blame SF zoning as a primary culprit of high housing prices. SB9 whacked the heck out of SF zoning. If SF zoning was in fact actually responsible for high housing prices, high housing prices should be tumbling down, shouldn't they?

But prices haven't gone down, they have actually reached historic heights: Web Link

Is it possible that those pushing SB9 were wrong? Is it possible that something other than SF zoning is primarily responsible for high housing prices in the Bay Area?

Many people think that an abundance of high-paying jobs, not zoning, is primarily responsible for high housing costs around these parts. Is it possible that these people are correct?

2) "But four months into the new era, little has changed,"

IMHO this could be true. IMHO expecting dramatic change within 4 months is a tad optimistic. I guess the author's expectations were different than mine, they seem very disappointed.

3) "and the scant enforcement of the law has come about largely because of pro-housing activists."

I find this sentence to be HIGHLY loaded. The author seems to imply that "little has changed" because there has been "scant enforcement of the law". I don't find that to be "straight forward" reporting, I find it to be biased reporting to favor YIMBYs.

Clue 1: phrase "scant enforcement" of the law. MOST cities appear to be in complance.

Clue 2: phrase "pro-housing activists". A more honest label is "pro-density, pro-developer activists". SB9 is not about increasing housing for low-income persons, it is about decreasing obstacles for developers to create expensive, market-rate housing which maximizes ROI.


LongResident
Registered user
another community
on May 10, 2022 at 11:25 pm
LongResident, another community
Registered user
on May 10, 2022 at 11:25 pm

I'd say the conspiracy theorist is the author of the Calmatters piece. It reads an awful lot into a brief period of SB9 being in effect. The article specifically tries to say that so called housing activists are the main prong of enforcement. I don't see grounds to make this conclusion.


Leslie Bain
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on May 11, 2022 at 11:38 am
Leslie Bain, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on May 11, 2022 at 11:38 am

I agree, @LongResident. And the word "enforcement" strikes me as highly odd as well. As if a large number of homeowners are desperate to split their lots, and evil city councils are doing their utmost to stand in their way.

From the (vague) reporting, the vast majority of towns appear to be in compliance. And as you said, "Any land owner who is trying to do this and finds problems can simply complain to HCD. The only "unit" needed to detect this is a simple call center."


Momandpoplandlord
Registered user
Waverly Park
on May 13, 2022 at 3:14 pm
Momandpoplandlord, Waverly Park
Registered user
on May 13, 2022 at 3:14 pm

Anecdote here: I’ll be a ‘beneficiary’ of SB9. New house being built next to mine, with some kind of second structure right on top of our lot line (4 ft setback!). Time will tell if there are two families living next door, but I can almost reach over the fence and touch the house. Not really what I signed up for when I moved here.


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