By SARAH WARD
There is a serious issue brewing in California and it’s been on the backburner for a long time. California Senate bills 9 and 10 (SB-9 and SB-10) are now moving through Sacramento and could cause great changes here in San Diego.
Sacramento desires to increase population and housing density for a number of reasons including providing more housing for Californians, increasing the tax base as well as a need to use state land more efficiently. For example East County has quite a few 1-acre lots with only 2, 3, or 4 people living on that land.
First of all, SB-9 is a lot splitting bill and would allow a developer to create two separate parcels out of one and then potentially build two units per lot. So one home will become two or sometimes four. The SB-9 bill completely ends single-family zoning statewide. No neighborhood is exempt.
The bill will significantly increase housing in the state and will primarily be funded privately by property owners. Some concerns with this bill is that 80% of trees in our cities are on residential lots and many of those trees would be removed over time, wiping out our urban forest and replacing it with more structures and concrete. Also, the existing sewer and water infrastructure under our streets could be overwhelmed with additional people using the resources. Some areas would need upgrades, costing billions of dollars statewide. Available street parking would also be greatly diminished as on-property parking requirements would be reduced. Additionally, setback requirements would be as little as 4 feet with no yards required.
In places such as the College Area, the density development would probably be quick. If you drive around SDSU, you will currently see large backyard structures currently built or under construction. Other neighborhoods would experience a slow build in density, as one lot becomes two units, then another, and then another.
No notice is required so you won’t know it’s happening until work trucks show up on your street. And approval is somewhat guaranteed so there is little anyone can do to stop this type of development if SB-9 is passed into law.
Every neighborhood in California would suddenly be susceptible to significant increased density. An increased housing supply if critically needed in California. SB-9 achieves this mission but with some substantial costs to existing neighborhoods.
Another bill, SB-10 would allow construction of 10-unit apartment buildings on as small as 7,500-square-foot residential lots that are near a transit stop or busy bus stop for example. Entire neighborhoods would possibly be transitioned from single-family homes to 10-unit apartment buildings.
As investors and hedge funds are buying up more and more homes locally, there is a push by developers to open the floodgates and allow for substantial increased density statewide. Once again, single-family zoning would be erased throughout the state.
Real Estate Report for single-family homes, year-over-year results
In 92115, listings up 60%, closed sales up 30% and the median price up 20% to $764,500.
In 92119 San Carlos, closed transactions are up 120% and the median price is up 38% to $967,500.
In 92120 Allied Gardens and Del Cerro, closed sales are up 30% and the median home price is now $915,500.
Call me to chat about real estate trends and your options to buy or sell.
—Sarah Ward is a realtor with Fine & Coastal Real Estate. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.