The Alhambra passed the latest ordinance aimed at mitigating the effects of the housing law SB 9 – Pasadena Star News
Senate Bill 9, a state law that came into effect on January 1 and allows for the development of up to four residential units on single-family lots, has prompted cities to enact ordinances to mitigate its effects on current local standards.
The city of Alhambra was the last city in the San Gabriel Valley to pass a temporary ordinance in this regard, voting 5-0 at a special city council meeting this week.
SB 9 is intended to help ease the affordable housing crisis in the state, but has met resistance from cities fearing it will render single-family zoning obsolete.
SB 9 was one of 31 bills signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in the fall.
The Alhambra ordinance went into effect immediately and will last 45 days, giving the city council and town planning commission time to develop a more permanent one.
“The intention here, and the goal here, is simply to protect our residential neighborhoods,” said Councilor Ross Maza. “I think most of us have received feedback from our constituents, from our concerned residents, as we know that many projects that would have been built under SB 9 could permanently damage these residential areas.”
Several comments sent by email were read in the minutes during Tuesday’s meeting. Bernice Ortega wrote about a section of the ordinance which explains how “the proposed urban dwelling must not contain more than two units”, with ADUs and JADUs counted in this maximum number.
She added that the number of conversions per block should be limited to three.
“Unfortunately, with the conversions, units will lose back yards and front yards, leaving children without an outdoor play area,” Ortega wrote. “Regular access to green outdoor spaces has a positive impact on people’s lives, whether it is a bench for thinking or a place where children can play ball.”
She said a pocket park or small lot should be required if more than four single-family homes are converted on a block.
The temporary ordinance has a long list of items. Among them are:
– Any proposed urban lot split must be located within zone R-1 (single-family residential).
– A proposed urban lot division cannot be located in a neighborhood or historic property included in the state’s historic resource inventory or in a site designated or listed as a city or country landmark or a property or historic district under a city or county ordinance.
– In cases where an addition or a new construction is proposed, the owner must not remove any mature tree on the site.
– The rental of any urban accommodation must be for a period of more than 30 days.
– Each unit, including existing units, must provide a minimum of 200 square feet of private open space.
– Urban housing must be permanently maintained as “affordable” housing for a period of at least 30 years from the date of first occupancy. Urban dwellings should be occupied by low or very low income households.
There is much more.
Deputy Mayor Jeff Maloney spoke on Thursday about city council’s intention with the ordinance.
“Obviously, we weren’t looking to do anything that would violate state law; it is not in our interest, ”he said. “From what I understand, some issues were incorporated into SB 9 that identified areas that gave cities flexibility, there were also other areas that were not addressed by SB9. So those are some of the things that we looked at.
“Obviously you see some of those things that are important to us like affordable housing and tree canopy and making sure we have consistent design standards. We would do this for any kind of new development. We just wanted to make sure it was covered for all SB 9 projects. ”
Maloney said this is an evolving topic, “and I’m sure there will be further advice from the state. But I do know that cities across the state are actually looking at different ways to ensure that this meets the needs of their own communities and that was our intention here.