August 27, 2020
A proposed California bill would allow duplexes on parcels that previously were only permitted for one house. Senate Bill 1120 would essentially eliminate single-family zoning and is viewed as part of the solution to California’s housing shortage.
Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), the bill’s author, says “SB 1120 is a good way to help meet California’s affordable housing goals while respecting local flexibility. SB 1120 makes small-scale infill development more achievable, and it helps build equity for individual homeowners, not large-scale corporations.”
The legislation wouldn’t prohibit single-family houses, but rather provide options for homeowners to convert a single-family residence into a duplex or to raze the house and replace it with two single-family homes or a duplex. Owners could also split the lot into two so they could build two additional units for a total of four homes and potentially sell them.
Analysis of county tax assessor data on more than 12.5 million parcels across the state by UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation revealed that as many as 5,977,061 meet minimum lot size and historic district criteria to be eligible for a lot split under bill SB 1120. Researchers indicated the “widespread application of SB 1120 has the potential to result in significant amounts of new housing.”
In addition to expanding supply, SB 1120 could also directly introduce more moderately priced housing into neighborhoods. That’s because advocates say the cost of constructing single-family homes and duplexes tends to be lower than development of larger apartment complexes.
The bill must be approved by both the Senate and Assembly by Aug. 31 and be signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser