Blogging Bayport Alameda

January 4, 2022

The SB 9

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

The main question going into tonight’s meeting is how much time will the City Council waste on the topic of SB 9 so that Trish Spencer and Tony Daysog can kick the Tidelands swap topic down the road for another meeting. Of course the more time Trish Spencer wastes on regular agenda items means the the list of Council Referrals will keep on growing and growing until we go a full year without hearing one Council Referral. I don’t know if we’ll hit that milestone first or if we’ll get into double lettering on the agenda item for the Referral section. We’re currently at letter J.

In case you didn’t know people are VERY CONCERNED about SB 9 and the local implementation so much so that they wanted an “urgency” ordinance to be passed because of the lines and lines of property owners who would be waiting on January 3 to tear down their single family residences and turn it into a *gasp* multi-family unit. I haven’t heard about any teeming hoards of people in line at City Hall yet but I’m sure that they’re just around the corner or something.

Anyway, the Planning Board already did its part before the end of December and made a recommendation to the City Council on how to do this SB 9 thing. This is going to be the focus of much of the push back and staff has already anticipated this:

(h)                     The total number of units on each lot shall be limited to two dwelling units and any accessory dwelling units permitted pursuant to AMC 30-5.18 Accessory Dwelling Units.  

Note:   Staff anticipates that speakers at the January 4, 2022 City Council meeting may focus their comments on subsection d.2(h).  The Planning Board’s recommended subsection d.2(h) authorizes two (2) units pursuant to SB 9 and all the units allowed under the Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance, which, together, could result in up to five (5) units on each parcel.   This differs from staff’s original draft proposal, which proposed to limit the total number of units on each parcel to two (2) units per parcel. 

Just so we’re clear, a property owner will need to have a lot which is bigger than 5000 sq ft to even start this process. Staff is not anticipating that many units will be created as a result of SB 9, from the staff report:

Staff anticipates that the increase in housing production in Alameda’s R-1 District as the result of the recommended amendments will be moderate. Similar to the Terner Center analysis, staff anticipates that the amendments will result in an approximately 40% increase in development potential, or an increase in annual production from 21 units per year to approximately 30 units per year in the R-1 District. Over eight years, new development in the R-1 District could potentially add 240 units toward the City’s 5,353-unit RHNA obligation.

Anyway, the big discussion item is the one called out by staff but, as you can see, the projection is no where near what some political gadflies would have had us believe and bet our Housing Element on. You see there were some people who suggested that Alameda’s full RHNA allocation would have been satisfied through SB 9 alone. At an anticipated 21 – 30 units per year that’s not going to cut it.

Oh, and to pass an urgency ordinance there needs to be four votes. I don’t think there are four votes and, in fact, staff has suggested that an urgency ordinance is unnecessary and the only way to try to justify one is by encouraging these splits by saying we don’t have enough housing. Those pushing for an urgency ordinance are typically of the “no housing ever” camp.


  1. Hordes teem, hoards don’t.

    Comment by dave — January 4, 2022 @ 6:11 am

  2. There is no clause about needing 5000 sq ft. You can lot split on lots 2400 sq ft in theory as long as the remaining lots are 1200 sq ft

    Comment by Zac Bowling — January 4, 2022 @ 6:42 am

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