SB 9 Project Application Guide – Updated: 1/3/2022
What is Senate Bill 9 (SB 9)?
In 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) to further address California’s housing shortage. SB 9 is in effect starting January 1, 2022. This law establishes a streamlined process to develop two primary dwelling units on one eligible single-family zoned parcel, and to split one eligible single-family zoned parcel into two separate parcels of approximately equal size. SB 9 also provides more flexible property setbacks and parking standards and extends subdivision approval expirations for eligible parcels.
What is the SB 9 Project Application Process?
In Santa Cruz County, usually special approval from the Planning Department (called “discretionary approval”) is required before an applicant may submit an application for a subdivision or for construction of two primary dwellings on one single family zoned parcel. Eligible SB 9 applications are streamlined because they do not require discretionary approval and are only subject to objective planning standards, except that coastal development permits may still be required for parcels located in the coastal zone. The SB 9 application process includes the following steps:
A pre-application consultation with County Planning staff is strongly recommended prior to submittal to determine if your project is eligible for the SB 9 application process. Once submitted, the County will review the SB 9 Project Application and associated materials for consistency with the eligibility criteria required by state law (see page 2). If eligible, the County will review the coastal development permit, building permit, and/or land division application to determine if it meets the County’s objective standards for approval.
What are Objective Standards?
Objective standards are standards that involve no personal or subjective judgment by a public official. These standards can be found in the County Code and General Plan/Local Coastal Program. For example, a building height limit of two stories is an objective standard. In comparison, a requirement that a building must blend appropriately with the neighborhood character is a subjective standard.
IS MY PROJECT ELIGIBLE FOR THE SB 9 APPLICATION PROCESS?
See the Santa Cruz County GISWeb for parcel information to determine if your project meets the eligibility criteria: