The City talks about adding “duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes” into existing single family neighborhoods to provide so-called “missing middle housing.” What the City is “missing” is that there is ALREADY “middle” housing in R-1 single family neighborhoods in the form of grandfathered apartment buildings, duplexes on corners, and state law allows up to two Accessory Dwelling Units on any residential lot.
The truth is that the City isn’t talking about duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes, they are proposing sixplexes. And with SB 9 and SB 10, we could be looking at 8- or 14-plexes.
Yes, the devil’s in the details of the draft 2040 General Plan proposals currently being pushed by the Sacramento City Council. Click to read the staff report. Here are some of those details:
1) Up to six units would be allowed.
While the proposed draft General Plan mentions the proposed upzoning of single family lots to allow 2-, 3- and 4-plexes, the reality is that up to six apartment units could be allowed. A 4-plex plus the two Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) already permitted by City ordinance. ADUs under a total of 800 sq. feet are exempt from lot coverage maximums.
2) No off-street parking would be required.
The draft General Plan also proposes to “eliminate City-mandated parking minimums citywide”. ADUs already can be built with no additional on-site parking. Under this draft plan, those renting these additional multifamily units would be expected to park their vehicles on streets, many of which already have parking shortages. The intention is to make parking difficult as a way to force people to take other forms of transportation. While providing transit alternatives is good, whether Sacramentans want to be coerced in this manner is another question
3) Conversion of all buildings to electric.
The general plan proposes to “eliminate the use of natural gas and fossil fuels for building operations”. All new buildings would be required to be all-electric by 2026, and existing buildings would be transitioned away from natural gas to electric. The plan addresses assisting low-income residents but says nothing about middle income families for whom changing out existing gas heating and appliances will also be very costly. Not to mention that SMUD gets a significant amount of its electricity from natural gas. Click to see article on cost for converting to all electric.
4) Lanes would be reduced on several major roads.
Driving is also to be made more difficult by reducing lanes on several major thoroughfares including Stockton Blvd, 65th St., Fruitridge Rd, Howe, Truxel, Del Paso and several others. The reduction in lanes on these roadways is deliberate to make driving more difficult so presumably people will drive less. It is not clear how reducing private transportation and roadways will affect emergency evacuation plans for flood or fire.
5) No specific provisions for affordable housing or addressing inequities.
The proposed General Plan relies on increasing housing supply, in particular multifamily rental housing, as the cure for the affordable housing crisis. Interestingly, the City Council approved 10,000 new units in the railyards development with only 600 required to be affordable. Simply increasing densities and the amount of housing will not make housing more affordable nor will it address inequities.
Tell the Sacramento City Council to keep R-1 at current allowable densities. Click to take action.