Neighborhood Advocates ask Sacramento to hold the line on SB 9

For Immediate Release

December 8, 2021

Contact: SaveSacramentoNeighborhoods@gmail.com, text to 916-220-7178

Neighborhood Advocates ask Sacramento to hold the line on SB 9

On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, 9am, neighborhood advocates will hold a press conference at Sacramento’s City Hall, 915 I Street, demanding that the city mitigate the significant negative impacts of new state laws enacted by SB 9 and SB 10 to end single family zoning statewide. Both bills take effect January 1, 2022.

The Sacramento City Council will be voting on an emergency ordinance to implement SB 9 on December 14. The content of the ordinance has yet to be released to the public.

“SB 9 would allow up to 8 units on what is now one single family lots with reduced setbacks and no parking. SB 10 could allow up to 14 units on a single family lot. Both laws cut out public input and environmental review.” explains Maggie Coulter, President of the Elmhurst Neighborhood Association.

“The City Council has the ability to significantly mitigate these impacts by limiting new development under the SB 9 mandate and not implementing SB 10. It also needs to modify the draft General Plan’s densification proposal so that it does not exceed current zoning.”

Although Mayor Steinberg has singled out Land Park and East Sacramento as exclusionary neighborhoods whose single family zoning is allegedly an impediment to diversity, other neighborhoods disagree.

“The implementation of SB9 as written will impact existing neighborhoods throughout the city differently”, explains Sharron Wright, President of the Robla Park Community Association. “As with most broad brushed city policies, there’s an inequitable share of burden. The areas that historically have been discriminated against continue to carry the burden of poor policies”.

Wright’s comments are echoed by Jeff Solomon who is on the board of the Meadowview Neighborhood Association:

“The neighborhood of Meadowview has the distinction of being both a low resource area, and having a large proportion of rental properties,” explains Solomon.  “The owners of rental properties are not necessarily dedicated to keeping the quality of life in balance with profits.  The lack of local control that will be in effect with SB 9 will allow for deterioration of parking, urban canopy, and basic services, to name a few issues.  The City must do everything in its power to prevent this potential deterioration.”

The importance of single family neighborhoods to all racial and economic groups is also a key issue.

“People of all races and economic groups want single family neighborhoods to remain the single family safe neighborhoods they purchased,” clarifies Sachiko Konatsu, President of the Natomas Neighborhood Association. “The City of Sacramento needs to do as much as it can to mitigate the negative impacts of SB 9 on existing neighborhoods and NOT implement SB 10. This will greatly impact the South Natomas area.”

Impacts of the upzoning densification promoted by SB 9, SB 10 and the City’s draft General Plan are particularly serious for trees.

As tree advocate Francesca Reitano explains,  “Eighty percent of our tree canopy is on private property, much of it in our front and back yards. Due to climate change, Sacramento will continue to get hotter. We cannot prioritize housing over environmental quality. Doing so would cause urban heat islands, increased energy use, and poor air and water quality.”

The city’s current-imposed water restrictions don’t include any provisions for maintaining existing plants, including trees. As a result many Sacramento trees are stressed and will likely not survive.

Advocates are challenging the false claim that densification proposed by the City’s General Plan, SB 9 and SB 10 will provide affordable housing. None of these carry an affordable mandate.

“The notion that somehow a greater array of housing will solve the ‘housing shortage and persistent segregation by income and race’ and fill the so called ‘missing middle’ housing needs is unproven,” says Read Harrison, an East Sacramento Preservation board member. 

Harrison continues: “Many experts argue that the City’s housing plan and SB9 will do little but help developers and investors. Oddly, the City has no plan to increase the number of smaller homes for first time buyers, even though people really want single family residences!  Homeownership helps build wealth and will narrow the wealth gap, so smaller homes with lower building fees need to be a part of the housing plan. The City has the ability to reduce its fees and streamline the permit process to accomplish that goal.”

Another false claim is that upzoning densification policies like SB 9 will result in diversity and equity.

“We all support diversity and equity among neighborhoods, but that won’t come from eliminating single family zoning,” explains Coulter. “What needs to happen is that the City Council take action to ensure that all of Sacramento’s neighborhoods are all desirable places to live with safe streets, good schools, and amenities like parks.”

“SB 9 and SB 10 are overreaches by State government to end single family zoning statewide. Those are now being challenged by lawsuits and the Our Neighborhood Voices Initiative.”

Save Sacramento Neighborhoods’ website includes more details about the impacts of upzoning densification. See www.SaveSacramentoNeighborhoods.org.

East Sacramento Preservation Comments 12-8-21 Press Conference

While the neighborhood groups represented here may be of different economic and social backgrounds, we all have a common interest- We don’t want our single-family neighborhoods transformed into something we don’t recognize. 

We purchased our homes with the expectation that the scale, quality and character of our neighborhoods wouldn’t change too drastically.  Plus home ownership has been the best long-term investment most any of us have made.

Drastic changes however, are allowed under SB9 & SB10.  The properties developed under the new State Legislation is primarily for the construction of small market rate rental units.  Rental units do not build wealth for anyone but investors.  We don’t want to see our neighborhoods become crowded and more expensive with densification, we don’t want to see mini-apartment complex towers spring-up next door or across the street.  We don’t want our streets crowded with parked cars anymore than they already are.

Many in our group have been trying to stop the likes of SB9 & SB10 for nearly a year by contacting our legislators and city council members raising our reasonable and valid concerns. Sometimes we would have a brief “Zoom Meet” but more often we were simply ignored by our electeds.

Here we are 9 months later with this load of rotting legislation about to be dumped on our streets.

We are asking our City Council to listen to us now and help mitigate the harm that will come to neighborhoods as densification and gentrification take hold:

  • Allow nothing more than a duplex on either half of a newly split lot
  • Require an off-street parking place for each unit
  • Require green space and allow for tree canopy around all properties
  • Maintain setbacks on all four sides of a property
  • Require design continuity for new construction that fits-in with existing neighborhood architecture- NO STACKED SHOEBOXES!
  • And finally- NO ADDOPTION OF SB10