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SB 9 & Opportunity Housing

On December 14, the San Jose City Council will vote on how the city will transition from Opportunity Housing to implementation of the state law, SB 9, effective starting January 1st, 2022. Like San Jose’s Opportunity Housing proposal, SB 9 empowers homeowners to create 2-4 housing units on a lot zoned for a single-family house. SJ Neighborhoods for All supports this shift to SB 9 implementation, but it is critical that it is done well in order to create new housing opportunities, help break down the division of our city by race and income, and promote environmental sustainability by building in rather than sprawling out. Your support for implementing SB 9 in ways that increase feasibility and reduce barriers is critical!

Ending exclusionary-zoning barriers alone will not make this new housing affordable to lower-income families. We need the City Council to support a separate study of incentives to expand affordability, including both affordable homeownership and homes for rent. This is the remaining piece of the General Plan 4-Year Review Task Force recommendation not addressed by the state law. Your support for programs, subsidies, and incentives to increase affordability is critical!

Join us on December 14, 2021 at 6 pm for San Jose City Council’s consideration of Opportunity Housing, SB 9 implementation, and implications for the future of SB 9 developments in San Jose! Tell San Jose’s City Council: Embrace the opportunity SB 9 offers by implementing the new law, and taking additional steps to support its full potential!

Now, San Jose should embrace this opportunity by taking these additional steps to support SB 9’s full potential:

  • Planning and Housing Department staff should study a broad range of incentives, subsidies, and additional programs that could create opportunities for more affordable homeownership and rentals, without undermining the feasibility of SB 9 projects.
  • The opportunities of SB 9 should be extended to R-2 parcels, and staff should be directed to explore ways to integrate them into existing design guidelines for historic districts. 
  • Any urgency ordinance language must focus on clarity and feasibility, and not create barriers to opportunity before the community has had a chance to be heard on a permanent ordinance. 
  • Community Engagement in developing permanent design guidelines must be broad, and inclusive of the entire community – renters and homeowners, residents of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds, from across all areas of the city.  These guidelines must be reflective of all of our needs and interests. 
A Duplex in San Jose’s Almaden Country Club neighborhood

Older duplexes already play a role in San Jose’s vibrant neighborhoods.

There are more than 5,500 of these properties in San Jose with duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes, with examples in every council district. New opportunity housing type homes are legal now in many West Coast cities, blending into neighborhoods where they provide a greater range of affordability and housing choices. To solve our housing shortage, we will need to use a range of solutions to create more affordable choices of all shapes and sizes for all our neighbors.

See maps of where opportunity housing already is in San Jose

Learn more or join the opportunity housing movement today!