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Planning Commission Makes SB9 Recommendations

After two meetings and hours of debate, the Santa Clara Planning Commission has made recommendations to the City Council concerning SB9.

As discussed at the last Planning Commission meeting, the City cannot do anything to prevent the implementation of SB9, however, it can create rules to guide how the housing act is implemented.

SB9 allows single-family homeowners to split their lots and create up to four separate units on the new lots.


Last meeting the Planning Commission was unable to reach a consensus on parking and landscape requirements surrounding how SB9 would be implemented in Santa Clara.

Commissioner Yuki Ikezi wanted parking in the front of the lot to count toward any required parking under SB9.

“I strongly feel that we should allow the parking area within the 20-foot setback from the street to count toward that parking requirement because it will ease up the other parts of the property,” said Ikezi. “Instead of using other parts of the property for parking, the homeowner can use it for creating an outdoor space or build more easily.”

Commissioner Priya Cherukuru requested that any required parking under SB9 be covered parking given the trend toward electric vehicles in the Bay Area.

Planning Commission Chair Nancy Biagini was split on the idea.

“There’s this issue about how big is the lot? For a smaller lot, I lean towards let it be uncovered because of the concern about what we really need is housing here,” said Biagini. “The other part that concerns me is, as we move down the road, will we end up with more people using public transport as public transportation becomes bigger and if that’s the case, maybe we won’t have five car families or three car families or that sort of thing.”

Commissioner Ricci Herro suggested linking the requirement of covered or uncovered parking to the size of the lot.

Ultimately, the Planning Commission voted 5-1 to recommend SB9 with the following amendments:

  • Parking spaces in the front of the yard can count toward required parking under SB9;
  • Properties over a certain size must include covered parking in their plans;
  • The allowable hardscaping in a front yard can increase to 50%;
  • New construction cannot cast a shadow over 10% of an existing solar collector on a neighboring property at any one time between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Commissioner Qian Huang voted “no.”

Cherukuru also proposed that the City Council implement affordability rules in regards to SB9.

Ikezi was opposed. She believed adding an affordability requirement would make it difficult for single-family homeowners to afford the process of building more housing under SB9.

Herro agreed, saying in this case, affordability would “deter development.”

Cherukuru then moved to have the City Council explore the opportunity for affordable housing under SB9 as a policy with incentives for homeowners to encourage them to build. When asked what incentives, Cherukuru said it would be up to the Council to decide.

The motion passed 4-2. Ikezi and Huang voted “no.”

The City Council will take up the SB9 recommendations during its June 7 meeting.

The next Planning Commission meeting is Wednesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. It is a hybrid meeting, which means members of the community can attend in Council Chambers or online.


1 Comment
  1. Carol Scheufele 2 years ago

    Prior lot building requirement norms are adjusted downwards, downplayed, eliminated to accommodate population growth. Problem solved? Sure if you want to live like parts of Spain in the future. When I visited Rota this city turned their water main on daily long enough for residents to shower before work. Then it went right back off, water problems solved!

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