Senate Bill 9 (SB-9) is a new law signed into effect in September. As a feature of the law, it will allow existing single-family homes to add on a new unit much more quickly. This law, aimed at single-family residences, may have several benefits to builders large and small.
The fight against NIMBY
An editorial from Bloomberg argues that a primary obstacle for development in any municipality is the obstinate principle of “not in my back yard” or “NIMBY.” Essentially, it is resistance to any change and any development within a given area. SB – 9 may change that by offering benefits to homeowners.
If homeowners are exempted from challenges under the California Environmental Quality Act, they may pursue adding new units to their homes. If they add units to take on renters or build an addition that lets their family stay close, they may see the benefit of expansion and development. Those who see the use of development would then be less likely to oppose new projects in their neighborhoods.
By allowing for greater opportunity for individual homeowner additions, new construction projects will happen. More people will choose to build home additions. Those people will need partners who understand how to navigate the construction and development landscape.
This is an opportunity. The Bloomberg article envisions a southern California where the creation of new homes is democratized. Where small and large builders have room to pursue new projects without municipal interference. The small changes now, leading to larger, more sweeping developments.
But the law is still new. We haven’t yet seen what the changes look like at scale. We do not yet know how much builders will benefit. But the answers may come sooner rather than later.