Clayton council joins move to amend state housing bill

CLAYTON, CA — SB9. Let’s talk.

Senate Bill 9 was introduced in December 2020 and will soon reach the state Senate floor for a vote.

It requires a local government to ministerially approve a housing development containing two residential units in single-family residential zones. It further requires a local government to allow a developer to convert an existing single-family home into a duplex and allows for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) on the same parcel.

The bill also requires a local government to ministerially approve a single-family lot split, creating two lots, and allows the construction of one single-family home, one ADU and one JADU on each lot for a total of up to six units on a parcel originally zoned for one single-family home.

The city of Clayton is a member of the League of California Cities (Cal Cities), which advocates on behalf of cities across the state on a wide variety of issues. Cal Cities drafted a letter to the state to “oppose this bill unless amended.”

While council members have individual thoughts on how to oppose this bill, in the end, your Clayton City Council voted to sign and send the letter.

Our requested amendments are as follows:

  • Clarify that a property owner using SB9 is limited to constructing two residential units, not two residential units and ADUs on the same parcel.
  • Require a housing developer to acquire a building permit within one year of a lot split, so that speculators do not sell lots and never build homes.
  • Allow local governments to require adequate access for police, fire and other public safety vehicles and equipment.
  • Prohibit developers from using SB9 in very high fire hazard severity zones.
  • Allow cities to determine a range of lot sizes suitable for SB9 development projects.
  • Ensure that the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) provides Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) credit for production of SB9 units.
  • Allow local governments to take into account local conditions such as hillsides, lot dimensions, natural hazards, available infrastructure, etc. when approving or denying housing project applications.
  • Allow local governments to continue to determine parking standards.
  • Ensure large-scale investors and builders do not exploit SB9 provisions.

I believe that this is the right thing to do for Clayton. As the smallest of cities, Clayton needs to combine its voice with others to stand up and be heard. We must assert ourselves into the mix to retain local control of our quality of life and our property.

I have spoken with mayors from our surrounding cities and understand that they will encourage their councils to take similar actions. I have also scheduled meetings with both state Sen. Steven Glazer and Assembly member Tim Grayson to lobby our council’s position on SB9.

More bills like SB9 will be coming, and your council will always do everything we can to fight for what we believe is the right thing to do for Clayton.

Send questions and comments to, or call (925) 673-7324