SCCAOR Press Release Opportunity Housing

SAN JOSE, Calif., September 30, 2021 – The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) announces the support of Transit-Oriented Development Opportunity Housing.  In accordance with the California Association of REALTORS’ support of SB 9, a bill signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September to address the housing crisis, SCCAOR supports a smart growth approach to densify neighborhoods.  Densification around transit corridors, or Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), is a smart growth approach that provides for greater homeownership opportunities while alleviating traffic and parking concerns.

Doug Goss, President of the SCCAOR Board of Directors, states, “A City of San Jose Opportunity Housing policy focused around transit corridors, in conjunction with SB 9, creates a smart growth approach to increase supply and homeownership opportunities.”  SCCAOR is very supportive of the Urban Village concept to densify San Jose through smart growth to make a legitimate impact on our region’s housing crisis. We do not want to see a general Opportunity Housing Study detract from the City’s Urban Village progress.  Instead, we want the City of San Jose to support policies that incentivize new housing in collaboration with enhanced transit design guidelines as part of a TOD Opportunity Housing proposal.

According to the Federal Transit Administration, focusing growth around transit stations provides many benefits, including a larger supply of affordable housing and congestion relief.  SCCAOR supports more affordable forms of homeownership to uplift underserved communities and considers homeownership as the best way to create housing stability, bridge the wealth gap, and create generational wealth.

As part of the smart growth approach, SCCAOR is supportive of the following stipulations in SB 9:

  • Applicants cannot destroy more than 25% of the existing exterior structural walls in most scenarios and must preserve local design guideline standards

  • Lot-split applicants must owner-occupy one of the parcels for at least 3 years

However, SCCAOR does not support any up-zoning policy with restrictions that prohibit recently rented properties from utilizing the opportunity housing proposal. Instead, we support a rent-to-own or condo conversion policy that provides affordable ownership opportunities for current tenants in our community.

SCCAOR supports a Transit-Oriented Development Opportunity Housing proposal that provides for greater homeownership opportunities.  Research shows residents support ownership opportunity housing and TOD opportunity housing. A TOD works in collaboration with new statewide laws to create a better City of San Jose for everyone while protecting and preserving our great neighborhoods.

The Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) is made up of over 6,000 REALTORS® and 400 Affiliates in and around the Bay Area. SCCAOR offers leadership, educational, political, and networking opportunities and exists to meet the business, professional and political needs of its members and to promote and protect private property rights

Opportunity Housing refers to enabling multi-unit housing on properties with a Residential Neighborhood General Plan land use designation. In San José, these are typically properties in single-family neighborhoods.

Staff and the General Plan Review Task Force explored allowing up to four units per parcel that could include a mix of a single-family home, duplex, triplex, or fourplex for a total of four dwelling units on the parcel while generally maintaining zoning setbacks and heights. This type of development was allowed in San José prior to World War II and still exists in many older neighborhoods.

If the City Council decides to pursue the policy framework for Opportunity Housing, then staff would undertake the tasks outlined in the long-term next steps. Opportunity Housing would only be allowed after all the long-term next steps are completed and applicable items such as Zoning Code changes and design standards are approved by City Council.

Direction for staff to further study and explore Opportunity Housing will be presented for consideration by Planning Commission and City Council in fall 2021.

City of San Jose Opportunity Housing Homepage

Steps for Opportunity Housing v2

State Upzoning Legislation

California REALTORS® commend Gov. Newsom for signing housing legislation to expand housing production

Septemeber 17, 2021

LOS ANGELES (Sept. 17) – CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) President Dave Walsh issued the following statement in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of three important housing bills: SB 8 (Skinner), SB 9 (Atkins), and SB 10 (Weiner) that will make a meaningful impact on the state’s housing crisis:

“Today, California took an important step toward solving our state’s housing supply crisis. SB 8, SB 9, and SB 10 are prudent, reasonable actions in the path forward to helping the state reach its housing goals and create greater homeownership opportunities for working Californians.

California REALTORS® thank Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, and Senators Scott Weiner and Nancy Skinner for their vision, leadership, and commitment. It is because of their determination that more Californians will become homeowners and reap the tremendous benefits that come with it.”

Leading the way…® in California real estate for more than 110 years, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® ( is one of the largest state trade organizations in the United States with more than 200,000 members dedicated to the advancement of professionalism in real estate. C.A.R. is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Senate Bill (SB) 9, a landmark law that would allow for the ministerial approval of certain housing development projects containing up to two dwelling units (i.e., duplexes) on a single-family zoned parcel. The legislation, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Sept. 16, 2021, and takes effect on Jan. 1, 2022, would also allow for the ministerial approval of certain lot splits to allow property owners to construct up to two units on the newly created lots. Below are some steps that single-family homeowners and developers can take to understand SB 9, its qualifying criteria, and implication on future projects.

  • Maximum of 4 units on an original single-family parcel, including ADUs and junior ADUs
  • Lot-split applicants must owner-occupy one of the parcels for at least 3 years
  • Lot-split must be at least 60/40 with a minimum parcel size of 1,200 square feet
  • Applicants cannot destroy more than 25% of the existing exterior structure in most scenarios
  • Duplex conversions are prohibited under the following conditions:
    • the unit was rented within the last 3 years
    • the unit was under rent control or another form of price restriction
    • the unit utilized an Ellis Act eviction within the past 15 years
  • Must follow local design guideline standards
  • Properties designated as historic landmarks or district, protected wetland, farmland, high flood or high fire risk are exempt
  • Properties utilizing SB 9 are not allowed to be used as short-term rentals
  • Local agencies can require additional parking

SB 9 is designed to increase the housing stock in single-family residential zones, as it allows not only two dwelling units per parcel but also certain lot splits with two housing units on each. SB 9 builds upon prior state legislation that has proven successful in expediting the permitting and construction of ADUs and JADUs. SB 9 offers an alternative path for homeowners to add up to three more dwelling units on their property with minimal regulatory hurdles.

Although the legislation has been heralded for its potential to address the state’s housing crisis, others predict a more limited potential. For example, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California produced a study indicating that, due to qualifying conditions, physical capacity, and financial feasibility, less than 2 percent of single-family lots are likely to be able to use SB 9 for up to the four-unit maximum.1

Additional Resources

Senate Bill (SB) 10, which Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law on Sept. 16, 2021, and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022, provides that local agencies may adopt an ordinance to allow up to 10 dwelling units on any parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is located within a transit-rich area or urban infill site. Pursuant to SB 10, the adoption of such an ordinance would not be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

  • Does NOT remove local control –  a local agency must declare that the zoning ordinance is adopted pursuant to SB 10, clearly demarcate the areas that are zoned pursuant to this section, and make findings that the increased density supports the agency’s duty to affirmatively further fair housing.
  • No ownership requirements
  • Exemptions – any high flood or fire risk zones, open space, park, or recreational lands approved by voters (ie. Coyote Valley)
  • A project may not be divided into smaller projects to avoid limitations in SB 10.
  • The authorization extends until Jan. 1, 2029.

Additional Resources