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This Property Manager Says the Upside of SB-9 Can Be Stronger and more Vibrant Communities

Written By
Adam on Oct 13, 2021
Starting January 1 of 2022, California Bill SB-9 , which many of you have read about, allows homeowners in the state to divide their property into 2 separate lots; though one of the lots the property owners must occupy by law, the other they can put on the rental market. 
 
It’s been controversial on both sides – advocates believe that the law will help mitigate the housing shortage that has long plagued the state, and that it will help to diversify neighborhoods by providing access to lower income families. 
 
Meanwhile, on the con side there’s a wide range of criticism: some support the concept, but think the safeguards put in place to prevent developers from taking advantage of the law are too weak; some don’t think the law will have a palpable effect on the housing shortage, pointing to a July study by Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley .
 
The law was so controversial that Governor Gavin Newsom reportedly let it sit on his desk unsigned until the recall election was over ; now that his job status is secure though, and the law has been signed, the debate is behind us.
You own a home.
We have someone to ❤️  it.
SB-9 As an Opportunity To Create Authentic, Belonging Experiences.
 

At Belong, we have a mission to connect people who have much-loved houses with those ready to move in and extend the love. 
 
But our mission extends beyond that.  It extends to the community.  That’s at the heart of what we mean when we say we exist “To create authentic belonging experiences.”
  
We see S9 as an opportunity to build stronger and more vibrant neighborhoods and communities.  Places that inspire that deep sense of belonging.
 
Yes, it will create more density.  But the upside of density is that it brings more people into neighborhoods.  Which means more people to stop by the local coffee shop, pick up something at a bookstore that is the soul of the community, and say hello to the local florist and bring home a succulent for the windowsill.
 
Yes, we recognize that S9 will also reduce green space, as every square foot of land that a house sits on is a square foot that cannot accommodate a tree.  The way we see it, though, that means every homeowner who takes advantage of S9 has a parallel responsibility to make their outdoor spaces as beautiful as welcoming as possible.
 
We expect to see some creative and imaginative landscaping techniques being brought to new construction. 
 
That innovation is being seen in the landscaping of ADUs – Accessory Dwelling Units – which is another change in California zoning that was enacted to cope with the state’s overwhelming housing shortage.  This blog post on landscaping ADUs by Kol Peterson , an expert and champion of ADU development, offers some insight into how greenery and new construction can be married.  He wrote :
 
“ADUs present a subtle but entirely new type of social relationship opportunity for the tenants and owners. The relationship between the occupants of the house and ADU is typically not as intimate as the relationship of housemates, but typically is closer than the relationship of a typical neighbor.
“Parts of the yard, driveway, gardens, patio, and storage may be shared, and other parts may serve as dedicated spaces for one unit or the other. Landscaping has the potential to give visual cues to the occupant and guests  about the use of the property.”
Though Kol’s perceptive comments were specifically pointed towards the internal dynamics of a property – again, to create a sense of “belong” in an entirely new spatial environment – the same applies to the outward-facing aesthetics of the buildings to be built under SB-0.
Neighborhoods have always been in a dynamic state of change.   They react to changing needs and norms.  SB-9 is just the latest example of that.  So the question becomes:  How do we make the most of it?
At Belong – where we connect homeowners and residents to live richer and more fulfilling lives – we believe that will make our neighborhoods stronger and more diverse.
We are confident that homeowners who take advantage of S9 will join us in this mission.  Together,  we can make more housing units on the same property create more wins for all.
Back-of-the-Napkin Math On Choosing Belong.
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About the author
Adam Hanft
Editor in Chief
Adam is a futurist - co-author of "Dictionary of the Future" - brand strategist, public-company board member, former comedy-writer (but he hasn't stopped being vaguely amusing), and an investor in Belong.