Learn about Anaheim’s permanent ordinance on SB 9.
The City of Anaheim passed a permanent ordinance on Senate Bill 9, the state law that allows homeowners in urbanized areas to subdivide their single-family residential lot and/or build additional housing units. All California cities must ministerially approve SB 9 proposals that meet state and local requirements, but local governments are allowed to set some guidelines.
Because municipal code can be confusing, we’ve decoded Anaheim’s SB 9 ordinance in this blog post. Read on to discover what you can build in the SoCal city that’s home to the Happiest Place on Earth.
Learn more by visiting Homestead’s SB 9 City Guide for Anaheim. It presents a visual guide to the ordinance, compares grades between different cities in Orange County, and displays local news articles related to SB 9.
Anaheim’s SB 9 Laws At-A-Glance
- Eligible zones: RH-1, RH-2, RH-3, RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, RS-4
- Ineligible: Hazardous waste sites, conservation and habitat areas, historic districts and properties
- Possibly eligible: Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones, Earthquake Fault Zones, Special Flood Hazard Zones
- Residential use only
- No short-term rentals (minimum 30 days)
- 3-year owner occupancy required for lot splits
Demolition/alteration prohibited for the following:
- Current or former (within the last 3 years) rental housing
- Registered affordable housing
- Rent stabilized housing
- Max. 2 units total per lot (no ADUs or JADUs allowed)
- Lots must be at least 3,000 sq ft to qualify for a lot split
- Min. 25’ street frontage on a public or private street (no alleys)
- All new units must be between 400 and 800 sq ft
- 16’ height limit for all new units
- Front setbacks determined by zoning code
- Each unit’s utilities must be separately metered
- Multiple design requirements; see below for details
Details from Anaheim’s SB 9 Ordinance
Read on for more information regarding Senate Bill 9 implementation in Anaheim. The following can be grouped into five categories: zoning, occupancy, allowable units, lot configuration, and development requirements.
Senate Bill 9 only applies to properties located within single-family residential zones. Anaheim's single-family neighborhoods are zoned RH-1, RH-2, RH-3, RS-1, RS-2, RS-3, and RS-4. If your home is in a different zone, it’s not eligible for SB 9 development. To determine your property’s zone, search your address on Anaheim’s Property Info Map.
To protect sensitive ecological areas and the animals that inhabit them, state law prohibits SB 9 development on properties located within conservation and habitat areas. Historic districts and landmark properties do not qualify for SB 9, either.
(Very) High Fire Severity Zones, Special Flood Hazard Zones, and Earthquake Fault Zones may be eligible for SB 9, if the project meets certain requirements. Click on the links above for more information on SB 9 within these areas.
According to state law, all SB 9 units are limited to residential use only. No short-term rentals are permitted, and all rental or lease agreements must be for at least 30 days.
Senate Bill 9 also necessitates that urban lot split applicants must live in one of the units as their primary residence for a minimum of three years following the split.
Demolition and significant alteration are not allowed on rent controlled or price stabilized housing or rental units. For demolition to occur, the unit must be vacant or owner-occupied for the three consecutive years leading up to the demolition.
SB 9 development isn’t allowed on properties that have a tenant eviction on the record within the last fifteen years.
Senate Bill 9 lets property owners build an additional primary dwelling unit on their lot for a total of two primary units per parcel. Cities may prohibit accessory dwelling units on projects that include both an urban lot split and a two-unit development, but some jurisdictions choose to allow them.
Anaheim’s ordinance only allows two units per lot. For lot splits, this allows a grand total of four units across the two lots. No accessory dwelling units or junior accessory dwelling units are allowed.
While most cities allow lots as small as 2,400 square feet to be subdivided with SB 9, Anaheim has decided that qualifying lots must be at least 3,000 square feet. Each resulting lot must be a minimum of 1,200 square feet, and the split must be between 50/50 and 60/40.
Additionally, each lot must abut a public or private street at a width of 25 feet or more. This seems to suggest that "flag" lots are not allowed, unless the width of the "flagpole" measures at least 25 feet wide.
Anaheim’s ordinance dictates that all SB 9 units must be between 400 and 800 square feet in size, and no more than 16 feet tall.
State law says side and rear setbacks can be as small as 4 feet, but makes no indications about front setbacks. Anaheim’s ordinance dictates that front setbacks must comply with the zoning code standards.
According to the ordinance, building façades in Anaheim must include “articulation along street frontages by using color, arrangement of façade elements, a change in materials, or other architectural devices.” The ordinance goes on to say that new units on a lot with an existing unit must match the architectural style of the original unit.
There are additional requirements for upper-story doors and windows, but since the maximum building height is 16 feet, it seems unlikely that many two-story units will be built. Refer to the ordinance for more information.
All units must have separate utility connections for gas, electricity, communications, water, and sewer services. SB 9 projects in Anaheim may be rejected if the sewer infrastructure is deemed insufficient.
The Future of Senate Bill 9 in Anaheim
Anaheim’s ordinance is restrictive, and the city might face some pushback from the Attorney General and/or pro-housing advocates.
We hope that Anaheim will amend their ordinance to better facilitate SB 9 developments. Addressing the housing crisis can only be achieved by increasing the number of homes available. If cities don’t place endless restrictions on SB 9 implementation, Senate Bill 9 housing developments can really make a difference.
Learn more with with Homestead
Are you considering SB 9 for your Anaheim property? Search your address on our SB 9 eligibility search tool to see if it qualifies for development. Read our SB 9 blog for articles on how to evaluate a property’s SB 9 potential, how to finance SB 9 projects, and more. Follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on Senate Bill 9 news from Anaheim and across the state.