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SB 9 Laws in Santa Ana

Learn about Santa Ana’s permanent ordinance on SB 9.

The City of Santa Ana passed a permanent ordinance on Senate Bill 9. Municipal code can be challenging to understand, so we’ve analyzed Santa Ana’s SB 9 ordinance for you in this blog post.

For more insight into the current guidelines, visit Homestead’s SB 9 City Guide for Santa Ana. It offers a visual guide to the ordinance, lets you compare grades between different cities in Orange County, and links to local SB 9 news articles.

Santa Ana’s SB 9 Laws At-A-Glance


  • Eligible zones: R1, RE
  • Ineligible: Prime farmland, wetland, hazardous waste site, land identified for conservation or under conservation easement, habitat for protected species, historic properties
  • Possibly eligible: 100-year flood hazard area, Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones, Earthquake Fault Zones


  • At least 1 unit per lot must be deed-restricted affordable for very low-, low, or moderate-income levels
  • Owner occupancy required for all SB 9 projects
  • No condominiums or timeshares
  • All units must be residential use only
  • 30 day minimum rental period for all units

Demolition/alteration prohibited for the following:

  • Current or former (within the last 3 years) rental housing
  • Registered affordable housing
  • Rent stabilized housing

Allowable units

Max. 2 units total per lot for lot splits; ADUs and JADUs allowed on intact lots

Development requirements

  • Units must be between 500 and 800 sq ft
  • 50% lot coverage for deed-restricted 1 story structures; 35% lot coverage for all other structures
  • Standard setbacks for zone apply
  • 22’ height limit; 2 story limit for all new units
  • All utilities must be underground
  • Extensive landscaping, design, and bureaucratic requirements; see below for details

To see if your property qualifies for Senate Bill 9, use our free search tool.

Details from Santa Ana’s SB 9 Ordinance


Senate Bill 9 is only applicable to properties located within single-family residential zones; in Santa Ana, there are R1 and RE. To determine your property’s zone, locate your parcel on Santa Ana’s Zoning Map.

State law prohibits SB 9 development on properties located within conservation and habitat areas, wetlands, prime farmland, hazardous waste sites, and historic districts.

Properties within (Very) High Fire Severity Zones, 100-year flood hazard areas, and Earthquake Fault Zones may qualify for SB 9, as long as the project meets certain special standards. Click on the links above for more information.


Santa Ana has some special restrictions on SB 9 occupancy. For starters, at least one unit per lot must be deed-restricted affordable for very low-, low, or moderate-income inhabitants.

State law requires 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. In Santa Ana, however, owner occupancy is required for all SB 9 projects. There’s no indicated time frame for projects that do not involve a lot split. Presumably, that means two-unit development applicants must live in one of the units indefinitely.

Allowable Units

Santa Ana’s ordinance allows two primary units—plus any allowable ADUs and JADUs—on SB 9 projects that do not include a lot split. On split lots, no accessory dwelling units are allowed.

Development Requirements

All SB 9 units must be between 500 and 800 square feet in size. Additionally, there’s a 35% lot coverage for SB 9 projects, which can be increased to 50% for deed-restricted single-story structures. Units may be 22 feet tall and up to 2 stories.

While state law says cities must allow side and rear setbacks as small as 4 feet, Santa Ana is requiring that all SB 9 setbacks must meet zone standards. Setbacks can only be reduced if meeting them would prevent the building of two 800 square foot units.


All units must have separate utility connections and all utilities must be underground. This requirement adds an unnecessary additional expense to SB 9 projects.


Rooftop decks are prohibited, but each unit must have a private covered deck or patio measuring at least 100 square feet. New units must match the architecture and roof pitch of the existing unit on the lot; if building two units on a vacant lot, the new units must match each other. There are a number of privacy requirements as well; refer to Santa Ana’s SB 9 ordinance for the full list.


The front yard must be at least 50% landscaped with drought-tolerant plants, and all vegetation and irrigation plans must be approved by a licensed landscape architect. Evergreen plants are required between property lines in order to provide privacy. For more details, refer to the ordinance.

Bureaucratic requirements

Santa Ana requires a sworn statement from the applicant to ensure that all occupancy requirements are being honored. Notice of construction must be given to all neighboring property owners at least 30 days prior to the start of the building process.

The applicant must also record a deed restriction that expressly prohibits short-term rentals, non-residential uses, and separate conveyance units on the lot. It must also expressly require that at least one new unit must be restricted for affordable housing.

The Future of Senate Bill 9 in Santa Ana

Santa Ana’s ordinance is quite restrictive, although it does include generous height allowances and doesn’t restrict ADUs on intact lots, as some cities have done.

Ideally, Santa Ana will amend their ordinance to allow for easier SB 9 development—the housing crisis can only be fixed by building more homes, after all. It’s likely that the state will need to pass additional legislation to clarify SB 9 requirements and close the loopholes that some anti-development cities are exploiting.

Learn more with with Homestead

Search your address on our SB 9 eligibility search tool to see if your property is eligible for development. Explore our SB 9 blog for useful information on how to evaluate your lot’s SB 9 potential, financing options for SB 9 projects, and more. Follow us on Twitter to stay informed on the latest Senate Bill 9 news.

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See if your property qualifies for SB 9.


Properties searched
map pin of possible sb 9 location

1423 Stanford Dr

  • Zoned for residential
  • In a flood zone
  • Not in a fault zone
  • Not in a high fire zone
  • Zoned for SB 9