Judge rules charter cities exempt from duplex law

Over 100 cities across the state do not have to follow Senate Bill 9, know as the duplex law.

A Los Angeles County judge recently ruled that charter cities do not have to follow Senate Bill 9, which allows up to four homes on a single lot in single-family neighborhoods. 

Judge Curtis Kin stated that the law fails to achieve its goal of creating affordable housing and does not meet the standard required to supersede local zoning control.


Driving the news: This ruling applies to the state’s 121 charter cities and not to over 400 “general law” cities and counties without their own charters.

  • SB 9 allows lot splits in suburban areas, replacing one home with up to four units, aiming to provide more opportunities for renters and working families with affordable housing in neighborhoods they might otherwise be priced out of.
  • Southern California cities, including Redondo Beach, Torrance, Carson, Whittier, and Del Mar, filed a lawsuit against SB 9 in 2021. 
  • Judge Kin highlighted that the state failed to demonstrate how the bill would increase availability of affordable housing for low-income families in economically thriving cities.
  • The ruling highlights the ongoing debate over the balance between state mandates and local autonomy in addressing housing affordability challenges.
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