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Belvedere officials urge city to take another look at housing rules

The Belvedere Planning Commission is recommending the City Council make permanent an urgency ordinance that helps preserve a number of local controls over lot splits and additional units on a property after California this year effectively ended single-family zoning.

However, in voting Nov. 15 to recommend the quick adoption of the rules before the urgency ordinance expires, commissioners and city staff separately said they also want to explore potential changes in the new year — including revisions that could help Belvedere better offer more affordable units and meet state housing goals. The state itself will be forcing the city’s hand on other updates as new accessory-unit laws are coming down the pike.

Senate Bill 9, which took effect Jan. 1, allows many homeowners to build two homes or a duplex by right on a lot zoned for single-family housing, or, if the lot’s greater than 2,400 square feet, it may qualify to be split into two parcels with two homes or a duplex on each, for four total units.

The state’s goal is to create new infill housing by increasing density in developed areas and to allow for more affordable homeownership opportunities while offering protections against the displacement of existing tenants.

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