May 18, 2023
The California HOME Act, or Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), became a law as of January 1, 2022 and allows up to two residential units within a single-family lot, or allows homeowners to split their single-family lot into two parcels with up to two housing units on each parcel, essentially allowing for up to four units on what were previously considered single-family lots. Homeowners must sign an affidavit stating they intend to occupy one of the housing units as their primary residence for at least 3 years from the date of the lot split approval. Local agencies must also require that any rental units created from the lot split be long-term rentals (30 days or more).
This new law has streamlined the approval process for custom single-family homes in Rancho Mirage, clearing some hurdles for developers. The City has received applications for 44 new housing units under SB 9, more than any other city in the Coachella Valley and more than several other California cities with larger populations. However, the 44 units aren’t duplexes, second primary residences on single-family lots, or single-family lot splits; they are for custom single-family homes. Under SB 9, the law states ““a proposed housing development containing no more than two residential units within a single-family residential zone to be considered ministerially, without discretionary review or hearing,” which differs from the city’s prior process of discretionary approval. This bill has basically brought Rancho Mirage more in line with the cities in the rest of the Valley, which is why other cities are not seeing as many of these SB 9 approvals.