City Council shows strong support for allowing more housing types in single-family neighborhoods

The Sacramento City Council on Jan. 19 unanimously voted to support adding housing options in single-family neighborhoods as part of the key strategies of the 2040 General Plan. This move will allow for a greater array of housing types such as duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes in existing residential neighborhoods.

The 2040 General Plan, the City’s blueprint for how and where it will grow over the next 20 years, will be voted on by the City Council at the end of 2021. Once the City Council votes and adopts the plan, Sacramento will become one of the first cities in the U.S. to open up traditional single-family zoning, following Portland, Ore. and Minneapolis.

“Allowing a greater diversity of housing types in our neighborhoods will not only help address our severe housing shortage, it will uphold our Sacramento values of inclusion and equity, where residents from different walks of life can live side by side and enjoy the best our city has to offer,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg.

Currently, in single-family neighborhoods within the city (which are zoned R1), only single-unit homes (i.e. single-family), duplexes on any corner lot, and up to two Accessory Dwelling Units (not to exceed 1,200 square feet) per property are allowed. Anything other than that currently is not permittable.

“Missing-middle” housing types — duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes — already are found throughout many of the City’s single-family neighborhoods. There are more than 2,300 of them — and not just on corner lots. These buildings were established before 1960, when zoning rules in Sacramento were different.

Diversity of housing types is just one of many efforts by the City to help alleviate the housing crisis and achieve equity goals by making neighborhoods with high-performing schools, parks and other amenities accessible for more families.

“Sacramento continues to experience a housing shortage, and much of the city is zoned for single-family unit development,” said Matt Hertel, acting principal planner for the City. “Since the planning efforts for the 2040 General Plan Update first launched in early 2019, some of the key themes expressed from the community are for the City to take action to address the availability and affordability of housing, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and address the impacts of climate change, and to advance equity and inclusion. This key strategy responds to all three of these themes.”

Design guidelines and limitations still will be in place to ensure that any new structure will be congruent with the look and feel of the single-unit homes.

All new housing types will need to comply with Citywide Design Guidelines and the Planning and Development Code’s development standards, which control the outward appearance of buildings (i.e. size and height) and maintain the overall neighborhood character as well as historic preservation, officials said.

Find more information on the 2040 General Plan Update at

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