Home » Brentwood to Talk “Charter City” In Effort to Skirt SB 9 Housing Law

Brentwood to Talk “Charter City” In Effort to Skirt SB 9 Housing Law

by CC News
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On Tuesday, the Brentwood City Council will consider a request of having Brentwood become a charter city.

Under a future item request, the City Council consider and discuss the request from Vice Mayor Susannah Meyer and Council Member Jovita Mendoza to consider having Brentwood become a charter city.

If Brentwood does move forward, it would require a ballot measure at a cost of $2.50 to $4.00 per resident (42,115 registered voters), or a range of $105,287 to $168,460.

Brentwood currently is a General Law City and staff says it has not yet done a thorough analysis of the benefits a charter city could offer—it first needs council direction.

One of the benefits of moving to a charter city would be Senate Bill 9 (lot splitting of up to 4 residential units on a single lot) would not apply. An April 22 court case ruled the housing law does not apply to charter cities. It should also be noted, over 240 cities opposed the bill when lawmakers sent it to Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021.   Under the court decision, SB 9 would be invalid to charter cities.

According to the Staff Report:

There are two types of cities in California: general law and charter cities. Brentwood is a general law city, subject to all constraints imposed by general law, even those applicable to municipal affairs. Charter cities, in contrast, operate under a governing document (a charter) written specifically for the city. Per the League of California Cities, a “municipal charter provides the highest legal framework for the purpose, governance, and operation of the city government in all its most fundamental dimensions.” Charters have been compared to constitutions for the cities governed by them, and do not replace the cities’ municipal codes.

Charter cities have traditionally only been subject to conflicting provisions in the state or federal constitutions and state and federal laws on matters of statewide concern that pre-empt the city’s charter provisions. Charter city status thus immunizes charter cities from some, but not all, state laws.

In order to make the change, the city must do the following:

  1. Drafting a Charter
  2. CEQA Review
  3. At least two public hearings
  4. Voters must agree to moving from a general law city to a charter city

If the Brentwood City Council agrees to go forward, the City has until August 9, 2024 to submit elections materials to the County for inclusion on the ballot for the November 5, 2024 statewide general election. Due to the time-bound procedural requirements listed above, a charter satisfying the statutory requirements could not be completed in time this year to meet the submittal deadline. The established statewide general and primary election dates in 2025 are as follows: March 4, 2025 and November 4, 2025.

IF You Go
Brentwood City Council Meeting
City Council Chambers
150 City Park Way, Brentwood, CA 94513
Staff Report – click here

Related Stories:

Oct 1, 2023 – Coalition Speaks Out Against Attorney General’s False and Misleading Title and Summary”

“Bonta’s claim that our initiative would ‘automatically override’ affordable housing laws is clearly and provably false,”  Brentwood City Councilmember and initiative proponent Jovita Mendoza said. “Our initiative would allow cities to choose where and how new housing projects get built, instead of forcing them to comply with blanket mandates from Sacramento that give for-profit developers a blank check to gentrify and destroy our communities.”

May 17, 2023 – Cal Cities Urges Court to Rule that SB 9 Unconstitutionally Interferes with Charter City Home Rule Authority

Charter City Background

  • UC Berkley Law: General Law City v. Charter City – click here
  • El Cerrito Charter City – click here
  • Pinole March 2019 Power Point – click here
  • CalCities: Charter Cities: A Quick Summary for the Press and Researchers – click here

SB9 Background


  • State Assembly: 45-19
  • State Senate: 28-7


  • Yes – Grayson, Skinner, Wicks
  • No – Bauer-Kahan, Frazier, Glazer

SB 9, it would make it easier to increase housing density in existing neighborhoods which are mostly single-family housing by allowing to create a streamlined process to split lots and convert homes into duplexes and possibly up to four units.

SB 9 streamlines a homeowner’s ability to build a duplex or split their current residential lot, allowing for a maximum of four units on a single-family parcel. The bill ensures homeowners, not investors, would benefit by requiring the owner to live in one of the units for a minimum of three years after getting approval for a lot split and prohibiting ministerial lot splits on adjacent parcels by the same individual. It strikes a balance between granting flexibility to homeowners and protecting local control, historic neighborhoods, and environmentally sensitive areas. One of the critical aspects of SB 9 is that it would allow more families to build intergenerational wealth—a currency that is key to combating inequity and creating social mobility. The bill also protects existing renters by excluding properties where a tenant has resided in the past three years. Working families would be able to find rentals in more neighborhoods, opening up stable housing and resources to them and cutting back on long commutes for workers.

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Bill Moon June 7, 2024 - 7:08 am

Would someone please run against Jovita Mendoza and get her the heck out of office. She is terrible. Susannah Meyer will make a terrible mayor, don’t vote for her.

DaTruth June 7, 2024 - 3:46 pm

And yet, you more than likely think Tony would make a good mayor lol. Get rid of them all.

TwoCents June 7, 2024 - 11:02 am

Watch out for a charter city government and electing progressives who want to defund the police and have full control of the police department. The mayor would have full power to fire the chief. Brentwood can become a far-left paradise if you elect the wrong person as Mayor and a majority city council who will vote the same way. A charter city government can be a recipe for disaster.

MODERATE June 8, 2024 - 8:00 am

Couldn’t agree more.

Balfour Bob June 8, 2024 - 8:24 am

Jovita and Susannah, along with their minions will sell this about SB 9 and development. Get a charter approved by voters, then start bringing in crazy liberal policies to Brentwood. The city does not have the same makeup of residents at 65,000 than it did at 40,000. You already see it with the things Jovita and Susannah talk about. Their anti-business stances, inclusion, special preference to some and hardships on others. Charter city is a terrible idea and unneeded. We don’t need to become San Francisco or Oakland.

Brad June 8, 2024 - 8:57 am

What a joke. Becoming a charter city will not fix half of the issues Brentwood has. It will create many more larger issues later down the road. Good luck with this Brentwood. Give Jovita the boot in November.


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