Density And Our Property Rights

Several weeks ago, this column addressed Senate Bills 9 and 10, both of which deal with the controversial issue of housing policy and, more specifically, density of housing. Taxpayer advocates and neighbor associations have opposed both SB 9 and SB 10 because of the potential loss of local control and higher taxes. Both bills passed and now await action by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Senate Bill 9 permits “by right the development of two units on single-family lots” and allows “[subdivision of] a parcel that is zoned for single-family residential use” that “in conjunction with the two-unit provision” could “result in a total of four units on the lot.”

Senate Bill 10 would “authorize a local government to adopt an ordinance to zone any parcel for up to 10 units of residential density per parcel, at a height specified in the ordinance, if the parcel is located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site.” It would override HOA agreements and voter initiatives that prohibited or limited such development in those areas.

But proponents of these bills, including some who write for this publication, have argued that conservatives who believe in property rights should support the bills. Their contention, however, is off the mark. To understand why, the very nature of property rights must be defined. When someone “owns” property, they possess a “bundle” of ancillary rights. A bundle of rights is a term for the group of legal privileges that attaches to the owner upon purchase. The bundle includes the right of possession; the right of control; the right of exclusion; the right of enjoyment; and the right of disposition. Increases in density, when not consistent with existing law, general plans or zoning, can negatively affect most, if not all, the ancillary rights of property ownership.

To read the entire column, please click here.


  1. So, my comments are being edited and squashed here, just like Facebook and Twitter? Really?
    I am not impressed, but I am surprised.
    No sense posting any longer if that is the case.

    If there were profanities or calls for violence, I would understand, but not so in my previous and recent posts. Why are you doing this?

  2. The “bundle of rights” mentioned was trampled on years ago, especially for rental housing providers. Rent control, enacted by local jurisdictions, gives the “rights” to tenants. Jurisdictions like San Francisco, Berkeley, and LA get more restrictive every year. San Francisco’s rent control ordinance has been amended over 100 times. Each amendment places more restrictions on the housing providers. The statewide eviction moratorium was enacted without a means-testing. There are tenants that can afford to pay their rent but don’t. There isn’t a moratorium on foreclosures. Many small property owners have lost their properties.

    • Howard beat me to it.

      The zoning that we bought property under was supposed to have protected the single family housing that we paid dearly for.

      The Socialist don’t get it never will understand it and could care less because they do not believe in property rights (real or intellectual).

      You voted for the disaster in both Sacramento and Washington.

      You who voted for these idiots need to be held responsible and have to PAY for the losses …..


  3. Boris Badenov says

    I would suggest banding together, purchasing some property in say Los Gatos, Saratoga, Menlo Park, Atherton and putting in exactly what is permitted. Los Gatos Dims are ALREADY complaining about the ‘low income’ housing THEY VOTED FOR going up in their cute little town. Another care of NIMBY. Well suck it up, you are getting what you voted for.

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