Pasadena Cements Landmark District Exemptions from SB 9

PASADENA, Calif.—On Dec. 13, 2021, in compliance with state law (SB 9), the Pasadena City Council adopted Urgency Ordinance #7384, exempting historic and landmark districts from SB 9. On March 15, 2022, Attorney General Rob Bonta sent the City a letter claiming that the City’s urgency ordinance exempting landmark districts from SB 9 violated state law. The City strongly disagreed with the attorney general’s interpretation as unsupported by either the text of the law or its legislative history.

Consistent with its original action on the urgency ordinance, the City maintained its position and amended its municipal code last night, incorporating and cementing the existing protections and exemptions of its historic landmark districts from SB 9. Pasadena continues to be in full compliance with state law, as it leads efforts to construct and retain affordable housing while ensuring that historic and architectural assets are protected.

Mayor Victor M. Gordo issued the following statement:

"The clarifications to our municipal code cement existing protections of our landmark districts and neighborhoods as we strike the delicate balance of addressing housing affordability and the protection of landmark neighborhoods. The attorney general simply got it wrong and unfairly targeted Pasadena. Pasadena was a pioneer in creating affordable housing, and we will continue to prioritize the creation and retention of desperately needed affordable housing—while at the same time continuing our strong protection of the City’s landmark districts and neighborhoods."