Affordable homes, solar panel incentive could be put to vote on June ballot

An incentive to build family housing, a tightening up of campaign finance rules and giving cash to those who install solar panels are three proposals that city officials would like to put before voters this June.

A measure can end up on the ballot with the support of four members of the Board of Supervisors; the mayor also has the singular power to submit a measure for the ballot. This practice has been criticized for not allowing enough public scrutiny of the measures. However, voters did approve of more open discussion with the passage of Proposition C in November. The approval of that measure encourages ballot measures submitted by politicians go through more public hearings.

The June ballot will be the first time the new rule is used, which also requires measures be introduced 45 days before the election’s final filing deadline of Feb. 29.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, with signatures from Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and Supervisors Sophie Maxwell and Ross Mirkarimi, introduced a ballot measure that would establish incentives for multibedroom affordable-housing units.

Proposed as a way to prevent families from leaving San Francisco due to skyrocketing housing costs, the measure would allow developers to put more units into a project site if they provide two- or three-bedroom below-market-rate housing units.

The City’s current inclusionary housing law requires at minimum that 15 percent of the housing on site be priced at “affordable” levels, although the developer can also pay a few or create more units at a different site. Developers generally meet this requirement by building studios or one-bedrooms.

The measure would result in 225 to 500 family-size affordable housing units annually, Dufty said.

Additionally, Mayor Gavin Newsom submitted three ballot measures Tuesday. Two were focused on campaign-finance reform, prohibiting politicians from accepting contributions from companies with pending contracts as well as those with permit appeals or special permits before the Board of Supervisors.

Newsom also submitted a measure that would provide city cash incentives ranging from about $3,000 to $6,000 for installation of solar systems.

Supervisor Chris Daly has also drafted a proposed ballot measure that would require 50 percent below market rate housing for housing units constructed in the proposed Bayview redevelopment, but told The Examiner that he was unable to get three of his board colleagues to sign on their support. The District 6 supervisor said he may try and put the measure on the ballot through a signature drive.

Additionally, a slew of other measures, previously introduced, could also wind up on the ballot, through a different approval process that would require six board votes.

For the June ballot

Measures submitted by mayor or with four signatures by the Board of Supervisors

SUPERVISOR BEVAN DUFTY

» Incentives for family-size affordable housing units: Provides density bonuses and less restrictive setbacks for developments that meet Inclusionary housing law with family-size, two- or three-bedroom, below-market-rate housing units.

MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM

» Solar Energy Incentive Program: Provides cash incentives to residents and businesses who install solar panels.

» Campaign finance: Prohibits politicians from accepting contributions from those with a special permit or a CEQUA appeal before the Board of Supervisors on projects at least $10 million until at least six months from the board’s final action.

» Campaign Finance: Prohibits politicians from accepting contributions from anyone with a contract being negotiated with The City until six months after contract is approved.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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