The Transportation Sustainability Fee, as currently proposed, would generate an extra $14 million annually for Muni by imposing a fee on residential devlopment. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

The Transportation Sustainability Fee, as currently proposed, would generate an extra $14 million annually for Muni by imposing a fee on residential devlopment. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Developers spared from having to pay larger transit fees

San Francisco slightly increased the proposed transit impact free on development Monday while opposing more significant rate hikes amid opposition from developers that could have generated millions of more dollars for Muni.

As proposed, the Transportation Sustainability Fee would expand to impose a transit impact fee on residential development for the first time and generate $14 million annually more a year for Muni. But transit advocates and more progressive members of the Board of Supervisors say that’s not enough.

Last week, the board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee postponed a vote on the proposal amid a debate over increasing the transit impact fee, among other changes. Amid those talks, developers warned the board that rate hikes in the impact fee could have a chilling effect on housing development.

On Monday, the committee approved eight amendments to the legislation. When it came to increasing the fee rates, supervisors Scott Wiener and Malia Cohen opposed the rate hikes proposed by Supervisor John Avalos, instead supporting more modest ones.

“I feel like we left a lot of money on the table today,” Avalos said after the vote.

The difference in proposals was clear. Avalos’ proposed changes with the rate hikes would generate an additional $13.5 million annually and one-time revenue of $35 million in changes to grandfathering provisions.

What Wiener and Cohen supported would generate about $4 million annually with $7 million in one-time fees for grandfathering provision changes.

“The mayor cut a deal with developers, and now that we are in the public part of the legislative process, the developers are trying to protect the deal they made in his office,” Avalos said.

Wiener declined to comment on discussions he may have had with the Mayor’s Office. The Mayor’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.

Wiener said he was not bowing to the interests of developers. “The developers were very clear they did not want the fee to increase at all. I supported increasing it,” Wiener said. “We went against what the developers wanted on a number of these issues.”

The fee rate increase supported by the committee keeps the current proposed rate at $7.74 per square foot for residential developments under 99 units and increases it to $8.74 for every unit in excess of 99 units. The City’s nexus study found that transit impacts caused by development could legally justify a residential fee, for example, of $30.93.

“Someone can always come forward and say, “Make the fee higher,’” Wiener said. “The higher we make the fee it starts to impact the feasibility of the projects.”

Wiener also amended the proposal with the support of Cohen to increase the commercial rate for projects in excess of 100,000 square feet from the proposed $18.04 per square foot to $19.04. Avalos had proposed that rate to increase by $6 to $24.04.

“You can’t just keep raising it forever. We drew the line at the appropriate place,” Wiener said of the fee rates.

The committee also eliminated the exemption for nonprofit hospitals, added an exemption for post-secondary school student housing and eliminated a credit for area plans where impacts fees are higher than the rest of The City.

The committee is expected on Oct. 19 to vote to send the legislation to the full board, where additional debate is expected.

Board of SupervisorsCity HallJohn AvalosMalia CohenMuniMunicipal Transportation AgencySan FranciscoScott WienerTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Blue California often is the target of criticism by conservative media, but now is receiving critical attention from liberal writers. Pictured: The State Capitol. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Why is California now being criticized from the left?

California being what it is – a very large state with a… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read