Several proposals that will go before the Planning Commission on Thursday aim to help low- and moderate-income families find below-market-rate housing in The City. Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo

Several proposals that will go before the Planning Commission on Thursday aim to help low- and moderate-income families find below-market-rate housing in The City. Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo

Planning Commission to consider proposals supporting below-market-rate homes

The Planning Commission on Thursday will consider several proposals to help moderate- and low-income residents find homes amid The City’s sweltering real estate climate.

A plan to initiate interim controls in the Mission district that would – among other conditions – require additional permission for certain residential projects, as well as an ordinance that for the first time would give some preference to residents in the same neighborhood as available below-market-rate housing will go before commissioners.

The interim controls in the Mission, first introduced to the commission in July, stem from the Planning Department’s efforts to respond to the community’s distress over losing below-market-rate housing in the traditionally working-class neighborhood.

More than 900 low- and moderate-income families have left the Mission in the past five years, including through evictions and displacement. If that trend continues, there could be another 500 families forced out in the next five years, city planners said.

Such concerns were highlighted during hours of emotional public comment at a June 2 Board of Supervisors meeting in which hundreds of people turned out at City Hall to urge a temporary halt of market-rate housing development in the Mission. The moratorium didn’t pass, but a similar measure will go before San Francisco voters in November.

“This is not a moratorium,” AnMarie Rodgers, senior policy advisor for the Planning Department, said of the interim controls. “This is allowing construction to go forward with these dialogues that the commission feels is important at this time.”

The interim controls proposed by the Planning Department would last for nine months and require a conditional-use authorization for projects that are more than 25,000 gross square feet. Conditional-use authorization would also be required for projects that eliminate more than one rent-controlled unit, displace a tenant, or demolish or convert structures used for certain recreation, arts and entertainment purposes.

Separately, the commission will also consider whether to recommend amendments to The City’s preferences for below-market-rate units to the Board of Supervisors. Currently, preferences are granted to residents displaced by redevelopment or Ellis Act evictions.

The ordinance, introduced by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisors Julie Christensen, Malia Cohen, London Breed and Scott Wiener, would expand the Ellis Act preference that was added in 2013 to include those who are displaced for any no-fault eviction, and add the consideration of residents who live in or within a half-mile radius of a neighborhood with available below-market-rate housing.

“We have an enormous need for affordable housing in San Francisco,” said Sophie Hayward, director of policy and legislative affairs at the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

“We of course want to increase production…but at the same time we want to make sure people have access to affordable housing in their neighborhoods where they have their communities and their ties in place,” she said.

The Rent Board has seen a sharp 45 percent increase from 2010-2014 in the number of eviction notices filed. In the Rent Board Fiscal Year 2013-2014 alone, 2,064 units have faced evictions.Planning

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