Supervisors look at mandates for more affordable housing

Developers of housing complexes in San Francisco may soon have to provide more units for sale at below-market rates, even in smaller developments.

A Board of Supervisors committee approved an ordinance Wednesday forcing smaller developments to offer affordable housing, and indicated it will vote next week to boost the number of required affordable housing units per development.

San Francisco’s lack of affordable housing is driving out middle-class and low-income families, according to housing advocates who testified Wednesday before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

The committee sent legislation to the Board of Supervisors that would force developments of five units or more to start providing affordable housing, or housing that is sold at below-market rate and subsidized by developers. Now, only developments with 10 units or more must provide below-market units.

“I felt it was only fair to go down a little deeper and, in fact, we may in the future go even further,” said Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, the author of the measure. McGoldrick said other cities in California “go down as low as one unit.”

The committee will also vote next week on legislation authored by Supervisors Sophie Maxwell and Chris Daly that increases the number of affordable units required in developments. The legislation was amended by the committee Wednesday, scaling back proposed requirements in a move that was seen as a compromise with developers.

As amended, the legislation would require developments to offer 15 percent of their units at a below-market rate, and 20 percent if they are built off-site. Currently, if the development requires a conditional use permit, or waiver of zoning requirements, The City requires 12 percent affordable housing if built on-site and 17 percent off-site, and for other developments, 10 percent on-site and 15 percent off-site.

A city controller’s report on both pieces of legislation warns that stricter requirements could kill future housing developments and increase market-rate housing prices, as developers look to offset their costs.

Daly criticized those conclusions, saying the same things were said in 2002 when The City first enacted an affordable housing ordinance, known as the Inclusionary Affordable Housing Program.

William Cleaveland, of Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco, said pushing the percentages any higher would “kill” housing developments, but the 15 percent and 20 percent requirements are “doable.” At one time, Daly had proposed 20 percent and 25 percent requirements.

For some, the stricter requirements cannot come any sooner.

“Middle-class families are leaving The City. We’re becoming a city of the ultrarich, people earning more than $150,000 a year,” said Tracy Parent of Mission Economic Development Agency. “What is going to happen if our city can’t retain these people and families? There’s no future for public services, for communities, and we are losing diversity.”

jsabatini@examiner.comBay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

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

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton announced that funding would be diverted from the police budget toward the black community in June 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City directs $60 million toward Black community services and housing support

San Francisco released new details Thursday for how it plans to spend… Continue reading

The Stud, The City’s oldest gay bar which is vacating its longtime home at Ninth and Harrison streets after more than 50 years, on Thursday, May 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City’s nightlife recovery fund approved but struggling business owners fear relief may come too late

As San Francisco’s nightlife scene approaches nearly a year of a complete… Continue reading

Riordan Crusaders versus St. Ignatius Wildcats at JB Murphy Field on the St. Ignatius Prepatory High School Campus on September 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner)
State allows high school sports to resume, but fight is far from over

For the first time since mid-March 2020, there is hope for high… Continue reading

Most Read