Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday called for a charter amendment for the November 2016 ballot to require more below-market-rate housing from private developers in new housing projects. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday called for a charter amendment for the November 2016 ballot to require more below-market-rate housing from private developers in new housing projects. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner)

Surplus property could help housing issues

A city ordinance that has failed to produce more than a pair of below-market-rate housing sites for the formerly homeless in 13 years could be strengthened in the upcoming election, Supervisor Jane Kim said.

San Franciscans will have a chance Nov. 3 to expand The City’s surplus property ordinance by voting for Proposition K, a measure unanimously supported by the Board of Supervisors and Mayor’s Office.

Instituted in 2002, the surplus property ordinance says if The City has unused land, then San Francisco would build below-market housing for the formerly homeless in that space.
But in the more than a decade it’s been in place, only two of such sites have been developed, Kim said. One site houses veterans at 150 Otis St. in South of Market, while the other has space for families at Broadway and Sansome Street.

That’s in part because The City doesn’t know how much surplus land it has that is ripe for building below-market-rate housing, said Kim, who endorsed the proposition.

“What we’re finding is that departments were keeping property and saying it wasn’t surplus,” said Kim. “That’s the problem with the existing ordinance, so that I don’t have a sense of how much we have out there.”

Prop. K hopes to increase the number of potential building sites for below-market-rate housing by requiring city agencies and departments to report all of their land one-fourth acre or larger, rather than only submitting land they deem surplus, Kim said.

The city administrator will then compile a list of the land and determine independently what is surplus or underutilized.
Prop. K expands the definition of what lands are considered for development to include underutilized land — such as a piece of land that is only partially used — and opportunity sites, like space above the ground floor of a business.

If the measure passes, a hearing would be triggered at the Board of Supervisors every April 15 to review the surplus lands list. The list would then reach the Mayor’s Office of Housing June 1 for evaluation.

The Mayor’s Office would decide whether or not to purchase the land for development.

“It’s another tool in the toolkit, which is land,” said Kim. “The cost of land is … one of the most expensive pieces in any development project.”

Prop K. would keep money flowing between city agencies, Kim said. If the Mayor’s Office of Housing decided to purchase the land under Prop K., it would pay the department or agency for it.

“We do pay the value of what we’re building,” she said, noting that the prices wouldn’t be as high as market-rate. “If we’re building 100 percent affordable, then the land value is based on what we’re building.”

Prop. K also would allow housing to be built for a wider range of income levels in The City under the ordinance, not just the formerly homeless. That includes individuals who make under $84,550 a year, or about 60 percent of San Francisco residents, Kim said.

Market-rate units could also be built on sites of 200 units or more under Prop. K, as long as a minimum 33 percent of units are below-market-rate.
housinghousing crisisPlanningProp KpropertyProposition K

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

Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors hosted a media Welcome Back conference to discuss the safety protocols and amenities when fans return for a basketball game on April 23rd at Chase Center on April 13, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Golden State Warriors ready to welcome fans back to Chase Center

COVID-19 tests, app-based food ordering among new safety protocols announced this week

People came out in numbers to memorialize George Floyd, who was fatally shot by police, outside San Francisco City Hall on June 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD prepares for possible protests as Chauvin trial continues

Police to schedule community meetings, provide officers with crowd control training

Mayor London Breed said Tuesday that with other counties moving ahead with expanding vaccine eligibility “we want San Franciscans to have the same opportunity.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Everyone in SF ages 16 and up is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

San Francisco expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to everyone ages… Continue reading

San Francisco Park Rangers have seen their budget and staffing levels increase significantly since 2014. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Citations for being in SF’s public parks after midnight soar

Data shows disproportionate impact on Black residents

Central City SRO Collective tenant leader Reggie Reed, left, and Eddie Ahn, executive director of Brightline Defense, were among those distributing environmental awareness posters throughout the Tenderloin, Mid-Market and South of Market neighborhoods. (Courtesy Central City SRO Collaborative)
Environmental dangers are connected to racism

Let’s attack problems with better policies, greater awareness

Most Read