A dangerous shift in powers and authorities from elected officials to unelected appointees lurks behind the new push to build, build, build and densify the population in the Bay Area.
Are we really going to roll out the old supply and demand argument again? Over the last five years the Planning Department has allowed more variances and exceptions to the rules to produce denser housing. The results so far have been higher rents than ever before, displacement of many residents and merchants that served them, and complete destruction of many arts and cultural institutions and neighborhood characteristics and, many would, say San Francisco’s soul.
Adding supply has not lowered rents. The rents have gone steadily up since the height and density limits were removed.
Building higher and denser and smaller units (200 square feet for a 2-bedroom has been suggested by some developers) will not lower the rents. For that we need a legislative effort to limit values and re-balance the legal rights and obligations between landlords and tenants.
The landlords have all the rights of ownership, but they have been socked by some uncomfortable rules and regulations that make being a landlord unpleasant. We need to figure out how to make the relationships between landlords and tenants less difficult. We need a return to civility between property owners and everyone else.
Passing the Affordable Housing Bonus Programs will not help us get there. It will exacerbate the hostilities and the gentrification and displacement problems. Some officials have asked, “do the developers need incentives to build more?”
We understand there are competing bills going before the voters this fall that may solve some of the problems. Let the voters decide in November what they want their city to be in the future.
About the Affordable Housing Bonus Programs:
It just came to our attention, that in order to pass the Affordable Housing Bonus Program (Being referred to by many as the Affordable Bogus Housing Program), according to this week’s agenda items 12a and 12b, over a dozen codes will have to be amended, as well as the area zoning maps and an unknown number of other related codes. This is a major overhaul of the entire city planning system. One of the most contested issues is over who will be noticed and who will be allowed to object to future projects and how these objections may be brought to which government body for review and when.
About Administrative law versus Legislated law:
How it is now: We are supposed to have a separation of powers that allows a balance of authority between Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government. The new trend is to remove the balance by handing authority over to unelected organizations ie: ABAG and MTC and in this case, Planning Department staff. This trend is of major concern to those who believe in retaining the balance of power and the right of the voting tax-paying public to control their destiny through the election process. If you oppose this shift in powers and authorities, you will want to oppose this plan.