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Why developers can’t cry poverty

March 29, 2016

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Measure to increase affordable housing heads for first challenge

Most of the city seems to be on Spring Break this week; the supes aren’t meeting, most of the commissions aren’t meeting, and the public schools are closed. But the City Planning Commission will be in session Thursday/31 and will hear the proposal by Sups. Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin to double the amount of affordable housing that private developers have to provide.

The legislation is complicated, and includes different provisions for grandfathering in projects that are already in the planning pipeline. You can read all the details here. But the bottom line is that projects that now only have to offer 12 percent below-market-rate units would have to offer 25 percent, and that number could be changed any time by the supervisors.

There’s also a mandate that the city controller do a study on how much these developers can actually afford to pay – and if it’s done well, it will add a lot to the debate…

If you want data that’s only a year out of date (and probably underestimate developer profits), there’s a city study on the transportation impact fee that looks at how much these companies have to pay to the city and what they walk away with.

If you love these sorts of things the way I do, you can read the full document here. If you just want to get to the point, scroll all the way through the 85 pages to appendixes C1 and C2.

They show, that despite all the fees the city puts on developers, the “return on cost” – that it, the profit – for commercial development in San Francisco is between 19 and 29 percent…(more)

The Planning Commission meeting starts at noon, Thursday, March 31, Room 400, City Hall. This is Item 7. 2016-003040PCA on the agenda.


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