Why Prop. X is needed to save PDR

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

San Francisco’s artists, small blue-collar businesses, and community-serving nonprofits are being forced out of the city by soaring rents; outright evictions; and, in many cases, the elimination of their workspaces by high-end development.

Prop. X, the final San Francisco measure on the November ballot, addresses the last of these threats. It would require developers of projects in parts of the Mission and SoMa to partly or fully replace space for neighborhood arts and small blue-collar businesses—in local plannerese, Production, Distribution and Repair or PDR—and for nonprofit community services such as child care and job training that the projects would demolish or convert to other uses…

Here’s what’s simplistic: The Opponent’s Argument Against Proposition X that appears in the official Voter Information and Sample Ballot, co-signed by Metcalf, complains that the measure “includes no rules telling building owners how much they can charge in rent.” Doesn’t SPUR’s executive director know that commercial rent control is illegal?

Trouble is, PDR uses can’t pay commercial (office or residential) market-rate rents.

Prop. X begins to address that problem. If the required PDR replacement space is rented, leased, or sold at 50% below market rate and deed-restricted for 55 or more years, the replacement requirements may be reduced by 25%.

Prop. X supporters concede that asking voters to make zoning changes is generally a bad idea—the operative word being “generally.” Speaking at X’s October 6 kickoff, Supervisor Jane Kim, the measure’s primary sponsor at the Board of Supervisors, averred, “I don’t believe in ballot-box zoning, except when the city doesn’t act. Then the city has to hear from the voters.”…(more)

As part of the process of developing this ballot initiative the proponents spent some time with planning authorities to be sure that the changes suggested will give them the tools they need to meet our needs to preserve PDR space in SF.

This is a well thought out plan that may be replicated elsewhere if it works, much as the  navigation centers are being replicated. The citizens need to have a voice in how they want their city to grow. Proposition X gives the voters a chance to express their concerns about the loss of our heritage and historical heritage.


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