By Kathleen Ronayne : smdailyjournal – excerpt

In an effort to spur affordable housing production and aid California’s economic recovery due to the COVID-19 crisis, Senate Democrats unveiled a package of legislation intended to bolster production of new housing and remove existing barriers by further streamlining the development process, according to Senate President Toni Atkins, D-San Diego.

According to Atkins, the package of bills will lead to more construction jobs and apprenticeships opportunities that will strengthen the economic viability of working families and the state.

It follows the work of state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, after the defeat of his controversial Senate Bill 50…

The first bill, SB 902, by Wiener, allows local governments to pass a zoning ordinance that is not subject to the California Environmental Quality Act for projects that allow up to 10 units, if they are located in a transit-rich area, jobs-rich area, or an urban infill site.
Atkins has her own bill, SB 995, that would expand the application of streamlining the CEQA process to smaller housing projects that include at least 15% affordable housing. It also would broaden application and utilization of the Master Environmental Impact Report (MEIR) process, which allows cities to do upfront planning that streamlines housing approvals on an individual project level.
Another Atkins bill, SB 1120, would encourage small-scale neighborhood development by streamlining the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot in all residential areas.
SB 1085 by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, would enhance the existing density bonus law by increasing the number of incentives provided to developers in exchange for providing more affordable units.
SB 1385, by state Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, would unlock existing land zoned for office and retail use and allow housing to become an eligible use on those sites… (more)

Check out Livable California Act Now on for details on actions you may take to stop the bills you don’t like. Many communities and city leaders are calling for a time out on density as the population shifts during the pandemic. Many will not return to their offices choosing to work from home.


The Work-From-Home Revolution Is Quickly Gaining Momentum
by Jack Kelly : forbes – excerpt

…Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics, said according to her firm’s study that,  “Seventy-seven percent of the workforce say they want to continue to work from home, at least weekly, when the pandemic is over,” and Lister estimates that, “25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.”…(more)

What, exactly, is going to get built on Geary and Masonic?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

It was first described as a mixed-use development, then as housing for families …. and now it’s furnished studios for ‘students and visiting professors.’

Just before the Board of Supes voted to approve a new 101-unit project on Geary and Masonic, we learned a critical piece of information:

The developer isn’t planning just to build housing for “working people and families” It’s going to be at least in part furnished rentals, which often becomes corporate rentals.

Sup. Dean Preston said that the developer told him the project only “pencils out” if a significant amount of it is furnished rentals – which bring in higher prices.

“All of their projections are based on furnished rentals,” Preston said. He said the developer needed 19 percent return, that 17 percent wasn’t enough.

The project, the supervisors were told, will be financed by a union pension fund…

So the project – whatever it actually is going to turn out to be – was approved 10-1. But the question still remains: Why is the city going along with a developer’s demand that the rules be relaxed for financial reasons – when nobody but a few supervisors have been able to see the data?… (more)

The Coronavirus Is Changing the Future of Home, Work, and Life

By Joel Kotkin : thedailybeast – excerpt

COVID-19 is hitting dense urban areas the hardest, and accelerating the dispersion of Americans that had already been underway

The COVID-19 pandemic will be shaping how we live, work and learn about the world long after the last lockdown ends and toilet paper hoarding is done, accelerating shifts that were already underway including the dispersion of population out of the nation’s densest urban areas and the long-standing trend away from mass transit and office concentration towards flatter and often home-based employment.

Amid 20 years of fanfare about how big, dense cities are the future, the country had kept spreading out with nearly all population growth since 2010 occurring in the urban periphery and smaller cities. As a new study from Heartland Forward, where I am a senior fellow, demonstrates, both immigrants and millennials—the key groups behind urban growth—are increasingly moving to interior cities and even small towns…(more) 

Approval process for Balboa Reservoir project gets underway

By Ida Mojadad : sfexaminer – excerpt

The mixed-use development would turn 17 acres of public land into housing by CCSF

The Balboa Reservoir project received the first approval on Thursday needed to rezone 17 acres of public land into housing.

At its first-ever virtual public meeting Thursday, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved the initiation of a General Plan Amendment for the 1,100-unit Balboa Reservoir project in Ingleside…

“It’s public land, it should be used for the public good,” Worley said. “The PUC shouldn’t be handing it over to private developers.”…

The public hearing will occur on or after April 30th and go before the Board of Supervisors for final approval in the summer….(more)

Balboa Reservoir Redevelopment Positioned for Approval, But…

Socketsite – excerpt (with drawings)

With the detailed Design Standards and Guidelines (DSG) document for the proposed redevelopment of San Francisco’s Balboa Reservoir having been drafted, the project team is now positioning to secure approvals from the City’s Planning Commission, Public Utilities Commission and SFMTA Board, after which San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors could then grant final approval for the proposed 1,100-unit, 17-acre project in the second half of this year…(more)

Stop the Privatization of Public Land in San Francisco

This is no time to sell public property. Why is the city buying expensive property in some neighborhoods and selling it in others? Due to the extensive changes anticipated in the coming months, the city should do what most of the public is doing and DO NOTHING until the economic conditions settle. Quit transferring property ownership. And, see other arguments here and send you comments and requst to the Planning Commission today if you hae not already done so.

During pubic comment, a speaker requested that the city suspend all non-emergency planning decisions during this emergency suspension of normal public hearings meetings and he gave good reasons for his request. We support this request while we are living under essential travel restrictions only.

More information and links ot contacts to write to:

Take Action



San Francisco Flower Mart May be Planted Southside

By Steven J. Moss : potreroview – excerpt

Proposals to relocate the 115,000 square foot San Francisco Flower Mart to 901 16th Street and 1200 17th Street, known as the “Corovan” site, or to Indiana Street between Cesar Chavez Street and Islais Creek, appear to be gaining traction, while efforts to repot the blossom businesses at the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market, in Bayview, have wilted. Last month, the Potrero Boosters and Dogpatch Neighborhood Association (DNA) signaled their support to host the wholesale floral outlet, currently located at Sixth and Brannan streets, in Dogpatch or the Hill.

According to Gloria Chan, director of communications for the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), Kilroy Reality, which is developing the existing Flower Mart site, is in private negotiations with the owners of the Corovan and Indiana Street properties.

“The City does not play any role in those private party negotiations,” said Chan…(more)


Latest Front in Food Delivery: Kitchens in Empty Malls

By Heather Haddon : wsj – excerpt

Property developers are building kitchens in empty mall space and parking lots to fill food-delivery orders, a new approach in the fast-growing business of shuttling meals to customers.

The plan to make restaurant food for delivery in former retail space melds two industries that have been upended by e-commerce. Restaurants are struggling to find a cost-effective formula for meeting the growing demand for delivery of online food orders.

Meanwhile, developers say “ghost” kitchens can create new interest in retail and warehouse space vacated by merchants that have struggled to compete with e-commerce…

Retail developer Simon Property Group. SPG -2.42% and hotelier Accor SA AC -0.67% said Sunday that they are working with hospitality company SBE Entertainment Group to develop some 200 commissary kitchens to cook up restaurant-quality food for customers at malls and hotels as well as delivery for people nearby. The first of those are planned for New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami, said Sam Nazarian, chief executive of SBE…

Delivery now accounts for roughly 9% of the $282 billion U.S. fast-food sector and is growing faster than dine-in and drive-through sales, according to a recent Bernstein analysis….

The group aims to open 85 kitchens this year and at least 100 more by the end of 2021. They anticipate spending about $60,000 on upfront costs at each location and reaching profitability in about six months if a kitchen manages to fill around 125 orders averaging $30 each a day, Mr. Nazarian said.

He said the kitchens will rely on established delivery companies to carry food to customers, such as Uber Technologies’ Uber Eats, DoorDash Inc. and Postmates Inc.… (more)

Great for stay-at-home people with eyes glued to the screen. Not sure how society as a hold will change due to the drop in human-to-human contact.

One wonders the term “ghost kitchens”. Are some operating in a clandestine manner, not properly zoned or permitted for use as a kitchen?  Or is their use hidden from the public?