To stop monster homes, legalize apartments

By Scott Feeny : sfexaminer – excerpt

In San Francisco’s ritziest neighborhoods, from Corona Heights to Noe Valley to Potrero Hill, there’s an epidemic going around: monster homes. Someone will buy a tiny, rundown, single-family home for a mere $1.5 million, then replace or add on to make it a gigantic single-family home or duplex that sells for $4.5 million.

The planning bureaucracy is responding tepidly with a new proposal, “Residential Expansion Threshold,” that pays lip service to housing production needs, but mostly offers NIMBYs concessions. It seeks to maximize allowable density, for example, by incentivizing building a duplex instead of a single-family home in Noe Valley. It’s a reasonable goal, but inadequate given existing zoning. Duplexes are illegal to build in much of The City, so the RET does little for us…

At the same time, the program aims to reduce building mass to “respect neighborhood character,” a thinly disguised segregationist dog whistle. Respecting neighborhood character means keeping residential neighborhoods the same: single-family homes that are low-density and unaffordable…(more)

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Proposed Legislation Aims to Strengthen Historical Districts

by Carrie Sisto : hoodline – excerpt

Legislation introduced today at the Board of Supervisors aims to prevent displacement of businesses and residents in San Francisco’s culturally significant neighborhoods.

The ordinance proposed by District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen and District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen would establish a framework for city departments to develop cultural districts that focus resources on “preserving culturally relevant businesses, arts, festivals, and affordable housing,” according to a release from the supervisors.

Rather than trying to stop gentrification, the legislation seeks to find methods to avoid displacement of cultural assets by expanding economic opportunities and promoting affordable housing… (more)

Find out why you should just say “NO More” taxes and gentrification.

A book and a film for people who don’t know what is happening to their city.

The Financialization of Housing – A political economy approach
By Manuel B. Aalbers

Due to the financialization of housing in today’s market, housing risks are increasingly becoming financial risks. Financialization refers to the increasing dominance of financial actors, markets, practices, measurements and narratives. It also refers to the resulting structural transformation of economies, firms, states and households. This book asserts the centrality of housing to the contemporary capitalist political economy and places housing at the centre of the financialization debate.

A global wall of money is looking for High-Quality Collateral (HQC) investments, and housing is one of the few asset classes considered HQC. This explains why housing is increasingly becoming financialized, but it does not explain its timing, politics and geography. Presenting a diverse range of case studies from the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Spain, the chapters in this book include coverage of the role of the state as the driver of financialization processes, and the part played by local and national histories and institutions. This cutting edge volume will pave the way for future research in the area.

Where housing used to be something “local” or “national”, the two-way coupling of housing to finance has been one crucial element in the recent crisis. It is time to reconsider the financialization of both homeownership and social housing. This book will be of interest to those who study international economics, economic geography and financialization… (more)

Who Killed Parkmerced? a film by Nick Pasquariello
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ1-5y7vUdw

Real Estate Execs Disrupt Nonprofit Housing

By Toshio Meronek : sfweekly – excerpt

There’s a stealthy way developers get approval to build, build, build.

Hiding behind the scenes of many nonprofit housing organizations are corporate real estate professionals…

Over the past few years, the real estate industry has been cozying up to organizations that exist to help the poorest San Franciscans. It’s not well-known, but many of the nonprofits responsible for housing thousands of low-income San Franciscans and managing millions of dollars in public funding are run by people involved in real estate development, raising the question of whether, for example, an executive from Wells Fargo should be making decisions that affect some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.

This conflict of interest can be stressful for tenants…

“We have no say,” says Phyllis Bowie, who lives at Midtown Apartments, a 139-unit complex in the Fillmore that’s managed by the city’s largest housing nonprofit, Mercy Housing

But renters do have allies. Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the Housing Rights Committee ensures that residents get heard over the blare of executives, who he believes have an agenda that puts profits first on the priority list, with tenants toward the bottom…

San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation and the YIMBY Party attempted to win enough member votes to take over the board of the local Sierra Club chapter, but failed in their efforts…

MHDC, BRIDGE, and the board of Mercy Housing — which puts out the majority of the city’s affordable housing — signed on to support local state Senator and ex-Sup. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 35, which in practice could fast-track majority market-rate residential projects…

No big surprise: Sierra Club, Causa Justa, and the Housing Action Committee all opposed SB 35…

The 16th Street BART station could be home to what opponents have dubbed the “Monster in the Mission,” a new 10-story complex that would change the entire landscape of the neighborhood. (Only 42 of its 330 units are considered affordable.)…(more)

Good article with a lot of information. Unfortunately, most of the news is bad. If you care, you can still work on campaigns to replace the pro developer supervisors and state reps. The DCCC delegate election proved that people can make a difference if they get out and vote. The word that everyone is avoiding using is the word that most non-partisan groups agree is the problem with the Plan Bay Area and that word is gentrification. Look for someone with a plan to deal with rising property rates. Otherwise they do not have a feasible plan.

 

SF Planning Commission debates housing, ignores gentrification

Tim redmond : 48hills – excerpt

When will there be a hearing on the human costs of accommodating too much commercial growth?

The San Francisco Planning Commission discussed the housing crisis Thursday, and there were a few remarkable moments.

Much of the presentation by planners focused on the balance between jobs and housing in the city — which, to nobody’s surprise, is way out of whack.

Part of that is clearly a regional problem: The Peninsula cities love to approve tech office space but build no new housing, exporting the problem to SF. But the city also has a lot more jobs than housing…

Yimby Action’s Laura Clark said that “we should be building a lot more housing,” and that we should eliminate single-family zoning in the city within the next year. (more)

Gentrification may be what brought us Trump. Politicians need to listen to the anger and frustration the country is feeling over an unprecedented wage gap and cost of living increases.

Housing firebrand Sonja Trauss in race to represent District 6

 By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

Sonja Trauss, the love-her-or-hate-her rabble-rouser who helped make San Francisco’s housing shortage a trendy political cause, wants to move into a new home herself — an office at City Hall.

She’s entered the race to replace termed-out District Six Supervisor Jane Kim next year and represent an area that will probably shape housing and land use policy for the rest of the city. Trauss faces tough competition from progressive challenger Matt Haney, but a win would be a major coming-out for the Yes in My Backyard group she co-founded two years ago.

The question is whether Trauss is the right figurehead to get the YIMBYs a board seat. She’s smart and animated, armed with a master’s degree in economics and the simple message that more housing — a lot more, at all price points — will make cities affordable.

But she’s also the subject of a state ethics investigation and the enemy of older progressives, who believe the building boom is decimating San Francisco’s character and are using their considerable power in city politics to strike back at the YIMBYs..(more)

RELATED:

In SF’s District Six race, Haney is in while Angulo is out

In SF’s District Six race, Haney is in while Angulo is out – District Six has gone to progressives in the past five supervisor races, but the electorate has changed as more condos have gone up and more newcomers moved in…

Peskin and Kim have both endorsed Haney. Trauss said Tuesday she welcomes the competition and anticipates a “robust discussion” about the future of the district and San Francisco…(more)

 

Houses over Bernal gas pipeline delayed again

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

bernalview

Bernal Heights view photo by zrants

Ronen points out that we can’t trust PG&E to ensure that a 36-year-old high-pressure gas pipe won’t blow up

The City Planning Department will have to do additional research on the chance that a pipeline under Bernal Hill could explode during the construction of two houses, the Board of Supes decided today.

The issue has been back and forth between the board and city planners for  years, mostly because the Planning can’t seem to figure out its own rules around environmental review..

The pipeline is one of the few in the city that isn’t buried under a street. The city doesn’t even know at this point how deep the earth above the pipeline is — 24 inches? Or 36 inches? Not clear.

The pipeline has never been fully examined for the sort of potential flaws that destroyed an entire neighborhood in San Bruno.

Justin Horner, a city planning staffer, said that “inadvertent affects that could be caused by negligence are not part of the [environmental review] process.

Which is why the city has argued that a full environmental study isn’t needed… (more)

Thankfully someone is paying attention. The last thing we need is to blow up another neighborhood in our haste to “build more housing.” Residents have been voicing concerns about this pipe for years. Neighbors will be relived to know someone has come to their senses. There is a general problem with an environmental review program that does not take into account the actual natural environment that is existing in determining how the project under review will effect that natural existing situation. A hearing is needed to clarify where and how such matters as seismic conditions and flood plains are taken into account in the building permit process, which is where, we understand this sort of issue is supposedly taken up. Please announce this hearing to the broadest audience possible and please cover this in the media regardless of how many other events occur on that day.