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.

Advertisements

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)

 

Op-Ed: The Central SoMa Plan Will Worsen Displacement Crisis

By Scott Feeney : thebaycitybeacon – excerpt

What’s a bigger problem in San Francisco today: not enough tech offices, or not enough housing?

Obviously the need for housing is greater, and I say that as someone who works in tech. The City produced eight new jobs for every new home since 2010. And people are noticing the imbalance. Even an entrepreneur is likely to tell you that while signing an office lease is annoying, recruiting and retaining employees is much more difficult as people flee Bay Area housing costs… (more)

Should we build lots more housing in San Francisco? Three reasons people disagree

by Julia Galef – excerpt

Some people, such as YIMBYs, advocate building lots more housing in San Francisco. Their basic argument is:

Housing in SF is the priciest in the country, with the average one bedroom apartment renting for over $3,000 per month (compared to the nationwide average of $1,200.)

The main reason rents are so high is because the supply of housing has been artificially restricted — new developments are constantly getting blocked by land use regulations and neighborhood associations. Meanwhile, demand to live in SF continues to rise. And since supply is not keeping pace, rents go up, as a growing number of would-be tenants outbid each other for the limited housing available.

Therefore, it’s important that we find a way to increase the rate at which we’re building new housing in SF, or it will be a city in which only the rich can afford to live.

I’ve been trying to understand why others are critical of this argument. I think there are three main areas of disagreement between what I’ll call the advocates and the critics, and I’ll briefly explain each in turn. (Note that I’m trying to present the strongest version of each argument, which may be different from the most common version.)… (more)

As subway construction drives away customers, SF debates helping businesses

 By Rachel Swan : sfchronicle – excerpt

It’s lunchtime, but the tables are empty at Oasis Grill, a Mediterranean restaurant that sits next to a bulldozed gully at Fourth and Howard streets in San Francisco. Several blocks to the north, work crews are jackhammering outside the stores of Union Square.

And farther north in Chinatown, shop owner Nancy Cai wipes away tears, lamenting the customers she’s lost since the city started building the Central Subway, which ends at a station under construction at Stockton and Washington streets.

While the $1.6 billion line is expected to bring a flood of development and tourists when it opens in 2019, some of the businesses along its route might not survive to see those benefits.

“It’s like a 60 percent drop” in business, said Cai as she surveyed her stock of traditional gowns, toy cable cars and other souvenirs languishing on the shelves of Nancy’s Fashion….

Peskin is proposing a controversial plan that centers on Chinatown but would affect the entire city: create an “impact zone” around Stockton Street, and offer financial assistance to businesses within the perimeter. Similar zones could be applied to other big projects….

Maybe there’s a solution other than handing out cash, Yee said. He suggested the city could provide indirect subsidies for these businesses, like exempting them from annual registration fees, gross receipts taxes or payroll taxes.

Peskin said Yee’s tax-exemption approach interests him, with the caveat that “the benefits being discussed (must) directly help small-business owners.”

Over the last few weeks, San Francisco’s infrastructure boom and its side effects have become a topic of interest at City Hall. Several officials, including Lee, are walking the political tightrope of celebrating new infrastructure, while wanting to protect small businesses… (more)

Continue reading

Bayview tenants get eviction reprieve

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Planning Commission delays action on demolition of rental housing units

The Bayview tenants who are facing eviction because a landlord illegally built their units got a reprieve today when the Planning Commission voted unanimously to delay action on the demolition of the apartments.

Sup. Malia Cohen asked the commission for a continuance of an item that could have authorized the demolition of more than 15 rent-controlled apartments housing military vets, most of them seniors and many formerly homeless… (more)

Thanks Malia. Never let it be said that the Supervisors’ hands are tied. They have a lot more power than some would like you to believe. All it takes is one supervisor to come to the aide of their constituents and most of the others will support that decision. Always start with the supervisor when you have a problem.

Why is Scott Wiener trying to undermine affordable housing in SF?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Amendments to state bill could make it harder for the city to demand reasonable affordability levels from developers.

The San Francisco supes approved new rules for affordable housing…

But when it came to the Senate, Wiener insisted on amendments that could have – and still might – dramatically reduce the amount of affordable housing that the city can require.

The state has a rule that allows a developer to get a “density bonus” – that is, the right to build more housing than existing zoning allows on a site – in exchange for adding a very small amount of affordable housing.

Ting’s AB 915 would allow San Francisco to apply its own, higher, affordable housing requirements to all new units, including units only allowed under the state density bonus law…

Without this bill, the percentage of affordable housing that the city will require developers to build could drop from the compromise level – 18 percent, rising to 22 percent by 2019 – to just 13 percent. That’s a lot of lost affordable housing.

So: All was going along fine, and the two sides on the Board of Supes were all on board, and so was the mayor.

Then Wiener got involved…

Wiener is using state law to make it harder for San Francisco to mandate affordable housing. It’s pretty stunning.

The reality is that what developers tend to want, more than anything, is market stability – they want to know what the rules are. And if the state is in a position to change those rules once a year, it’s going to be a mess…(more)

See details on the bills and actions you can take here:  Taken actions