Mission District Interim Control Map

Following five months of debate, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has unanimously adopted ‘Interim Controls’ for new market-rate housing, office and retail developments in the Mission District. And while originally drafted to last six months, the controls as passed will be in place for a year and three months.

Intended to provide time for the City “to finalize a cohesive strategy to provide more affordable housing and economic stability” and complete “an analysis of affordable housing needs, including potential sites for housing production” in the Mission, the controls will require special Planning Commission authorization, either Conditional Use or Large Project, for developments which haven’t already been approved and would either result in the loss of one or more rent-controlled units or includes over 25 residential units or 25,000 square feet of non-residential space, with additional requirements as outlined below:

Mission District Interim Controls

Residential projects that include at least 33 percent below market rate units and PDR developments are exempt from the controls, as are projects outside the interim control boundaries as mapped above. But projects that weren’t approved as of yesterday will be subject to the additional review, with no grandfathering for any unapproved projects regardless of where they are in the Planning pipeline.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Sam

    ‘We need time to figure out what’s going on here’ – Trump planning department

    • Posted by Tony

      We don’t know who these new residents might be so we need to take a close look to make sure they’re the right kind of people and not changing the cultural makeup of the area. – Trump planning department

    • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

      So where should the wall be built? Do the techies enter from SoMa or Noe Valley?

  2. Posted by Bib B

    So on the 3971 block which is zoned industrial you cannot build a 25,000 square foot warehouse without conditional use or large project authorization? What effect does this have on housing (affordable, rent-controlled, or luxury)?

  3. Posted by Tom Colvin

    This basically means no new housing in the Mission will be built for 2 years. After this time passes, the housing market will be at or near the bottom of the next cycle and nobody will want to build new non-BMR housing anyway. Any City money to help build the promised BMR units will dry-up as the city struggles with finances in the next downturn. End result: no new housing in the Mission for 7-10 years and any solutions to address the lack of housing have been kicked to the next decade yet again. Brilliant!

    • Posted by two beers

      As the unicorn bubble implodes, thousands of techie millenials will be leaving SF for cheaper pastures (i.e. their parents’ house). Thousands of coder condos will open up. Unfortunately, almost no new family housing has been added during this latest building bubble, because the big money has been in coder condos and foreign-flight-capital luxury investment lofts. Even more unfortunately, we put all of our eggs in one basket, and allowed developers to destroy vital PDR buildings that offered good jobs to people who didn’t make pizza delivery apps. So, as the unicorn bubble implodes, it will be difficult to replace the lost jobs, because the former buildings that could support a wide range of jobs across different economic and educational strata have been destroyed.

      The only Hail Mary for this grand clusterf&ck is to blow an even bigger bubble with an even larger round of hand-outs to Wall St.

      • Posted by two beers

        …but builders may find work tearing out unicorn offices and replacing them with something more productive and beneficial.

        • Posted by lemon obrien

          this guy gets it; destruction is money creation; that is why the bankers love war.

          • Posted by two beers

            oh, sh&t, I forgot: war. The oligarchs’ other Hail Mary.

        • Posted by Torger Cobus

          But the workers have already left town….

      • Posted by Amewsed

        SF has a $100 million budget deficit next year due to pension costs (along with health benefits for workers, etc.) Even with the recent run up with all the development, SF still cannot get its budget under control.

        The unicorn valuations should be marked down 75% for the market to be normal.

        You want more housing without building new ones. Repeal some of the unenforceable RC laws passed the past 5-10 years.

        • Posted by Ohlone Californio

          SF has such a big deficit due to Ed Lee’s own bill that defeated Adachi’s rival plan back in 2011. The guy has become such a gladhanding joke of a mayor.

      • Posted by tm

        Keep dreaming. Dot Com bubble, and 2008 financial crisis bubble all happened. Tech industry will always grow, even if there are adjustments or bubble burst. Simply put, world is advancing.

        You can clutch to your BMRs, which are really bad financial decision. Since it doesn’t grow in value (as restricted in resell, and much harder to resell), it is equivalent of borrowing money to stuff in a mattress (while paying holding cost: paying HOA dues that doesn’t come with discount for BMR and can’t complain to landlords to get things fixed for free.)

        [Editor’s Note: With respect BMRs being a bad financial decision, see our comment here.]

        • Posted by two beers

          Yes, as long as we don’t enter a depression (although some argue we have been in one, nationally), useful tech will continue to grow: clean energy, communications, etc. The weapons sector is pretty secure, but SF isn’t a center for MIC operations. But much of the “tech” sector now consists of truly useless services (well, weapons are useless, but they’re a guaranteed sector). The part of tech that is focused on arbitrage via the internet (and this is most of the tech sector in SF) is going to get crushed.

          Few people seem to be considering that, with the coming correction, the companies that survive will have to slash costs, and that means a mass exodus from SV and SF to places where 1) commercial property costs less, and b)where housing for workers costs less (enabling labor costs to be slashed).

          Also, the fading of the unicorns into the Big Short of history, will negatively impact the internet companies with actual revenue streams. For example, Alphabet isn’t going away, but it will be revalued down and contract, because its markets will shrink.

          • Posted by anona

            Cool story bro. Who is it that argues that we’ve been in a depression? Do they know what that word means?

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            The fact that you don’t understand how to use something does not make it useless.

          • Posted by Gary

            Most of the SF startups are involved with Advertisement Technology (adtec) and are not Unicorns.

      • Posted by anona

        Isn’t it more likely that if “pizza delivery app” jobs disappear that large companies will move in to take advantage of the newly available skilled workforce? Or is it your theory that the demand for software developers is mostly based on crappy do-nothing apps? (I can agree that perhaps pay would go down, but skills demand seems unlikely to drop by much – you’d just have more unsexy companies and governments hiring for the immense backlog of items currently unaffordable to work on).

        • Posted by two beers

          “I can agree that perhaps pay would go down, […] you’d just have more unsexy companies and governments hiring for the immense backlog of items currently unaffordable to work on”

          Well-paid coder kidz are already paying up to 50% for housing in SF. It’s hard to see how coding for the govt or UnsexyCo is going to pay the rent at NEMA.

          As the unicorns wind down, other internet biz that depends on them (for advertising, server space, tech services, etc ) will get hit. After the unicorn crash, shakeout, and consolidation, the internet companies left standing are going to have to slash costs if they want to stay viable. That means lowering lease and labor costs. When the champagne stops flowing and bills have to be paid and investors paid off, the justification for SF glory digs disappears.

          • Posted by anona

            Um, why wouldn’t rents just go down in tandem?

          • Posted by two beers

            Because rents and real estate prices don’t need to seek market clearing prices unless the holder is in dire need of cash, which is rarely the case, especially early in a “correction.”

            Something about, “prices are sticky on the way down.” Another flaw in neo-classical economics.

          • Posted by anona

            Yes, true in the short term and in small doses. But you’re talking about the wholesale liquidation of the largest industry in the Bay Area. You don’t think that there’d be holders in dire need of cash?

      • Posted by SFRealist

        Thousands of people will move back to their parents? Really? And not take jobs at, say, Google?

        Someone’s been watching too many crappy movies (I Am Legend, etc.)

        • Posted by two beers

          So, google is a charity now? You think in a major economic contraction, google is going to go on a hiring binge? Probably the opposite. Google has massive amounts of cash, so it’s not going anywhere, but don’t expect them to be so profligate during the “correction.”

          I’m not familiar with I Am Legend. I did see the Big Short recently. I recommend it if you want to learn something about housing!

          • Posted by SFRealist

            Actually my point was challenging your assertions about the impending economic armageddon. Which may or may not be happening anyway. I guess we’ll find out, but people have been earnestly predicting doom for many years now. Google and Apple continue to make tons of money (actual profits) and are way bigger than the unicorns combined. Let me know the next time you purchase a non iOS or Android device.

            The Big Short is brilliant. You may be interested in learning, though, that our economy here isn’t driven by housing. It’s driven by companies. (Actually, who are we kidding, you’re probably not interested.)

      • Posted by Alai

        I bet there’s a significant amount of “family housing” that’s currently occupied by multiple coders (or waiters, or retail workers, etc…)

      • Posted by Chris

        Even if thousands of SF “techie millennials” leave SF. And, the prices drop lets say 30%, the housing would still not be affordable to anyone who is not affluent. Does a condo that goes from $1.5 million to $1.1 million become “affordable” housing? No. Also, I am not sure how having less housing built has any impact, expect to ensure that since the supply is lower, any drop in housing prices will be LESS than it would be if more housing were built.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      this is exactly right and want the supervisors want

  4. Posted by Futurist

    More ridiculous controls. So they NOW need more time to decide what to do, then what the hell have they BEEN doing?

    • Posted by Frank C.

      Now we’ve seen it all. You would like “controls” in your neighborhood (in the form of pseudo-esthetic arguments about size and character), but sure, build build build in places where you don’t live. Very rich coming from a pull-up-the-drawbridge NIMBY.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Actually no. I’m fine with existing controls. What I’m not fine with is creating a great amount of fear as to what MIGHT happen if growth moves forward, with EXISTING CONTROLS in place.

        So, meanwhile, they freeze everything to sit around and BS and attempt to create more controls, limiting housing and growth in an area that is ripe for it.

        Your characterization is classic “type without thinking” and has absolutely nothing to do with rich or not rich.

  5. Posted by Elitist Pig

    So the city voted on this thing, and it didn’t pass, but we decided to do it anyway.

  6. Posted by moto mayhem

    we , as voters, just shot down the mission moratorium. Now they effectively do it anyway against the will of the people

    • Posted by Orland

      Hardly a “moratorium.”

      • Posted by spencer

        whats the difference in reality

  7. Posted by HousingWonk

    There are no bigger economically illiterate morons that I have met than the left-wing activists in the Mission. Talking to them is like talking to the left-wing version of a Tea Party activist. To paraphrase former Congressman Barney Frank – its more productive to argue with a table.

  8. Posted by sassySFboy

    What is missing is monitoring and reporting impact of the ELLIS ACT evicts in this neighborhood by imposing these ridiculous controls. If ELLIS ACT evicts rise, then SF Plann Comm can say oops, our bad, happy trails!

    • Posted by Orland

      Any connection tenuous at best.

    • Posted by Medalist

      What you’re missing here is this will clearly interfere with owners substantial renovation projects (those needed to convert to TICs) on existing currently occupied rent controlled stock. It’s widely know you shall always get your permits 1st before filing the Ellis but I fear now they will research to determine if the permit will cause displacement therefor stalling your permitting process. I do hope this activity generates a lawsuit as a clear passage to going out of business is part of the Ellis law, and this would clearly block the passage.

  9. Posted by Richard

    A nice trial balloon for an increase to a 33% minimum BMR. Will be interesting to see if it works.

  10. Posted by SFrentier

    Looks like prop I “passed” anyways. Heh heh. Great for current property owners in the mission. Thanks sfgov. Love ya!

  11. Posted by 4th Gen SF'er

    Love it. All that will happen is that people with money will buy up places and throw people out.

  12. Posted by SFresident

    It’s time we started mandatory drug testing for the Board of Supervisors.

    What are they on?

  13. Posted by Jake

    SF housing pipeline shows Mission has 1400+ net housing units that could be snared in this moratorium-by-discussion. More than half of the units are in just three projects that have been covered in SS:

    South Van Ness/26th

    The neighboring Showplace and Western SoMa have 3200+ net units in the pre-approval pipeline. They also have 2100+ approved or under construction, while the Mission has less than 400.

    Seems developers and the market have already routed around the Mission with the hot spot being a ~10 minute walk from this protected zone. The area west of 7th between Folsom and 17th could add ~5000 units while new development in the Mission takes a planning sabbatical. This looks like a minor diversion of the gentrification flood, mostly to the detriment of the owners of pdr buildings in the Mission.

  14. Posted by Bostwick

    Yes another restriction limiting building of new housing. Thank you city for making my SFH even more valuable.

    And while there will be a downturn, I’ve been through two already in this city and I will say both downturns for the bay area were much shorter than I had expected and much shorter than the national average — so those of you hoping for a downturn and end of coders…..good luck

  15. Posted by jamesjr

    “two beers” is right. None of the new housing is family friendly, at least not after you’ve had the second child, except, of course, the three bedroom BMR units and Mercy Housing units for low and no income folks. When all these dot-comers get hitched and crank out that second kid, they’ll be moving to the suburbs.

    • Posted by anona


    • Posted by NoeValleyJim

      I am raising a family of 4 in a 2/1 for 10 years now. I guess I must not be doing it right. It helps that the two kids are the same sex. My parents raised 8 kids in a 2/1 as well. It was pretty crowded.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        how do you deal with the bathroom? i can barely share one with my wife

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