A closed-door conference between San Francisco’s Planning Commission and Legal Counsel is underway.
And while the agenda for the specially scheduled hearing doesn’t offer a hint as to the topic of the meeting, other than to “discuss with legal counsel potential litigation with the City as defendant, where there is significant exposure to litigation, based on existing facts and circumstances,” according to a plugged-in tipster, the implementation of California’s existing Density Bonus Law is the issue at hand.
From the materials Planning prepared for the conference, all emphasis theirs:
“The State Law does not limit the types of concessions or incentives, and municipalities must grant any requested incentive or concession unless the City has substantial evidence that the concession or incentive does not have a positive financial impact on the projects. The amount of the density bonus and the number of incentives and concessions is based on a sliding scale, depending on the amount and level of affordability of the housing.”
“State Law defines concessions or incentives as proposals that “result in identifiable, financially sufficient and actual cost reductions.” A city may deny a requested concession or incentive if makes written findings, based on substantial evidence, that the concession or incentive is not required in order to provide for affordable housing costs or rents. In addition, similar to waivers, the only discretion that the Planning Commission has to disapprove an incentive or concession is if it would have a “specific, adverse impact upon health, safety, or the physical environment”, or it would have an “adverse impact on any property listed in the California Register of Historical Resource’s.””
And while the City of San Francisco has been working on plans for a contentious bonus height program of its own, rumblings of local developer discontent, with respect to not being able to effectively take advantage of the State law which already exists, have been growing louder.