AHBP Rendering

While San Francisco’s proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program, which would allow market-rate developers to build up to two stories higher than currently zoned in exchange for pricing 30 percent of the development at below market rates, remains DOA, a pared-down program which would only apply to 100 percent below market rate projects has been approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. And as such, the threatened bonus height ballot measure cudgel has been withdrawn from the November ballot.

As approved, the 100% Affordable Housing Bonus Program will allow developers of below market rate buildings to build up to three stories higher than zoned, but not as of right. Instead, a streamlined Conditional Use application will be required and developments that would require the demolition of any existing of housing on the site, regardless of the type of unit to be demolished or the number of replacement units proposed, will not qualify for any bonus height.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by R

    So basically nothing will ever get built under this program….

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Mission Accomplished!

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        why would anyone build 100%BMR? are there people out there who want to throw away their money? This is all political.

        • Posted by alberto rossi

          Mercy, Bridge, CUHJ all build 100% BMR

          • Posted by Elitist Pig

            Yeah, but under this the Bridge HOPE project wouldn’t comply because they are replacing some existing low-income housing with significantly more.

            At least the Board of Supervisors can claim they passed affordable housing measures during the next election cycle, isn’t that what this is all about?

    • Posted by OK

      The city projects that 203 units in seven projects will benefit from this immediately for a total of 203 additional units over current zoning:

      2060 Folsom St: 62 -> 130 units
      1296 Shotwell: 75 -> 95 units
      490 South Van Ness: 72 -> 92 units
      Upper Yard: 90 -> 120 units
      Seawall Lot 3221: 150 -> 180 units
      Casa de la Mision: 40 -> 45 units
      801 Brannan: 150 -> 180 units

      • Posted by R

        I can’t speak to most of these, but I know 490 South Van Ness is shovel ready to be built. While yes this could add units to that project, it would have to go through the approval process again per the CU permit sited above. As such it would take quite a while to get those extra units. That being said, the city hasn’t been doing anything with that site since overpaying for it, so time doesn’t seem to be of the essence for them given they are working with other people’s money.

      • Posted by alberto rossi

        I’d be surprised if the Upper Yard even uses the 85 feet available without the bonus.

  2. Posted by SF'ing

    Excellent. This will probably secure nothing will be built using this method. We can enjoy our views, and lower density, and the progressive make it look like they’re doing something. Of course all they really do is keep prices high, people out and that’s fine by me.

  3. Posted by donjuan

    The city will not make any progress in housing or transit as long as Aaron Peskin is in office. Even the Central Subway extension to North Beach/Fisherman’s Wharf is doomed while he’s in office. It’s a matter of time until he proposes more creative legislature to effectively end new market-rate housing development.

  4. Posted by kbbl

    IANAL, but am I right in thinking this will put SF in compliance with the letter of the state’s density bonus law, if obviously not the spirit of it? Seems we’re even worse off than before this legislation was initially proposed.

    • Posted by woolie

      No. It will not be in compliance with State law, which mandates bonuses for projects with as little as 5% affordable units.

    • Posted by Kraus

      It has nothing to do with “being in compliance” with the State Bonus Density Law.

      The Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) in it original incarnation (prior to today’s “gutting”) was intended to be an attractive/viable ALTERNATIVE for market rate developers — incentivizing them to include more subsidized (BMR) units — than going the route of the State Law.

      Accordingly, since the AHBP has now been effectively neutered by the BOS, developers will merely invoke the State Law, get their increased density and height and the irony is that the City will get fewer subsidized/BMR units. (Remember: State Law trumps Local Law.)

      Classic political “do-nothing-ism”; absolute idiocy.

  5. Posted by HousingWonk

    Just goes to show that San Francisco’s progressive are anything but. The only developers building 100% affordable are City nonprofits building housing that is subsidized by the City (and State and Feds). Nobody else will be build 100% affordable – for the obvious reason that without government subsidy, the math just doesn’t work. Which means this is entirely a height bonus for housing nonprofits. There’s nothing wrong with that per se – its just going to be extremely limited. And even those nonprofits are screwed if they demolish a single unit of housing – regardless if they replace it with even more affordable housing.

    This is Peskin once again pretending to something for the poor while doing nothing.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      That’s not entirely true. He’s doing great things for homeowners…..of which he is one.

  6. Posted by jj

    I think the city should set up more bureaucracy from the onslaught of developers that are going to break down City Hall’s doors out of eagerness to get screwed over 100% instead of just 30%.

  7. Posted by soccermom

    Oakland, Richmond, Daly City, Vallejo.
    Grow Grow Grow.

    • Posted by anon2

      Good point, there are a lot of areas with development potential just a little bit farther out, although I don’t think that’s a good excuse to prevent good infill within the city as well.

      In Daly City, for example, there is a huge underused surface parking lot, currently occupied by a vacant former bowling alley, and now being used as a park-and-ride for the bus. The site is super convenient, located immediately adjacent to the Colma Bart Station, has direct access to the freeway, and is also within walking distance of plenty of retail and a shopping center. This site could easily fit several hundred new units within a few 5-8 story mid-rise buildings, and the city has already shown that is it very open to having that sort of development in the area there.

      • Posted by Dave

        That whole stretch of El Camino from Colma/SSF onto San Bruno, Millbrae and Burlingame is hugely undeveloped.

        I drove that stretch last week and counted maybe 10/12 newish developments – and that stretch goes for miles and miles. Mostly look like they were built in last 5 years or so. Aside from the large development across from Tanforan, these were mostly medium sized, 6, 7 or 8 stories. 100 to several hundred units each. The architecture was not that bad either on these newer buildings.

        El Camino in this area is made up mostly of 2 and 3 story commercial buildings. A lot of single story buildings too.

        Thousands of units could probably be added in this transit rich and car friendly corridor.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          not to mention brisbane. totally undeveloped and next to caltrain

          • Posted by scott f

            They’re trying to build on the next-to-Caltrain part, but it’s tough to get Brisbane residents’ support. See brisbanebaylands.com

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            SF should usurp brisbane and do it anyway

    • Posted by Sabbie

      Traffic, traffic, traffic.

  8. Posted by jj

    Stuff like this just feeds the cynicism in me that thinks it is all done because these politicians don’t actually want the poors living in their city, and these types of laws make it look like they are actually doing something, when they know in reality this will not in any way alleviate the issue with poorer people being priced out of the city. Aaron Peskin lives in Telegraph Hill/ North Beach, some of the ritziest, most expensive land in the nation. You think he doesn’t have qualms about affordable housing being built next to him?

    Man, these people must go home chuckling to themselves every night about how easy it is to get over on these ignorant voters.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      it will make it worse for poor people , eliminating them from the city, which is what peskin wants

  9. Posted by Orland

    Is not the originally proposed AHPB DOA because of political head winds from neighborhood “activist” types?

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