The draft plan to retain low to moderate income residents and community-serving businesses, artists and nonprofits in San Francisco’s Mission District has just been released for public review.

The Mission Action Plan 2020 (MAP2020) identifies programmatic services intended to “preserve the Mission District as a Latino cultural and commercial core, as well as a neighborhood of choice for the most vulnerable households.”

The six stated objectives of the plan:

  1. Maintain the socio-economic diversity of the neighborhood by stabilizing the low and moderate income households at 65 percent of the total households.
  2. Protect tenants at risk of eviction and preserve existing housing, particularly rent-controlled apartments and single-room occupancy hotels.
  3. Increase the proportion of affordable units, compared to market rate units, planned and under construction to balance the housing mix.
  4. Stem the loss of and promote community businesses, cultural resources, and social services serving low to moderate income households.
  5. Increase economic security by strengthening educational and economic pathways and job opportunities for low to moderate income individuals and families, especially those without a college education.
  6. Retain and promote Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR) and other high-paying jobs for entry level and limited skilled workers.

The seven broad categories to be addressed and assessed:

  1. Tenant protections: Programs and funding mechanisms to keep existing Mission residents in their homes.
  2. Single Room Occupancy residential hotels (SROs): Addressing the vulnerability of people living in these units and the loss of these units as an affordable housing option.
  3. Preservation of affordable units: Tools to retain affordable housing stock.
  4. Production of affordable housing: Funding and policy tools to increase construction of housing for low to moderate income households.
  5. Economic development: Strategies to keep jobs, businesses, artists, and nonprofits in the neighborhood, with a particular focus on a diverse range of community-serving businesses to support the corner grocers, panaderias, taquerias, barber shops and restaurants.
  6. Community planning: Improving the community’s voice in the City’s processes for planning housing, transit, and community investments.
  7. Homelessness: Prevention of homelessness and services to stabilize the homeless as they transition into permanent housing.

And the Plan’s Phase Two issues, which are “ripe for discord and influenced by a larger and constantly shifting landscape of politics and economics” and loom large:

  1. Addressing the role of the current market-rate housing pipeline in alleviating or exacerbating the affordability crisis; the pace of market rate development relative to the pace of development of affordable housing; the percentage of inclusionary units produced in tandem with market-rate units; and the dearth of analysis conclusively demonstrating blockby-block impacts.
  2. Addressing Area Median Income (AMI) target levels for affordable housing, which are currently 60% for most 100% affordable housing projects, 55% for inclusionary rental units, and 90% for inclusionary ownership. These affordability levels are too low for most teachers, nurses, or service workers to qualify for but too high for some very low income households. Current AMI levels are set in order to qualify for federal funding. A shift in AMI levels could limit the availability of federal funding for housing development.
  3. Planning for long-term solutions for affordable housing.
  4. Improving the public’s access to and voice in the city’s processes for planning for housing, transportation, or other public investments; including addressing who is included in the development review process, what perspectives are presented by City staff to decision makers, and timely access to critical information such as hearing date changes and developer project information. This also includes making the MAP2020 process broader and more inclusive. The City is already taking initial steps towards these changes.
  5. Analyzing how transit and other city projects affect at-risk communities and gentrification and coordinate that analysis with this process to ensure mitigations are put into place and investments benefit traditionally disenfranchised communities. The recently installed bus-only lanes on Mission Street have raised concerns among some community members about impacts on businesses, the future of this street as a Latino cultural corridor, and potential increased displacement of existing working-class residents.
  6. Discussing the lasting power or relevance of earlier Plans or technical analyses, particularly the Eastern Neighborhoods [Environmental Impact Report], which some Mission groups believe is outdated and does not provide a reliable foundation for development decisions during this massive growth period and the many unanticipated changes that have accompanied it. While the City agrees Plans should be live and updated to reflect changes and sees MAP2020 as a vehicle to do that for the Mission Area Plan, based on the City’s tracking of projects and state law, the ENEIR remains a valid analysis and document. Based on cumulative impact discussions, some community members believe on the other hand that market rate development should be suspended while further analysis is conducted.

The draft Mission Action Plan and framework are slated to be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission for its endorsement on March 2, 2017.

82 thoughts on “Plan to Preserve the Mission District Revealed”
  1. this is completely and totally insane – though it should not come as a surprise to anyone. only a city awash in privileged and wealth can spend its time and money trying to micromanage a neighborhood with the express goal of keeping it poor.

    1. I love taquerias, but a planning policy built around a desire to preserve them specifically is just hilariously silly. There are so many problems in the mission that I can’t believe this is where our focus is.

  2. I have lived through 30 years of this craziness and its always the same: lots of catch-phrases and a ton of lipsticking over basic quality of life for the people affected. PDR crazy quilt zoning = environmental harm for residents. SRO preservation means unsafe streets (check out 16th and South Van Ness). Schools: awful. Streets: filthy. Otherwise anything goes (like the Rowan on Potrero towering over car repair shops and a McDonalds). Chaos concealed as caring. Its total BS.

    1. It certainly is. To try to preserve a neighborhood by favoring a particular ethnic background is textbook racism. No different than Urban Renewal that targeted neighborhoods of minorities.

  3. Wow, this point regarding AMI has so many contradictory goals, my head is spinning after reading it 3x in a row:

    “Addressing Area Median Income (AMI) target levels for affordable housing… These affordability levels are too low for most teachers, nurses, or service workers to qualify for but too high for some very low income households. Current AMI levels are set in order to qualify for federal funding. A shift in AMI levels could limit the availability of federal funding for housing development.”

    1. A summary attempt: “We need to do something about AMI limits, which are sometimes too high, sometimes too low. However, we can’t really change them because of federal funding requirements.” Okkkkkkeeeyyyyyy

      1. Regardless of where you set them, there will obviously be more people than housing, unless you did a whole lot of construction, in which case market rate housing would be cheap enough for the vast majority of people.

        It’s like a dinner party where there are twice as many people as chairs, but the organizer keeps rearranging people because they just need to find the right combination so that everyone gets a seat…

    2. Might be a sign that the plan is actually trying to be honest about the challenges in meeting the stated goals of so many different stakeholders. It looks like a mess, but this just exposes the contradictions and complexities that good policymakers wrestle with all the time. The exclusion of a ban on market rate housing tells you the biggest fringe voices got kneecapped.

  4. I hope they will do something to bring back the Irish and German immigrants who were displaced from the mission too. My great uncle Adolph Van Murphy has retained legal counsel with a view towards reparations…

    1. Exactly. They should also bring back the Miwok Indians who lived here while they are at it (Plains Miwoks, to be precise).

  5. It’s scary to see so many racist comments here. Let’s be clear, in non-Trump America when people (including many city officials) work to keep a working-class community of color in place during a mass displacement crisis it’s not racist – it’s thoughtful community policy.

    1. Wait? What? So you think that treating communities differently based on the race of their members is not racist, but people who have comments that oppose that *are* being racist?

      So if I think that government should not treat people or communities differently because of their race, them I’m being racist?

      Equality is Discrimination! Inequality Now!

    2. Which is it, working class or color? Do working class whites get the boot? What colors are good, Latino is clearly good but how about Vietnamese? How working is working? $10/hr is working but $15/hr is not, or is it $20/hr? How long do you have to have lived in the Mission to be the displaced and not the displacer? If I moved here in 2003 am I good, or does it have to be before 1995? These all sound like decisions that are made by fascist dictators, sorta like the one everyone is protesting against right now.

      1. Nailed it. I love that the OP’s response to your comment is to call you a racist.

        “When losing an argument, simply call them a [racist/Nazi/Hitler/misogynist/gentrifier/white privileged male], then you instantly win!”

      1. Good question. Because we specifically have a mass displacement of a working-class community of color, in the same vein as the awful clearing of the Fillmore of African Americans not too many decades ago that everyone speaks so much about regretting.

        And the poster above knows that this has no correlation with the exodus of previous groups like the Germans – they left because they became middle-class and moved to the suburbs. The working-class Latino community on the other hand is being mass-displaced by people making 2-5 times as much money as them to far-outlying areas with no Spanish in the schools for there kids, no social services, and far from their support network, doctors, etc.

        1. Then let’s bring the Miwok Indians, if you’re so concerned about who was displaced. You wouldn’t mind giving up your home to some Native Americans, right? After all, they were “mass-displaced.”

        2. It is divisive to go there. Even at it’s peak the Mission was only 1/2 Hispanic. I don’t agree this needs to be framed as a race issue

        3. “No spanish in their schools”.. puhleeeeese.

          They live in America. As a Mexican, I will tell you they should be learning ENGLISH at school and SPANISH at home!

      2. White is just another skin color. Soon enough the trope of racial discrimination will be, if not dead, cancelled out by equal claims made by *white* minority groups.

  6. It’s hard for me to fully understand why Calle 24 gets to call the shots in the Mission. If designating districts as historical gives away all this power, we deserve the right to vote on this as a city. Not building in the Mission, impacts the entire city so a small interest group should not wield all the power.

  7. The problem is these plans never work. Neighborhoods evolve organically. if the Mission gets over douchebagged other neighborhoods will evolve with interesting arts and food communities, maybe the Excelsior, maybe parts of Oakland. Trying to legislate this just wont work and you’ll end up with a sterile facsimile of what once was, like the so called Jazz District in the Fillmore.

    1. You would think but in practice you can’t spatially recreate the Mission. The Excelsior is actually a perfect example of housing stock that does not match people’s needs so you have illegal units in garages and people living in dining rooms. Ask any long term Excelsior resident about the changes

  8. The Mission has two BART stations. If there was ever an area to knock down entire blocks and build up, way up, this is it. This plan shows how lost our city is at every level.

    1. And density can be increased without displacing residents. Development and community preservation are not in direct conflict.

  9. This plan is counter productive except for one thing: it assures that the Mission district will remain the city’s garbage can for years to come.

      1. Jeeeezus. Parts of Mission Street *are* a garbage can – the 16th Street BART plaza is a disgrace, and would be in any city. There’s nothing “racist” about it? Or are *you* assuming that Latinos *can’t* live in a clean, upscale environment?

        1. I am totally of privelige. I am also Mexican.

          The Mission is a disgrace. I am all about helping people but if you can’t afford to live in a neighborhood, you don’t let it fall apart. You help that person who can’t afford it to relocate and assist them with finding a higher paying job.

  10. What an embarrassment. An unimplementable framework that most certainly runs afoul of HUD anti-discrimination regulations and does nothing to solve housing issues… all for the purposes of preserving the character of a single neighborhood. Guess what, Mission: you’re not the only neighborhood in the city with a character worth preserving. You’re just going to have to evolve with the times like the rest of us.

  11. Will “The Muslims” be allowed to live in this mission?

    Only asking as I’d hate to see them make it out from SFO and get turned away when they get that far!

    I’m waiting on someone to say that everything we read is now courtesy of The Onion! WTF.

    1. The Muslims are welcome if they are low-income Latino Muslims? Mid-income Black or Asian Muslims need not apply? Srsly, who the h@ll in the Planning Department writes these garbage racist documents? It’s 2017.

      SF has more mixed race kids than anywhere else. The next generation doesn’t define themselves by these stupid labels. They are going to look back on these crap and cringe just like we look back on the anti-chinese zoning laws that forced Chinatown or SF redevelopment rules that evicted black homeowners from the Western Addition and moved them into rental public housing. Goverment encouraged segregation was a bad idea then and it’s a bad idea now.

  12. Here is a fundamental issue with this report. A central concern here is the decreasing affordability of housing in the Mission. This is stated as the main driver of displacement of the existing community. At the same time, the report calls for an additional layer of ‘community engagement’ in the approval process of new developments (see text below).

    Now, if you advocate for increasing the complexity of the development approval process, you are willing to increase development costs and hamper the creation of new housing supply.

    Putting it all together, you are advocating for more affordable housing without increasing supply. In other words, you are telling newcomers to go live elsewhere. This is exclusionary and intolerant. A city like SF should not support such measures.

    Page 62 of the report:

    2C. Improve Pre-App community review of proposed development projects.
    “…..Many community groups and residents would like to engage as early as possible in the review of proposed development projects and would like Planning staff to attend meetings after the pre-application meeting but before a Commission hearing so that developers are aware of community issues early on. Potential changes or improvement to the review process of significant (threshold to be determined) projects might include: 1) planner attendance at meetings before commission hearings but after Pre-App meetings and more outreach before a project is on the calendar, and, 2) neutral facilitators to guide Pre-App meetings”

  13. This is precisely why these entitled folks need to be displaced asap. Why do these Missionites feel so superior? For those that supported this, remind yourselves you live in America, gee if you can’t make it here there are so many other parts of this great country to choose from. More regulations are not needed. We need to encourage the middle class back to SF by ending all these petty studies & endless failed housing policies.

  14. After reading the action plan, it sounds like boiler plate ideas from a high school model UN club. At the end of the day nothing gets resolved because it’s all for show trying to prove that you “tried.”

    The real issue that that there is not enough density. Along with that overall issue, the action plan recommends for increased public input in the design review process. Honestly, have we not had enough design by committee designs yet for everyone to realize it doesn’t work. You can not and will not please everyone so there’s no point in trying to design for everyone’s taste.

    This action plan is reiterating what everyone [debates] every time a development article is published. They’re broad ideas of regurgitated solutions that serve no purpose in this discourse anymore and we need to start looking at actual case studies from around the world and start applying what we think could work in this city or the problem will never deviate from its path.

  15. This plan is D.O.A.

    I’ll try not to spew forth 4 letter expletives. Only SF would try to micromanage & preserve the low rent nature of a neighborhood. The rest of the city gets to build and improve. The mission has to stay looking like something from circa 1978.

    Bravo SF B.O.S. & Planning Commission. Your plan will only squeeze out the poor, piss off Home/landowners, keep the streets filthy, the schools crappy and the improvements at bay as no one in their right mind will invest in such an expensive area when they are guaranteed no return. BRAVO! Not.

  16. Preserving the Mission District? As in, if the [people] who currently reside there were to move out, the Mission District would cease to exist?

    Please explain to me how this reactionary BS is morally superior to Trump’s ditto.

  17. Anyone who thinks this is insane, and therefore will not happen, should take a stroll down Market and 6th down to Folsom. That is where the people at City Hall with a poverty fetish who decided to ‘protect’ the neighborhood enshrined the SROs in black-letter law and now nothing can ever clean up that unholy, filthy mess. This new ‘policy’ is insane, but it may very well happen.

    I’m over 40, and from Europe, so the Soviet Union and the failures of its planned economy are still clearly etched in my mind. The question is: will the indoctrinated do-gooders at City Hall who have studied neither history nor logic will, like Lenin and Stalin before them, inflict 70 years of misery on their populations before the whole thing collapses under the absurdity of its original premise? Or will reason prevail?

  18. Will the young white lumberjacks get displaced because of this plan? I hope not. I see a lot of them in the Mission these days. They are a most welcome ethnic group.

    If they have to start wearing sombreros to stay in the Mission, it will ruin their beard and flannel shirt clothing style.

  19. The obvious way to maintain this plan and to keep out the interlopers is to build a wall around the rest of the city.

    (interloper: A person who becomes involved in a place or situation where they are not wanted or are considered not to belong. [Oxford Dictionaries])

  20. I think it’s legitimate to have a policy discussion on how to preserve diverse (income, race, age,etc.) neighborhoods. But this report has a such a single POV, it delegitimizes the real issues.

    Land use regulations, housing subsidies etc exist to curb the uncaring free market, and that’s ok. But there is so much hyperbole about crushing and driving out etc that the report doesn’t acknowledge that many have left by choice, cashing in their long held properties, or taking generous buyouts, or making money off of higher rents, just like the Italian and German residents in the past.

    Cities change, and the city has little recourse to save a bodega or tax preparer if they can’t generate enough money to stay in business. Those folks should come out to the Excelsior, where there are lots of open storefronts and similar demographics.

    1. Yes, the only mention of one of the chief problems with the gentrification in the Mission is this. It only talks about funding to keep at-risk tenants in place. There is no aspersion cast at the individuals selling the properties off. Why? Because it’s a generation of a Mexican-American family cashing out.

      Far be it for progressives to place blame on a minority. And before anyone gets angered by these words, a few things. First, it’s perfectly OK for folks to cash out. I am not faulting that. Also, before anyone says, “how do you know that it is Mexican Americans selling the properties?” Well, it isn’t entirely. But it does not take a logical leap to know that the people selling the properties are the people who have lived in the neighborhood for 5 decades. At first it was not the case. But over time it became the case.

      The people who live in neighborhoods become the people who own property over long time horizons. And it is they who know precisely who is being put at risk by cashing out. Yet all this blame cast upon the newcomers. It’s uneven.

  21. As someone who lives in the neighborhood:

    A. This is racist.

    B. The Mission’s housing problems are self-inflicted by “activists” who have brought market rate housing production to a halt.

    C. Micro-management on this level is not possible. On almost every block houses are being renovated and “gentrified,” and Latino families cash out if they sell. So unless the city decides to seize private homes from Latinos and turn them into SROs, they should re-think their strategy.

    D. There is no mention of the high rate or shootings and other crimes in and around the current low income housing projects. “Vulnerable households” need better safety, not increased concentration of poverty and violence.

    1. I agree mostly. Your point that owners are cashing out and moving elsewhere is true. That many of these owners are Latinos and the new buyers are not is painful for many residents, but this is not something we should try to stop. Gentrification helps minority owners but does not hurt minority renters as long as rent control is enforced and new BMR rentals are being added.

      I have read studies that surprised me, that showed how gentrification under SF’s rent control conditions for example does not result in much involuntary displacement, and in fact improves conditions for those people that stay. So I think we should stop fearing gentrification so much as a displacement force, and see the dynamic as more positive than we do.

  22. I worry about a plan to preserve SRO’s. Some of these SRO’s harm our neighborhood – for example, the Mission Hotel at 520 South Van Ness. (including visible drug dealing by cars double parked in front, registered sex offenders, people trying to intimidate me into giving them money while I wait at the car wash across the street)

    Instead, provide more housing for vulnerable seniors at the well run Bethany House on Capp Street.

  23. The city should simply seize all the properties in culturally-significant neighborhoods via eminent domain and maintain them in perpetuity in a state of arrested decay; allow thematically-consistent businesses to operate as concessionaires; and employ thematically-consistent residents as cast members in exchange for below-market rent. Go ahead and scoff, but SF would leapfrog to the the vanguard of coastal cities around the US already turning themselves into historical theme parks.

    1. According to the wiki page the Supreme Court later found that “Distinctions between citizens solely based because of their ancestry are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality. For that reason, legislative classification or discrimination based on race alone has often been held to be a denial of equal protection.”

      So how are the current regulations that safeguard the “Latino Culture District” not unconstitutional? Is it just that nobody has sued?

  24. Change is hard.

    Yes, I liked the Mission of the 1980s that I lived in more than the Mission of today that I visit. But our City would be better off if we cut the crap and just concentrated on building and preserving as much BMR housing in the Mission and all neighborhoods as possible.

    Forget PDR and work programs and reams of regulations; just concentrate on enforcing protections of rent controlled units and building lots more units of market and below market rate rentals. Oh, and if it helps, put a hard percentage down limiting bars and restaurants, so that other needed services like shoe repair, groceries, fish and butcher shops, tailors, and nail salons can keep their commercial leases.

    Cease trying to micro-manage the ethnic make-up, or protecting old businesses from market forces, and just concentrate on keeping the neighborhood viable for working and middle income people. People will decide themselves if they want to go or stay, if we just keep the rents affordable through effective public policy working with the market, not against it.

  25. People should take this new “law” to court, SCOTUS will overturn this bs in a hot second by the time it gets to them.

  26. Many parallels between the people who crafted this document and the people who crafted the Trump Doctrine. Nativism, protectionism, and racism at its foundation, MAP2020 is America First, just a few shades darker…

    1. This is a big part of why Dems are faltering and lost 1,000 seats (I’m a lifelong Dem voter and not happy about it). It’s become the Victimhood Olympics.

  27. A lot of people have lost their homes, a lot of businesses have lost their lease in the Mission. It’s about time to do something!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *