The proposed framework for eliminating San Francisco’s frequently gamed Tantamount to Demolition rule and instituting a new Residential Expansion Threshold will not be presented at the Bayview Hunters Point Citizen Advisory Committee Meeting this evening.

And in fact, as of late yesterday, San Francisco’s Planning Department has formally suspended its efforts to advance the proposed Residential Expansion Threshold Project and champion its adoption.

From the Planning Department’s sudden announcement:

The Residential Expansion Threshold Project’s primary objective is to eliminate the ineffective Tantamount to Demolition controls and place more emphasis on the size and density of buildings by incentivizing a higher number of residential units while discouraging exceedingly large single-family homes. However, the Department believes it is necessary to shift its approach, and instead work in collaboration with the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) to improve the City’s considerably complex definition of “demolition.”

The Department had been aiming for an adoption of the new approach in mid-February. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

18 thoughts on “Never Mind, the Facade of Remodeling Will Remain”
  1. Good. We need a real zoning change to allow missing-middle housing in the RH-1 and RH-2 neighborhoods, as suggested in the city’s report on family-friendly housing (which has been totally ignored). This proposal, while not entirely bad, was driven by knee-jerk opposition to any building being even slightly larger than its neighbors. The right way to stop “monster homes” is to legalize apartments.

    1. No we do not. Plenty of inexpensive homes in the East Bay, and plenty of cheap units in SF if the Yimby‘s would focus on getting rid off all the rent control cheating tenants who‘s low rents cause the available units to be higher.

      Scott would be better off spending his time on why 40yrs of ‚progressive‘ policy forced many small owners out of rental business. Unintended consequences of pro-tenant laws. Would love to see YIMBY‘s take note of that, that’s where you should spend your efforts.

      The supervisors chased the middle class out, the likes of Jane Kim (Campos etc) , – sooner theyre out the better this city will be for middle class.

      1. You’re proposing an increase in liquidity (removing rent controls to incentivize tenants to vacate), not an increase in supply. Certainly low liquidity makes available units more expensive. But increasing supply — by building it — can reduce rents even more, without pricing people out of their current units.

        Increasing liquidity without increasing supply is myopic and ignores the very real jobs-driven secular increase in demand for housing in SF.

  2. Can’t wait till they add density with that SRO at Washington and Spruce….jussssst kidding, right? Let’s add density but just in certain areas. “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    1. I can get even worse. Ever seen a Victorian “upgraded” with a layer of stucco tacked on right over the clapboard? You see a muted ghost of the original detail with a peanut butter veneer of bad stucco workmanship smeared right over the wood.

      Then there’s the “upgrades” done by tacking on a layer of New Jersey style plastic siding. That makes the shingled house look positively classy.

  3. I don’t know why the city feels the need to regulate every single aspect of development. I mean the city was built without all of this bureaucracy in place… Why not allow for a little more breathing room and property owner’s rights.

    I’m certainly not advocating to turn SF into Houston, but “incentivizing a higher number of residential units while discouraging exceedingly large single-family homes” seems awfully controlling. Relax the height limit a bit and let people build what they want. It will be OK, I promise.

    1. Yea, right. “let people build what they want”… Then welcome to a third world country.

      Building codes are intended for the health, safety and welfare of ALL citizens.

      1. Yeah but they should let people build what they want within code. Instead they all too frequently weigh in with design opinions and/or spot zoning when they should have one job, and that is to apply code.

      2. Keep the regulations that are for the health and safety of new housing’s residents (earthquake safety, noise insulation ratings, egress windows, fire-rated walls…). Lose the ones that are giveaways to neighbors who resist change (density and height limits).

    2. It never ceases to amaze me how none of you incomers understand that there is only one San Francisco. It is small. It is unique. It is easily destroyed by overweening tech wealth. Not saying that there are not plenty of demolition candidates and opportunities for new development, we just have to be careful. A city full of monster mansions on small lots housing only rich people would be a bad idea, in my humble opinion.

  4. Here’s a story about 318 30th Avenue in the Richmond.

    It has been under planning review for over two years to demolish a small cottage and put up something larger. The first estate sale purchaser apparently got cold feet and kicked the project to someone else.

    The DR requestor is (surprise!) the little old lady who lives next door. The little old lady happens to run a forest conservation trust with her partner, who is herself descended from a former Sierra Club president. If there’s a more prototypical NIMBY couple in the city, I’d love to hear about it.

    Planning Commission showdown December 14th. Smart money says the proposal passes, now that it is reduced to 3 stories and two evenly-sized units. First it was a 4 story home with a tiny in-law unit. They had to lop a floor off to reduce it to 3 stories (despite there being a 4 story apartment building next door.)

    “Why don’t they just get a demolition permit?” Why indeed.

    1. So in other words, if you are going to buy a property and plan to do any work on it requiring a DR, do a thorough background check of the neighbors. They can be a liability, and not an asset to the neighborhood. Caveat emptor on the old ladies — not all are created equal. Pro-business development ones are the best.

      1. Agree, though of course the idea that doing a background check on the neighbors would both be an invasion of privacy and functionally unrealistic. Hmm, I wonder if that’s why 325 29th Avenue failed to sell for 1.499mm recently?

        It’s a little old cottage with demoliton dreams and a proposed re-build. Oops! It also happens to be in view of the Forest Conservancy couple’s backyard.

        Never mind. It’ll just sit as a vacant heap for a couple more years while all of my friends move to Denver.

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