As sponsored by Mayor Breed and Supervisor Safaí, a proposed ballot measure would exempt qualifying housing projects from Planning’s discretionary review (DR) process, establish a (fast) track for the ministerial approval of code-conforming projects, and require projects to be permitted within six months of being proposed.

Projects with at least 25 units, that comply with existing zoning requirements, employ union labor for construction, and are either 100 percent below market rate (BMR) or include 15 percent more on-site below market rate (BMR) units than otherwise required by the City, would qualify for the proposed “Affordable Homes Now” program.

A selling point of the “Affordable Homes Now” measure, which will qualify for the June election if affirmed by six Supervisors, is that the measure “would reduce the timeline for new housing projects, making them cheaper to build and therefore able to be marketed at rents that are more affordable to middle-income residents.” But keep in mind that market-rate developers price apartments at market rates, regardless of their costs of construction. Better margins could spur more development, however, and enable more projects to pencil.

7 thoughts on “Measure to Streamline Housing Project Approvals Proposed”
  1. The BMR required for 25 units is 20% I think already. So that isn’t really adding anything. And why so narrow? so that it could only be for buildings with BMR requirements and be called “affordable housing now”.

    The build cost, overhead, etc. are all a lot less on 10 and under builds, most 25 and under projects too. Why aren’t those part of this? And those units in neighborhoods are more likely priced at middle-income too. I’m sure a review of the DR calendar would be full of single family, 2-unit and deck agenda items.

    The ideas to speed up permitting are always so narrow and rarely even tackle actual issues.

      1. Oh, so even more narrow and really just for 100% affordable projects not actually for market rate.

        If you have a 25 unit building you would add 4 more affordable units that you lose probably $800k on each, it then costs you $3.2M to just skip one step of the long permitting process. Nobody is doing that.

        1. I don’t know about that – I think this sounds pretty rad.

          I wonder if you can combine it with a density bonus? At least an analyzed project bonus?

        2. Even on the 100% affordable side I’m not really sure what this measure allows that SB35 doesn’t already.

  2. I agree with sparky-b. The current affordable rate is 23%. Now add 15% and you are at a minimum of 38% affordable. Developers are struggling with HOME-SF projects with 30% affordable to make them pencil out. I imagine there will only be a few of these projects if 6 Supes vote for it (doubtful) and if approved by the voters. San Franciscans love their DRs and I think would be loath to let go of their right to protest everything.

  3. Come on you guys aren’t stupid. They are writing this narrowly at the behest of a particular project or projects.

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