San Francisco mayor proposes ballot measure aimed at streamlining approvals for affordable housing projects

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed says Affordable Homes Now, a ballot measure for November 2020 would streamline the approval for 100 percent affordable housing and projects that includes more on-site affordable homes than currently required by the City plan – shaving years off the approval process.

This ballot measure will create more homes — including new affordable homes — and remove the costly delays and bureaucracy that continue to block new homes from being built,” she said in a statement.

“Simply put, if a new housing project falls within existing zoning and meets any of the following criteria, it is subject to by-right approval, instead of the lengthy bureaucratic approval process that currently exists.”

Projects must include 15 percent more affordable homes on-site than otherwise required by the City or be 100 percent affordable housing.

“That’s it. If the project meets any of these criteria, we should build it and we should build it now,” Breed said.

A study from Terner Center at UC Berkeley found that the average time for a development to be permitted in San Francisco is roughly four years. Under Affordable Homes Now, qualifying projects would be required to be permitted within six months.

It “protects the housing we already have and requires projects to be multi-family,” Breed said. “It also requires that projects pay workers prevailing wage, so that the people who are building these new homes can afford to live here too.”

The mayor says making the changes will shave years from project approval and save millions of dollars of project costs on affordable housing.

“By streamlining the housing permitting process, we can be sure that limited public dollars are used to fund affordable housing, not dealing with endless bureaucracy,” she said.

“It is no secret that we have a housing shortage in San Francisco. We aren’t building enough housing for the people who make this city run. We have among the highest rents of any city in the entire world, and it is no coincidence that we face a homelessness crisis as well.”

Previous proposed changes to fix the problem were blocked at the city level.

“I refuse to allow this crisis to deepen while people are suffering and struggling to pay rent. We need bold action to build more housing,” Breed said.

“It is clear that those interested in protecting the status quo are not going to allow these reforms to pass the Board of Supervisors, so I am going to take this directly to the voters.”

Affordable Homes Now also requires that projects pay workers prevailing wages, “so that the people who are building these new homes can afford to live here too.”

The petition to support the mayor’s plan is available here: AffordableHomesNow.com

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