California Construction News staff writer
The state of California has certified San Francisco’s Housing Element plan to build more than 82,000 homes over the next eight years – tripling the previous 10-year, annual average.
More than half are being developed as affordable to low- and moderate-income homes.
San Francisco has some of the longest timelines and highest process hurdles in the state for advancing housing projects to construction, local studies showed. Delays, combined with some of the highest housing construction costs in California, have created a barrier to addressing the community’s unmet affordable housing needs.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to tackling this housing crisis head-on by providing unprecedented funding and resources, streamlining and eliminating bureaucratic red tape and most importantly, demanding greater accountability at the local level,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Through stringent state mandates with real consequences for failing to meet their obligation.
“San Francisco is showing what is possible when you stop kicking the can down the road and start to face the difficult decisions it takes to tackle the housing needs of Californians.”
At least 30,000 of the new homes are being approved through a process known as non-discretionary – “preventing tactics that have been used to stall developments.”
The plan includes midterm assessments and if the city does not permit 29,000 homes within four years, staff will immediately rezone additional sites. Additionally, if housing production for lower-income residents falls behind, San Francisco will specifically rezone additional sites that are adequate to meet the housing needs for lower-income households and other supportive programs. These strategies are part of a larger constraint reduction package intended to increase certainty and accelerate housing production.
“San Francisco is moving forward aggressively with not only getting our Housing Element approved, but doing the critical work to reform our laws and processes to get rid of barriers to housing and deliver the homes our city badly needs,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. This is essential for our economy to recover, for working people to be able to afford to live near their jobs, for families to grow and thrive, and for government to tackle critical issues like homelessness and climate change.”
The Housing Accountability Unit will continue to investigate potential housing violations. HCD will monitor San Francisco’s program commitments and implementation milestones, which will need to be met to remain compliant.