San Francisco announces next steps for housing agenda

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California Construction News staff writer

A new law signed last week will remove barriers and make it easier and faster to approve new housing in San Francisco.

Legislation Dec. 15 is being called a key piece of Mayor London Breed’s “Housing for All Plan”, amends the planning code to eliminate unnecessary processes and hearings, eliminate certain code requirements and geographic restrictions, and expands housing incentive programs for new housing that fits within the City’s existing zoning laws. The city has set a goal of allowing 82,000 homes to be built in eight years.

Read more about the law here.

“The passage and signing of this law is a huge victory for all those fighting for more housing in San Francisco,” Breed said. “We are breaking down the barriers that get in the way of the new homes we so badly need.

“But to be clear – this is only one step in a long process. Fundamental change requires us to remain committed to real and lasting reforms, and that’s the focus of Housing for All. We will make San Francisco a leader when it comes to housing and, more importantly, a more affordable city for all.”

Next steps include:

  • Passing Density Decontrol Legislation – this will allow more housing on major commercial corridors across the City. It has been approved by the Planning Commission and is currently pending at the Land Use Committee of the Board of Supervisors, with a goal of hearing it early in 2024.
  • Advancing Rezoning Legislation –the Planning Department has been undergoing a months-long community outreach process to develop a comprehensive rezoning proposal and will begin presenting and advancing draft legislation early next year.
  • Designing new Affordable Housing Strategies – the Mayor convened an Affordable Housing Leadership Council to work with the City to devise a strategy for meeting San Francisco’s affordable housing needs. The final meeting of the Council will be in January, after which a report will be finalized and submitted to the Mayor for action.
  • Implementing new State Laws – Permit Center, Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection staff are setting up systems to implement new state laws that streamline housing approvals and permitting processes in San Francisco. Currently staff is preparing to implement AB 1114 by January 1, 2024. Planning is working to create a ministerial process for code-compliant projects so it is ready when SB 423 goes into effect in Spring 2024.
  • Continuing ‘One City’ permitting reforms – In addition to implementing new state laws, City staff across more than a dozen departments continue to advance process improvements to prevent projects from getting stuck in the City’s complex, interdepartmental approval processes.

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