SF mayor pushes legislation to help city meet new state housing mandate

BySuzanne Phan KGO logo
Friday, June 30, 2023
SF mayor pushes legislation to help city meet state housing mandate
San Francisco Mayor London Breed continues to push her "Housing For All" program to make it easier to build more housing.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed continues to push her "Housing For All" program aimed at cutting through the bureaucratic red tape to make it easier to build more housing.

State law requires San Francisco to create 82,000 more homes over eight years.

Local leaders say critical changes need to be made to meet that goal.

"The process to create more housing in the city of San Francisco is outdated, time-consuming, and broken," said Corey Smith, the executive director of Housing Action Coalition.

MORE: San Francisco officials introduce plan to convert vacant downtown offices into housing

Right now, housing advocates say changes are needed to meet a new state mandate.

"We're not going to meet our goal of building 82,000 homes in eight years if we keep doing things the same ways we have," said Jane Natoli with YIMBY Action.

They say the city is wildly off target.

"We have averaged eight new housing units a month in 2023 so far," said Natoli.

To help change that, they say the Board of Supervisors needs to pass a pro-housing piece of legislation.

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That bill, proposed by the mayor and co-sponsored by Supervisor Joel Engardario, was considered at a Planning Commission hearing on Thursday.

"We have failed to be as aggressive as we need to be to build more housing in San Francisco," said Mayor Breed.

Supporters say the legislation removes requirements for planning commission hearings for apartment buildings in areas where they're already zoned. It allows for faster approval for housing projects. And, it simplifies rules for those projects.

"Right now, we need to make changes so that we are actually doing something and that is speeding up housing production in San Francisco."

At Thursday's Planning Commission hearing, there were a number of people who said the mayor's proposal to help create more housing is unnecessary.

VIDEO: 'Life-changing': This empty Bay Area office building will soon be turned into supportive housing

Construction is happening to convert an empty office building in San Rafael into a supportive housing complex for those formerly unhoused.

"We have a phenomenal units of open units now," said one man during public comment period. He went onto say, "Many of the tenant protections are going to be removed and we can't have that either, thank you and I strongly encourage you to vote no on this."

Others say the legislation is a necessity for the city to get on-track with the state's goals.

"We need to add more options for people to live here and to be able to raise kids, to have more housing flexibility," said San Francisco resident Mike Chen.

The planning commission is expected to make a decision on the mayor's proposed legislation

And afterward, it goes to the Board of Supervisors for a vote.

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