Press Release: Board of Supervisors Passes Supervisor Wiener’s Legislation to Streamline Affordable Housing Production

Ordinance will expedite entitlement process by exempting 100% affordable housing projects from lengthy processes that add significant cost like conditional use authorization. Supervisor Wiener has also submitted a ballot measure that will move forward if the pending ordinance fails

San Francisco — Today the Board of Supervisors approved Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation to expedite the construction of affordable housing to address San Francisco’s housing crisis. The ordinance exempts all 100% affordable housing projects from conditional use authorizations, which can add months on to the entitlement process and increase costs for projects, even if the project has no opposition.

The legislation will not prevent neighbors from receiving notice of projects in their neighborhood, will still allow for full design review of each project, and will not prevent them from seeking discretionary review from the Planning Commission if they object to a project.

“This is a big win for the people of San Francisco, who need more affordable housing options to stay in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Wiener. “Subjecting these badly needed projects to an unnecessary and expensive process only hurts the many residents who are barely hanging on and in desperate need of affordable housing. I appreciate the support of all of my colleagues for this critical improvement to our affordable housing process.”

The legislation will allow any development comprised of 100% affordable units to bypass any otherwise-required Conditional Use authorization, such as for size, number of units, and ground floor community space. The Conditional Use process requires a lengthy planning process, culminating in a required hearing at the Planning Commission, even if there is no opposition. The process is lengthy and expensive, particularly for nonprofit affordable housing developers. Process costs for affordable housing projects can mean that fewer units are built.

These projects would still be required to abide by existing height and bulk limits, but they wouldn’t be subject to arbitrary density limits. Examples of recent affordable housing projects that required a Conditional Use Authorization include two projects for emancipated foster youth: the Booker T Washington project in the Presidio at 800 Presidio Avenue and the Edward II housing project in the Marina at 3155 Scott Street.

Affordable housing projects are comprised of units affordable to people of low or moderate income, which is defined as 0–120% of area median income. San Francisco area medium income is $71,350 for a single person and $101,900 for a family of four.

Supervisor Wiener had also submitted a ballot measure that contains the same policies as set forth in this ordinance, which would have moved forward if the pending ordinance failed. Now that the ordinance has passed the Board, Supervisor Wiener is prepared to withdraw his ballot measure once the Mayor signs the legislation into law.

CA State Senator. Urbanist. Environmentalist. Advocate for transit, housing, clean energy, criminal justice reform, health, ending poverty. Democrat. 🏳️‍🌈

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