Press Release: Supervisor Wiener Introduces Ballot Measure to Streamline Creation of Affordable Housing

Ballot measure mirrors a pending ordinance by Supervisor Wiener that streamlines the approval process for 100% affordable housing. Supervisor Wiener will withdraw the ballot measure if the Board of Supervisors passes the ordinance.

San Francisco Yesterday, Supervisor Scott Wiener filed a ballot measure to expedite the construction of affordable housing to address San Francisco’s housing crisis. Joining Supervisor Wiener in signing to place the measure on the ballot were Supervisors Malia Cohen, Katy Tang, and Mark Farrell.

Supervisor Wiener introduced this affordable housing ballot measure, which mirrors his pending ordinance at the Board of Supervisors, as a backstop in case the Board rejects the pending ordinance. Supervisor Wiener decided to move forward with the ballot measure option after the identical ordinance was heard at the Planning Commission and, despite strong support from affordable housing creators, drew politically motivated opposition.

Both the ballot measure and the pending ordinance exempt all 100% affordable housing projects from conditional use authorizations, which can add months or even a year to the approval process and increase costs for projects, even if the project has no opposition. Every affordable housing project that has been approved over the last five years has required a conditional use authorization, which requires extensive analysis and a Planning Commission hearing, to determine whether the project is “necessary and desirable.” Supervisor Wiener believes that affordable housing is, by definition, necessary and desirable in light of San Francisco’s housing crisis.

“We must do everything we can to build more affordable housing and to do so quickly,” said Supervisor Wiener. “Streamlining the approval process for affordable housing can save a significant amount of time and money for these critical projects. I introduced this ballot measure when it became clear that this common-sense policy was falling prey to politics. If the Board of Supervisors passes the ordinance, I will happily withdraw the ballot measure.”

Under Supervisor Wiener’s legislation, affordable housing projects will still be required to abide by existing height and bulk limits, and neighbors will still receive full notice and be able to seek discretionary review from the Planning Commission if they object to a project.

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.

The pending ordinance will be heard at the Land Use and Transportation Committee on Monday, January 25th. The last day to withdraw ballot measures signed onto the ballot by four supervisors is March 4th.

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

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