San Francisco housing affordability 1 Photos: San Francisco Planning Department

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has proposed a new affordable housing bonus program that would allow builders to exceed current height restrictions if they include more affordable units for “middle income households” — those making 140 percent of the city’s median income.

The legislation is expected to be voted in November, and apply primarily to residential mixed use areas that have not been rezoned and are adjacent to key transit corridors.

The affordable housing bonus program is part of Lee’s commitment to add 10,000 permanently affordable homes by 2020. The numbers are tied in with Proposition A, the $310 million housing bond. Should it pass on November 3rd, it will help finance development, preservation, construction and acquisition of affordable homes, including those who fall under the middle income bracket.

If every measure of the program is approved it would:

  • Require that 40 percent of all units in the new projects will have at least two bedrooms.
  • Provide 30 percent affordable and middle income units built on the actual property.
  • Allow up to two stories above existing building structure.
  • Expedite process for 100% affordable housing projects.
  • Extend the entitlement period from three to 10 years.
  • Add restrictions to grant deeds to keep property permanently affordable.

That of course is different than the state density bonus program which allows up to 35 percent density based on percentage of affordable units built on site. Federal and state programs subsidizes only low and moderate housing, not middle income.

San Francisco housing affordability


According to a statement by Planning Director John Rahaim, “The State Density Bonus Law does not fully meet needs specific to San Francisco, and does not incentivize middle-income housing. The Affordable Housing Bonus Program has the potential to create up to 16,000 units overall with 5,000 units of housing affordable to low and middle income households over the next 20 years.”

According to projections from an August 2015 stakeholder presentation by the Planning Department, the local density program would:

  • Increase residential units in potential parcels from 7,400 to 16,000, expanding housing stock over 121 percent at those sites. The existing state density program would only increase it by 66 percent.
  • Increase affordable units at these potential sites from 900 to 5,000, a 455 percent increase in affordable housing stock. This would add over 4,000 net new affordable and middle income homes.

The proposed program builds on three items:

  • The city’s Housing Element 2014, which recommends the development of a density bonus program.
  • The Inclusionary Housing requirement, by increasing affordable housing up to 30 percent on-site affordable housing. The existing requirement for most areas of San Francisco is 12 percent on-site and 20 percent off site.
  • Proposition K, which established a policy that 30,000 new homes would be built by 2020, of which 33 percent are to be affordable.

For more, the complete report can be seen here.

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter