New housing targets spark debate over changing market rates

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Faced with a potential sharp increase in the amount of housing San Francisco could produce over the next eight years, Supervisor Gordon Mar introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for market-rate housing targets to remain the same. .

However, the resolution was immediately criticized by State Senator Scott Wiener, who called it an example of “NIMBY” thinking.

The resolution calls on a regional body, the Association of Bay Area Governments, not to increase the number of market-priced housing units that San Francisco must build on the grounds that the city has already “supported a much of the area’s housing development ‘and generally met its target of housing at market rates, but struggled to build enough affordable housing.

“We need to make sure our housing goals reflect the needs of our residents, and in San Francisco that means prioritizing truly affordable housing for the people who live here,” said Mar. “What we’re building and for whom we build it matters, and the speculative market will not solve a problem it helped create. “

But Wiener, who has drafted legislation to reform the way housing targets are set and streamline the approval of housing projects, on Wednesday passed a “firm passage” on the resolution, urging the supervisory board to reject and ABAG to reject it if so. past.

“Supervisor Mar is trying to exert political pressure to receive an artificially low housing allowance and to shift the responsibility for housing from San Francisco to other cities,” Wiener said. “There’s a phrase for that: not in my backyard. San Francisco should set a gradual example of adopting new housing, rather than falling back into the same old anti-housing arguments that got us into this mess. “

Mar’s resolution, and Wiener’s response to it, represents the coming push-and-pull on the future of Bay Area housing.

ABAG, which is responsible for determining the number of units each Bay Area city must produce, is in the process of determining its next eight-year cycle of regional housing needs allocation. Preliminary reports released in June determined that 441,000 homes are needed by 2030 in the Bay Area, more than twice the current amount.

Fifty-seven percent of these homes are expected to be affordable for middle, low and very low income households, according to the preliminary determination.

In July, San Francisco’s current RHNA target was 65% met. While 138 percent of market rate housing targets are met, only 33 percent of moderate-income housing, 51 percent of low-income housing, and 31 percent of very low-income housing are completed.

Mar urged ABAG to maintain the same number of market-priced housing units for San Francisco due to the balance of housing types produced in recent years, while reminding him of San Francisco’s emphasis on racial and social equity.

The resolution specifically called for Wiener’s legislation, Senate Bill 35, which streamlines the approval of projects in cities that fail to meet their housing targets, warning that a higher amount of housing at market price would trigger faster approval and spur land speculation in gentrification areas home to communities of color.

“Under SB 35, San Francisco could become ‘streamlined’ by failing to meet its new housing targets that actually meet housing needs,” Wiener’s office noted, calling the bill a “powerful driver” to all increase. types of housing production in California.

While almost everyone agrees affordable housing is needed in San Francisco, this common goal faces a serious hurdle. In July, planning staff warned that the city’s long-term investment in affordable housing is expected to drop to an average of $ 200 million per year over the next decade.

San Francisco needs $ 517 million a year to build 1,670 affordable units each year, planners said.

“We need to make meeting the housing affordability needs of our residents a priority, and that starts with setting the right goals,” said Mar.

The supervisory board will assess Mar’s resolution in the coming weeks.

imojadad@sfexaminer.com

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