SF planners blast Wiener housing bill that would upzone entire city

Even a pro-growth, pro-development department has to admit that Wiener's latest housing bill goes way too far (and does nothing for the affordable housing crisis)

The San Francisco Planning Department – which is not known for its anti-development tendencies – has issued a blistering critique of state Sen. Scott Wiener’s new housing bill that points to a long list of problems the legislation would have for the senator’s home town.

The areas in orange and yellow are the places Scott Wiener’s bill would upzone. It’s pretty much the entire city. SF Planning Dept. map

The department memo, delivered to the Planning Commission Feb. 8, has received little news media attention. But it’s a critical document that explains why this city – and other dense cities with rich transit infrastructure – could be damaged by the latest state housing mandate.

The bill, SB 827,

would remove residential density and floor area ratio (FAR) limits, minimum parking requirements, and impose minimum height limits statewide for residential projects on residentially zoned parcels within defined proximity to transit stations and corridors that meet certain minimum criteria. The bill would also prohibit the enforcement of “Any design standard that restricts the applicant’s ability to construct the maximum number of units consistent with any applicable building code.”

The entire city of San Francisco, minus a couple of tiny areas, falls within the defined proximity to transit. So, the memo notes, the bill would “significantly upzone most of the city.”

The bill doesn’t limit the state’s exiting density bonus, so in a lot of neighborhoods, the minimum height limit for housing could go up to 100 feet.

The zoning changes would also upzone substantial areas recently rezoned under such plans as the Market & Octavia Plan and Eastern Neighborhoods, which are density decontrolled (in such districts as NCT, RTO, and UMU) but where height limits are lower than 85’.

Oh, and the bill doesn’t require increased level of affordable housing when the allowable heights – and thus profits to developers – increase.

This proposal will do little or nothing to deal with the radical imbalance of jobs and housing in Peninsula cities that accept the tax money that comes with office expansion but refuse to allow more housing density.

That’s because those cities don’t have terrible robust transit – and the mandatory upzoning only applies in areas within a short distance of major transit line.

So the Peninsula cities that helped create the housing crisis in San Francisco skate – and San Francisco has to accept the role of overcrowded bedroom community for Silicon Valley.

Perhaps more radical for the SF Planning Department is the analysis that this bill would provide a huge windfall to property owners – without allowing cities to charge reasonable fees to provide the infrastructure needed to serve massive new growth.

San Francisco spends years crafting rezonings that try to balance demands for housing and jobs, while also capturing a portion of that value for public benefits, including inclusionary housing, impact fees for local infrastructure, and other measures. The proposed bill would neither allow this local planning process to take place concurrently, nor would it give a path for local jurisdictions to conduct necessary studies and implement programs to capture an appropriate level of the increased value for public benefits and impact mitigation at the same time as the intensified zoning is implemented.

When the San Francisco City Planning Department says that a bill is huge giveaway to a handful of developers and property owners, it’s a signal that this is beyond even the normal neo-liberal policy that governs land use in this city and state.

The League of California Cities opposes the bill. And yet, every major candidate running for mayor of SF accepts at least its premise, and most endorse it.

That’s pretty alarming.

  • Tom Hirschfeld

    “And yet, every major candidate running for mayor of SF accepts at least its premise, and most endorse it. That’s pretty alarming.”

    Tim the revolution is finally happening, it just isn’t the one you were hoping for.

    • Kraus

      Absolutely!

    • Y.

      You trolls are more interesting to read when you make actual arguments, even if we can’t convince each other. The heckling is just tedious.

      • Kraus

        Right back at you, troll.

        • KOinSF

          You might be liked more if you did not act childish as others online.

          • Kraus

            Unlike you, I don’t need to be liked.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            He means in real life.

          • Kraus

            “Rosh HoshHosh” sez:

            No; They mean on this forum.

            (I know it takes time and effort, but you’ll get it eventually.)

          • A lot of people believe @Kraus to be Trauss. These same people might take this comment to indicate that Trauss enjoys so much financial support from nefarious sources that she can run for office while openly showing contempt for voters.

            (I am not asserting this identity one way or another, just what I think a lot of people might conclude.)

          • Kraus

            People believe all sorts of nonsense and make all manner of assumption as evidenced by the entirely self-constructed “Devils-of-Loudun” behavior of some in this comments section with regard to my identity.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            It comes back to worshipping at the Machiavellian alter — win at all costs, and don’t let emotion weaken the killer instinct.

          • Rosh,

            You’re one brilliant guy. Scanning all of this is like watching Zorro take on a crew of Sheriff John’s best.

            Stop by and I’ll buy you a beer.

            Go Giants!

            h.

          • whateversville

            I find it endlessly amusing that people assume Kraus is Sonja Trauss, because, I guess, it sort of rhymes? Brilliant detective work.

            Sonja isn’t exactly shy when it comes to signing her own name to her opinions.

          • Well, people have assumed additional identities and gender identities online. I myself am @RoyTT, @RichLL, etc. in my spare time. (Okay, I’m not, really.)

          • KOinSF

            You succeeded. I am blocking you and suggest everyone here do the same

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            No way Jose. She and Zhoosh are my favorites. Today I got stuck arguing with Zutsa – not nearly as fun.

            It’s politics and not personal. Kraus is convinced she’s fighting the good fight, as am I. There’s no hard feelings.

        • Y.

          I’m here to support this site, not berate it.

          • Kraus

            I’m here to expose it’s failed ideology, faulty analysis and hypocrisy — and to keep the “48 hills” comments section from being a “safe space”.

          • Geek__Girl

            So, you admit to being a troll.

          • Kraus

            Geek_Girl sez:

            “So, you admit to being a troll”.

            No, I just don’t believe that’s there any value in participating in an ideological echo-chamber.

          • Y.

            Very noble of you.
            And how am I “a troll”?

        • Geek__Girl

          I am going to enjoy you making your concession speech when you lose in District Six.

          • Kraus

            You really are off your rocker.

          • Geek__Girl

            She has even less of a chance than you do, Trauss.

          • Kraus

            With regard to the horse race between Sonya, Christine and Matt, I haven’t seen any polling yet — have you?
            If so, please share.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Pro-tip: it’s Sonja, not Sonya. Fidgety Russian girl .. you’ll know her when you see her.

          • The j/y transposition could be a false flag operation. Or not.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Kraus responds to every attack on yimbies, but not here: https://48hills.org/2017/07/last-word-yimby-conference/

            Or here:
            https://48hills.org/2017/07/inside-the-yimby-conference/

            I play the odds.

          • Geek__Girl

            It is pretty likely that Kraus is Trauss.

          • Geek__Girl

            Simply common sense. There have been repeated efforts to put a so-called “moderate” in as Supervisor of District Six. And they keep failing. Matt Haney for the win.

          • Is the Golden Gate Restaurant Association running someone who can stand disapprovingly with arms akimbo?

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Does “Go Christine Johnson!” mean that she is your pick for D6? Can we expect ‘Kraus’ to be supporting Johnson (like she is Breed) in the coming months? Or was that statement tongue-in-cheek?

            I’m just wondering why a yimby leader like you isn’t supporting Sonja Trauss? Should D6 yimbies support Trauss or Johnson? Who has the winning ideology?

            Pro-tip: People who don’t care about being liked don’t get elected.

          • Kraus

            So you’re using my “pro-tip” trope now.
            I am having an influence on your behavior!

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Pass the kool-aid.

          • KOinSF

            Wow, I’m adding you to my block list. Arrogance is ugly

          • Kraus

            Didn’t you already say you were doing that earlier?

            Honest arrogance is preferable to false modesty.

    • KOinSF

      The premise that we need to rezone to build more is not the argument. The argument is that Scott’s bill still favors the burbs and the well off, not all of us.

      • Tom Hirschfeld

        And that problem is fixed in SB 828. All of the peninsula burbs that have built tech campuses and no housing will be required to massively upzone.

        • > And that problem is fixed in SB 828.

          That’s not true. SB 828 enacts no new legislation.

          • Tom Hirschfeld

            Yes it does,

            The bill as written is a placeholder that is amended over the course of the legislative session. That the wording is funky now is an artifact of the process of how a bill becomes a law at the state level.

          • > “a placeholder that is amended”

            Meanwhile, SB 828 contains no legislation. Even the intent it describes doesn’t imply the bill will necessarily “make peninsula cities upzone.”

            > “That the wording is funky now”

            The wording is not at issue. Your description of its effect is not true.

        • KOinSF

          no they will not. You do not seem to understand the bill. It only applies to developing near existing public transit

          • Tom Hirschfeld

            827 is about public transit, 828 is about fixing RHNA. 828 is the bill that will male peninsula cities upzone.

          • KOinSF

            I just read the text and NO IT IS NOT what you claim. And spare me the placeholder BS. if it is not in the bill, it is not in the bill. Period. The word transit is not in the 828

          • KOinSF

            When Scott sends a transit bill to Senate fine, but this is not one

    • Geek__Girl

      Yeah, Ron Conway has bought off Weiner, again.

  • Zhoosh

    This proposal will do little or nothing to deal with the radical imbalance of jobs and housing in Peninsula cities that accept the tax money that comes with office expansion but refuse to allow more housing density.

    Why would that be? Isn’t it a state law?

    • Y.

      Only near transit corridors, so yes San Francisco, no Los Altos Hills.

      • Zhoosh

        Caltrain, Sam Trans, Santa Clara VTA. I realize that they aren’t as extensive as Muni but on the other hand there is more acreage available down there. None of us can accurately guess the effect without a detailed study.

        It won’t do “nothing”. It is misleading for Tim to factually state that it will do “little or nothing” on the peninsula. but I also realize how important it is for some of you to believe what you want to believe.

        • Y.

          That’s why I didn’t say “no Palo Alto”. I imagine it will affect zoning near Caltrain stations and Camino Real.

          • Zhoosh

            Just FYI, here is Tim’s definition of “little or nothing”:

            In the rest of the Bay Area, large swaths of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Jose would be affected, as would all areas right around Caltrain, BART, and SMART stations, various singular corridors along both sides of the Bay, such as San Pablo Avenue and El Camino Real, and areas around ferry terminals

            http://commissions.sfplanning.org/cpcpackets/SB%20827.pdf

          • Charlie In SF

            Palo Alto is building along Alma and El Camino at a rapid clip. The crowding has gotten so bad, my folks had to move.

          • KOinSF

            Aw, they got crowded out? Cry me a river

          • Geek__Girl

            Wasn’t Watson Ladd saying there would be no displacement?

          • Watson Ladd

            If Charlie’s folks owned there place they couldn’t have been displaced.

          • My, what a useful observation.

          • Geek__Girl

            What an incredibly ignorant, arrogant, hateful, and tone deaf remark. You really are a piece of work.

          • Watson Ladd

            Tell me how someone who owns their house can be displaced by new development. Notice how this isn’t “the landlord Ellis acted my folks so they had to move”. It’s “My folks didn’t like it anymore, so they cashed out like bandits and moved somewhere they like better”

          • Geek__Girl

            Are you really so ignorant, or are you deliberately trying to sound clueless. “If bullfrogs had wings, they wouldn’t bump their asses all the time.” Many, if not most, cannot afford to own.

          • Watson Ladd

            I’m one of them, and the reason people can’t afford to own in this area is that we’ve driven up the cost of housing. Your policies made this mess.

            But here’s the thing: Charlie didn’t say “developers bought the place, evicted my folks, and built yuppie housing”. he said it got so crowded they had to move, which sounds to me like they had a choice about moving because they didn’t like it anymore. You’re reading into it a story that he would have said if it had happened, and I think it didn’t actually happen because Charlie would have said that if it did.

  • Y.

    A side effect is that Peninsula neighborhoods that oppose densification will fight against public transportation, since proximity to transit will subject them to the new state zoning.

    • Kraus

      And accordingly we should be concerned about upsetting them?

      NIMBY Marin has been doing that for years; think back to the original plans for BART.

      The NIMBY president of the Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhoods (CSFN), George Wooding, has been advocating against affordable housing and public transit improvements in order to keep people out as well.

      What’s new?

      • Y.

        The battles (some won, some lost will now be against zoning and public transportation, not about zoning.

      • KOinSF

        I do not see how that addresses the concern that in lieu of refusing to build, the cities will just refuse to add any addtl public transportation or expansion of any they have now.

        • Kraus

          That’ll be the forthcoming SB-829, that’ll compel them to expand their public transportation networks.

    • Tyro

      Public transit costs money. I have no problem with closing public transit stations where the community doesn’t want density. It will make the neighborhood less desirable, and fewer people will move there

      • Kraus

        Good luck with that.

      • Limiting transport options to the automobile costs wayyyy more money than public transit.

  • Do Something Nice

    While I am 100% against Wiener’s bill, if it is implemented, I hope that all traffic and public transportation is so choked that it will take 4 hours for anyone to get anywhere. We are approaching that now and the idea that more density is magically going to lead to less traffic because of transit hubs is idiotic. We are at capacity NOW.

    Then maybe those who want to live in SF and make it into the suburban paradise of their recent childhood will have second thoughts. Then maybe those libertarian nutcases whose only approach to planning is to scream NIMBY any time anyone voices a concern about the appropriateness of a build will shut up. Them maybe those who want to give higher priority to people who want to live here instead of those who do live here when discussing new builds can choke on their own words (and really, many of those are agents for developers or in the real estate industry). .

    But what is truly idiotic is the idea that state mandates to build higher density housing could be created with no statewide mandates about first improving transit, services and infrastructure. This will create new shitholes out of once livable cities.

    The other idiocy is that instead of trying to fix the obvious regional issues regarding housing, Wiener’s bill allows for what will surely be a ransom-note type patchwork of higher density builds with no thought given to how each affects the region. No, the motivation for these builds will be profit for the developers, not making any place a better place to live.

    • Watson Ladd

      Cities can improve transit, services and infrastructure. It’s a lot easier when they actually have the money from development. This won’t happen overnight. And if you don’t think people will want to live in SF, how exactly will it get so crowded.

      • Do Something Nice

        Reading comprehension 101. It will get so bad that people will not want to live here.

        • Watson Ladd

          So crowded no one will go there anymore?

          • Don Sebastopol

            It will determine who will live here: demographics. SF workers can commute and since 80% of the jobs are outside the City people don’t need to work in the City.

          • Do Something Nice

            Not if traffic is so bad that even a trip on the tech bus is 3 hours each way.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I agree that too many more people and traffic would be impossible. The point was with more density in SF will change the demographics of who live here.

          • Kraus

            Why is “Do Something Nice” always hoping for bad things to happen?

            I think that it’s time for them to change their moniker into one’s that’s more in alignment with their commentary — like “Say Something Awful”.

        • sfsquirrel
          • Foginacan

            “SF isn’t particularly beautiful amongst US cities.”

            Sonja’s got a campaign slogan.

        • zutsa

          The amount of upvotes on this one really confirms the amount of cognitive dissonance going on here.

          Do Something Nice is saying that there will be too many people living here, so much so that no one will want to live here anymore, except for, of course, all of the people that choose to live here. It does not make sense. It’s a humorous Yogism. “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded”.

          Change “people” to an “I” and see what Do Something Nice really means: “It will get so bad that I will not want to live here”.

          • Do Something Nice

            You have reading issues too. I didn’t write that too many people living here will cause this. I clearly wrote that no improvements to infrastructure, especially to transit – resulting in “4 hours for anyone to get anywhere” will cause people to have second thoughts about moving here.

          • zutsa

            Well I think that’s hyperbolic. Again, like I said to KOinSF, there are denser cities in the world. SF is not the fastest growing, nor the densest. Nor would it be if this passed. Not even close. How do other cities in the world do it and why can’t SF?

          • Do Something Nice

            There is no question that transit has suffered from lack of funds and lack of people with vision as leaders.

            Other cities prioritize public transit projects and plan accordingly. SF is almost always in crisis management planning.

            And FYI, I’ve written several times that I think San Francisco can be a great livable city and support a population of 1.5 million. But not without vision, planning and major upgrades to the infrastructure ahead of any development.

          • zutsa

            “There is no question that transit has suffered from lack of funds and lack of people with vision as leaders. Other cities prioritize public transit projects and plan accordingly. SF is almost always in crisis management planning.”

            And how is this anyone but the city and SFMTA’s fault? Why does the entire city have to stop building *homes for people to live in, now* until the SFMTA gets their act together? That doesn’t make sense.

          • Do Something Nice

            It is more than SFMTA. The mayor, the BOS, city planning all have a role in this. And what we need to stop is building office buildings until this “crisis” is over.

      • Do Something Nice

        Oh yes. Cities are magically going to get tons of money from developers. Oh wait, that is supposedly happening now and yet we only see worse transit and traffic.

        • Zhoosh

          Oh yes. A higher real estate tax base = higher bond ratings = huge savings for a city. What they do with the money depends on the level of voter apathy.

          • KOinSF

            That does not mean more and better public trans. Not unless we legislate it is required. Scott did not do so.

          • Zhoosh

            Yeah…the local cities might actually have to assess their own public transit needs and decide if they want to use their higher tax base to invest in it. And if they fail the voters might have to express their disapproval.

          • KOinSF

            The voters LIKE driving vs buses so that doesn’t work. I can just see an Atherton woman taking a bus to the hair salon, SURE! LOL

      • KOinSF

        Unless we address transportation we should not insist on building up and up and more and more. The people in those homes need to get places.

        • Watson Ladd

          This is about building homes in places that already have high quality transportation. The new buildings will lead to higher property taxes that can fund transit improvements.

          • KOinSF

            So SF and Oakland gets gridlock while Palo Alto stays lily white. Sounds like what I’d expect

          • Watson Ladd

            If only we had technology to move more people in the same amount of road space.

          • KOinSF

            Look smartass, stick to global risk management and leave housing to those who care about more than almighty dollar.

          • SF Sunset Guy

            so caring is working?

          • Tyro

            Look at what a great job you’ve done creating housing! Most importantly, you’ve accomplished a means of making sure that only certain people live in your city and keepin outsiders away! Good job!

          • Don Sebastopol

            Many more, four times as many, people who live in SF work in Palo Alto than people who live in Palo Alto live in SF.

          • KOinSF

            So then they should move to Palo Alto, but that suburb refuses to build homes for them. Most drive there I bet.

          • Don Sebastopol

            One reason so many Palo Alto workers live in SF is because SF is a bargain by comparison.

          • zutsa

            Public transit service to and from the Western part of the city will easily be able to accommodate a ton more people with increased service and more lines. I truly cannot believe that you think upzoning SF and Oakland will lead to gridlock; you know there are plenty of other cities in this world with far higher density, right?

          • KOinSF

            How long have you lived here? And do you need to commute on the N line by chance? As you sure do have high hopes. I’ve been here nearly 30 years, and commuting from the Mission on the J line to downtown was hell when I had to do it, due to crowding. So spare me the rosy scenario that public transportation will get better enough to accommodate today’s passengers much less if we increase population by even greater numbers than we are now.

          • zutsa

            So the SFMTA sucks at scaling, so they therefore will never be able to scale, so why bother allowing more people to live here. Brilliant.

            Denser cities have functional public transit. How do they do it and why can’t SF?

            People are doubling up in living rooms, turning closets into rooms, converting warehouse space into dwellings etc. so population is rising no matter what. It will only get worse. At least with upzoning and more units on the map the SFMTA can plan more accurately.

            The “we’re full” argument doesn’t work. We’re not.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Which denser cities have better transit? We are full.

          • zutsa

            If we could achieve even 1/10th of what Tokyo has achieved we’d be so much better off than the way we are now. And that’s just an extreme example.

            Do you really think any city denser than SF is in gridlock? We are not full. You just want us to be.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Based on your comment I am guessing you have never been to Tokyo. The population density of Tokyo metropolis area is about the same as San Francisco, 16,121 per square mile compared to SF’s 17,179. The Metro area is 6,890 per square mile.

            Like SF neighborhoods, there is a range on densities in Tokyo’s 23 Wards from 3,763 to 20,098. Some areas within the Ward that have high rise buildings, the density is much higher. But that is also true for SF. Many of the wards have the same density as West of Twin Peaks single-family neighborhoods. But within each Ward there are also higher density areas. I think Tokyo has 12 different zones ranging from residential to commercial.

            Most Japanese live in single family homes. Exploring central Tokyo on foot I found backstreets with single family homes. And as you go out from the center you see mostly single-family homes from the train. Tokyo is a major commuter city. But it is true Tokyo has a better transit system. Taking the bus in from the airport you will see traffic gridlock. The train is the better option.

            “While the cost of housing is climbing in many global cities, the average middle-class family in Tokyo can still afford to buy a new, single-family detached home for $300,000. That’s right. The typical Tokyo starter home is a brand new three-bedroom. How many New Yorkers will ever live in their own three-bedroom home, much less buy one?”

            https://www.curbed.com/2017/2/3/14496248/tokyo-real-estate-affordable-homes

          • Kyle Huey

            The special wards (the old Tokyo city) are a better comparison for San Francisco, and they have a population density of around 39k per square mile. The densest, Toshima, has a population density of 60k per square mile.

          • In the U.S., Manhattan is the prime example. Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx all have higher density than San Francisco as well, and have much better transit.

          • Don Sebastopol

            The K L and M are not any better.

          • The city has recently purchased new streetcars that in theory can handle more than 2-car consists.

          • Don Sebastopol

            The Muni Metro from the Sunset is already overcrowded. However, only 35% of Sunset residents work downtown and 45% get there by car. 40% leave the City to get to work. What cities with higher density do you have in mind?

          • Don Sebastopol

            Where is that high quality transportation located? How do you know it is used more by people living close by than those not living close by?

        • Tyro

          Apparently you’re not that bright. The upcoming occurs where there is transit. Too much traffic? Don’t drive and use transit, which will be readily available.

          • KOinSF

            Apparently you are a jerk. A) I do not own a car. B) Do you take the MUNI or BART to commute to work? Do you think it is crowded today? We need more capacity today and would need more if we build more housing. C) I bet you are entitled kid

          • KOinSF

            Oh kid, I blocked you as you

          • Kraus

            You blocked yourself? That’s quite a relief!

          • Sanchez Resident

            I think it would work better if you deleted your profile. Can you still post comments if you blocked your own profile?

      • Don Sebastopol

        Which SF neighborhood would be a good model for the rest of the City? What would you like the City to look like?

        • KOinSF

          He does not live here, so who cares what this student thinks about SF transportation, that is not what he is studying.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I think he thinks if there were more housing he could afford to move to SF.

        • Watson Ladd

          How about Paris?

          • Don Sebastopol

            You can move to Paris if you like. The question is which SF neighborhood. Maybe we have one like Paris. BTW there are some low density single family areas in Paris but for the rich.

          • Watson Ladd

            Why should SF neighborhoods be confined to look like what other ones look like now? I get it: you got yours.

          • Don Sebastopol

            What would you like SF to look like. Maybe there is an SF neighborhood close to your ideal? What would be your favorite neighborhood? How much are you willing to pay.

          • Don Sebastopol

            I don’t live in France. What SF neighborhood is your ideal. Where would you want to live?

          • Watson Ladd

            It’s not about meeting idosyncratic preferences. It’s about building enough homes for people who want to live here, despite people who want suburbia in the city.

      • Foginacan

        Wiener still talks about a subway, he can’t figure out the basic terminology here let alone improving it. Drawing on a map isn’t a solution, and neither is choking the City in place of planning.

    • Don Sebastopol

      There is currently development around transit centers. What evidence is there that it will be used more? And what are the demographics of those who live near transit.

      In the Sunset around 35% work downtown, and of those, 45% get to work by car. 40% leave the City to get to work. Assuming that if the sunset population increases more will use transit but also more will not use transit.

      • KOinSF

        The Sunset will not build, build, build anyway, but I think the reason many drive vs use N line or M is due to time it takes and horrible crowding during rush hour now! The folks out there will fight tooth and nail to prevent building up. They’ll take it to court first. Mark my words.

        • Kraus

          Bring it on!

    • Kraus

      Why is “Do Something Nice” always hoping for bad things to happen?

      I think that its time for them to change their moniker into something that’s more in alignment with their commentary.

  • Watson Ladd

    Here is what the planning department actually says about SB 827: It would increase the number of BMR units far beyond what HOME-SF did. Funny how that didn’t make this summary.

    • sfsquirrel

      But not the percentage. In other words, it will increase the number of market rate units too, and at an even greater rate than is already happening. Nice try taking something out of context.

      Considering that this is the Planning Dept, which usually swallows the YIMBY line whole, their concerns about this latest move is a major problem for you, isn’t it.

      • zutsa

        And if that prevents market rate from continuing to outpace wages for a few years, then more people can afford market rate. If “market rate”, which is undoubtedly in luxury territory now, reaches the affordable-for-most level, it would lessen the reliance on BMR and permanently affordable units.

        It may not *reduce* market rate as a median dollar value, but even if market rate plateaued or even just kept in line with inflation for a few years we’d see more and more people able to stay in the city. From a high level the Planning Dept appears to be on board with this.

        • sfsquirrel

          It’s not going to prevent market rate from continuing to outpace wages. Housing is treated as a stock commodity by the wealthy and its a necessity for the rest of us. Housing does not conform strictly to the supply and demand curve.

          • zutsa

            “It’s not going to prevent market rate from continuing to outpace wages.”

            Any evidence or analysis that this is true? CA and especially the Bay has a very generous minimum wage and the voters are not afraid to raise it. Wages are already very high compared to the rest of the US. Again, you pull the “it’s not going to make everything perfect overnight, so why even try” thing. I don’t think that makes sense. That’s like how a climate change denier minimizes the human impact in order to disregard solar as an alternative; we’re fucked anyway so why even try, might as well continue drive my 10 MPG SUV.

            “Housing is treated as a stock commodity by the wealthy and its a necessity for the rest of us. Housing does not conform strictly to the supply and demand curve.”

            Socializing all of it isn’t going to happen. It’s a stock commodity for the middle class as well. Right now it is out of reach because of, again, supply.

            You and many others come up with so many rebuttals, gotchas, and what ifs, and the answer is always the same: supply. Look at the chart of population (something we cannot control, period). Look at the chart of housing production (something we are within full control of, period). We’re the largest, most populated, most inflated state with the largest cities. You can blame the wealthy and foreign actors or whatever else you want, but it all comes back to supply.

            EDIT: You also have to realize, squirrel, that we’re talking at a very high level here. Do you really equate ALL new housing to be only benefiting developers? Are you so fixated on fighting “the man” that you forget that these things developers build people raise families in? Normal, non billionaire people?

        • Rosh HoshHosh

          “… a few years….” is that you’re actual prediction, “a few years”?? That’s funny.

          You should just dodge the trickle down time estimates, like all the other yimbies do.

          • zutsa

            If market rate for a 1BR stays around $3k for 5 years, and the average employed person makes 4% more per year, over those 5 years $3k becomes affordable for a lot more people; less displacement. If we build more.

            If market rate for a 1BR continues to climb from $3k to $4k over the next 5 years, outpacing the 4% per year wage increases, less people can afford market rate; more people get displaced. If we don’t build more.

            Sounds pretty realistic to me. You can liken this to any kind of conservative mantra you’d like in order to dismiss it. Or does “building more” need to fix the economy overnight for absolutely everyone in order to be a viable solution?

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Is it wealth or wage increase that’s going to be a bigger SF market factor in the next three years?

            I see now you’re trying to stretch “a few years” into 5. It’s all sounds like an econ 101 pipe dream pipe dream to me.

          • zutsa

            “Is it wealth or wage increase that’s going to be a bigger SF market factor in the next three years?”

            No clue what you’re talking about. Wage increases, if they follow the trend, will continue to go up. Not sure which will be a “bigger factor in the market” or why that would matter. I’m talking about normal working people versus the trend of housing prices.

            “I see now you’re trying to stretch “a few years” into 5. It’s all sounds like an econ 101 pipe dream pipe dream to me.”

            In regards to the overall economy a “few years” can easily mean 5. You’re splitting hairs. People have been bitching about techies ruining the city for about 20 now. Rents started to really explode around 2010-2012; that’s 6-8 years ago already. For comparison, the “Monster in the Mission” has been trying to come to fruition for about 5 years, but has been blocked and delayed into oblivion. And tell me again how many people live above the shuttered Burger King at 16th today? http://1979mission.com/timeline/

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Wealth affects the housing market – econ 201.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Housing prices exploded in the 90s with the first dot-com. It’s a ridiculous assertion that it began 6-8 years ago.

          • zutsa

            Not what I said. It rocketed during the dot-com boom, came down and stabilized a bit for a few years, then rocketed up again. The current rent explosion that we’re dealing with now really started to ramp up around 6-8 years ago.

            You’re not making any points here.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Your modifying your narrative based on what you get called on. Here is what you said:

            “In regards to the overall economy a “few years” can easily mean 5. You’re splitting hairs. People have been bitching about techies ruining the city for about 20 now. Rents started to really explode around 2010-2012; that’s 6-8 years ago already.”

          • zutsa

            No. I’m not. My narrative is that SF hasn’t built enough, and preventing building is making things worse.

            OK, let me say again, this time with a chart: https://www.paragon-re.com/trend/san-francisco-residential-rent-trends

            Rents started to really explode around 2010-2012; that’s 6-8 years ago already. They barely breached the all time high in 2007-8 and the subprime mortgage crisis in that time delayed the explosion slightly. I still don’t see what point you’re trying to make.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            My point on the timeframe was that the rent explosion started in the 90s. You agreed with me (while acting as if you’d already included that).

            My other point is that wage increases and additional new condos for sale are going to have little impact on apartment rental prices in the next ‘few years.’ The in migration of wealthier and wealthier people is a major factor that you will probably never acknowledge, but is something that is having an extreme impact on rental prices and availability.

          • zutsa

            Take a look at the chart and see the huge dip between 2001-2008. That explosion ended. A new one, the one we’re in now, started exactly where I said it did and has not ended yet.

            I will definitely acknowledge that the migration of wealthier people has impacted prices and availability. I also realize that we live in a free country and cannot prevent them from moving here. So, as I’ve asked you many times before, if we can’t prevent people from moving here for work and taking up the supply, what can we do besides increase the supply? Purposely sabotage the economy to induce a recession and have prices dip like in 2001-08, but then see large swaths of the working class get laid off? Great trade off instead of building more homes!

            You want to talk about pipe dreams, here’s one: Legislation gets enacted to curb demand, as the public deems SF and the Bay full. A moratorium on new office construction stops migration to the area for work, and offices hire very few people from outside the area. Businesses in the area stop growing, but they don’t shrink either. No one loses their job, but no new jobs get created either. That’s OK though, because everyone who had a job when the anti-demand laws passed already all liked their job and never need a new one. People start leaving the city to find opportunities elsewhere, and rent drops without creating any new housing, but that’s not considered “displacement” or bad for anyone. All local college graduates and native early 20-somethings leave home to find work elsewhere in the US, but are happy about that. Neighborhood character remains intact and nothing changes, but rents go down because that other guy had to move to New York for work. Everyone wins!

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            I’m sorry, but I’m on my cell phone in BFE and I’m not going to look at your chart.

            I will say I rented rooms right through the period you mention and the changes were negligible. The only noticeable rental change came when the first dot-com popped. It was easy as pie to rent in SF through the great recession.

            Thanks for acknowledging common ground.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            Ps. You’re pipe dream is a pretty good one — especially if you ditch the absolutes and exaggerations.

          • zutsa

            It’s a great pipe dream when you only care about the fact that you already have a job, already have a place to live.

            Are you more of a “Fuck you, I got mine” kinda person, or a “Go back to where you came from!” kinda person? Maybe a mix of both.

          • Rosh HoshHosh

            What is it I got again?

      • Tyro

        Furthermore, we all know that stopping development will increase affordability. And that’s why SF remains the most affordable city in the USA. Passing the bill will undermine all the progress SF has made in supporting affordability by not building anything

  • zutsa

    This is why everyone accepts it’s premise. The planning commission does too, this part was left out, obviously intentionally:

    “The upzoning proposed under SB 827 does not require increased levels of affordability
    and could blunt the use of local bonus programs such as HOME SF but would likely result in the
    production of more affordable housing due to overall significantly greater housing production under SB 827 than under existing zoning. ”

    Sounds like upzoning the entire city is necessary. It sounds like the locally applied band-aids to combat the forces of supply and demand are not working, and would be rendered obsolete by just building more. I could see why this would alarm people (“My view!” “Those shadows!” “That bulk!”), but does anyone think all of the Sunset and Richmond could mostly remain 2 story, single family home forever? None of this means that bulldozers are going to be rolling into the city en masse the moment it’s passed. The process would be slow, but much needed.

    http://commissions.sfplanning.org/cpcpackets/SB%20827.pdf

    • Don Sebastopol

      Why is upzoning the entire City necessary? It remains to be seen if an increase in density will make the City any more affordable. Where is higher density in the City more affordable now? And what will the City demographics look like if it becomes more density populated; Who will live here. Which current SF neighborhood would be the model or the ideal for what the rest of the City should look like?

      • curiousKulak

        Rincon Hill?

        • KOinSF

          ha ha ha really affordable now. ha aha ha

          • Don Sebastopol

            It is affordable if you make $200K.

        • Don Sebastopol

          If you want a City devoid of families and children, that is what the City will look like. It is a great area if you don’t like family households, school-age children, or very many Blacks and Latinos. If you like young single adults it is the place for you. Also, if that is what SF looked like we could close the High Schools and save a lot to tax money. And you could get a nice one-bedroom unit for $2 million. Or you could rent a 2-br for $4.5K.

      • zutsa

        Upzoning in any meaningful manner hasn’t happened in the city, nothing like the bill that’s proposed. That’s a loaded question; you’re asking where has drastic upzoning worked before, when there hasn’t been any, and that’s the reason for this bill. SOMA has had a ton of new units and has relatively plateaued the past year or two. Is it “more affordable”? Not really, but again, the reason why this bill is coming forth is to override local’s constriction of supply.

        Seattle built a lot. Seattle’s density has increased. Seattle’s seeing relief.
        https://www.seattletimes.com/business/real-estate/seattle-area-rents-drop-significantly-for-first-time-this-decade-as-new-apartments-sit-empty/

        • Don Sebastopol

          I recall an article in the Chronicle saying that SOMA prices had leveled off and decreased somewhat due to the increased in the supply. Of course, the lower price is far from affordable. But it could mean some on the margins can to qualify for a mortgage.

          I don’ t object to more development on the eastside if it takes pressure off my single-family neighborhood. Regarding SOMA, it is not desirable to many. There are a lot of young single adults, who seem to leave as they age. There are few family households (33%) and few children (9%). Pre-school age children can be found, but it seems they leave as they get older; School-age children 5%, and few high-school age children 0.7%. I find children add to the quality of life in the neighborhood. I would not like SF to lose even more children.

  • KOinSF

    That is what I thought right off, this will do nothing to force suburbs that have huge campuses for employees to increase any building in their towns, they have no public trans or only limited areas. They are car burbs, and want to stay that way. Also why change these rules and not include affordable requirements? Because Scott is mainly working for the 6-figure earners who want to buy a condo, but cares not for us older lower income folks who get displaced.

    • Watson Ladd

      Please explain how you will get displaced given the demolition controls SF already has.

      • Geek__Girl

        Please explain how you can be so complete dishonest.

      • sfsquirrel

        If you read the Planning Department’s memo, you will see that they express great concern about demolition in the future. Also, demolition is not the only way people are being displaced.

      • KOinSF

        You are bringing up fake reason for displacement. I suggest you stay in school kid. (and yes, I am being as snippy as you, so do not dare criticize)

  • Don Sebastopol

    Doing away with zoning will make the City less livable for many who live here now. If up zoning
    will in fact bring more people into the City they will be a different demographic.

    It is not necessary to live in the City to work in the City. Since 80% of the Bay Area jobs are outside the City it is not necessary to work in the City to live in the City.

    • KOinSF

      That ship has sailed Don, and will not change. haven’t you noticed the HUGE demographic change here in the past 10 years? I sure as hell have.
      People live here not only to work, but for the city’s amenities, culture and entertainment that is not available in Palo Alto etc.

      • Don Sebastopol

        What huge demographic changes in the past 10 years? There has been a loss of non-Hispanic Whites as a percent, but it has been gradual.

        There has not been much change with respect to families and children. With the loss of single family homes will be the loss of families and children. The remaining single family homes will become even less affordable.

        • Tyro

          Because families can only live in SFHs? They can live in townhouses, too. And which families can AFFORD to buy a SFH in the city?

        • KOinSF

          learn what words mean before you go rattling off on every damned post Don. DEMOGRAPHICS look it up.

          • Don Sebastopol

            Demographics: “statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it.”

            What huge demographic changes?

  • Tony

    Say no to 1 million San Franciscans.

    • KOinSF

      1 million is fine, but spread them out, not all of them in the Mission or only the rich in the new high rise condos.

    • Kraus

      We’re already at 875K; I’m hoping for 2M at least!

  • Tyro

    This is an end-run around SF’s imperative to prevent outsiders who ain’t from around here from moving into the city. It isn’t going to get solved until we enact a strict permitting and residency process for applicants who wish to live in SF.

    Building more housing will just turn SF into a dense urban hellhole like Paris. Until we make sure that no one beyond specifically permitted people may stay in SF after nightfall, the insidious plotting of politicians in Sacramento will keep trying to undermine SF homeowners.

    • Porfirio666

      Good points! Everyone crossing the border into San Francisco and wishing to rent an apartment needs to be screened for political correctness. The politically incorrect need to be sent back where they came from. Then we “build that wall!”

  • markkraft

    What needs to be addressed is the risk inherent here for existing renters, and rent-controlled renters, from eviction.

    If people realize that this thing endangers entire communities like Chinatown, a historic neighborhood right near a new muni line, full of older people who really don’t have the money and support structure needed to handle their buildings being yupscaled and condo-ized, and have no where to go, then maybe this slow-motion disaster will be nipped in the bud.

    The fact is, major transit corridors will find their property value going up because of this… and that will lead to speculators buying the property, existing tenants getting kicked out, without so much as a “here, have a few thousand dollars to relocate” settlement, and wealthy people moving in to the deluxe apartments they build, filled with people who don’t use or need public transit.

    This isn’t going to do a damn thing to require fewer cars in these new transit-focused units, it won’t stop developers from creating even more parking, and it absolutely won’t alleviate increased traffic congestion. It will make streets like Van Ness and Geary — the supposed public transit corridors — damn near impassible, as all the traffic from new high-density housing overwhelms their capacity to handle it.

    I attended a small public transit planning meeting awhile back… basically a medium-sized conference room upstairs, with only about three members of the public in attendance. They were very clear that the new bus lanes in S.F. are a crappy implementation of what actually works in Curitiba, but will cost massive amounts and only increase the bus’ speed by about 3mph.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uw3gbQHagGw

    A big part of the reason for that? Long waits at lights, for traffic… especially when that traffic turns in front of the bus, and has fewer lanes to turn on, and snarls traffic. Well… let’s dump more traffic on those supposed transit corridors and watch even those marginal gains disappear, as the surprisingly expensive, upgraded public transit system becomes even more unusable!

    Really, what this will do in most parts of the city is make public transit substantially worse.

    • Tyro

      The yuppies can just buy the homes of existing people out from under them now, and that’s what they will do if there is no alternative new housing available.

  • Jeff

    Why not link to the actual memo? http://commissions.sfplanning.org/cpcpackets/SB%20827.pdf

    This is how they summarize their opposition to the bill. It has little or nothing to do with affordable housing:

    “Although the General Plan, as the embodiment of the City’s guiding policy document for the evolution of San Francisco, shares these key objectives [providing transit accessible housing] with SB 827, the General Plan also explicitly emphasizes the importance of planning for land use change in consultation with communities and in consideration of a variety of relevant factors in the context of each area—urban form, open space, historic preservation, and other factors. Additionally, in its analysis of the bill, the Planning Department makes a number of observations about the practicalities of implementing the bill and other key inconsistencies with General Plan policies, particularly the importance of maintaining key urban design standards related to livability, walkability, and context, as well as discussing the very notion of transit “richness.””