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S.F. rent-controlled apartments lost as fast as new ones are built

July 13, 2015

By J.K. Dineen : sfchronicle – excerpt
Roberto Hernandez, community leader and activist, explains why an ordinance calling for a temporary moratorium on construction of market-rate housing in the Mission in necessary on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 in San Francisco, Calif.

Roberto Hernandez, community leader and activist, explains why an ordinance calling for a temporary moratorium on construction of market-rate housing in the Mission in necessary on Tuesday, May 5, 2015 in San Francisco, Calif.
San Francisco is losing rent-controlled apartments almost as fast as it is producing new affordable units, and even faster in neighborhoods like the Sunset and the Mission, where few low-income developments are being built, according to a new city study.

The Housing Balance Report shows the city added 6,559 affordable housing units between 2004 and 2014. But during the same period, 5,470 apartments were “removed from protected status” through a variety of “no fault” evictions allowed by state law.

Planning officials already are looking at ways to deal with the problem, at least in one part of the city.
On Thursday, the City Planning Commission moved toward imposing interim controls calling for a six-month delay in permits for new market-rate housing, office and retail development in the Mission District.

The controls would halt permits for new market-rate developments of five units or more not on file by Dec. 31, 2014. The intent is to provide the city time to put together “a cohesive strategy to provide more affordable housing and economic stability,” according to a staff report on the proposal, which is expected back before the commission for approval in August.

“I believe this is the time to do this and get it right,” said City Planning Director John Rahaim…

The interim controls in the Mission are designed to give city officials time “to analyze affordable housing needs, assess sites for affordable housing production and stem the loss of existing income-protected units.”

The controls would put the brakes on a number of proposed developments in the Mission. It would not, however, affect the neighborhood’s two largest developments — a 331-unit apartment complex proposed for 16th and Mission and a 274-unit project planned for 2000 Bryant St., although it’s hard to see the City Planning Commission approving any major project while the controls are in place.

‘Off the deep end
At Thursday’s hearing, Commissioner Kathrin Moore called the proposed controls “an emergency response,” adding that “the only question is whether it’s too late.”…

Moratorium debate
Commissioner Michael Antonini, who was the only “no” vote on the controls, said the mini-moratorium is short-sighted.
The interim controls are not going to make the neighborhood any less popular with the thousands of technology workers who continue to arrive in San Francisco by the planeload, he added.

“Cutting down the production of market-rate housing is not going to cut demand,” Antonini said.

But Commissioner Cindy Wu said the six-month pause would give the commission a chance to create “better rules of equitable development.”“Maybe the (Eastern Neighborhood plan) was fair and maybe it wasn’t, but those policies are really failing us now,” she said… (more)

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