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West Side Neighbors, Facing Potentially More and Taller Housing, Ask: “What Happened to Planning in This City?”

January 21, 2016

By : sfweekly – excerpt

Supervisor Katy Tang sallied forth into her own neighborhood last night to pitch a plan for more and taller housing in the city’s traditionally low-rise western neighborhoods.

The measured argument, made to a room of skeptics at the Sunset Rec Center, went something like this: It’s not that bad, we really need more housing, and by the way, if we don’t do this then the state is going to unleash all of your worst nightmares and let them run riot on the neighborhood anyway.

That’s a rough paraphrase, of course.

The bone of potential contention here is the Planning Department’s Affordable Housing Bonus Program. If made law, the AHBP would allow developers building on any of 30,500 select lots — most of them on the north side, but quite a few along Taraval, Judah, Irving, and Noriega streets — to plop on an additional two stories above existing height limits, as long as they price more units below the market rate. Buildings with 100 percent affordable housing would get three extra stories.

This is in line with the city’s present approach to try to jiu jitsu developer fervor into something that offers relief to those being priced out. Tang has championed the plan since last year, teaming up with planning department brains to sell affected neighborhoods on it. Last time she held one of these meetings in her own district, back in October, she ended up with a near-mutiny on her hands…(more)

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