Political Housing Evolution In San Francisco

Prompted by the May 24 approval by the Board of Supervisors of the massive redevelopment of the Parkmerced garden apartments, The Examiner looks at the city's evolution from protecting city character at all costs to a more urbanist approach.

In a landmark, 5-4 vote the Board of Supervisors will allow 5,700 housing units to be built on the sprawling 152-acre Parkmerced site in the southwest corner of the City, setting the stage for the even larger (8,000 units) proposal on Treasure Island to be voted on June 7.

"Months of political tip-toeing before (the Parkmerced vote) should demonstrate a simple lesson: There is no exact formula for predicting whether development plans become reality in San Francisco."

However, the tide has clearly changed in favor of dense, transit-oriented development. The debate centers on how what and how many community benefits the Board can extract from the developers. With Parkmerced, a key issue was protecting rights of those whose homes will be demolished.

"The developers have promised to uphold the rent-control rights of current tenants and provide them with modern replacement units in advance of demolition."

Full Story: The new politics of dense development in San Francisco

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