Fourplexes on the Legislative Agenda in San Francisco

San Francisco, the poster child for runaway housing costs and displacement of existing residential populations, could be on the cusp of a change of plans.

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May 18, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


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"A San Francisco lawmaker will introduce legislation Tuesday to make four-unit buildings legal on corner lots in neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes," reports J.K Dineen.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman is introducing the new legislation. The changes "would apply on corner lots in the 60% of the city that currently excludes multifamily buildings," according to Dineen.

According to Dineen, "but some housing advocates are already criticizing the proposed law as too narrow and watered down to actually generate new units." Pro-housing development advocates don't have to look far to see what the law could have been. An earlier version of the proposed legislation would have expanded the number of lots allowing new fourplexes to include non-corner properties within a half mile of Muni, Caltrain, and BART transit stops.

According to Dineen, Supervisor Shamann Walton has expressed concerns that allowing fourplexes in the historically black neighborhood of Bayview could exacerbate gentrification and the displacement of long-time residents.

Supervisor Mandelman has promised to introduce legislation later this year that would expand zoning reforms citywide, "but that it makes sense to do that next year after the city’s long-range 'housing element' plan is complete." Pro-development advocates are also working on a ballot initiative that would ask voters to decide whether fourplexes should be allowed in residential neighborhoods throughout the city.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 in San Francisco Chronicle

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