San Francisco Supes Reject Proposal To Turn Parking Lot Into Housing

State legislators are decrying the Board of Supervisors' decision to reject a proposal to build a 495-unit apartment building on a downtown San Francisco parking lot.

November 23, 2021, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

San Francisco, California

4kclips / Shutterstock

As California's housing crisis deepens, local decisions about density and development are being closely watched by housing advocates and legislators across the state. As Alexei Koseff reports, the rejection of a 495-unit housing development in San Francisco has brought fierce criticism from state legislators who want California to mandate higher density requirements to meet housing goals.

For some of the leading supporters of those efforts, the confusing collapse of the project in an alley near the corner of Sixth and Market streets — which San Francisco supervisors sent back to the drawing board after it won approval from the city Planning Commission, citing concerns about gentrification, shadows and seismic safety — is a stark example of why state intervention is not only necessary, but should escalate.

The development at 469 Stevenson would have replaced a surface parking lot with a 27-story tower housing 73 affordable units, a number that some Supervisors called inadequate. Supporters of the project argue that market-rate housing relieves pressure on the housing market and provides funding for affordable housing via the city's inclusionary housing program.

Some California legislators believe statewide mandates are crucial to easing the housing crunch and slowing the rise of housing costs in the state's major metropolitan areas, while others worry that urban centers like San Francisco are evading responsibility by rejecting projects like 469 Stevenson and focusing blame on single-family neighborhoods. In the last legislative session, the state passed multiple bills aimed at preventing cities from hindering new housing construction, incentivizing higher density, and eliminating single-family zoning that include a new 'Housing Accountability Unit' dedicated to enforcing housing production targets.

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in San Francisco Chronicle

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