Development Streamlining Proposal Dies in San Francisco

The doomed effort was Mayor London Breed's third attempt to streamline development in the city.

2 minute read

January 31, 2022, 10:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A sunny day in San Francisco, with a view of the city skyline with the Easy Bay Hills in the background.

Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock

A charter amendment to streamline development that San Francisco Mayor London Breed proposed for consideration by voters died in a Board of Supervisors committee, reports J.D. Morris for the San Francisco Chronicle (paywall). 

The proposed charter amendment "sought to streamline new housing construction by letting some qualified projects circumvent the city’s discretionary review process, cutting a year or two from a timeline that can take two years or more for developers to complete," explains Morris.

"The amendment would have applied to housing projects with more than 25 units, requiring market-rate developers to build 15% more affordable homes than San Francisco normally requires. All 100% affordable housing projects would have been subjected to the amendment’s provisions," adds Morris.

This was the third failed attempt to streamline San Francisco's development approval process since 2019.

Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Connie Chan were responsible for the most recent demise of the amendment. "Peskin, the committee’s chair, said that the proposal had not been vetted properly with the various community stakeholders it would affect and that after hearing strong concerns from a chorus of opponents, it would be futile to advance the amendment," according to Morris. 

Mayor Breed responded to the defeat on Twitter, writing: "San Francisco had a chance to make the most significant change in decades to how we build housing in this City. But it was rejected by the Board of Supervisors." 

A Twitter post by University of California, Davis Law Professor Chris Elmendorf explains that the decision to reject the amendment might run afoul of state law. "There's now a strong body of evidence that SF's permitting process is an egregiously bad outlier relative to every other jurisdiction that that's been studied," writes Elmendorf while referencing research published by SSRN in November 2021.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022 in San Francisco Chronicle

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