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Controversial Housing Moratorium Proposed for San Francisco's Mission District

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, who represents the popular Mission District, has proposed a 45-day moratorium on market-rate, multifamily residential development. A ballot measure is possible.
May 12, 2015, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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On Friday (May 8), hundreds of demonstrators at City Hall "rallied in support of the 45-day housing moratorium introduced at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday by neighborhood representative David Campos," writes Joshua Sabatini for The (San Francisco) Examiner. "The demonstration was in response to an effort to preserve the Latino culture in the Mission that is threatened by displacement, rising rents and evictions amid a housing crisis that has impacted neighborhoods citywide."

The proposal would halt the issuance of any permit for the demolition, merger, conversion or new construction of any housing project containing five or more units. Developments containing all below-market-rate units would still be permissible.

It would apply to a 1.5-square-mile area, according to Emily Green of the San Francisco Chronicle.

It will need the support from nine of the 11-member City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. "And while supervisors Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell are opposed to it, four other supervisors are undecided," writes Sabatini. Campos has four supporters.

“It’s a terrible idea,” Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, said before the May 5, Board of Supervisors meeting wrote Green. “It seems to rely on the theory that we can control who moves into the city and who moves into the Mission. People are going to move where they are going to move.”

Board President London Breed said she was sympathetic to Campos’ proposal but also concerned it could backfire. (D)evelopers pay fees to the city that are used to build affordable housing. Without market-rate development, she asked, “how would we get the money to do the affordable housing piece?”

It also lacks support from Mayor Ed Lee who "said last month that 'when you are in the midst of a housing crisis, you don't slow down production'," writes Cory Weinberg of the San Francisco Business Times. 

As the Business Times first reported [May 4], neighborhood activists will soon try to collect signatures for a ballot measure to halt market-rate housing for 18 months. Or they may not need to: Four supervisors can put an issue on the public ballot simply by saying so.

The proposal is already having a stifling effect on new 15 new residential developments proposed for The Mission, writes Weinberg. "Most are proposing to build about the city minimum of 12 percent on-site affordable housing units, but Maximus (Real Estate Partners) has pitched an unconventional plan to improve the affordability at the 16th Street BART station."

Full Story:
Published on Friday, May 8, 2015 in San Francisco Examiner
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