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How NIMBYism Contributes to San Francisco's Housing Shortage

A pattern of opposition to housing projects that leads to the underdevelopment of land has contributed to a housing shortage in San Francisco, writes planning consultant Jim Chappell.
June 18, 2015, 10am PDT | melaniecj
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What does NIMBYism defeated look like? For proponents of a 420-unit housing plan in San Francisco, it looks like a 7-0 approval from the Planning Commission and 4-0 (with only a minor modification) from the Board of Appeals.

Jim Chappell, former head of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), writes that the effort to get the much needed project approved was a drawn out one, largely due to some residents who did not want the housing units in their neighborhood.

Chappell writes that the recent struggle to get this project approved mirrors a similar pattern with other developments in which neighbors opposing the new construction demand that the number of units be cut down. Those demands result in drawn-out squabbling and long delays at the Planning Commission level of approval, with the end result being housing projects on underdeveloped plots that don’t meet the housing demand, according to Chappell.

"Multiple this by ten or twenty times a year, and we were creating the housing shortage that is now upon us. Even with upping our game, San Francisco created some 22,000 jobs from 2010 to 2013, and only around 10,000 housing units during the same period. No wonder the average 1-bedroom in San Francisco is going for $3100 per month!"

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Published on Thursday, June 11, 2015 in UrbDeZine
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