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Density Bonuses Proposed to Spur Affordable Housing in San Francisco

Mayor Ed Lee this week proposed a density bonus policy that would help the city build approximately 16,000 new units of housing, including 5,000 affordable units along select transit corridors.
September 30, 2015, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Jorg Hackemann

"Neighborhoods across the west side of San Francisco could see thousands of new housing units under a measure Mayor Ed Lee is proposing that would allow builders to exceed current height restrictions in exchange for including more affordable units," reports J.K. Dineen. "The affordable housing bonus program, which will be introduced at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, would allow an extra two stories of height on projects that include 30 percent affordable units and an extra three stories on 100 percent affordable developments."

The density bonuses would offer a unique addition to San Francisco building envelope. Dineen notes that neighborhoods like SoMa, Rincon Hill, Mission Bay, Upper Market, and Dogpatch were recently up-zoned, leading to waves of new development. The density bonuses, however, "would apply to transit corridors that have not been rezoned" including Noriega Street, Taraval Street, Geary Boulevard, Irving Street, Ocean Avenue, Balboa Street, and Fulton Street.

The article also cites an analysis finding 240 underutilized parcels that could accommodate new development in those new areas, with the potential for 16,000 new units, "about 5,000 of which would be affordable." The article includes more on the income levels that will be able to afford the units generated by the program.

Mayor Ed Lee announced a goal to "to build or rehabilitate 10,000 units for low-income and working-class families by 2020" earlier this month. 

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Published on Monday, September 28, 2015 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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