One controversial news item this week is talk by Supervisor David Campos of a moratorium on any more new market-rate housing in the quickly gentrifying Mission district something that a lot of people think is counter-intuitive given the city's severe housing shortage. The argument, of course, is one of affordability, but it gets at the heart of the supply-and-demand debate, and on the surface sounds like a very familiar San Francisco story of the clash between politics and the momentum of a free market spawned by fears of density and gentrification.
As the Business Times reports, Campos is drafting his proposal based on the recommendations of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, a group that came together in 2014 to combat the forces of gentrification threatening the current character and businesses of the 24th Street corridor. And at issue in particular are potential plans for dense market-rate housing around 24th Street BART, perhaps along the lines of this huge project going in at 16th Street.
The group wants market-rate development along the corridor slowed or halted, and for the city to fast-track affordable developments in the neighborhood. Says Campos to the Chron, "Absolutely everything is on the table," including a moratorium on market-rate housing. And he says, "I am in complete agreement that this is a crisis and that the status quo is not working."
Getting such a proposal through the current Board of Supervisors, in the current climate of residential housing need, will be tough, however. And some would argue that Jane Kim and the Mayor's pledge to get developers on board with building 30 percent affordable units, and 50 percent affordable to the "middle class," is a better compromise though we've yet to see how that will be enforced, as a policy. And certainly it's disturbing to realize that only six percent of the housing in the current pipeline is even affordable to the middle class.
Still, Business Times readers, in this poll, overwhelming say that any talk of a moratorium on housing construction right now is insane. 83 percent of them say we need "more residential development across all price points." But, of course, that is the Business Times.
It will be weeks or months before we know what any possible legislation might look like from Campos, and before he brings it before his other colleagues on the Board.
Previously: How City Hall Actually Thinks It Can Get More Affordable Housing Built
Confirmed: Condo Developer Cuts Deal To Avoid Affordable Housing Requirement
Affordable Housing Compromise Reached For November Ballot