Dueling paths toward to a potential moratorium on market-rate development in the Mission moved forward this week. One is a two-year, temporary measure that Supervisor David Campos wants to pass via a vote of the Board, and the other would be a ballot initiative that is being championed by Edwin Lindo of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club, who happens to be planning to run for Campos' seat on the Board after Campos gets termed out next year. As the Chronicle reports, it's looking at the moment like the ballot measure would be easier to pass, with Campos running up against both the moderate bloc of the Board, and progressive swing vote London Breed.
Campos may just be playing politics as he prepares to campaign for his own top choice for his replacement, his aide Hillary Ronen it seems pretty clear that he will not be able to get the nine votes necessary on the Board since this would be classified as an "interim urgency ordinance." But he is quite serious in his indictments against the steamroller of gentrification that's been sweeping the Mission neighborhood. As his office noted in a press release, "The Mission has lost over 1,600 low to moderate income households since 2000. At the same time, the population of Latinos in the Mission has declined by more than 8,000."
Under his proposed ordinance, which he introduced at yesterday's Board meeting, there would be a two-year halt of all market-rate development approvals within the following boundaries: Cesar Chavez Street from Guerrero Street to Potrero Avenue, Potrero from Cesar Chavez to 20th Street, 20th from Potrero to Bryant Street, Bryant from 20th to Division Street, Division from Bryant to Valencia Street, and Valencia from Division to Cesar Chavez. This would severely delay the 330-unit development planned for 16th Mission, which was set to be one-quarter affordable or below-market-rate. In his argument for the moratorium, Campos noted that only 7 percent of the 478 housing units currently in the pipeline in the Mission are affordable. The proposed moratorium would make exceptions for any project that was entirely made up of affordable units.
Says Campos to The Examiner, "The future of this neighborhood is riding on it. If we don’t do this, we will lose the Mission. And if we lose the Mission, we will lose San Francisco."
Meanwhile, Lindo's proposed ballot initiative would delay market-rate projects by 18 months, as the Business Times reports, and would apply to projects of more than 20 units.
Opponents of this type of thinking say that you can't get affordable housing built unless you do it through the current allocations in market-rate developments. Economically speaking, the property is all worth too much money to make all-affordable projects pencil out. Scott Wiener calls Campos's proposal a "terrible idea," and adds, "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." Wiener previously argued that "market-produced housing, through our inclusionary housing program, is the most significant source of new affordable units coming online" that we have.
Writing on Vox, Timothy Lee argues for prioritizing long-term growth and density. He says that "municipal institutions systematically privilege the interests of incumbent local residents over the broader needs of the city," but he acknowledges that in creating density you are inevitably displacing locals, often in rent-controlled homes.
It remains to be seen if Lindo will get his measure on the ballot or if it could pass though a quick poll of likely voters conducted in March showed 65 percent support for a moratorium on market-rate housing for at least one year. An informal poll of SFist readers showed a different result, with a vast majority favoring more development overall.