Correction: This post originally stated that Supervisor Peskin's proposal had been killed. It has not been, and this post has been corrected to reflect that.
SF Supervisor Katy Tang and Mayor Ed Lee have a plan for taller buildings with more affordable housing in their proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program, but more progressive-identified Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Eric Mar have their own, somewhat loftier ideas. Those rival density bonus plans have been at odds, the Business Times illustrated yesterday: The Tang-Lee plan allows for two extra stories on market-rate development projects with 30 percent or more affordable housing, while, by contrast, the Peskin-Mar proposal would only offer height increases to 100 percent affordable housing projects and would limited them to two additional stories.
The contest of ideas didn't last long: The Board of Supervisors voted yesterday on Peskin's motion to hold a hearing on his version of the program, and killed it then and there.
Peskin and Mar's plan, outlined last week, would also require conditional use permits in spite of a February law exempting 100-percent-affordable projects from that hurdle. Furthermore, development would be limited to sites that lie vacant, precluding the demolition of existing structures and building on those sites.
Peskin called the plan "Density Done Right: The 100 percent affordable alternative" in an Examiner op-ed yesterday, writing that "As evidenced by the energy at last week’s '100 percent affordable alternative' rally and press conference, people are excited to tackle a new vision for housing creation and preservation."
Tang has been critical of the opposing plan, as has been Tim Colen, executive director of the San Francisco Housing Action Committee. "It's a very disappointing proposal," Colen told the Business Times yesterday. "We don't understand how it would produce any housing at all. This is public money." That last remark speaks to the idea that development of below-market-rate rents building would likely rely completely on public subsidies.
And, of course, all of this could be moot if Governor Brown has his way. He's got a proposed state law working its way through the legislature that could, if it passes as-is which it likely won't? allow developers who include even a small amount of affordable housing in their plans to bypass all the local approval hurdles that make development in SF as slow as it is. It's billed as "density bonus" legislation, but it would actually be a massive change for places like SF where development is often kept in check by neighborhood groups, the Planning Commission, and others.