A gaggle of powerful members of the tech sector have banded together to support an effort, spearheaded by Governor Jerry Brown, to override local planning reviews and affordable housing requirements for new developments, in order to jumpstart housing development statewide. The Business Times reports that over 80 prominent members of the tech and business community have signed a letter put forth by pro-business group Bay Area Council in support of Brown's "as of right" proposal.
Under the bill, according to the Times, any new development with 20 percent affordable housing would be exempt from most local review laws — as long as the proposed tenants in those units make no more than 80 percent of median income in the area. The bill would also clear hurdles for developments with only 10 percent affordable housing that are near certain forms of public transit.
Signatories to the letter include Marc Benioff (CEO of Salesforce), Ron Conway (prominent angel investor), Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo), Jeremy Stoppelman (CEO of Yelp), Logan Green (CEO of Lyft), and numerous other digerati.
"The state cannot fix a housing crisis without building significantly more housing, more quickly," reads the letter. "This is a state-level problem that must be addressed by our state leaders. [...] This idea respects local control and community values while cutting the 'excess process' that creates lots of controversy but too little housing too late at too high a price."
As Curbed notes, San Francisco would still be able to set minimums for affordable housing, but as soon as those minimums are met in a development "it would have to be approved almost automatically."
Brown's proposal, which is expected to be voted on in August, has clearly frustrated Supervisor Aaron Peskin. According to Curbed, the supervisor yesterday put forth a resolution requesting that Bay Area state representatives amend Brown's bill with the goal of exempting any California city that already hits the 25 percent affordable development mark annually.
"By-right development would restrict the potential to use development incentives to further increase affordability beyond the existing requirements," Peskin says.
Five other supervisors currently support Peskin's proposal.
This post has been updated to clarify the impact of Brown's "as of right" proposal on San Francisco's minimum affordable housing requirements.