How Mayor Breed can finally disarm San Francisco NIMBYs’ most formidable weapon
On Wednesday, a San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee deep-sixed Mayor London Breed's proposed charter amendment to streamline permitting of certain affordable housing projects. A quarter to a half of the city's new affordable housing would...
Ideology aside, it seems clear to me that the board of supervisors personally gain by maintaining the power to block housing. Whether through explicit or implicit corruption, it’s very beneficial to be the one who gets to cast the vote in whether something gets built. I’m not even sure how many of the BoS are NIMBYs as much as they just don’t want to give up their power position.
Just look at how the Nordstrom valet lot thing went down. The BoS wanted the developer to make concessions to a NIMBY nonprofit who then in turns contributes to the BoS’s campaign. When the developer didn’t play ball, the BoS killed the deal.
Ha, I thought she found a way to boot Dean Preston and Aaron Peskin from office.
It’s good that people are calling out Aaron Peskin’s lie (at 4:09:13 in video) that “this is the stuff of ordinance”. Discretionary Review, which allows any random person to add significant delay and cost to housing, is baked into San Francisco Charter 4.105 (“All permits and licenses dependent on, or affected by, the City Planning Code administered by the Planning Department shall be approved by the Commission”); therefore any changes to it must be made in the Charter. It is a lie that this could have been an ordinance.
Now, Peskin may have had a point that the affordability thresholds that trigger streamlining should not be in the Charter, and his committee could have changed the charter amendment to make the thresholds mutable (as his Proposition C did), but to kill the streamlining amendment completely on the excuse that the thresholds shouldn’t be in the Charter was pretty disingenuous. If he doesn’t like streamlining, he should discuss streamlining on the merits.
Do it. Stick the first 300 rooms right in the middle of the richest neighborhood in SF. They deserve it. Help SF become a leader in civil rights again instead of a dying corpse of a city that used to be cool and weird.
In theory DR is a good idea- maybe the planning department overlooked a qualitative standard on a particular project and an appellate body (Planning Commission) should hear from neighbors and take a second look. Unfortunately in practice it has been abused, used to extort $$ and/or physical improvements for owners of adjacent properties, used to settle scores between rival neighbors , used to obstruct for no valid land use or planning reason. Same with CEQA appeals. I don’t have the figures (I don’t know if they are tracked) but I would guess that at least half of CEQA appeals are based on topics not considered by CEQA, rendering them a waste of time since they cannot be acted upon.
S.F. just rejected another plan to turn an empty parking lot into apartments
The latest S.F. housing failure: Thousands of units delayed for a study that never happened
Why this Point Reyes woman sold her home for nearly half its $1 million value