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The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

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Mayor Lee Announces Acceleration of Housing Production & Protection of Existing Housing Stock
City to Prioritize Construction & Development of All New Housing Including Permanently Affordable Housing & Preserve Existing Housing Stock
Posted Date: 2/6/2014
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced that he will implement recommendations resulting from a Mayoral Executive Directive to accelerate housing production and preserve existing housing stock. The Working Group recommends prioritizing new 100 percent affordable housing, moderate-income units and market rate housing that offers on-site affordable units.

“With a robust economic recovery, accelerating our housing production is a top priority for our City,” said Mayor Lee. “The Working Group’s recommendations provide a series of in-depth changes that will not only help us build 30,000 new homes by 2020, but also ensures that we protect current tenants’ rights and preserve existing affordable rental apartments. I thank Department of Building Inspection, Planning Department and other members of the Working Group for preparing these recommendations so that we can ensure our City remains an affordable place to live for all residents.”

In forming the Working Group, Mayor Lee specifically requested detailed actions to address the housing crisis in San Francisco. The Group’s recommendations include a particular focus on measures that City departments can implement immediately, without legislation or further extensive study. These responses include administrative changes that will help retain existing habitable units, speed review and approval of new housing, and encourage housing construction; and two coordination measures to help protect rental housing. Priority recommendations include:
•    prioritizing development projects based on the amount of affordable housing produced;
•    reducing the loss of housing – legal or otherwise – by requiring a Planning Commission hearing when such housing is proposed to be eliminated;
•    coordinating the City’s permitting and asset-holding agencies to gain efficiencies in housing production; and
•    improving public information and transparency relating to the City’s development procedures and pipeline housing projects.
The Working Group also developed a process for Planning Commission Discretionary Review hearings when a loss of housing is proposed. The Department of Building Inspection and Planning Department will coordinate with the Rent Board on code compliance checks for buildings that are being withdrawn from the rental market.

“Incorporating administrative process-improvement changes to the Planning Department and the Department of Building Inspection are crucial elements in our recommendations in order to simplify the production of affordable housing,” said DBI Director Tom Hui.

Co-chaired by the Planning Department and the Department of Building Inspection, the Working Group included representatives from Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection, Mayor’s Office of Housing, Rent Board, Fire Department, Department of Public Works, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Mayor’s Office of Disability, Mayor’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, City Attorney’s Office, Planning Commission, and Building Inspection Commission, as well as representatives from non-City agencies, such as SPUR, Council of Community Housing Organizations, San Francisco Apartment Association, Small Property Owners, and the Housing Rights Committee.

“We’re extremely grateful for the commitment from both our City and non-City partners who all provided excellent recommendations for this Memo,” said Planning Director John Rahaim. “As a group, we worked hard to prioritize the coordination between agencies that we could easily implement. We are committed to immediately carry out these short-term recommendations.”

To address the City’s housing shortage, and the pent-up demand and price escalation that has resulted from it, Mayor Lee in his State of the City set forth the goal to construct and rehabilitate 30,000 homes by 2020 with at least one-third of those permanently affordable to low and moderate income families. The Mayor developed a seven point plan to guide the City towards achievement of these ambitious housing targets. The Mayor will ask housing leaders, developers, advocates and property owners to participate in a new working group which will examine potential solutions under these tenets, develop a plan for their execution, and form a coalition around their implementation. This working group will also review the series of mid-term and long-term recommendations developed by the Executive Directive Working Group that may require community vetting or legislation.

Memorandum Response to Executive Directive 13-01: Housing Production & Preservation of Rental Stock