Mayor Lee calls for stiffer affordable housing requirements

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Tuesday called for a ballot measure that would increase the amount of affordable housing developers are required to include in projects and increase the pace of development in The City.

Private housing developments in San Francisco are currently required to include 12 percent affordable housing, although developers also have the option of paying into an affordable housing fund or funding affordable units at a different location.

However, two major projects, the Mission Rock mixed-use development near AT&T Park and the 5M project in the South of Market neighborhood, have recently included 40 percent affordable housing in response to pressure from city officials.

Lee, who presented his proposal for a new charter amendment to the Board of Supervisors today, did not specify how much the inclusionary housing requirement should be increased.

Instead, he said he would reconvene a housing working group that helped develop the Housing Trust Fund in 2012 and other recent housing policies. The group will consider how much affordable housing The City should require of developers and also look at ways to speed up housing construction, Lee said.

“We’ve taken real steps these last four years to produce more new affordable housing than ever before, but in prosperous times like these, we can require developers to build even more housing for lower and middle income residents,” especially in larger developments, Lee said Tuesday.

Lee’s proposal was made with the backing of Supervisor London Breed, who said that “12 percent affordable is not enough.” “We must push the envelope and require developers to build as much housing as possible that San Franciscans can actually afford,” Breed said today.

Lee said he hoped to develop the measure in time for the November 2016 ballot.