Ballot measure would double affordable housing requirements

A ballot measure introduced by Supervisors Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin Tuesday would double the amount of affordable housing developers are required to include in housing projects, and give the Board of Supervisors more power to adjust that requirement in the future.

The measure, a revised version of one introduced last month, would raise the amount of on-site affordable housing developers are required to provide from 12 to 25 percent, and the number of off-site affordable units, or fees paid in lieu for such units, from 20 to 33 percent.

The measure would also remove the so-called inclusionary housing requirement from the city charter, where any changes must be approved by voters, and place it under the legislative control of the board of supervisors. Kim said the change would give the board more flexibility to respond to changing circumstances.

The measure introduced today, intended for the June election, could beat one sponsored by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor London Breed to the ballot.

Lee and Breed in December called for a measure raising the inclusionary housing requirement, tentatively intended for the November ballot, but did not specify what level it should be set at. Instead, Lee said he would convene a housing working group that would include developers in discussions on how to increase affordable housing and speed up housing construction.

Speaking today at the board’s meeting, Kim said that 60 percent of San Francisco residents qualify for some form of affordable housing, and those residents need that housing “right now”:

¬†“We can’t afford to wait any longer.”

Some large projects recently have offered levels of affordable housing higher than 12 percent. The Mission Rock mixed-use development near AT&T Park, which was approved by voters in November, and the 5M project approved by the Board of Supervisors last month, both included 40 percent affordable housing in response to pressure from city officials.

Kim was actively involved in the negotiations on the 5M project in the South of Market neighborhood, which is in her district.

The moves have not been without controversy, however. Critics of the 5M project have argued that the developer is not actually providing affordable housing, since some of the units target those in middle to higher income brackets and some are in the form of fees paid toward off-site projects.