Mission housing subject to additional scrutiny

The San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday afternoon to adopt interim controls that would require every new development in the Mission to be evaluated based on the its impact to the neighborhood.

The commission approved the proposal with some amendments, including changing the length of the controls from nine to 15 months.

The interim controls would not suspend development in the neighborhood, but instead would require projects to undergo additional review if they are above a certain size or if they involve the loss of rent-controlled units or the displacement of community-serving businesses such as light industry or entertainment, according to planning officials.

The proposal has been revised and simplified several times since it was first introduced in July in the midst of a heated debate over housing affordability and displacement in the city, according to planning department officials.

It was overshadowed in the fall, however, by Proposition I, a November ballot measure which would have placed an 18-month moratorium on new housing development in the neighborhood.

Proposition I however was shot down, receiving only 43 percent of the vote.

The controls would apply to projects that had not yet been approved as of Jan. 14, in an area bounded by 13th and Division Street, Mission Street, Cesar Chavez Boulevard and Potrero Street.

Affected projects could require additional hearings and a review of community impacts including displacement of housing or businesses in the area, changing neighborhood demographics and affects on housing production and affordability, planning department officials said.

During the meeting, commissioners noted that the new amended 15-month version would give the city adequate time to complete work on its larger Mission Action Plan 2020.

The plan, an effort involving multiple city agencies, will cover topics such as tenant protections, small businesses, opportunities for affordable housing development and housing preservation, according to planning department officials.