Housing measures crowd June ballot

Affordable housing is shaping up to be a key issue in the June election in San Francisco following the submission this week of three ballot measures.

Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisors Jane Kim and Scott Wiener all submitted affordable housing measures Tuesday before a 5 p.m. deadline for the June ballot.

The competing measures by Lee and Kim both seek to establish new guidelines for inclusionary housing, the affordable housing that developers are required to provide as part of new housing projects.

The city currently requires developers to make 12 percent of on-site units affordable or 25 percent if the affordable units are built off-site. Developers can also pay in-lieu fees into a city affordable housing fund.

Lee’s measure would require a housing working group to conduct an economic feasibility study to determine the maximum amount of affordable housing that can be generated and recommend adjustments to on-site, off-site and in-lieu fee requirements, according to the mayor’s office. It also requires the city to consider housing for middle class families.

Lee emphasized the need for consensus and said the measure would “ensure we produce the maximum amount of affordable housing for low and middle income families without the unintended consequence of stifling affordable housing production.” Kim’s measure, first introduced earlier this month with the backing of supervisors Aaron Peskin, John Avalos and David Campos, would set a 25 percent requirement for on-site affordable housing, a 33 percent requirement for off-site affordable housing and a 33 percent requirement for in-lieu fees. A portion of the affordable housing provided could be affordable to middle-income families, and the in-lieu fee could be set at a lower level if a city study demonstrates that a lower level would be legally appropriate.

Both measures would also remove the inclusionary housing requirement from the city charter, making it easier for the Board of Supervisors to modify it in the future.

Wiener submitted a ballot measure with the support of supervisors Katy Tang, Malia Cohen and Mark Farrell that would streamline and speed up the approval process for 100 percent affordable housing projects.

The measure is identical to legislation Wiener recently introduced to the board, but he said today that it was intended as a “backstop” in case the board rejected the ordinance, which drew opposition at a recent planning commission meeting.

“I introduced this ballot measure when it became clear that this common-sense policy was falling prey to politics,” Wiener said. “If the Board of Supervisors passes the ordinance, I will happily withdraw the ballot measure.” The mayor and supervisors have until March 4 to withdraw the measures submitted Tuesday from the ballot.

Lee also introduced on Tuesday a transportation measure that would establish a city policy prioritizing investments in transportation infrastructure and safety projects including Muni vehicles and infrastructure, road repaving and repair, bicycle and pedestrian safety improvements as well as spending on regional transit systems.