Mayor Lee moves to speed new home construction

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee on Thursday announced that he will speed up the process for creating new homes in The City.

Lee issued an executive directive that will cut the time in half while creating 5,000 new units a year in the future. Lee said in a statement:

“For too long, we failed to develop enough housing in our city, creating an environment where families left San Francisco for more affordable places to live.”

Lee added:

“We will not allow the mistakes of the past to continue. Instead of putting up obstacles to housing, this initiative will foster an environment where homes can be created quickly and efficiently. More housing in San Francisco will make this city more affordable for our families.”

The directive calls for a number of city agencies, including the Office of Economic Workforce Development, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, Department of Building Inspection, Department of Public Works, Port of San Francisco, Public Utilities Commission, Mayor’s Office on Disability, Fire Department and Municipal Transportation Agency, to work collaboratively to meet new deadlines during the entitlement stage and post-entitlement permitting stage for housing projects.

Lee’s directive calls for city agencies to not take longer than six months on a California Environmental Quality Act review and no more than nine months on categorical exemptions.

City agencies will also have to submit a plan to the Mayor’s Office on how they plan to meet the timeframes outlined in Lee’s directive by Jan. 1, 2018.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed said in a statement that the directive will help speed up the building process of new homes in The City:

“I am in full support of accelerating the planning process to build more homes for people and families at all income levels.” The mayor’s proposal seeks to do just that. We need to build more housing faster and remove barriers to allow us to address this crisis.”

Lee’s directive is aimed at streamlining the department review process, decrease the phase application review time, decrease sub-phase review time and establish standard procedures around public improvements.

On Wednesday, Breed was at a press conference supporting a measure by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to help streamline process in building new homeless shelters in The City.