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Charter amendment seeks to boost affordable housing development

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced Wednesday a number of proposals that will help expedite building affordable housing and housing for teachers.

The first charter amendment would help the streamline the process for 100 percent affordable and teacher housing known as a “as-of-right” approval, which would exempt eligible housing projects from discretionary reviews and appeals.

Eligible projects would include 100 percent affordable housing projects for households with an area median income of up to 140 percent, and projects where two-thirds of the housing units are for teachers with the San Francisco Unified School District or City College District.

Breed said Tuesday at a press conference at City Hall:

“We no longer let the bureaucracy of city government to stand in the way. We will no longer let barriers to housing stand in the way.”

Breed continued:

“No more hoops to jump through. No more commission hearings. No more appeals. No more no in my backyard.”

The charter amendment needs six votes from the Board of Supervisors to place the proposal on the November ballot. Supervisors Vallie Brown and Ahsha Safai support the charter amendment.

In a second proposal for the November ballot, Breed said she wants to increase the number of available parcels to build more affordable housing for residents and teachers.

The ballot initiative, if passed by voters, would rezone all of The City’s public parcels, with the exception of public parks, to allow building of affordable housing using the as-of-right approval.

Breed said:

“This ballot measure will allow us to move more quickly and use surplus public to build badly needed affordable and teacher housing.”

One example Breed gave was the ongoing process to allow affordable housing for teachers on the former site of the Francis Scott Key Annex in the Outer Sunset. Former Mayor Ed Lee committed $44 million for the project in 2017, but the project is still undergoing the rezoning and California Environmental Quality Act process, Breed, said.

The mayor can place the measure on the ballot without the approval from the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Vallie Brown said both the proposals will allow middle-income city workers, such as teachers and Muni operators, to be able to live in The City instead of having to commute to work:

“When you think they have to drive hours in to drive a bus or they’re sleeping in their cars because they can’t afford this city, that’s wrong.”

Sam Moss, executive director of the Mission Housing Development Corporation, said it was time for other neighborhood leaders and city supervisors to help with The City’s housing crisis:

“From St. Francis Wood to the Sunset, from the Marina and Pac Heights, it’s time for everyone to get onboard and be part of solving this crisis. The Mission and SoMa, and the Bayview cannot do it alone any longer.”

City officials are also working on placing an affordable housing bond of $500 million on the November ballot. It would require eight votes of the Board of Supervisors to place the bond measure on the ballot.

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