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Supes call for doubling fees office developers pay toward affordable housing

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Fees that San Francisco collects from developers who build office space are long overdue for an increase, says District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney.

Haney on Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors introduced legislation would increase what’s called the jobs-housing linkage fee that developers pay, approximately $29 per square feet of office space. The proposal calls for doubling the fee.

The fee is generated from a formula in a nexus study that links the impacts of newly-created large office space to the increased demand of more housing due to the increase of new workers in The City.

Fees collected from The City that go into a housing fund where the Mayor’s Office of Housing administers the funds to build low- and middle-income housing.

That study, though, has not been updated since 1997 and the formula does not represent the current situation in The City, Haney said at a rally outside of City Hall:

“It’s time that we catch up.”

Haney continued that the fee should be adjusted to reflect inflation costs:

“The cost of construction has skyrocketed. The cost of building affordable housing has skyrocketed. Yet, this fee has not gone up with that level of inflation.”

The fee generated $30 million in 2015 and $67 million in 2016 to help build affordable housing, according to Haney’s office.

David Woo, community development coordinator with the South of Market Community Action Network, said developers need to pay their fair share for impacts they have on residents, the streets and neighborhoods:

“We just can’t’ build and build our way out of the affordable housing crisis when developers are only paying pennies in return for the massive profits they are making.”

Woo is also calling for The City to release an updated nexus study so that office developer fees can be adjusted accordingly.

Haney said that he does not need to wait The City to release the next study to propose to change the fee, but said he would make amendments as needed when the study is out.

Supervisors Aaron Peskin, Gordon Mar, Hillary Ronen, Shamann Walton, and Sandra Lee Fewer, all support the Haney’s proposed legislation.

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