Two homeless people sleep under blankets in Grand View Park, overlooking the west side of San Francisco. (File photo by Tom Pendergast.)
By Thomas K. Pendergast
(Originally posted on December 16, 2015, at SFBay, a news website for the San Francisco Bay Area.)
A proposal now before the SF Planning Commission is under fire by critics who see it as a threat to rent-controlled housing, and the Planning Department is countering them with a compromise.
The Mayor’s office and Supervisor Katy Tang are promoting the Affordable Housing Bonus Program as a way to create below-market-rate (BMR) housing so Mayor Lee can meet his goal of building 10,000 “affordable” new units by 2020.
The AHBP would allow developers of projects with 30 percent of on-site BMR housing guaranteed for at least 55 years to build up to two additional stories than allowed by zoning laws, and three stories more if the project is 100 percent affordable housing.
Planning Department officials say that the primary focus of the program is commercial corridors and the program would not apply to lots zoned for single-family homes or two-unit houses.
It does, however, include lots zoned for commercial and retail business and buildings with more than two residential units. A project with ten residential units or more would have to build the affordable housing on-site to qualify.
According to the department, 30,850 lots citywide could potentially be affected and 240 ‘soft sites’ — those most likely to be developed using this program — have already been identified.