San Francisco's Board of Supervisors respond with a resolution opposing State Senator Scott Wiener's bill
San Francisco's District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin sponsored a resolution which was passed by the SF Board of Supervisors on April 3, 2018, opposing SB 827.
Story and photos by Thomas K. Pendergast
A bill now sitting in the state legislature would take the zoning power to reject taller buildings away from municipalities across California if developers want to put them near public transit stops.
The bill’s opponents fear that, if passed, it would result in more low-income people being pushed out of neighborhoods to make way for luxury apartments, aside from light, air and traffic congestion issues.
But the sponsor of Senate Bill-827, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), says his bill,now sitting in committee and up for debate sometime in April, would make housing more affordable for everyone by expanding the maximum level of floors and density allowable by zoning laws within a half to a quarter of a mile from public transportation lines.
The law would require cities to allow four- to eight-story tall apartment and condominium buildings in residential areas if they are within a half mile of major transit hubs, like a Bay Area Rapid Transit or Caltrain station, or within a quarter mile of “highly used” bus and light rail stops. Almost all of the Richmond and Sunset districts would be de-facto re-zoned under Weiner’s SB-827.
The new height standard would depend on the size of the street. Buildings on narrower streets would be limited to four or five stories, while eight-story structures could go up on larger streets, like Geary Boulevard.
Among those who support the bill, according to the SF Chronicle, are tech executives like Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Logan Green of Lyft.
In San Francisco, push back came from District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin at a recent meeting of the SF Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Transportation Committee, when he introduced a resolution to oppose the measure, which was subsequently passed by the board on April 3 on an 8-3 vote, with board President London Breed, supervisors Asha Safai and Jeff Sheehy voting against the resolution.
“This is a very, very important piece of legislation,” Peskin said, referring to SB 827. “This is a piece of state law that, while it may look on its surface to be about zoning regulations in the state of California, if you look at it carefully it disproportionately impacts one city and county, which is the city and county of San Francisco.”