Apr 4, 2016 0 Comments in Affordable Housing, Friends of SFHAC, Guest Blog, Inclusionary Housing, Land Use, Planning, Policy by

Zac TownsendZac Townsend, Friend of SFHAC member and Board Member of the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association, published “Broken Promises: The Housing Market in San Francisco (And Ten Ideas to Fix It)” after moderating a housing panel last week. He’s put together a thoughtful, honest and comprehensive rebuttal to those that say supply and demand don’t apply to San Francisco.  

What we appreciate most about Zac’s blog is that he isn’t a paid policy wonk, or someone in the design/build industry who is going to benefit from building more. Zac is someone who loves San Francisco and still believes that we can do something (vs nothing) to keep San Francisco open to those who desire to live here. He’s laid out the problems, researched the stats, provided examples and shares his view of ten policy ideas that would have an positive impact on housing in the city.

  1. Zone for more housing across the entire city.
  2. Allow as-of-right building.
  3. Reexamine bulk, parking, setback, and backyard requirements to encourage more density.
  4. Continue a high, economically sustainable, inclusionary requirement for affordable housing.
  5. Increase investment in public housing by renovating and preserving the units, building more public housing in neighborhoods across the city, and set aside money when the economy is good to build public housing when the economy is bad.
  6. Allow for smaller more affordable units (“Affordable by Design”)
  7. Allow for an increase in the legalization of in-law and secondary units
  8. Rezone underutilized industrial and commercial zoning to housing.
  9. Create incentives for replacing underutilized sites throughout the city, including upzoning and a simplified permitting procedure.
  10. Consider big ideas that have worked elsewhere. For example, developing a Mitchell-Lama Housing-like program by building public-private partnerships so more housing can be built. That program had a ton of flaws and would need to be significantly reworked, but you couldn’t fault it for a lack of ambition.

Read Zac’s entire blog post here. You can follow Zac at @ztownsend.

About the Author

Jodie Medeiros

Jodie is the former Deputy Director of SFHAC.

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