Apr 18, 2016 0 Comments in Board of Supervisors, Interview, Land Use, Monthly Membership Meeting, Policy by

Supervisor Mark FarrellLast week, District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell announced in a press release that he's requested an economic impact report on San Francisco's zoning and land use regulations. This could prove to be a significant move, as many studies have shown a direct correlation between stringent land use policies and high housing costs. We caught up with the Supervisor to learn more about his goals for this report and his plans after it's released.

What led to your request for an economic analysis of our zoning laws?
We need to examine all of the reasons that have contributed to the severe housing shortages and accompanying rising housing costs we have in San Francisco, the region, and the State. I have been paying close attention to the discussions that economists, journalists, housing experts, and urbanists are having around the impacts of zoning and land-use regulations in urban areas – especially in coastal cities. Early research and studies coming out from top economists around the country suggest that overly restrictive zoning and land-use regulations do have far reaching impacts on housing costs and economic, inequality, mobility, and productivity. This early research combined with our housing crisis we’re the main contributing factors to me calling for the necessary analysis.

"We can and should embrace the opportunity to strike a right balance between implementing policies that protect neighborhood diversity and those that promote long-term, sustainable growth that will make our City more equal and affordable for everyone for generations to come."

 

If it turns out that our zoning and land use regulations cause negative economic impacts, where do we go from there?  Is this something you'd be prepared to address legislatively?
First, we need to carefully examine what the analysis shows. If it turns out that our zoning and land-use regulations are causing negative economic impacts, then we need to initiate a serious citywide conversation about those negative impacts and how we can reverse them through administrative, or policy remedies. San Francisco can and should be a shining example of how to plan for long-term, sustainable growth responsibly and we should be prepared to address these impacts legislatively – I personally am. We can and should embrace the opportunity to strike a right balance between implementing policies that protect neighborhood diversity and those that promote long-term, sustainable growth that will make our City more equal and affordable for everyone for generations to come.

What role can San Francisco's citizens play in this conversation?  Aren't we a city notoriously averse to change?
San Francisco’s residents and voters should play a key role in driving this conversation and the accompanying solutions forward because the decisions we make today will have far-reaching impacts for San Francisco into the future. San Francisco is a City that can and has embraced appropriate and responsible change in our City. We can do the same to better plan for and create a San Francisco that is more affordable and equal for everyone.

All SF Housing Action Coalition members are encouraged to come to our Monthly Membership Meeting on May 4th with Supervisor Farrell as our guest speaker to learn more about this report. Not a SF Housing Action Coalition member? Join today! 

About the Author

Corey Smith

Corey is the Deputy Director at SFHAC. He is responsible for educating, engaging and organizing hard working San Franciscans on the housing topics that impact our city. Away from housing, Corey is a sports fan who focuses his emotions on the Oakland Athletics and Oregon Ducks. He can be reached at corey@sfhac.org.

Follow CoreyTwitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *