"London School of Economics and UCLA Professor Michael Storper cautions that the idea that blanketed upzoning will cause affordability to trickle down is a flawed premise that will lead to bad urbanism that we will live to regret.” - read more
Under the new Housing Element, the SF Planning Department's blanketed upzoning plans are an overzealous approach to encourage production of more housing by drastically increasing the allowable building heights across large swaths of San Francisco's neighborhoods, in particular the northern and western parts of the city. There is no requirement or guarantee this scattershot, unpredictable and unmanageable method will yield even a fraction of the targeted affordable housing goals (44,000 units by 2031). There is no statistical modeling to support this approach.
Current Zoning is Sufficient: If the intended height limit is truly 8-stories, we are already close to that threshold. Developers can currently build up to 7-stories (comprising the existing 4-story heights plus the SDB, which mandates 10-15% affordable units). However, if Planning decides to upzone Lombard to 8-stories, developers would no longer be obligated to include any affordable units in their projects. Given that the SDB is a key method for the City to attempt to reach its goal of 44,000 affordable housing units, it raises the question: why eliminate this incentive? Gain insights from this brief video by an Oakland State Assembly candidate who resonates with our concerns.
Upzoning Is Not the Answer: Upzoning not only undermines affordability incentives like the State Density Bonus (SDB) but also overlooks critical infrastructure upgrades for an anticipated surge in population (82,000 units equating to approximately 200,000 new residents, a 25% increase). Unaddressed traffic and parking issues compound the problem. The intended goal of diverse housing options falters as luxury condos dominate, impacting property values and creating a disruptive corridor through our neighborhoods. Removing the resident's voice exacerbates these issues, with no notifications for proposed projects using SDB and no avenue to express concerns.