SF told to build housing, not happy about it

First, I’m back from a much-needed vacation. I’m reminded how darn cold it is in SF in November, even when it’s sunny…

And on the housing front, the Examiner ran a story on Monday about how the Association of Bay Area Governments is asking SF to pull their own weight and create their fair share of housing. What a concept.

Problem is, they don’t want to. Not to mention that they are THOUSANDS of units behind their last mandate from 2002.

From the Examiner,

San Francisco is protesting a new method by which Bay Area cities and towns will be asked to create new housing, in part because it would double the amount The City is recommended to build.

The method, announced by the Association of Bay Area Governments Nov. 17, creates a new way of assigning “housing responsibility” — quotas for new housing — to different cities and counties, according to ABAG spokeswoman Kathleen Cha.

To ensure that market-rate and low-income housing keeps up with population growth, California law has since 1984 required regional agencies, such as ABAG, to mandate how many new units individual cities must build. It also requires individual cities to outline how they will meet those goals — although it does not actually require cities to build housing, according to Cha.

For the first time, ABAG will create those quotas based on economic growth — those cities showing signs of job and residential growth near major transit corridors will be assigned a higher housing responsibility.

For San Francisco, ABAG will boost local quotas for the creation of new housing — which were 20,000 between 2002 and 2009 — to 40,000 between 2009 and 2016, according to San Francisco Planning Department representative Sarah Dennis. In the past seven years, The City has struggled to meet its allocation, creating only 13,000 new units by the end of 2005.

“We would be looking at 5,000 or 6,000 units a year, which San Francisco has never seen,” Dennis said. “It’s hard to imagine, especially at a time when the market is cooling off.” [more…]

Who cares if the market is cooling off? What better time to find developers looking for incentives to build? Why would a developer want to build more affordable housing in a booming market?

Where’s the logic here?

Other than the fact that everyone knows of the perpetual banging-one’s-head-against-the-wall when it comes to discussing the creation of new housing with our Board of Supervisors… Heaven forbid one of the districts (other than Daly-ville) would see some new construction.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Build more housing! All types of housing! All over the city!

And if the market ends up being flat for a while, more supply will only help people get into the market.

But just like a spoiled child, San Francisco doesn’t like to be told what to do…

New housing formula draws protest from S.F. [Examiner]


5 Responses to “SF told to build housing, not happy about it”

  1. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Build more housing! All types of housing! All over the city!”



    What is it around here that takes NIMBY’ism to another level – to nearly an art form?

    The Hetch Hetchy water? It’s gotta be something…

    sf jack at November 30th, 2006 at 3:21 am ( )
  2. P.S. – I don’t think it’s ever cold in SF.

    It might be cooler or it might be warmer… but it’s never cold.

    I can’t remember the last time that anywhere in the City it dipped below 32F.

    sf jack at November 30th, 2006 at 3:24 am ( )
  3. NIMBYism aside, SF and most California metros in general need to build more housing for none other than the need to give young families and middle income residents a reason to stay.

    Even people making 6 figure incomes ( myself included) do not like the idea of paying every single penny they make on a substandard house that elsewhere in just about any other metro ( some of them very nice- like Austin for example) will land them in a nice house with half the costs.
    If you look at the stats since 1990, the BA has lost over 100,000. This was the count in 2000. Given that the state lost close to 350,000 at the last count in 2004, I have no doubt that this number has increased even further since then due to rising housing costs. In fact, only NY has lost more population than CA.
    What’s more troubling is that this number has been heavily offset by an influx of immigrants from across the border. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but it does show a broad picture of what the social composition of the region is becoming, which is a vast sea of lower income residents and an almost equally large populace of wealthy residents. This also shows that the largest group leaving the BA are predominantly middle class. I would even be willing to be that more recent groups to pack their bags are upper middle income level individuals and families.

    It is very important that a region maintain a healthy middle class. There has been no upwardly mobile society in history that has maintained a healthy economy without a middle class for long, and SF and the BA are heading into this direction.

    Interestingly enough, that states that have gained the most population are ones like North Carolina, Texas, Maine, and Georgia. Why?- Because they are affordable and offer a ever-growing economic dynamic that allows middle income residents to live a lifestyle that is no longer possible in the current most bubbly areas like SF, LA, NYC, etc… So in some ways, these newer areas are swapping places with California in terms of economic development and social strata.

    This brings me back to the case in point: Sf and the BA MUST build mixed income housing developments. There are no longer any excuses not to. The latest bubble is yet one more cycle that proves that without stop-gap measures that ensure a supply of homes for all income levels, these cycles can and will get progressively worse, deteriorating the local economy further with each passing. We have yet to even start the repercussions of what this latest bubble deflation will cause, but so far the indications and reports across the country are pointing towards a dismal 2007 and perhaps beyond.

    There is an opportunity in the time period between the end of this cycle and the start of another. The last cycle took 5 years to fully unwind, and it was far from being as severe as this one. Thus there is a potentially extended period of time that the BA can address, discuss, solve, and execute a plan to build now while the RE ferver is cooling.

    Simply put- If SF wants to compete with the rest of the country that’s rapidly catching up and filling with young bright minds, then they are going to have to ensure they don’t lose anymore of their future’s workforce and population by giving them reasonable places to live.

    Anonymous at December 1st, 2006 at 4:37 pm ( )
  4. Yet another solid argument.

    SF residents can complain all day about ‘gentrification’, but it all comes down to ‘change’. People can’t stand ‘change’.

    I lost another two close friends to Portland and Austin this fall. Both upper-middle class families with children. They can certainly afford to live here, but it’s a bit too much of a battle.

    You have to wonder if our tenant majority (the ones responsible for voting in our current crop of politicos, both in 2004 and 2006) has any idea what they are doing to the city they claim to be defending…

    It’s obvious that the ‘supes THINK they’re doing the right thing, but for whom?

    And what happens when the city is nothing but lower class and upper class? Who has won that battle?


    Matt Lanning at December 2nd, 2006 at 3:00 am ( )
  5. My thoughts exactly. I came from another part of the country and every single time I visit, it just blows my mind that I have friends who still live there who have low paying jobs… yet they’ve just bought their first house. One of my old friends bought his place for 57k.
    I think the issue facing California in general is the sheer extremes in cost that have now caused the comparable living standards from one state compared to here as being undeniably shameful. Some of the older homes in our neighborhood that have sold more recently were seriously 1960’s boxy looking things with hideous architecture. There’s nothing great about them, and frankly they were built for lower middle income families decades ago. The person residing there now drives a new BMW. So in essence there has been a declassification of the middle and upper middle class: the upper middle class now barely fit into the middle class, and the former middle into the lower.
    I think many people- especially first time buyers have realized that they can easily rid themselves of the equation here by driving 1000 miles in any direction.
    California will need to address the many anti-development laws that have been on the books for decades unless it wants to continue losing it’s younger generations. To me, the net outflow of young talent is the biggest threat facing California.

    The best solution is to build more houses. Plain and simple.

    Anonymous at December 4th, 2006 at 4:24 pm ( )

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