Currently, the City is revising the SF Housing Element in part, to meet the State mandated goal of 82,069 more units by 2031. This extremely high number of housing units imposed on San Francisco by our State legislators was purposeful. If San Francisco does not build the required number of units, the amount not built by the deadline becomes by-right, meaning that many of the zoning controls and allowances for neighborhood input will be removed, along with CEQA objections (environmental review), enabling developers to build what they want.
In Cow Hollow and Marina, the SF Housing Element plans to rezone Lombard and Chestnut Streets to 65 ‘ to 85’ in height as a way to increase housing production.
This rezoning alone will permanently change the character of the neighborhood. In addition, a developer can then apply the SDB law and other State laws on top of the new height allowance and we could see buildings as tall as 120’ on Lombard Street.
No one in the City or State is looking at the reality of these laws to understand if they’re being abused (article: Lots of Housing Laws. Not much housing.) Are these laws still applicable considering all the changes in San Francisco post-Covid? San Francisco has an abundance of unused office space, vacancies on commercial corridors, over 50,000 projects that are entitled (which means permitted and able to be constructed) but have never been built, and the recent boom in tall luxury towers that are mostly dark at night because of the price tag and many units purchased solely as an investment property by off-shore or commercial interests. Does upzoning large swaths of San Francisco actually lower the cost of housing or is it a developer’s dream to build towering buildings, make their profits, bring blight, and leave behind a city forever changed?
Please attend in person (ideally) or join via Zoom for the Pre-Application meeting on August 17th at 6 pm. We will also keep you posted on opportunities for public comment on the pending Housing Element proposed zoning changes.
We are sounding the alarm. If we don’t act now, we will lose the fight to keep what it is that makes our neighborhood and San Francisco so special.