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San Francisco’s politically contentious issue of affordable housing – or, more precisely, the lack thereof – took a new turn as Mayor Ed Lee called for the inclusion of a charter amendment on the November 2016 ballot that will require more affordable housing from private developers in new housing developments.
Later this month, Mayor Lee will convene a working group to draft the language of the charter amendment. City officials, housing advocates, community leaders and representatives from different sectors of the real estate industry – including affordable housing and market rate property developers plus real estate agents and small property owners – are expected to be part of this working group.
“We’ve taken real steps these last four years to produce more new affordable housing than ever before, but in prosperous times like these, we can require developers to build even more housing for lower and middle income residents as part of any new project, especially large new development projects,” said Mayor Lee. “I am confident that working together with the Board of Supervisors and the housing community we can create a consensus charter amendment for the November 2016 ballot that increases inclusionary requirements in a strong economy and shortens the timeline for new housing construction and development. A ballot measure to require more affordable housing from new developments for November 2016 will complement our efforts to stop displacement and eviction of longtime residents and stabilize and preserve neighborhoods and rent-controlled housing.”
Board of Supervisors President London Breed joined the mayor in calling for this ballot referendum.
“We must push the envelope and require developers to build as much housing as possible that San Franciscans can actually afford,” said Breed.
This new endeavor will mark the second consecutive year that San Francisco voters consider housing issues on Election Day. Last month, voters rejected an effort to impose an 18-month moratorium on the construction of market-rate residential developments in the traditionally working class Mission District, and an effort to place new restrictions on residents that offered their homes as short-term rentals was also defeated. But Mayor Lee’s effort to create a fund for new affordable housing developments was overwhelmingly approved by voters.