San Francisco voters approve tougher affordability requirement on new housing development

Critics charge that the measure may backfire and actually reduce new affordable units.

June 14, 2016 |
San Francisco voters approve tougher affordability requirement on new housing development

San Francisco. Photo: Tony Webster/Creative Commons.

San Francisco voters recently approved a ballot measure that will require residential developments of 25 units or more to include 25% affordable units, up from the current requirement of 12%.

Proponents of the new law are hoping it will be a step forward in the effort to provide enough affordable housing in a city with some of the highest home prices and rents in the country. A grandfathering provision allows developers with completed applications to take advantage of a lower requirement depending on the date applications were approved.

Critics charged that the measure will actually reduce affordable housing because the costs of compliance would be too high to make larger projects financially possible, and developers would now focus on projects with less than 25 units. A recent San Francisco Bay Area Council survey determined that more than 33% of the Bay Area's residents are considering leaving the area due to housing costs, lengthy commuting times and the increasing cost of living.

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