"TransAmerica Windmill" under construction. Courtesy of Steve Fox of Urban Putt.

We’ve got another item to add to our already lengthy list of current housing legislation in the works. The Board of Supervisors plans to vote today on a legislation sponsored by Supervisor Scott Wiener that would give a developer a density limit exemption if at least 20 percent of the units in a project are on-site affordable ones.

Currently, projects with 10 or more units are required to allocate at least 12 percent of the building’s units as below-market (or pay an in-lieu fee, or build off-site units). This new proposal hopes to incentivize the construction of more on-site units, according to a statement released by Wiener’s office.

If a developer opts to make 20 percent of the units in a building below-market rate, those affordable units won’t go towards the project’s density limits. This essentially means that a developer can add more market-rate units to a building if they allocate that 20 percent are for affordable housing.

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. It sounds kind of a like a more developer-friendly version of Supervisor Kim’s housing balance ballot initiative, which requires that projects with more than 25 units make 30 percent affordable. But then again, its scope is likely somewhat smaller. We’ll be watching this to see what happens next.

Not to be added to our current housing legislation list but of interest, the Board also votes today to finalize the liquor license of Urban Putt. The Mission’s newest (and only) mini-golf spot is within the limits of the Mission Alcohol Special Use District, restricting the issuing of new liquor licenses, so the Board is voting today on whether or not to grant Putt an exemption. It’s likely to be a hole in one for the new business, since the Supervisors already gave it a preliminary approval.

As always, the agenda is a long one; you can see all the items here.

Correction: A previous version of this post stated that the Supervisor Wiener’s housing legislation is being introduced today. It’s actually being voted on today.

Follow Us

Daniel Hirsch is a freelance writer who has been living in the Mission since 2009. When he's not contributing to Mission Local, he's writing plays, working as an extra for HBO, and/or walking to the top of Bernal Hill.

Join the Conversation


  1. If I lived in a building I paid market rate for, I would sure hate the cheapskates who got in for cheap and I had to pay extra to subsidize them !!! There is NO affordable in SF ! Only subsidized housing others are extorted into paying for. The real affordable housing is in Modesto!

    1. It appears that the proposal would offset the cost of BMR housing by allowing developers to increase the number of overall units than they would be able to build otherwise. If they didn’t want to build more units, they could opt to build lower density units with a lower percentage of BMR housing.

      This would increase the supply of affordable housing while allowing developers to obtain equal if not greater profits. Seems like a win-win to me.

    2. Why would a smart guy like you pay market rate for a building that you knew had lots of protected renters? Would you do that, unless you just wanted to seethe in elitist class hatred?

      What ever happened to “buyer beware”? Why should we be about a buyer who didn’t so his due diligence, or who just made a stupid business decision?

      But it’s always the fault of renters, the poor, commie pinko brown people, right?

    3. No, you’re not paying extra to subsidize them.

      I hate to break it to you, but they would charge you as much as they can whether or not the building has below market rate units in it.

      And they aren’t cheapskates (you’re the one acting like a cheapskate).

      They are people who don’t make as much as you. And they have as much right to live in San Francisco as you do.

      1. So in your opinion people who cannot afford something have as much right to buy it as those who can afford it? Just because they want it?

        Analogously if I want to live in Ross but cannot afford it, no matter. I merely assert my “right” to live in Ross and , bingo, a home will be provided to me?

        In other words, housing is not sold at all. It is merely allocated based on non-monetary grounds by the housing allocation bureaucrats?

        1. People living and working. in a city have a right to non-luxury housing. The current trend of building only (often large) luxury units that house too few people, converting multi unit to single family, and flipping modest homes into gleaming urban compounds is not sustainable. It only satisfies speculation, greed, and status, while providing no value to the city and it’s inhabitants. It also tends to decrease density …

          1000 sq ft 1 br? In most other places in the world that would be many bedrooms, or multiple units.

          1. Shelter is a basic human right.

            Living in an affluent, desirable zip code that you cannot afford is not.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *