The San Francisco Planning Commission voted unanimously Thursday to delay interim controls for the Mission District until a vote on September 3. Instead, the seven commissioners adopted a policy statement that calls attention to the affordable housing crisis but carries no legal weight.
The commission already delayed the vote last month, choosing to wait for a report from San Francisco’s Chief Economist Ted Egan on the effects of controls. That report is still in progress.
“Basically controls are changing the actual law temporarily, whereas the policy is just a statement,” said city planner Claudia Flores, who presented the interim control plans to the commission. “There’s not an actual requirement.”
If approved in September, however, interim controls would create an extra level of bureaucratic scrutiny to market-rate housing and large commercial or retail projects. Projects that cause the loss of one rent-controlled unit, are 25,000 square feet or larger in size, or convert or destroy some manufacturing, community, or arts spaces would need to pass the extra layer of scrutiny.
Though the meeting was not as heated as last month’s, when both pro- and anti-development groups voiced their opposition to the controls, public comments were still almost unanimous in their disapproval of the plan.
“Adding more controls to the Mission to stop housing isn’t going to help,” said John Schwark from the Bay Area Renters Federation. “Is the attachment to the Mission getting in the way of actually housing people?”
Pro-development voices argued that interim controls were not a fix. The pro-affordable housing groups, on the other hand, said the law failed to go far enough and detracted from November’s ballot initiative calling for a moratorium on all market-rate projects in the Mission.
“People are excited for the moratorium, they demand the moratorium. [This] is a clear attempt, a clear facade masquerading around as a demand from the community. This is not what we want,” said one speaker, who quickly rushed out of the room.
The commissioners set the vote for September 3 because the 2000 Bryant Street development must be approved or rejected by September 24 and commissioners said they wanted to consider the controls before approving such a large project.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that projects with five or more residential units would have to pass extra scrutiny. This was changed at the meeting to projects that are 25,000 square feet or larger.