Supervisor David Campos at the unveiling of the plan for the Mission moratorium. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

After much speculation on how exactly Proposition I, the 18-month pause on market-rate development in the Mission District, would help combat the city’s housing crisis, proponents of the measure presented their framework for affordable housing during a press conference yesterday.

“The way that the city and county of San Francisco is doing planning today doesn’t really make sense,” said Supervisor David Campos, who was joined by Supervisor John Avalos, Planning Commissioner Cindy Wu, and other city and non-profit leaders in front of city hall. Developers have too much influence in the housing process, Campos said, and the community is rarely heard from.

“What Prop. I is about is having a pause so that the community can come together and actually engage in planning that looks at the needs of that community, ” he said.

Proposition I would halt large market-rate developments in the Mission District for a year and a half and require the city to draft a housing plan for the Mission District. The framework presented yesterday outlines what that plan might do: strengthen tenant protections, build more affordable housing, purchase rent-controlled units, and ensure that private developments include more affordable housing than they do now.

The funding for that plan and some other details were sparse, however.

“Those specifics would be ironed out during the planning process,” said Gabriel Medina, a policy manager with Mission Economic Development Agency and campaign manager for “Yes on I.” During that process, the city would work with neighborhood organizations and host public meetings for residents, where Medina hopes community input will influence the shape of the plan.

And the community isn’t alone in calling for a pause. Commissioner Wu said that the planning commission also needs guidelines for how to assess new developments in San Francisco, saying a plan would help commissioners “think about the city holistically” while doing their job.

“We need the time to come up with a plan to be able to use it in our week to week deliberations,” she said.

Dennis Richards, another planning commissioner, also supported the proposition. In a prepared statement, he said that he supports the Mission’s “democratic right to decide its future course with the support of San Franciscans.”

Supervisors, planning officials, and non-profit leaders came together to support the Mission moratorium on Wednesday. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

There are some specifics, including a plan for $10 million a year for buying rent-controlled units through the small sites acquisition program and $50 million a year for affordable housing in the Mission District.

But where that money will come from or whether it’s enough to make a dent in the housing crisis is unknown. 

“We’re talking about billions and billions of dollars,” said Sam Moss, executive director of non-profit developer Mission Housing, about how much might be needed to address the housing crisis. Moss thinks it would be many times the historic $310 million housing bond also on the ballot in November — which already dedicates $50 million to the Mission — and that bond is historic for San Francisco. “This really is a drop in the bucket.”

It’s a first step, however, and Moss said the 18-month pause would be significant, giving non-profit developers such as Mission Housing and MEDA a competitive chance against private developers. These developers, Moss said, may be hesitant to purchase land if they have to wait a year and a half to develop it, especially if in that time the city requires them to build more affordable housing on their sites.

“It gives us much more of a fighting chance than without it,” Moss said.

It’s also a strategic choice. Maria Zamudio, an organizer with Causa Justa :: Just Cause, said fighting market-rate development “project by project” is not ideal, and that Proposition I would give non-profits and organizers time to focus on how the Mission should be developed.

“We want to make sure that our folks in San Francisco and in the Mission have a level of say in what happens in their neighborhood,” she said. “And that means we need to be able to decide what gets developed and for whom.”

Maria Zamudio and Chirag Bhakta called for more 100 percent affordable housing developments. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

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9 Comments

    1. Actually, the plan will cost nothing.

      And just to make sure I know what you are alleging. Several usually means three or four. So at a minimum several orders of magnitude greater would be 1,000 times greater. The MTA puts the budget for the subway extension at $1.578 billion (http://www.centralsubwaysf.com/content/faqs). So you are arguing that Prop I will cost more than one and one half trillion dollars?

  1. A moratorium only hurts poor poeple by driving up rents and not building affordable housing in the pipeline. This law is hurting the most vulnerable people in our city. If you vote for the moratorium, you are voting to hurt poor people.

    1. Heartily agree. This plan is poorly thought out and exploits residents emotional state without addressing the root issue. The city has failed to put together a strategy for dealing with a housing shortage for the last 30 years. This is political window dressing.

  2. Didn’t we already take a 5-8 year pause to develop the Eastern Neighborhoods plan which included the Mission? Go ahead and look up this plan on the SF Planning website. From 2001-2008 the City debated and did extensive community outreach. The eventual plan stated:

    “To house diverse groups of people and address the citywide need for more affordable housing, while ensuring the vitality and character of new neighborhoods, we must provide
    a variety of housing types at a range of affordability levels. Given San Francisco’s high cost of living, affordable housing is a high community priority as part of new housing development in the Eastern Neighborhoods. The Eastern Neighborhoods proposals would encourage about 7,500 -10,000 new housing units over the next 20 years.”

    Sound familiar? It was written in 2008 and basically nothing has changed in 7 years since. This is a complete fail by the city AND community to move forward with new housing year after year.

    Another pause in building just kicks the problem down the road another 18 months.

  3. Prop I will NOT stop development of affordable housing, in the Mission District or elsewhere. Prop I will not stop market rate development in the rest of the city. The area included in Prop I’s proposal is approximately 5% of the city.
    Prop I will not stop development of buildings under five units.

    Prop I sets out to democratize city planning.
    Prop I offers a vital model for other neighborhoods. The greedy maw of the Monster has already turned toward other neighborhoods. Scott Wiener had a cow over monster houses on Ord Ct (they don’t “fit” with the feel of the neighborhood). Mark Farrell wants Rec and Park to buy the old reservoir at Hyde and Francisco (for gobs of money) and turn it into a park so that his rich constituents on Russian Hill don’t have to have any massive new construction project upsetting their delicate lives. London Breed’s aide Vallie Brown suggested to a group of neighbors concerned about development on the southern end of Divisidero that the supervisor might be open to a blueprint on development in her district. Blueprint=plan. Breed is silent on Prop I, but at least as she gets ready for next year’s election, she’s open to some sort of democratic process that doesn’t just kick her constituents in the teeth.

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