Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.
Riding on the coattails of last week’s fuss around a good chunk of millennials wanting to leave the Bay Area comes an observation from a job hunting platform indicating that 38 percent of techies are looking to leave the major Bay Area metros. That doesn’t mean everybody is leaving, but Curbed observes that the percentage of job growth in the area is smaller than the percentage of industry folks thinking of leaving the area – “wandering eyes are outpacing regional growth,” the writer notes.
There are more signs that things are cooling off a little. For the first time since 2010, eviction notices have declined. Rent board data seems to indicate that since roughly this time last year, the number of eviction notices citywide has dropped more than 20 percent. (A quick aside on evictions: An appeals court has ruled that for purposes of relocation payments, children are not considered tenants.)
Also, while looking for a rental in San Francisco in 2015 wasn’t a picnic by any stretch of the imagination, we are back down to those levels. Not a relief yet, but at least it seems we’ve finally peaked out.
Now the question is: How do we get back to something sane, short of simply waiting for jobs to slump because the area has such a terrible reputation for cost of living?
One architect this week suggested that the Planning Department should hire some architects, because architects find the department “obstructionist,” the Chronicle reports. Once that came out, a few other architects admitted they, too have their frustrations, particularly around historic preservation.
Honestly I feel for them. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how they should do their jobs. And we’re not very charitable. Approve a development? Catch heat from anti gentrification activists. Reject a development? People who want more housing aren’t pleased. Decide to delay a decision to figure it out? Snarky reporter field day.
Residents also like to exercise their city-given option to have the Planning Commission settle design disputes. In this recent case, a group of neighboring condo owners asked for a discretionary review of the project planned for the Elbo Room, in part out of concern over a tree.
Or, take this recent twitter snit (is that a snitter or a twit?) between a variety of housing commentators and Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards. The YIMBYs ain’t happy.
— SF Yimby Party (@SFyimby) April 8, 2017
Or how about the Mission Street red bus lanes? Talk about backlash. A company that studies traffic through cell phone sensor data recently published a study indicating that risky traffic behaviors on the corridor have dropped recently – though we did see one notable exception this weekend. Of course, correlation isn’t causation, but the implication is that it’s because of the transit changes. Or, as MEDA suggests, because fewer people are driving there.
Bottom line: San Franciscans love to disagree with their planners, and will probably continue to do so, whether or not the affordability crisis recedes.