Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.
If you build more below-market-rate projects, by all means, build it bigger, the Board of Supervisors told developers this week. HOME SF, a law that gives market-rate developers permission to build higher in exchange for adding affordable housing on-site, was passed 10-1 by the Board.
That vote brought an end to a debate that was starting to heat up again. San Francisco’s two housing camps – (“more below-market-rate” vs. “more housing ASAP” – clashed over the allocation of those affordable units.
You might remember the most recent clash about dividing up the pie of affordable housing among categories of the non-rich. In the HOME SF legislation, more of the affordable housing goes to higher (but not high enough to afford market rate) income individuals than it does in the citywide standard inclusionary housing rule. That sparked opposition from the Council of Community Housing Organizations, but ultimately, the proposal passed anyway.
Speaking of heated debates. If you are not a housing wonk, you might not have been following this media battle between the pro-development YIMBYs and a few writers at TruthOut. I’ll summarize in list format in an effort to track the punches, but it might be worth reading the actual pieces.
- Toshio Meronek and Andrew Szeto of TruthOut wrote this piece characterizing pro-development advocates as poor-hating, racist exploitative puppets of the tech and development industries
- Roland Li, a reporter with the San Francisco Business Times, responded with this thorough Twitter critique of the piece calling out several factual inaccuracies
- Examiner columnist Seung Lee adds some criticism of the TruthOut piece and asks if we could just please stop calling each other Nazis but also calls the writers “borderline xenophobic” because of their generalizations about techies.
- Then, also in the Examiner, the original authors of the TruthOut piece respond to the criticism leveled against them by saying there are studies that refute the studies the YIMBYs and other pro-development advocates use to defend their perspective of how housing will be built, and decrying neoliberalism.
- Again in the Examiner, Sonja Trauss of SFBARF publishes an essay about the definitions of neoliberalism and how the YIMBYs are not neoliberals, then takes the whole thing in a completely different direction to talk about Nancy Pelosi opposing a progressive tax bill.
Whew. And that’s not counting all the rest of the social media and blog chatter.
Long story short: Even though on the surface everyone wants the same thing (the housing crisis to be over), the divides continue to be very deep, and quite bitter. And instead of shared outrage about what’s happening at the national level bringing different-minded housing advocates together, it’s become an endless source of unflattering comparisons.
Alright, how about something less heavy: Did you know you can rent an actual apartment for $1,500 a month in the city? As usual, that’s not exactly affordable, and kitchens are a luxury…but it’s been worse. And don’t let the headline fool you, that apartment is in the Outer Mission.
One thing that isn’t changing in the Mission? The tap water. If one of your neighbors in the Mission is among the deluge of voices complaining to City Hall about the taste of the tap water, show them this map. The Mission isn’t affected.
But fear not, I have a non-sequitur piece of development media gossip for you that you can not only kvetch about, it’s even interactive. Behold, Curbed’s who-said-it quiz comparing quotes from Dave Eggers’ The Circle with eerily similar excerpts from an exclusive tour of the Apple Spaceship in Wired. Unfortunately, it’s easy to answer these correctly even without having read either piece because it has a grammatical tell, but the commentary after you submit your answers is what’s really worthwhile. Enjoy.