Mayor London Breed, flanked by an assemblage of city luminaries, moments ago held a press conference in front of a row of open garage doors on the ground floor of a nondescript Mission District building at 18th and San Carlos. The garage space behind the mayor was empty. But, she promised, not for long. Within 18-odd months, four affordable, accessible housing units will be created here, with aging residents moving downstairs to the new units and opening up their former homes for other underprivileged city residents.
The mayor pointed to such units as the tangible benefit of her executive directive issued six months ago: to clear out the hefty backlog of proposed accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and expedite the processing of more garage-to-apartment housing. Breed today claimed victory, noting that the 919 would-be units in the backlog had indeed been cleared within the six-month deadline and that a tedious approval process that could previously require years of repetitive steps has been streamlined down to around four months.
“Garages like these are often unused or underutilized, while the city is experiencing a housing crisis that is pushing out low- and middle-income residents out of this city,” said the mayor. “These will be four new affordable and accessible units — and that’s important for elderly or disabled people.”
Of the 919 would-be units once in the backlog, 439 have already cleared the permitting process. And, of these, more than 90 percent will be rent-controlled units.
The building at 3434 18th St. is owned by Mission Housing. Executive Director Sam Moss conservatively estimated that “hundreds” of units like these could be created throughout the city. “There’s not a lack of garages,” he said. “There’s a lack of landlords saying ‘I’m done with car storage.'” Breed said she will tempt property owners to build more garage units by waiving Department of Building Inspection fees — a move that could save applicants $7,000 to $10,000.
Moss anticipated having the four units built and tenants moved in within a year and a half. Residents in such units would likely earn between 45 and 60 percent of the region’s median income.