April 18, 2016 Corey Smith

URGENT: Locals Threaten State Density Bonus

UpperMarketCityView03The Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) conversation may be quiet in San Francisco at the moment, but the state’s density bonus law is front and center in Sacramento! SFHAC has been a strong supporter of the local AHBP, a proposed local tool that would give concessions and benefits, or bonuses, to housing developments that include a certain percentage of affordable, or subsidized, housing. Unfortunately, the AHBP has run into entrenched opposition from an odd alliance of neighborhoods and community activists and is sitting in the deep freeze until later this year. 

Why is this relevant?
The AHBP was drafted to bring San Francisco into compliance with the state density bonus law, which was first adopted in 1979. It is gaining increasing attention as a powerful tool to both build more housing and make a greater percentage of it below-market-rate.

Importance of AB 2501.
This issue was the subject of an important hearing in Sacramento last week when the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development discussed AB 2501, a bill that would clarify and strengthen the rules about how the state density bonus is interpreted and applied by local jurisdictions. The SFHAC strongly favors this bill’s passage because it’s becoming increasingly clear we lack the local tools, like the AHBP, to help us address our brutal housing affordability crisis. Since SF apparently cannot adopt a local ordinance, it’s hugely important that we not allow any changes to the state law that would impede its application here. AB 2501 is intended to help us accomplish that.

At the same time, those who oppose San Francisco’s AHBP are trying to get San Francisco exempted from the state density bonus law rules, which the SFHAC thinks is a terrible idea! The opponent’s stated rationale, is that we are already “doing so well on affordable housing production.” No, really, that’s a quote from a public meeting!

AB 2501 has another hearing in Sacramento on April 20th at the Assembly Committee on Local Government where the bill’s opponents will continue to try to weaken its application to San Francisco.

Send an email to the Committee members to let them know you support a strong state density bonus law. No city should be exempt, including San Francisco! Use the message in our petition below or customize it yourself.

Corey Smith

Corey Smith is HAC's Executive Director and can be reached at corey@housingactioncoalition.org.

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