Last summer’s compromise between Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim over housing policy resulted in Prop K, the “Housing Balance” ballot initiative passed by the voters last November.
Prop K amended the Planning Code to require the Planning Department to monitor the balance between new market rate housing and new affordable housing, and publish a bi-annual “Housing Balance Report”; requiring an annual hearing at the Board of Supervisors on strategies for achieving and maintaining the required housing balance in accordance with San Francisco’s housing production goals. The Housing Balance Report was the subject of a Planning Commission hearing last Thursday.
While all housing stakeholders agree that having a deeper understanding about the City’s housing production is essential to intelligent discussion of solutions to our affordability crisis, many are concerned about how the information produced would be applied. In particular, we wonder whether the voter’s commitment to 33 percent affordability to low- and moderate-income folks will morph into an understanding that individual projects must exceed the amounts required under the Inclusionary Housing Ordinance.
It’s important to remember that Prop K’s goal was to achieve an overall increase in affordability and explore ways to increase funding if production of affordable housing falls short. It would misconstrue Prop K to think that individual housing projects can achieve this by themselves. A key question is whether the Housing Balance Report would become the basis for yet another attempt to pass housing metering, something SFHAC strenuously opposes.