December 7, 2015 Housing Action Coalition

A Year in Review: SFHAC 2015 Project Review Committee

The SF Housing Action Coalition’s advocacy focuses on the construction of well-designed, well-located, transit-friendly housing affordable for both renters and buyers. An important way we achieve our mission is through the work of our Project Review Committee.

As of December 2nd, our Committee reviewed 26 proposed housing developments and endorsed 23 of them. Through thoughtful discussion with the developers and architects, our Committee makes recommendations on how projects can become more transit and environmentally friendly by encouraging more bike parking and less car parking, as well as innovative conservation efforts such as individual water metering for new units. We’ve given guidance on how to make retail and pedestrian ground-floor improvements and informed developers about new housing policies such as the Affordable Housing Bonus Program and inclusionary “Dial” so they can explore providing more permanently affordable housing in their projects. This is all achieved with the help of our eight Project Review Guidelines.

Here are some highlights from this year’s Project Review Committee, as well as some projects we’ve endorsed throughout our history that were approved by the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors or voters this past year.

2015 SFHAC Endorsed Projects as of December 2, 2015

  • 23 new housing developments endorsed by the Project Review Committee, totaling 4,969 homes;
  • BMRs onsite: 18 projects
  • In-Lieu Fee: 2 projects
  • Combo of on-site, off-site & in-lieu fee: 3 projects
  • No inclusionary housing: 1 (not required in group housing)
  • That adds up to 1,103 BMRs and over $22 million to the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) that will fund 100% affordable projects throughout the City;
  • 4,747 car parking spaces (most attributed to the new Mission Rock project);
  • 3,101 Class 1 bicycle parking spaces

Projects Endorsed by the SFHAC and Moving Forward after Planning Commission Approval

  • 17 new housing developments, totaling 3,159 homes;
  • BMRs onsite: 14 projects
  • In-Lieu Fee: 1 project
  • Combo of onsite & off-site: 1 project
  • No inclusionary housing: 1 (not required in group housing)
  • That adds up to 942 BMRs and $16 million to MOH that will fund 100% affordable projects;
  • 3,755 parking spaces (most from Mission Rock);
  • 3,382 Class-1 bicycle parking spaces.

The interactive map below shows the locations of these new housing developments. Those marked in red are ones SFHAC endorsed in 2015 and those with a blue dot were both endorsed and then approved by the City (some have both since we endorsed them and they were approved in 2015).

2015 Trends

The most apparent trend is the geography of these new developments. Although our Committee doesn’t review every new development that gets built, it’s no coincidence that our reviewed project list is concentrated on the east side of San Francisco where the City has adopted area plans. We’d love to review future projects in other parts of the City because we believe every neighborhood needs to do its fair share in providing the housing we so badly need.

More new housing developments are providing higher levels of onsite affordable housing, which we expect to continue for the next couple of years. For example, 5M reached 40 percent affordability through a mix of innovative approaches and 1601 Mariposa Street pursued an 80/20 deal that builds 20 percent on-site low income housing. The SF Housing Action Coalition will be part of the Mayor’s upcoming working group to explore a ballot measure in November 2016 that changes the current inclusionary housing levels of 12% onsite, 20% off-site or 20% in-lieu fee.

Except for the Mission Rock development, we’re seeing car parking ratios drop, with the average hovering around 0.5 spaces per unit. As a Transit-First city, we will do our part to continue this incremental reduction in car parking. Finally, bike parking ratios are increasing. Several projects have set new standards and we believe all project sponsors should consider providing 1:1 bike parking space per bedroom in their buildings.

Looking Forward

It has been a successful year for the Project Review, the busiest year in its history. The SFHAC would like to thank its members who contributed so strongly to our meetings. A special thanks goes out to our amazing Committee Chair, Amanda Loper, from David Baker Architects as well as to Steinberg Architects for their terrific hospitality in hosting our meetings. If you’re a Business or Organization Member of SFHAC and would like to get involved with in the Project Review Committee in 2016, we welcome it – don’t wait! The first step is to sign up for the email list here to get Project Review notices and come to our meetings on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in January.

Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

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