August 17, 2015 Housing Action Coalition

How Mission Rock Came to the 40 Percent Affordability Mark

When San Franciscans go to vote on the Mission Rock development on November 3rd, they should have a strong understanding of the project’s impressive affordability plan. Proposition D, Mission Rock, states that “at least 33%” of the homes will be below-market-rate (BMR), affordable to low, moderate and middle income residents. The ballot question will read:

“Shall the City increase the height limit for 10 of the 28 acres of the Mission Rock site from one story to height limits ranging from 40 to 240 feet and make it City policy to encourage the development on the Mission Rock site provided that it includes eight acres of parks and open space and housing of which at least 33% is affordable for low- and middle-income households?”

This language does not clearly state the actual plan, however. Of the approximately 1,500 homes planned for Mission Rock, 40 percent will be below-market-rate (BMR). But why won’t this be reflected in the ballot handbook and how was this affordability plan reached?

When the Giants filed their measure with the Department of Elections and gathered their 16,540 signatures to get it on the ballot, their measure read that at least 33 percent of the units would be BMRs. Because the ballot was submitted through an initiative (public signatures), the language could not be changed or withdrawn.

Shortly after those signatures were submitted to the Department of Elections, District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim introduced a competing ballot measure, not through the initiative process, that would have required the project to reduce all building heights to no more than 120 feet, which in some cases would have been in half, and make 50 percent of the homes affordable to low- and moderate-income households. The two parties quickly came together and reached a compromise to agree to the current affordability plan. Subsequently Sup. Kim withdrew her competing ballot measure.

Under the plan, the BMR units will be affordable to households earning between 45 and 150 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), serving everyone from emancipated foster children to teachers and first responders.

– 2% of units affordable to residents earning 45% AMI
– 10% of units affordable to residents earning 55% AMI
– 4% of units affordable to residents earning 90% AMI
– 17% of units affordable to residents earning 120% AMI
– 7% of units affordable to residents earning 150% AMI

Jobs Housing Linkage fees generated by the Mission Rock project’s commercial space may be used to support affordable (BMR) residential housing developed within the Mission Rock project.

As the project is built in phases, it will be necessary that housing and commercial space be developed in tandem.

After eight years of community planning and outreach, the voters will have an opportunity to approve Mission Rock. The merits of the project speak for itself, but the affordability plan is unparalleled and San Franciscans should understand before they cast their vote on November 3rd that the Mission Rock project will provide homes for San Franciscans with an unprecedented mix of rental housing affordable to below market and market rate households.

Read SFHAC’s Endorsement of Mission Rock

Image credit: Perkins + Will


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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