Mayor Mark Farrell introduces legislation to increase the pace of housing production

Legislation will follow through on prior housing initiative of Mayor Edwin M. Lee

Mayor Mark Farrell today introduced legislation that will follow through on former Mayor Edwin M. Lee’s Executive Directive to streamline City functions in an effort to create more housing in San Francisco.

“Like Mayor Lee, I want to see housing created in a quick, efficient manner so we can provide more homes in communities across San Francisco,” said Mayor Farrell. “We cannot let red tape and bureaucracy prevent us from helping our families and residents. With this legislation, we are ensuring that mine and Mayor Lee’s shared vision of more housing for everyone beomes a reality.”

The legislation introduced by Mayor Farrell today creates consistent public notification requirements with improved clarity, consolidates multiple redundant hearing processes and streamlines the approval of affordable housing projects. It carries out the intent of Mayor Lee’s last Executive Directive, which was issued just months before his death on December 12.

The bill also establishes one consistent notice requirement for residential and commercial projects, which currently vary from 10 days to one month and must be mailed to residents and property owners in specific sizes, colors and formats in more than 30 different variations.

The need for multiple hearings for downtown and eastern neighborhoods projects will be eliminated, with project approvals being consolidated into one Planning Commission approval for most projects. The bill also allows minor alterations, such as installing ADA push buttons and plaques on historic buildings, to be approved administratively rather than through a public hearing at the Historic Preservation Commission.

Redundant and overly prospective review create opportunities for minor errors, causing significant delays in small projects. Eliminating redundant review and improving processes will save an estimated minimum of 12,480 hours of staff time that can be spent reviewing development projects that will deliver much-needed housing to San Francisco. Eliminating public hearings for 100 percent affordable housing projects, which are already heavily vetted by communities and the Planning Department, will deliver critical affordable housing in a timelier manner.

“I look forward to seeing these changes take place,” said John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning. “This is a common-sense first step that will allow us to better allocate our time and resources where it is needed most – the production of housing and 100 percent affordable housing.”

“SPUR applauds the city taking real steps to implement Mayor Lee's executive directive to expedite the production of San Francisco homes,” said Adhi Nagraj SPUR’s San Francisco Director. “This proposal will make housing approvals simpler and more efficient, particularly for 100 percent affordable housing projects, bringing homes in the pipeline to residents more quickly. These much-needed changes will help speed up housing production and enable the city to focus on more complex and pressing issues. We look forward to supporting this and future efforts to create new homes for San Franciscans more quickly.”

The bill will be heard at the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission in May. An informational hearing at the Planning Commission is scheduled for May 3.

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