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Tuesday November 5, 2019 — Local Elections
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Local

City of San Francisco
Proposition E Ordinance - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

151,845 votes yes (76.3%)

47,165 votes no (23.7%)

Shall the City amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite approval of these projects?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by League of Women Voters of San Francisco

The Question

Shall the city amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite City approval of these projects?

Note: This Pro/Con information is also available in Spanish and Chinese.

The Situation

The City Planning Code applies different zoning rules to different neighborhoods in San Francisco. In residential zoning districts, the Planning Code allows residential buildings but regulates the size, height, density and other factors like the amount of yard space, open space, and nonresidential space. Some types of buildings are subject to a conditional use authorization, which requires the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing and consider certain factors before approving the project.

In public zoning districts, the Planning Code allows government buildings, public structures, City plazas, parks and other similar uses but prohibits any residential buildings.

The Planning Department reviews proposed projects for zoning requirements. The Department must prioritize and expedite its review of proposed affordable housing projects.

The Planning Code does not include specific zoning rules for residential projects dedicated to employees of the San Francisco Unified School District or the San Francisco Community College District. 

The Proposal

Proposition E is an ordinance that would amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite City approval of these projects.

Under Proposition E, 100% Affordable Housing and Educator Housing projects:

       would be allowed in residential zoning districts and in public zoning districts, except on property used for parks;

       would be located on lots that are at least 10,000 square feet;

       could not demolish or replace existing residential units;

       would be subject to less restrictive rules regarding size, ground-floor height, density and other factors than other residential buildings;

       would allow a limited amount of mixed or commercial use that supports affordable housing;

       would not be subject to any conditional use restriction unless adopted by the voters;

       would require a review of proposed 100% Affordable Housing and Educator Housing projects within 90 to 180 days, depending on the size of the project;

       would authorize the expedited review of the first 500 units of proposed Educator Housing.

The Planning Department would be allowed to administratively approve 100% Affordable and Educator Housing projects, without review by the Planning Commission.

The Board of Supervisors would be allowed to amend Proposition E by a two-thirds vote without voter approval.

A “YES” Vote Means: You want to amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite approval of these projects.

A “NO” Vote Means: If you vote “no,” you do not want to make these changes.

Supporters say

ARGUMENTS IN FAVOR OF PROP E:

       Will speed up approval and construction of much-needed affordable housing, especially in areas of the City that have vacant lots, need more housing units and could benefit from more mixed-use development.

       Will help the City attract and retain high quality teachers for SFUSD and CCSF and make it more affordable for families to live in San Francisco.

       Shorter project review times could result in cost savings on projects.

Opponents say

ARGUMENTS AGAINST PROP E:

       Housing is already permitted on public land with planning variance, so further planning code modifications aren’t needed.

       Could provide a back door to private for-profit development on public land.

       Removes neighborhood input on community projects and bypasses the approval process of the Planning Commission, reducing oversight of development projects.

Details — Official information

YES vote means

A "YES" Vote Means: If you vote "yes," you want to amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite approval of these projects

NO vote means

A "NO" Vote Means: If you vote "no," you do not want to make these changes.

Summary

Ballot Simplification Committee

The Way It Is Now: The City Planning Code applies different zoning rules to different neighborhoods in San Francisco.

In residential zoning districts, the Planning Code allows residential buildings but regulates the size, height, density and other factors like the amount of yard space, open space and nonresidential space. Some types of buildings are subject to a conditional use authorization, which requires the Planning Commission to hold a public hearing and consider certain factors before approving the project.

In public zoning districts, the Planning Code allows government buildings, public structures, City plazas, parks and other similar uses but prohibits any residential buildings.

The Planning Department reviews proposed projects to ensure that they meet zoning requirements. The Department must prioritize and expedite its review of proposed affordable housing projects.

The Planning Code does not include specific zoning rules for residential projects dedicated to employees of the San Francisco Unified School District or the San Francisco Community College District.

The Proposal: Proposition E is an ordinance that would amend the Planning Code to allow 100% Affordable Housing Projects and Educator Housing Projects in public zoning districts and to expedite City approval of these projects.

Under Proposition E, 100% Affordable Housing and Educator Housing projects:

• Would be allowed in residential zoning districts and in public zoning districts, except on property used for parks;

• Would be located on lots that are at least 10,000 square feet;

• Could not demolish or replace existing residential units;

• Would be subject to less restrictive rules regarding size, ground-floor height, density and other factors than other residential buildings;

• Would allow a limited amount of mixed or commercial use that supports affordable housing; and

• Would not be subject to any conditional use restriction unless the restriction has been adopted by the voters.

Proposition E would require a review of proposed 100% Affordable Housing and Educator Housing projects within 90 to 180 days, depending on the size of the project. Proposition E would also authorize the expedited review of the first 500 units of proposed Educator Housing.

The Planning Department could administratively approve 100% Affordable and Educator Housing projects, without review by the Planning Commission.

The Board of Supervisors could amend Proposition E by a two-thirds vote without voter approval.

Financial effect

City Controller Ben Rosenfield

Should the proposed ordinance be approved by the voters, in my opinion, it would result in a minimal reduction in government costs.

The proposed ordinance amends the Affordable Housing Bonus Programs to the Affordable Housing and Educator Housing Programs and creates the 100 Percent Affordable Housing and Educator Housing Streamlining Program to facilitate construction and development of housing projects. A 100 Percent Affordable Housing Project is defined for residents earning up to 120 percent Area Median Income (AMI) with units averaging 80 percent AMI. Educator Housing Projects would be occupied by at least one employee of the San Francisco Unified School District or Community College District. At least four-fifths of units would be occupied by households with an income of 30 to 140 percent AMI, with an average of 100 percent AMI across such units. The remaining onefifth may be occupied by those earning up to 160 percent AMI. The ordinance specifies zoning modifications for these housing projects, including streamlined approvals by the Planning Department.

To the extent that this legislation shortens this process, the City’s affordable housing projects could see cost savings due to shorter development and construction timelines and lower inflation on project costs.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against

More information

Videos (1)

— October 11, 2019 League of Women Voters of San Francisco and SFGovTV
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Who supports or opposes this measure?

Yes on Proposition E

Organizations (5)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)
No on Proposition E

Organizations (1)

Elected & Appointed Officials (0)

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