San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim has gutted her “Housing Balance” ballot initiative, according to SocketSite. On June 19, SocketSite reported that Kim planned to move forward with the ballot measure to require developers to get special permission from the Planning Commission in order to build any market-rate housing in the city should a project cause the percentage of below market rate housing built in the city since 2006 to fall below 30 percent of the housing that was built.
However, on July 25, SocketSite reported that Kim had instead turned the initiative into a non-binding vote on public policy, a far less controversial move. In addition, under the assumption that Kim’s proposed amendments are given the green light by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Mayor Edwin Lee is also expected to yank his competing “Build Housing Now” initiative from the November ballot.
The initiative, a direct response to Kim’s move, would block adoption of any new land-use requirements or necessary authorizations for developments within city areas for which land-use designs have already been made up. Areas with land-use plans that are already in place include Mission Bay as well as the burgeoning Transbay District. In addition, it would underline the mayor’s 30,000 by 2020 initiative, which includes a goal of 50 percent below market rate housing. It would also mandate the Planning Department to give a critical eye to the impact of luxury development on the demand for the city’s middle-income housing.
So what does this mean? Well, it signals a far less competitive showdown, both – as SocketSite notes – in terms of dollars as well as political power. A little less political jockeying may portend well for November’s elections. Stay tuned.
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