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More Housing with Central SOMA!

Sign the petition today.

Our Letter:

Planning Commission,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you regarding the Central SoMa Plan. As the Plan documents are currently written, and as the Plan is currently presented in isolation, it proposes insufficient housing. We demand that the Plan include a clear and concrete commitment that San Francisco will add a great deal more housing in a similar time frame. This planned area is signing San Francisco up for a lot of growth. And that is exciting. But with growth comes a responsibility to house that community. If you pass this plan, it must be accompanied by a concrete promise that San Francisco will adequately house its workforce.

As it currently stands, the plan would create up to 40,000 jobs and only 7,500 homes. This represents a 6-to-1 jobs to housing ratio and it is unacceptable, based on what we all know about San Francisco’s track record of approving and building homes. Rents will increase as current and future renters compete over scarce housing stock, and both low income neighborhoods and out lying regions will feel increased pressure.

We want to be clear that we are not opposed to job creation. San Francisco has done an amazing job of creating all kinds of jobs, and we want that trend to continue. But ultimately, if we continue to add jobs without adding significantly more housing, we will only further exacerbate the crisis. San Francisco is capable of adding housing—all it takes is political will.

To the end of maximizing as much housing production as possible, in order to achieve a more equitable city-wide jobs to housing ratio, we are asking for a commitment to the following:

  • Provide an addendum to the current EIR that adds more housing.
  • Create a by-right process for housing built in the plan area by utilizing Asm. David Chiu’s recently-passed AB 73. This will ensure that every housing site is built up to its fullest capacity without extractions, appeals, or other delays.
  • Add zoned capacity for housing in other, more exclusionary neighborhoods (ie. RH-1) by increasing density controls to RH-4. We have been advocating for a Western Neighborhoods Plan that modernizes our zoning code to reflect a healthy, integrated, inclusive city. As long as the city continues to ban apartment buildings and prohibit structures that contain more than one household, San Francisco will fall short of those values.
  • Renegotiate the 2017 inclusionary housing deal that has tanked new housing applications in San Francisco. New construction for mixed-income housing is infeasible with the current inclusionary percentages and fee schedule and permit applications have fallen off a cliff. The golden goose is dead.
  • Greatly accelerate the existing housing pipeline. One concrete and immediately actionable item is for Mayor Farrell to call on the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection, and Fire Department to immediately process the 435 ADU applications that have stalled at DBI. It is unacceptable that over-the-counter permits for cheap, quickly constructed units have not been approved. The longer these permits are delayed, the longer it takes to get those 435 units online, and the more it will be unattractive for future property owners to take advantage of the ADU program.
  • Literally anything that will ensure the 33,000 needed homes are built. We are open-minded to other meaningful and actionable policies.

Central SoMa is a prime area to build complete, high-density urban neighborhoods. The risk of residential displacement is far lower due to more infill opportunities, and mid- to high-rise towers are already common in the area. It would be a tragic waste of this resource if the city fails to accommodate growth by building as much housing as possible, whether in Central SoMa or elsewhere.

Sign the letter: