Aug 10, 2022 - News

San Francisco housing policies under state review

View of San Francisco
San Francisco. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

California's Department of Housing and Community Development will launch a first-of-its-kind review into San Francisco's housing policies, saying on Tuesday that the city is "the slowest jurisdiction in the state to move housing projects to construction."

  • The aim of the review, the department said, is "identifying and removing barriers to approval and construction of new housing."

Why it matters: For years, San Francisco has lagged behind other major U.S. cities when it comes to new housing construction.

  • A Chronicle report from earlier this month found that between 2015 and 2021, San Francisco approved 2,861 new housing units per 100,000 residents.
  • During that same time period, Austin approved 10,313 units per 100,000 residents, while Seattle approved 9,839 units.

What they're saying: "We are deeply concerned about processes and political decision-making in San Francisco that delay and impede the creation of housing and want to understand why this is the case," California HCD director Gustavo Velasquez said.

Catch up quick: News of the review comes one day after the housing department told city officials that its housing element — the plan required by the state to build over 82,000 units between 2023 and 2030 — needed several revisions, including more specific timelines tied to "intended actions … [and] people outcomes."

  • The city is legally obligated to have an "adopted, compliant housing element" by Jan. 31, 2023, the Chronicle notes.

State Sen. Scott Wiener, who last week called San Francisco's housing system "rotten to the core," applauded Tuesday's action.

  • "The days of SF & other cities flouting state housing laws are over," Wiener tweeted. "Accountability is here."
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