Planning /Housing News 2017-2

2918 Mission- Tillman Tower Approved --- Evolving SRO story in the Mission --- Hotel Room Surge Coming --- Marin Claims Exemption from Housing Fair Share --- SF Student Housing Surge Coming --- UCSF Mission Bay needs to step up on Transit Infrastructure

PreFab Tiny Homes Catching On as Homeless Solution for Elected Leaders

by Kevin Fagan Dec 26, 2017 Dozens of projects in most nine Bay Area Counties are now moving forward. "Tiny units can be built in a fraction of the time it takes to construct typical affordable housing, at a sliver of the cost, and that means a lot of homeless people can be housed quickly. In one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, with tent-camp problems everywhere, that prospect sounds like a game-changer to officials.

Two laws that took effect early last year, SB1069 and AB2299, streamline the permitting process and prevent local jurisdictions from requiring new off-street parking if public transportation is within a half mile. They also forbid utility hookup fees that are not proportionate to the size of the accessory unit.

by Pat Pender

Mission Fertile Grounds for YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) Movement Do Tech Newcomers and Bohemian/Latin Oldtimers Only Meet at Taquerias and Laundromats?​

1979 Mission: Is it the Monster in the Mission or Mission4All?November 2017 Planning Commission Hearing

In the foreground is 16th Street Bart Plaza. As it is proposed now, the project is split into three buildings with the two bordering the plaza at 100 feet tall becoming the Mission's tallest. The development proposes to build 290 market-rate rental units, 41 condo units for middle-income residents, and 49 rental units of affordable housing for low-income tenants. 64,000 square feet of ground-floor retail — including the construction of a market hall for food and other vendors — as well as 163 parking spaces, 22 of them for commercial tenants. The developer, Maximus Real Estate would also enlarge the Bart plaza by 40 percent. Anti market rate housing activists want the City of San Francisco to buy the land like they did at 490 South Van Ness & 16th St when the city paid $250k/proposed door or $18.5 million. The developer had only paid $2.5 million for the 72-unit site. in 2013 as coalition of groups to to oppose 1979 Mission as market rate housing. as sfweekly points out is pushing developer message that fighting new housing hurts everyone by Joe Kukura Oct 25th, 2017 By Joe Rivano Barros - June 2016

New Ground Floor Retail at 45% Vacancy Rate

By J.K. Dineen Nov 20, 2017 In a city where ground-floor retail is often required in residential developments, much of the new stock sits empty. A look at 20 housing developments on or within a few blocks of Market Street between Castro Street and Fifth Street — all completed within the last five years — found 17 vacant storefronts, about 45 percent of the total.

Brokers point out that broad categories of retailers — clothing, shoes, hardware — are losing market share to online sales and are contracting, not expanding. And the categories that are growing and looking for space — banks, medical services, gyms, cannabis dispensaries and offices for everything from real estate agents to architects — are not always popular with neighbors and require authorization from the Planning Commission, which can be costly and take up to year.

Daniel Sider, senior adviser for special projects at the Planning Department, said the department is looking for ways to open new convenience stores. It is liquor that subsidizes the other goods sold at many small corner markets,” Sider said. “We have rules that make it difficult to open a traditional corner store. That is something we are looking at.”

Supervisors Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin say they are exploring ways to pressure property owners to fill up their empty spaces.

1021 Valencia: The First Density Bonus Proposal for Valencia Street Does playful facade of the existing building merit preservation?

A pending State Density Bonus application is approved, the proposed Valencia Street development could reach a height of 65 feet, allowing for an extra story and an additional four (4) residential units for a toYearstal of 24. However greater height is still a possibility as shown by 2918 Mission. Kevin and Joe who have very successfully run SF Auto Works at this location for years are not clear if their business will be able to relocate in San Francisco

Jan-2018 Last stop an appeal to the Board of Supervisors

Please consider this email to be the equivalent to a fencer’s salute before beginning a duel. We intend to have fun creating a legal precedent that will shut down forever the shakedown racket of MEDA, of Calle 24, and of the other Mission Activists.” --- Robert Tillman the local developer and regular Mission Local poster who see's himself as the true housing activist armed with new enabling state law who is anxious to pioneer a new path to meeting housing demand [more]

2918 Mission: The Tillman Tower Approved After 4 Years

Project Successfully Uses New Lower State Affordability Standards

2918 Mission proposal delayed again

Using a state density-bonus law to add units to a project developer Robert Tillman is setting new standards by taking advantage of newer state law bonus for mandated affordability density bonus to reduce a 14.5 percent affordable project to a little less than 11 percent, with eight affordable units. We’re talking about 89 percent luxury and 11 percent affordable,” said Alicia Sandoval, who works with renters through the Housing Rights Committee. “How can we even consider that?" There’s no definition of luxury housing anywhere in the planning code. The reason housing is a luxury is because we haven’t built enough of it over the last 40 years,” said Corey Smith, representing the Housing Action Coalition.

New California state guidelines for projects required to have affordable housing determine how big the project can be and the the owner /developer Bob Tillman after four years of efforts was not keen on downsizing.“I am completely open to having my architects incorporating specific and clear design direction from the Planning Commission,” Tillman wrote to the department after the hearing. “I am not willing to have my architects chase their tails and to spend money having them do so.”

Mark Loper, an attorney for Tillman, urged the Planning Commission to vote on the project last September and said Tillman was unwilling to redesign the plans.

“I’m not sure that the project sponsor is going to want to move off the project as it’s currently proposed,” Loper said. “We will certainly think about the comments but there’s a lot of protection in state law … when a project is in compliance with the density bonus.” "We are at risk of a lawsuit if we disapprove a project where we haven’t made very specific findings that pertain to written codes, not ones that we’ve made up right here,” Commissioner Christine Johnson said on Nov 30th. The Planning Commission finallly approved the project on Nov. 30.

This shows 5-over-3 [wood over concrete floor construction] is possible. Tillman got a letter confirming so, and shared it on the SFBARF list:!topic/sfbarentersfed/PwsG6dTbTMs

Bob Tillman's Full Disclosure: Dropbox link to 30NOV presentation including the renderings:

Here is a link to the fully approved plans:

Here is a Dropbox link to my entire project file, which I keep constantly updated:

California Seeks to Restart Starter Homes

Kathleen Pender on Sept. 17, 2017 Most new housing supply is at the high or low end. The gap in between is often called “the missing middle.” Elsewhere robust construction creates filtering, but robust job growth and little buildable land has squeezed the middle on the housing ladder nearly everywhere in California and particularly the SF Bay Area.

29th of September 2017 California Gets Serious About Housing Production

In the final hours of the legislative session, lawmakers gave final approval to 15 bills that would attack the problem in different ways. Two of the bills would create funding for the construction of below-market-rate housing, while others aim to make all housing development faster and cheaper by smoothing the notoriously lengthy and unpredictable approval process that has been blamed for the shortage of needed homes.

Senate Bill 35, by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, will try to tackle the state’s housing-supply shortage. Currently, cities are told every eight years how many units they need to build to meet their share of regional demand — but they are not required to build them. This bill aims to make it harder to ignore those goals. It targets cities that fall short, requiring them to approve more housing developments that fit the bill’s criteria until they are back on track. Assembly Bill 73, by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, will give local governments cash incentives to create high-density “Housing Sustainability Districts” near transit with some affordable housing.

SF's WIENER, CHIU STAR IN Cailifornia HOUSING FIGHT but Governor is in Siberia by Randy Shaw on September 5, 2017

Scott Wiener is the lead sponsor of SB 35, the state’s biggest pro-housing bill in decades; David Chiu is co-sponsor of AB 1505, which overturns the Palmer court decision that city attorneys in Oakland, Los Angeles and San Jose have interpreted to bar inclusionary rental housing. It is easier in this non-election year for legislators to make tough votes. If these housing measures do not pass this week, they are done until 2019. Governor Jerry Brown’s legendary negotiating skill is badly needed to get the housing package through, but he chose the week before session’s end to take a week’s trip to Siberia.

SRO Renovation in the Mission

CEO/developer Jon Dishotsky disputes characterization of his renovation of uninhabitable units to market rate for tech workers as a "loophole" by Mission Local reporter Frances Saux posted August 10, 2017

"First, the condition of this hotel was in disarray with black mold and no structural reinforcements. It was one match away from a fire. We came in as a favor to a previous owner to see if we could upgrade the dire situation.Second, we displaced none of the existing tenants and provided them with higher quality rooms and access to a brand new kitchen, at the same rent they were previously paying"

Co-Living is Newest Trend in Global Urban Living

Residents live in rooms with just a bed and a bathroom while sharing not just laundry but also gym, spa, libraries of useful objects, options on restaurant meals and a cinema. The Collective’s Old Oak building is an 11-story, 550-person year old building in London that has been 97% occupied since its 2016 completion. Ollie, a co-living firm in New York is expanding fast as the model is delivering the higher returns per square foot than conventional rented flats. WeWork, the world's largest shared word space firm is developing WeLive a 36-storey building, 23 floors of which will be dedicated to co-living in NYC.

First City of SF Hotel Rooms since 2008 Opening A Surge 6000 more in pipeline

July 8, 2017 by J.K. Dineen The 159-room Hotel Via, at 138 King St. across from the Giant's Stadium recently became the first new full-service hotel to open in San Francisco since February 2008, when the 550-room Intercontinental opened next door to Moscone West.However there's lots more in the pipeline, besides the last 11 hotels totaling 1,808 rooms in the long and getting longer approval que there's 12 hotels with more than 4,000 rooms already working their way through the city’s approval process. Most of these projects are South of Market — along Fifth, Harrison, Howard and Townsend streets.

The market for hotel rooms has been strong for a while but luxury housing had been attracting more investment despite the third highest average room rate in the country. "In 2016, the city may have the highest average hotel rate at more than $276 per night, with occupancy at 87.6 percent, according to the San Francisco Center for Economic Development.

Meanwhile, the yearlong debate over affordable housing requirements has put a cloud over residential building, while the city’s cap on the amount of commercial space that can be approved in a given year makes office buildings an iffy alternative."

As of 2016 the City of San Francisco had 33,793 Hotel rooms available in 218 hotels. Stats for the SF Metro Area, which is the country's fourth largest metro area are not available but anecdotally holds a reasonable number of hotels outside of downtown San Francisco, so it is possible the surge might mean the San Francisco Bay Area will enter the top 10 for hotel beds.

Little discussed in the San Francisco housing debates is how much of the City's most affordable housing stock are SROs (Single Room Occupancy) which generally began as hotel rooms. However the 21st century budget room for transient tech workers is more about tiny than bathrooms down the hall. Two opening in 2017 hotels are expected to be transformative to mid-Market around 7th St. are the San Francisco Proper which will have "bunk rooms" and 4 restaurants and the Yotel featuring pint-size high-tech rooms called “cabins.” Their marketing projects room rates above $250/night from tech workers but the market will tell. The SF Mission, the City's most vibrant and enticing neighborhood, has less than 100 hotel rooms but hundreds of AirBnB Beds. Top 10 Visitor Markets by Hotel Rooms 2015

  1. Las Vegas 167,730

  2. Orlando 121,802

  3. New York 117,367

  4. Chicago 111,408

  5. Washington D.C. area 107,776

  6. L.A./Long Beach 98,166

  7. Dallas 79,572

  8. Houston 79,255

  9. Boston 52,119

  10. Miami/Hialeah 51,498

Most Expensive 2015

  1. Boston $266 2. New York $258 3. San Francisco $231 4.Washington $227 5. 5.Los Angeles $198 6.New Orleans $192

Fast Facts by Average daily room rate (2016) $252.92 Total visitors and convention participants (2016) 25.2 million Average daily expenditure for all visitors $356.45 Leading activities: 1) Dine in restaurants 2) Shop 3) Visit a park Population of the nine Greater Bay Area counties: 7,684,01 Alameda (1,647,704), Contra Costa (1,135,127), Marin (260,651), Napa (142,166), San Francisco (870,887), San Mateo (764,797), Santa Clara (1,979,402), Solano (440,207) and Sonoma (503,070)

Under AB 121, Marin County can prevent 4-story building to 2028

Marin County says: What Housing Crisis? Following a 2009 investigation by federal housing officials, Marin County supervisors agreed to boost affordable development as a way to desegregate the mostly white region. But neighborhood opposition to low-income housing continued, including a long-stalled 2013 proposal from “Star Wars” creator George Lucas to build hundreds of affordable units on a former dairy farm

"In a year where the Legislature has been talking endlessly about the housing crisis in this state and trying to make it easier to build affordable housing and higher-density housing, the one and only thing that comes out of the budget process is a deeply flawed measure that only adds barriers to development in one of the most exclusionary counties in the state,” said Anya Lawler, policy advocate at the Western Center on Law & Poverty in response to the late June passage of Assembly Bill 121.

At the measure’s hearing before legislators Tuesday, Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber) criticized the bill, calling out what he said were “hypocritical” communities that don't want to do their part in solving the housing problem. “They love their lifestyles, but don’t bother us with the low-income housing,” Nielsen said of those local residents.


100 housing bills in Legislature, but old story continues with few addressing shortage.Most hope is associated with Sen. Scott Wiener, specifically tailored bill that would accelerate residential permitting in exchange for affordable housing considerations By Dan Schnur June 2, 2017

SF Assemblyman David Chui was the only legislator to not vote in favor of AB 121, he abstained.

DENSITY BONUS 2017 - Hope for Middle Class Homeownership Law Does Not Apply to the Mission or Tenderloin In 2017 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is in the process of approving its first affordable housing legislation intended to keep lower- and middle-class residents in the city, each requiring a hard-won compromise between the board’s moderate and progressive wings.

The law features an incentive for builders to add affordable housing:

Up to two additional floors and other zoning incentives to a project sponsor who provides 30 percent of its units as affordable units. [...] It applies to projects of three units or more and only in certain enumerated zoning districts on parcels that do not contain residential uses.

The law continues to be tinkered as everyone wants to share the credit, although no one seems to asking what builders think, there is good reason to believe the program can make a real difference while making neighborhoods along transit corridors more vibrant. The law would not apply to large parts of the Mission or Tenderloin, where property owners still have to rent or sell a 25% of their units at below-market-rate prices.


YEAR of HOUSING for State Legislature

Many have been critical of local governments for lacking housing construction in their communities as constituents benefit from higher property values as demand increases with little supply. The League of California Cities ( has a strong track record of defeating measures like these, claiming they remove too much local discretionary land use authority and strip residents of their right to participate. Some think 2017 will be different.

Larger Threshold to Pass No Growth Measures AB 943 by Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, would raise the voter threshold for approving local, citizen-driven no-growth measures by increasing the threshold from a simple majority to a two-thirds supermajority for passage of any local ballot measure that would block or delay

Teeth for Housing Accountability Act AB 678 by Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra, D-San Fernando, aims to prevent local governments from arbitrarily denying housing projects and would do so by adding much-needed teeth to California’s Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Passed in 1982, the HAA is a little-used law that prevents cities from denying zoning and general plan compliant proposed housing development projects, or conditioning their approval based on lower density, unless cities make findings that the proposed housing development would have specific adverse impacts on human health or safety. The law modification would impose financial penalties for ignoring the housing crisis that would be dedicated to low-income housing production.

Ting vs Weiner during the Year of Housing

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco)'s Bill 915 was suspended in Sept of 2017. He has not committed to reintroducing in 2018 which Scott Weiner opposes.

California State housing affordability requirements are far below San Francisco's requirement of 18 percent affordable housing, which is the highest in the country. AB 915 would have allowed San Francisco to apply the 18 percent requirement to the bonus units. Most California cities don't have any affordable housing requirements, known as inclusionary zoning.

Because San Francisco is so "virtuous and special" and obviously so successful in providing adequate amounts of housing that it deserves a "special exception" to the laws that the rest of the State is required to follow. ---Sonja Trauss

Assemblyman Phil Ting's 2017 Housing Bill 915

Inclusionary zoning refers to local planning ordinances that require a share of new housing construction to be affordable for people with low to moderate incomes. Density bonuses are a zoning tool that that permits developers to build more housing units than normally ​​allowed in exchange for a public benefit, such as a specified number of affordable units in the development. The passage of this milestone legislation still known as A.B. 2501: co-authored by Assembly members Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) and Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) streamlined and strengthened the state’s density bonus law considerably in 2016 and stands to greatly assist a toothless 2002 state law which gave developers greater bonuses. Recent San Francisco density bonus legislation was spurred by this law. In 2017 SF Assemblyman Phil Ting is working to exempt San Francisco from these mandates. Peter Cohen and Fernando Marti of the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO) call this fixing a loophole in their guest editorial here. Status Update: AB 915 has been whittled down to an only in San Francisco exemption. as pro-housing groups perceive it as an attempt to repeal 2016's AB 2501

Taking Away the Delay Game Used to Killed Housing Approvals Under SB 35, authored by Scott Weiner as his first bill, streamlined housing approvals, local planning and zoning are respected and actually made more important as opponents are not provided with multiple opportunities to kill projects or cause inordinate delays by demanding ever-changing requirements and conditions on a one-off basis during the approval process. This predictability is critical for the successful development of affordable housing.

Scott Weiner Challenges Integrity of Market Rate Housing Opponents

Market-Rate Housing Isn’t a Bad Word, and We Won’t Solve the Housing Crisis Without It

"Let’s be real. While the new apartment or condo project down the street is expensive, so is the 75-year-old house or apartment you’re trying to buy or rent. It’s *all* expensive, and that’s not because it’s “luxury.”

It’s because it’s scarce."

"Our anemic housing production as a state has two main origins: 1) stifling, exclusionary zoning that rejects height, density, and multi-unit buildings, 2) unreasonable housing approval processes that subject even zoning-compliant projects to years of bureaucratic hoops and hearings that increase costs and make projects smaller. This perfect storm of shortsighted policies and lack of political leadership has completely jacked up the cost of housing."

"Just to be crystal clear: Anyone who advocates that we ignore these process and zoning problems and instead focus our housing policy exclusively or dominantly on subsidized, income-based housing is advocating to perpetuate the housing crisis.

"I’ve probably written as many negative articles about Scott Wiener as anyone, but on SB 35 Wiener is clearly right. He is also right that stopping market rate housing would only make the housing crisis worse.

We don’t need a Mission Moratorium to prove this; Noe Valley is among many now upscale San Francisco neighborhoods with de facto housing moratoriums for decades. These neighborhoods show how not building housing helps propel rising costs." Randy Shaw Director of SFs Tenderloin Housing Clinic

"Between 2010 and 2016, the Bay Area added 500,000 jobs but only 50,000 homes, and the jobs-housing gap and affordability problems continue to grow apace.

NPH strongly supports SB 35 because it will increase our members’ ability to help close this gap by efficiently providing safe, decent, attractive and affordable homes for our local low-wage workers and the most vulnerable among us living in precarious housing situations."

Michael Lane is policy director for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California.

In the November 2015 election the SF Mission's Prop. I attempt to prevent market rate housing from being built temporarily was soundly defeated by the 57% of the voters but developers still expect an uncertain and arduous approval process for Mission district projects. So much so, the Mission housing approval process of the last decade acts as case in point for root cause of homelessness for housing reform proponents.

The compromises have won support from interests such as construction

unions and the mayors of San Francisco and Oakland. But the legislation still faces diverse opposition, from governments in Marin County and Beverly Hills to neighborhood groups in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo and San Francisco’s Mission. The latter fear that easing development will enable gentrification to displace poorer residents, but the pressure on city neighborhoods has been exacerbated by allowing wealthier areas — like, say, Marin County and Beverly Hills — to block development. As Wiener noted last week, “Displacement happens when you don’t have enough housing.” 17JUL2017 Sunday Editorial

Status UpdateS: SB 35 and the 130 other housing bills will be given final votes in late August and Governor Jerry Brown negotiates final outcome with the legislature

Movement on Student Housing Initiative San Francisco houses over 30 institutions of higher education that enroll more than 80,000 full-time students needing student housing. However, only nine of these schools provide any housing for their population, totaling less than 9,000 beds. In 2012, Supervisors led by now State Senator Scott Weiner, voted to exempt institutions of higher learning from affordable housing requirements. Now, five years later, ground is finally being broken on the student housing that will keep San Francisco a center of global learning and creativity for generations to come. In addition to the Dogpath housing by UCSF & Hastings [600 units approved and 970 beds proposed] and CCA [220 beds under construction at 75 Arkansas St & 500 units proposed at 188 Hooper St], other schools that have made commitments to build student housing include the San Francisco Conservatory of Music [140 units proposed at 200 Van Ness], and San Francisco State [516 new units approved for on campus]. USF is planning 600 units at Parker and Golden Gate Avenues with the Sobrato Organization as a development partner while the Academy of Art University has just emerged from a settlement with the City for its guerilla approach to creating student housing the last two decades.​

Student housing coming for Potrero Hill, Dogpatch

By J.K. Dineen May 25, 2017 On Potrero Hill, the California College of the Arts has started construction on a housing complex at 75 Arkansas St., a 65,000-square-foot building that will house 228 students. The $32 million project broke ground in May and is the first phase in CCA’s plan to create 750 new beds for students on or near its campus by 2025.

Also in May, the UC Board of Regents approved a $227 million, two-building housing development for UCSF at 566-590 Minnesota St. and 600 Minnesota St. That project, about a half-mile from the CCA building on the Dogpatch side of Interstate 280, will include 595 housing units — a mix of studios and two-bedrooms.

College of Arts and Crafts consolidating Oakland campus to edge of the Mission

While CCA has long had a presence in both Oakland and San Francisco, it has hired Studio Gang Architects to come up with a plan to consolidate both campuses at Potrero Hill by 2021. This consolidation, in addition to the student housing also will include 100,000 square feet of academic space for the 2.4-acre empty lot behind CCA’s main building at 1111 Eighth St.

UCSF not Being Accountable to their host Neighborhoods

J.R,. Eppler, president of the Potrero Boosters Merchants and neighborhood group, said he supports the CCA project but wishes UCSF would do more to mitigate the impact of its development on