Mayor Ed Lee carefully weighed in Tuesday on the hotly debated condo conversion bypass proposal by encouraging a compromise to bring relief to thousands of tenancy-in-common owners amid worries about the loss of rent-controlled units.
The politics are in full effect around the legislation, which was introduced by Supervisor Mark Farrell and is backed by the Plan C homeowner advocacy group. It would allow owners of tenancy-in-common units to bypass the annual lottery that caps such conversions at 200 a year by paying up to $20,000 per unit. It would be a one-time offer for those who participated in the lottery this year and last year.
“There is certainly a need for largely working-class TIC owners who want more housing stability,” Lee said Tuesday during the Board of Supervisors’ monthly mayoral question session. “And I can sympathize with their angst about the seemingly endless lottery waitlist.”
Lee said he also can “see the argument” that without a “rethinking of how that lottery pool got so big in the first place, we can’t truly make progress on this issue.”
The mayor did not offer specifics on how to address the concerns of the warring sides or details on how to address reducing the large numbers of tenancy-in-common owners in the lottery poll.
“I can’t say that I have the magic solution to this issue that will make everybody happy,” Lee said.
The Board of Supervisors land-use committee is expected to debate the legislation Feb. 25, after postponing a vote on the proposal during a Jan. 28 hearing to allow for possible negotiations.
According to the Department of Public Works, which administers the conversion program, 2,393 units from 701 properties were entered into last year’s lottery. A total of 124 units had been in the lottery for seven years.
Also on Tuesday, the board unanimously approved legislation introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener that allows developers to increase their parking allowances by between two and five car-share spots on top of the maximum allowable parking spaces, which varies depending on a project’s size.
Some critics of the proposal said no additional parking spots should be permitted and instead encouraged car-share spaces within the current limits.