SF supes proposal seeks to monitor new construction for affordability 

San Francisco is poised to start monitoring the affordability of development to ensure the construction boom yields at least 33 percent of the units at below market rates, under legislation proposed by Supervisor Jane Kim.

The legislation is intended to hold The City more accountable in building housing for low to moderate income earners at a time when housing affordability is a top political issue.

“While we continue to build and develop in the city we also need to ensure that we are building the right way,” Supervisor Jane Kim said during Monday’s Board of Supervisors land use committee hearing.

The legislation would also hold Mayor Ed Lee more accountable in his goal of building or rehabilitating 30,000 housing units by 2020 with 33 percent of those being below market rate. Below-market rate housing advocates support stronger oversight over housing construction in The City.

The legislation’s mandated analysis, which would be released biannually, will calculate the percentage of affordable-housing units, defined as those affordable to households earning between zero and 120 percent of the area median income, compared to all housing built within a 10 year time frame.

It would also factor in the loss of below-market-rate units such as SROs or rent-controlled units. The report would include a breakdown of units affordable to certain income brackets by neighborhood and special zoning areas.

The first report, under Kim’s legislation, would have to be done by June 1. It would help inform the discussion about the $250 million housing bond slated for the November ballot.

Calvin Welch, a longtime below-market-rate housing advocate in San Francisco, said the data can help guide better housing policies.

“There is a definite relationship between the cost of market-rate housing, the impact on market-rate housing and the availability of affordable housing,” Welch said. “The sooner we can gather data needed to demonstrate that relationship the sooner we can move forward with meaningful legislation to address that reality.”

The board is scheduled to vote on Kim’s legislation next Tuesday.

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