We don’t need to destroy the Sunset to save San Francisco

State politicians have been rushing forward a “transit oriented” housing proposal that will allow virtually unlimited construction of luxury condos throughout San Francisco.

The proposal is Senate Bill 827 (SB 827) and it allows developers to build up to 8 stories of luxury housing in areas that meet “minimum levels of transit service.” 96% of San Francisco’s parcels, including the Sunset, Richmond, Excelsior and Chinatown meet this standard. And the proposal upzones our entire City without increasing developer contribution to transit, parks, schools or other services critical to sustaining our neighborhoods. This is not how we build housing or grow livable cities.

Meanwhile, the cities who refuse to invest in public transit aren’t required to build any new housing. In fact, SB 827 rewards bad actors who refuse to build public transit or housing — sorely needed throughout the region. The Sierra Club California opposes this “pro-environment” bill writing, “While infill development near transit is the most desirable option, we believe that [SB 827] is a heavy-handed approach to encourage development that will ultimately lead to less transit being offered and more pollution generated, among other unintended consequences.”

This plan is a failure. We can build more housing without destroying our neighborhoods.

As a Supervisor in San Francisco, I have approved and built more housing than any other city legislator in the last seven years.

By negotiating with developers in my district, I have won record levels of affordable and middle income housing, expanded affordable housing to include our middle-income residents and set a new standard of 40% affordability for any new development. I guarantee developers contribute their fair share to fund transit, parks and other vital city services like street cleaning.

We can entitle thousands of units faster and more affordably by streamlining the process for accessory dwelling units in single family homes and approving more 3–10 unit residential buildings throughout the City. We can secure construction loans for homeowners and small builders to get these units built. And these units will be more affordable to everyday San Franciscans by virtue of the lower cost of their construction.

We can also establish a citywide infrastructure bank to fund necessary public infrastructure for our growing neighborhoods so the 30,000 units of housing approved by the City but stalled by delayed infrastructure can be built as soon as possible.

I oppose this brazen giveaway to developers — it rewards cities that refuse to build public transit and pollute the environment and allows unchecked luxury development throughout San Francisco. And who benefits from building luxury condos? Luxury condo developers. They will make billions of dollars. The reality is many of these luxury units remain empty as investment properties. Vacant luxury condos don’t build community, house our residents or make our neighborhoods safer.

Let’s build more housing — but let’s do it the right way.