SF Planning Dept. – Central SoMa boundary map

[Originally posted on March 23, 2018, updated on April 11, 2018]

Following more than six years of planning and public outreach, the City initiated the formal approval process for the Central SoMa Plan (Plan) at the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission on February 27 and March 1, respectively. The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and Planning Commission held informational hearings on the Plan on March 21 and March 22, respectively. The HPC also considered initiation of the formal landmark designation process for certain buildings and districts identified during the Plan process. The Planning Commission is scheduled to consider the EIR and approvals on May 10, with the Board considering the legislation thereafter.


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On September 29, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law a 15-bill housing package.  A few of the key components, including approval streamlining, are summarized below.  The housing package did not include AB 915, which would have authorized the City and County of San Francisco to impose local inclusionary requirements on bonus units created under the State Density Bonus Law. San Francisco adopted legislation in August that imposes inclusionary housing requirements on bonus units in the form of a fee, and the Legislature’s failure to pass AB 915 creates uncertainty about its enforceability.

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Summary Chart of Competing Inclusionary Housing Proposals

Barring any last-minute surprises, the Board of Supervisors will finally adopt compromise inclusionary housing legislation on July 18th that would, as shown in our summary comparison chart, make many major changes to the City’s existing program.  The key provisions of the legislation affecting large projects with 25 or more residential units can be found in our prior blog post on this topic.

Recent noteworthy changes, including an important change to existing grandfathering protections for certain pipeline projects, are summarized below.


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Comparing Inclusionary Housing Proposals_6.5.17The Land Use and Transportation Committee of the Board of Supervisors is now scheduled to consider compromise inclusionary housing legislation on June 12th, following a continuance at the Committee’s June 5th hearing. As shown in our summary comparison chart, the legislation would generally retain existing grandfathering protections as to the total percentage of affordable units for certain pipeline projects, but would make many other major changes to the City’s existing program.


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San Francisco and MapAs reported in our prior blog post, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D – San Francisco) introduced amendments to the State Density Bonus law (AB 915) that would specifically require all local jurisdictions to impose their local inclusionary housing requirements on density bonus units, unless the jurisdiction expressly exempts them by ordinance.

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Housing San FranciscoThe City is one step closer to sorting out inclusionary housing requirements and local implementation of the State Density Bonus law now that the City Controller has released its final recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The good news for developers is that recommended on-site and in-lieu fee percentages are below Proposition C levels. On the other hand, an “in-lieu” fee for density bonus units is now being contemplated.

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photo-1423347673683-ccdb7f6a948fThe San Francisco Planning Commission took a major step on December 8, 2016, by approving the first market rate housing project to utilize the State Density Bonus law.

The State law, which has been in effect for almost 40 years, incentivizes developers to construct more affordable housing by providing density bonuses of up to 35 percent for projects that incorporate on-site affordable units. The amount of the density bonus varies depending on the level of affordability and the number of affordable units. 
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