San Francisco Housing Developments Get Tangled In Red Tape

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — In San Francisco, red tape is getting in the way of new projects in three corners of the city.

There are three areas Treasure Island, Visitation Valley and Parkmerced — in all some 15,000 units of badly needed housing – that the San Francisco Business Times found to be years behind schedule.

And one of the biggest blockers is City Hall’s red tape.

“It makes building new housing — which everybody wants — not just harder to do from a process standpoint but certainly more expensive to do,” said P.J. Johnston, spokesman for the Parkmerced development.

State Senator Scott Wiener, who just fought to pass a packet of laws aimed at streamlining housing, said the slog of permitting — everything from the size of the curbs to the size of the electrical poles to the widths of the streets — has long been a problem.

Wiener said, “The departments are fighting with each other and it just adds years to the delivery of critically needed housing.”

But Department Of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said, “We have to review the plans very carefully. We have to make sure that all the designs comply meet city standards.”

The clock is running down on Mayor Lee’s pledge to build 30,000 new units of housing. And these three projects alone could put him over the finish line.

“No matter what your role is, I believe you can do it in half of the time,” Lee said. “But we also have to hold everybody accountable.

But Mayor Lee says he won’t allow bureaucracy to stand in the way of progress.

“Either you contribute to the goal or you move out of the way — and I know how to move people out of the way if I have to get something done,” Lee said.

He’s issued an executive order with the goal of cutting the bureaucratic time in half.

If the Mayor does manage to cut the permitting time in half, it will be a housing miracle unto itself.

More from Phil Matier
Comments

One Comment

  1. Marc Salomon says:

    First off, Matier is courtier to the neoliberal conservatives who run the SF Democrat Party

    Second, this housing is not badly needed. Few San Franciscans can afford it and it does not produce enough affordable units to justify the impacts.

    These developers have rigged the game to not cover but a slim fraction of the infrastructure costs of their luxury condo projects.

    Best of luck with tens of thousands of units built on bay fill in the middle of the bay in a seismic zone with one road in and one road out.

    This is all One Big Scam.

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