SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman on Tuesday proposed legislation that would allow for small apartment complexes with up to four units to be built in areas of the city currently reserved for single-family homes.

The proposed ordinance, introduced at the Board of Supervisors meeting, calls for the city to provide an exemption for fourplex buildings to be allowed on corner lots in residential housing zoning districts that only allow for single family homes or buildings with a maximum of three units per lot.

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Mandelman said the ordinance would support more housing opportunities for middle-income families and would modestly help alleviate the city’s housing crisis without changing the character of the city’s residential neighborhoods.

“The zoning in many parts of San Francisco was established in the suburbanization era of the 1970s, when San Francisco’s population was three-quarters of what it is today,” Mandelman said during Tuesday’s board meeting. “Since then, we have grown by 200,000 people and added over half-a-million jobs, but only about 70,000 new housing units.”

Before being adopted by the board, the ordinance would first require an environmental review, per the California Environmental Quality Act — a process that could take up to six months, Mandelman’s office said.

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“We should be making it easier to build modestly-sized housing for middle income San Franciscans in neighborhoods across the city,” he said. “Nearly all the new housing development in this city has been concentrated in eastern neighborhoods, and this is a way for every neighborhood to do its part, including neighborhoods in my district, in addressing our housing shortage.”

Mandelman represents District 8, which includes the Castro, Noe Valley, Diamond Heights, Mission Dolores and Twin Peaks.

According to Mandelman’s office, the supervisor is also currently working with the City Attorney’s Office on a broader proposal that would allow up to four units on all residential lots — not just corner lots — although that would require an even more robust environmental review. That legislation could be introduced in the coming weeks.

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