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Amid contentiousness at City Hall, SF considers major rezoning for affordable teacher housing

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Board of Supervisors have a plan to build educator housing, but Breed says it’s not nearly enough

Gold lettering that says “City Hall” above the entrance to the building. Photo via Shutterstock.

On Tuesday, San Francisco lawmakers approved a plan for the November ballot that would rezone parts of the city and slash red tape on development of affordable housing and housing for teachers.

However, most of the Board of Supervisors remain at odds with Mayor London Breed about her competing plan for educator housing.

Come Election Day, SF voters will consider a new measure, dubbed the “Affordable Homes for Educators and Families NOW Act,” which would make certain kinds of housing faster and easier to build.

Potential changes include: Rezoning all lots over 10,000 square feet to allow 100 percent affordable and educator housing; rezoning public land to allow for 100 percent affordable and educator housing; waiving density restrictions while allowing planning code modifications for 100 percent affordable and educator housing; and streamlining educator housing projects with the same provisions currently in place for 100 percent affordable housing projects.

The rezoning would affect roughly 3,000 lots citywide—including many on the west side of San Francisco.

In an emailed statement, Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer called it an opportunity to create housing in “neighborhoods on the west side that have seen little affordable housing investment.”

Supervisors Shamann Walton, Matt Haney, Aaron Peskin, and Fewer cosponsored the Affordable Homes for Educators and Families NOW Act.

Conversely, Mayor London Breed has proposed an amendment to the San Francisco City Charter that would similarly speed up teacher-housing development, but hasn’t managed to find the necessary six supervisors to back it. single-family-home zoned neighborhoods

For starters, Breed’s proposal would exempt neighborhoods zoned for single-family homes from affordable multi-units developments for teachers, but the supervisor’s plan would not.

Further, the supervisors’ measure differs from the mayor’s in its definition of educator housing. According to Fewer. “The plan approved Tuesday requires that one employee of SFUSD or CCSF live in each unit” for a development to qualify, whereas Breed’s plan would apply to buildings where two-thirds of all units house school staff.

Breed’s proposal also differs by the fact that it affects the City Charter, which is such a drastic step that it makes some potential supporters queasy.

The board and the mayor have been at odds over her plan for months, with Breed’s frustration boiling over in recent weeks. After Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Breed announced that she will still press for her proposed reforms.

“We have to get better at building housing in this city, and we can’t continue to let bureaucracy and endless appeals stand in the way of homes for those struggling to afford to live in this city,” said the mayor in an emailed statement.

Breed called for more support for her amendment, which currently has backing only from Supervisors Vallie Brown, Ahsha Safai, and Catherine Stefani.