On Wednesday, December 9, the Planning Association for the Richmond (PAR) will host an informational meeting about the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) from the city’s Planning Department.
The new program would provide incentives for developers to include more affordable housing for very low, low, moderate, and middle-income households. Development bonuses, such as increased density, would be offered on a graduated scale based on the percentage of affordable units provided.
According to the Planning Department (view PDF), the main goals of the program are to:
- Increase the numbers of on-site affordable units
- Improve feasibility of underutilized sites
- Increase availability of middle-income housing
- Expedite entitlement of 100 percent affordable housing units
What that could translate to here in San Francisco, and specifically in the Richmond District (as part of the “Local” ABHP) is increased approvals for denser developments, and much taller buildings.
Depending on the percentage of affordable housing units in a new development, a developer could increase the height of a building by 2 or 3 stories:
- Projects that include 30 percent or more affordable units for low and middle-income households will be able to build more residential units and up to an additional two stories than currently allowed under existing zoning regulations.
- Projects with 100 percent affordable units will be able to build more residential units and up to three additional stories of residential development than currently allowed under existing zoning regulations.
Some are opposed to the AHBP, fearing that thoroughfares like Fulton and Geary could see an influx of new developments that greatly exceed the current height restrictions of 3-4 stories.
Socketsite reports “the program would add the potential for building another 16,000 units of housing across city, an increase of roughly 4 percent over the 380,000 units that currently exist.”
However the distribution of those units is not spread evenly across all neighborhoods. Collectively, the inner and outer Richmond District neighborhoods would see a 7% increase in the total number of housing units. The Bayview (23%), Financial District (11%) and Western Addition (11%) would see the greatest increases as a result of the AHBP (view map).
There is also a State option for the ABHP which requires a lower percentage of affordable units to qualify for the bonus (5% – 20%) but requires a minimum of five affordable housing units in a development (whereas the local option has no minimum for units but 40% or more must be two bedroom units). The State option would enact California’s existing Density Bonus Law.
“Opportunities for public input on this Program have been insufficient so far. This program portends significant changes to type of buildings built in our communities, to streetscapes and the environment in which we live,” said Richard Correia, the President of PAR.
“PAR is providing this forum to allow the Planning Department to explain the Program and for community to weigh with comment, concerns and ideas. The forum will include a presentation by a Richmond District Resident and attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions.”
The meeting will take place Wednesday, December 9 at 7pm at the Richmond District Recreation Center (281 18th Avenue).