Mission housing moratorium may go to November ballot

The San Francisco Business Times is reporting that a group of activists plans to submit a potential ballot measure to the city attorney that would push back market-rate housing projects in the Mission District for as much as a year and a half. After the submission, the group would need to collect about 9,400 signatures in order to qualify the measure for the ballot.

Applicable to projects exceeding 20 units, the moratorium would extend to the entire Mission District. “Our goal is not to stop all development,” Edward Lindo of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club told the Business Times. “Our goal is to stop incredibly large development that focuses exclusively on market-rate housing. We need a pause to ensure that if developers are going to build in our city, they’re going to figure out a way to build affordable housing, even if that could be cutting into their 15 to 20 percent profit margins.”

However, Gabriel Metcalf disagrees. The president of urban policy group SPUR told the Business Times that the measure is a “misdirected idea that will have the exact opposite effect of what they intend.” He said that it is a “venting of frustration” but will not make the Mission more affordable.

With 500 new units completed since 2010 and another 500 units in the pipeline, very little affordable housing is on tap. According to the Council of Community Housing Organizations, which is supporting the moratorium, just 7.1 percent of those units are slated to be affordable.

Lindo told the Business Times that he believes the measure is the first such effort in the state.

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