Stop AB 1487 Overreach

AB 1487. This bill, as amended this week, creates an “uber” regional agency (the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority – BARHF) that will govern and fund housing in the nine-county SF Bay Area. These last-minute amendments prevent any public review, hearing, or comment on the creation of a new, powerful regional authority. This “housing finance authority” will be governed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) board and staffed by MTC employees.

The MTC will hand-pick a small group of representatives to make housing and fiscal policy for the entire Bay Area. The bill also gives this entity the power to propose taxes, to distribute funds among public and private entities (including housing developers), and to impose its measures on local governmental ballots.  

This bill is an overreach and expands the MTC’S charter without any voter approval. Many local officials are concerned about this takeover of their local authority. Please write to Governor Newsom asking him to veto this bill so that the creation of a regional finance authority can receive full review and hearing. If possible by Tuesday, September 3, please write to your local assemblyperson. For Dolores Heights, our Assemblyperson is David Chiu, who sponsors this bill. We urge you to register your opposition – even with a sponsor.

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Many State Bills Will Override San Francisco Planning Codes & Regs

Here’s a round-up on housing legislation in our state legislature. In May SB 50 was postponed until the 2020 session (though it may come back through last-minute, back-room deals and maneuvers that involve a “gut and amend” of another bill and waiver of rules – stay tuned!). Many housing bills that are still on the docket seek to usurp San Francisco’s policies, ordinances, and planning codes by passing statewide laws. These are only the tip of the iceberg. In 2019 our state legislators introduced 200 bills to replace local planning laws and process with state-mandated standards and processes.SB 330 and SB 592 were heard this week before the Assembly Appropriations Committee. SB 330 mandates that all cities follow its prescribed timelines and review process for approval of housing projects. SB 592 sponsored by Senator Wiener originally governed beauticians and barbers. However, Senator Scott Wiener used a backroom “gut and amend” maneuver to re-write SB 592 making it a vehicle for more state mandates under the Housing Accountability Act. These changes further override the San Francisco’s control over planning and zoning. These bills are being pushed under the battle cry of “the housing crisis.”

A plethora of bills governing Accessory Dwelling Units. The worst of the group are: AB 68, AB 69, AB 881 and SB 13. For context, San Francisco has its own Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance which allowed for legalizing existing ADUs and for permitting of new ones. AB 68 will in effect legalize multiple dwellings on all single family lots statewide. Under AB 68 an ADU “within the buildable area” can be approved without any City review or any appeal by adjacent neighbors. AB 69 instructs the state Housing Department to develop ADU construction standards by 2021. AB 881 provides for ministerial and not discretionary approvals of ADUs and invalidates provisions of local ADU ordinances that restrict ADUs in a variety of ways. SB 13 limits what local law can require of an ADU and like AB 881, requires a “by-right” ministerial process and shortens the approval time from 120 to 60 days. SB 13 also deletes the current enforcement procedure which included mediation.

AB 1487 creates a “housing finance authority” governed by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission board and staffed by MTC employees. This bill is an overreach and expands the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s charter without any voter approval. It gives the MTC the ability to hand-pick a small group of representatives. The bill also gives this entity the ability to propose taxes and to impose its measures on local governmental ballots.

If your head is spinning, here’s a data-driven analysis  written by an Albany elected official arguing that California’s housing crisis is simply one of affordability. Using data from California state agencies, it refutes the narrative that we need to incentivize more market-rate housing. And it illustrates how the jobs/housing imbalance has increased the cost of market-rate housing beyond what median (and lower) earners can afford.

If you oppose these bills, please write to your assemblyperson and to Governor Newsom. DHIC advocates for policies and laws at the City and state level that fund and incentivize more affordable housing, that balance the needs of existing neighborhoods and their built environment with future growth, and that allow all stakeholders (especially local residents) to have a voice in the process. How do these bills solve San Francisco’s need for below-market rate affordable housing or address the decreasing quality of life from poorly planned growth?

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Town Hall Meeting on Homelessness in Our Neighborhood

Approximately 40 residents attended a Town Hall on homelessness in  Dolores Park and surrounding areas. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and his team brought together representatives of all City departments that are working on this issue in our neighborhoods.

What we heard – the City is bringing more staffing and services to the Dolores Park area: 

  • The Park will have two full-time rangers from 6am to 10pm daily. And undercover and uniformed SFPD officers are stationed around Dolores Park stairs and sidewalks to prevent gang presence in the Park
  • Rec & Park has increased other services in the park including restroom monitors at high usage times to ensure cleanliness and order
  • After the Park closes at 10pm, the Rangers and SFPD sweep the Park three times during the night to enforce the ban on overnight camping in the Park
  • DPW and SFPD is actively moving campers off the street medians. DPW is further locking down street lighting access boxes – used by homeless individuals to charge cell phones
  • Healthy Streets Operations Center is taking a person-centered approach to the most disruptive homeless individuals in our area. The goal is to assess these individuals and get them to key services, especially mental health and substance use treatment
  • Teams are using “hot spot” maps based on 311 and other reports to bring proactive health, street cleaning, and other services. The Dolores Park/Castro areas now average 700 monthly requests for services. (So keep opening those 311 cases!! And to avoid phone hold time, download & use the mobile 311 app.)

What the City representatives heard: despite the additional resources – residents expressed growing concern, anger, and frustration are growing. Many residents are fearful – for their children, for themselves – owing to the aggressive and crazy behavior they see among homeless individuals on their sidewalks. City officials are seeing a new type of homelessness: come and go (vs. permanent encampment). Getting these individuals into services requires a different approach than simply moving people and their belongings. And homelessness is trending upward. Per Emily Cohen, the Mayor’s Advisor on Homelessness, while 50 homeless individuals are housed each week, approximately 100 to 150 newly homeless show up each week.

DHIC has been working for one year with other neighborhood associations around Dolores Park to give feedback and recommendations to the City. Supervisor Mandelman facilitates a monthly meeting for that purpose. With the increased services and resources, we expect to see faster and more effective action on the 311 issues, on daily safety, and on the recurring “come and go” homeless camps and belongings. This current approach is a holding action. We need more effective policy, strategy, and resources to handle those who are mentally ill and substance abusers and those who openly use drugs on our streets adjacent to schools. We need to balance the needs of the homeless against the needs of our neighbors, families, students, and visitors. We welcome your opinions, ideas, and comments on this and other neighborhood issues. Email us at info@doloresheights.org

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Green Garden Day – Saturday, September 7

Our Green Garden Day stairway clean-up takes place on Saturday, September 7 from 9-11 am at Sanchez and 20th Streets.

Heavy lifting and hill climbing are not required.

There’ll be coffee provided by Spike’s Coffees & Teas and treats from the DHIC, garden tools and gloves courtesy of SF Parks Alliance and SFDPW, as well as lots of friendly faces.

Our mission is to improve our public staircases and their surrounding green areas with a healthy combination of gardening, safety, neighbor involvement and fun!
Everyone is welcome.

E-mail stairs@doloresheights.org for more info, or just show up!

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DHIC Board Meeting August 22 at 7 pm

Join us on Thursday, August 22 from 7pm – 8:30pm

for the DHIC Quarterly Board meeting

in the Community Meeting Room,

2d floor, Bank of America Bldg,

18th and Castro Streets

(Enter via Castro Street door)

Agenda:
Regular business

SFMTA Update on J Church Service Improvement Project
with Bonnie Jean von Krogh, SFMTA*
Discussion to Follow

For more information, email info@doloresheights.com

 

*Take the SFMTA Survey on how to improve service on the J Church line

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Speak Out for Dolores Park

Come to July 31 City Community Meeting

Are you sickened by whats going on at Dolores Park and our nearby neighborhoods? Its beset by homeless camps, gang violence, car break-ins, and general trashing by those who leave their garbage behind. And despite efforts by some, its not getting better. On May 26 a shooting among gang members at the Miguel Hidalgo statue wounded one involved person. On Tuesday, July 16, a large group moved onto the north lawn along 18th Street near the Maintenance facility. This group is openly using drugs and acting aggressive with passers-by. They are the most recent in a series of encampments that started in August 2018.

Help us protect Dolores Park and our neighbors. Voice your concerns to the City at the Community Meeting on Wednesday, July 31 at 6pm at the Childrens Day School (at 601 Dolores Street.) Our supervisor, Rafael Mandelman, organized this meeting to update us on the citys efforts to ensure public safety and address homeless encampments in and around Dolores Park. Representatives from city departments including Rec & Park, SF Police – Mission Station, the Department of Public Works and the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing will be speaking. They need to see and hear from us. Show up to tell the City that we want Dolores Park and our neighborhoods to be free of violence and homeless camps!

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Green Garden Day – Saturday, August 3

Our Green Garden Day stairway clean-up takes place on Saturday, August 3 from 9-11 am at Cumberland and Noe Streets.

Heavy lifting and hill climbing are not required.

There’ll be coffee provided bySpike’s Coffees & Teasand treats from the DHIC, garden tools and gloves courtesy of SF Parks Alliance and SFDPW, as well as lots of friendly faces.

Our mission is to improve our public staircases and their surrounding green areas with a healthy combination of gardening, safety, neighbor involvement and fun!
Everyone is welcome.

E-mail stairs@doloresheights.org for more info, or just show up!

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No Green Gardens in July

Shhhhhhhhhhh!
Our Green Gardens team is taking a rest in July!

Mark your calendars for our next stairway clean-up

Saturday, August 3 from 9:30-11:30 am

Our mission is to improve our public staircases and their surrounding green areas with a healthy combination of gardening*, safety, neighbor involvement and fun!

Everyone is welcome.

E-mailstairs@doloresheights.orgfor more info, or just show up!

*Heavy lifting and hill climbing are not required.

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Dennis Richards’ Recap of SB 50 at our Spring Gathering

At our June 1 Spring Neighbors Gathering, Dennis Richards recapped Senator Scott Wiener‘s bill SB 50. That bill would sweepingly upzone (that is, change zoning to allow more density on each lot) most of the City (and indeed much of the State). It would incentivize more market-rate & luxury housing, but would not effectively promote more affordable housing which we so desperately need.

In addition to these general points, we should add that the bill in its current form would have significant impact on Dolores Heights:

  • Increase height limits within theDolores Heights Special Use District from 35′ to 55′ (in most cases; 45′ in a few locations) because of proximity to the J Church. It would do this without requiring that developers build multi-unit or affordable housing
  • Waive all maximum controls on density for all of Dolores Heights because of proximity to the J and the 24. So any lot can have any number of units, as long as the result complies with the Building Code.
  • Not increase the production of affordable housing in our area: Most lots are not large enough to hold more than 10 units legally. SB 50 only requires affordable or inclusionary requirements for projects with more than ten units.
  • Because of the increased density, a proposal that would demo a single family residence and replace it with multiple units on what is today an RH-1 lot could be approved “by right” without review by the City or appeal by adjacent neighbors.

SB 50 is officially on hold until next year. However, Senator Wiener may be able to use any number of legislative maneuvers to bring it back at least in part this year. As an example of a step he could take, Senator Wiener just resorted to a legislative trick called “gut and amend”. He’s taken a bill that originally dealt with licensing for barbers and cosmetologists – SB 592 – and amended it to create another housing bill which is different than SB 50 but in some ways might be even worse.

SB 592 is a very complex and detailed piece of housing legislation that would undermine a long list of local controls over residential developments by extending the scope of the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). The HAA was originally passed in the 1980s to protect communities from housing discrimination, but has been increasingly used to sue cities in order to force approval of development permits. SB 592 changes the HAA to an anti-local controls measure that appears to disallow Discretionary Review and appeals and protects proposed McMansions from neighborhood objections. We will write more about SB 592 as we understand it better.

What can you do? Call Assembly Housing Committee Chair (and our state assemblyman) David Chiu at (916) 319-2017. Urge him to oppose SB 592.

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A Look Back at our 2019 Spring Neighbors Gathering

DHIC’s Spring Gathering brought together neighbors and several key city leaders: Rafael Mandelman, our district supervisor, and Dennis Richards, a San Francisco Planning Commissioner (more on his remarks and key legislation HERE.)

 

Supervisor Mandelman provided updates on neighborhood/district issues and answered neighbors questions. He also introduced Jessica Closson, our new District 8 Safety Coordinator. Jessica is meeting with community groups to identify top safety issues and how she can help us address them.

 

Before the gathering, neighbors met for the monthly Green Gardens clean-up. They worked to clear and trim the green areas adjacent to the Sanchez Steps (above 19th Street.) Everyone is welcome to this first Saturday event. There will be no stairway clean-up in July but we’ll be back in action on Saturday, August 3. For more info, see Green Gardens announcement in our next newsletter or write stairs@doloresheights.org.

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