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DTNA Land Use Committee

DTNA Land Use Committee is a forum to review and debate building developments and transportation updates that impact our neighborhood's built environment. We discuss topics surrounding housing, city planning & zoning, traffic & bicycle circulation, pedestrian safety, public-transportation improvements, historic preservation, and neighborhood greening. The Committee takes evidence-based positions on many project proposals in our neighborhood and makes recommendations to the DTNA Board.

Committee meetings on the the second Monday of every odd month, 7:00pm to 8:30pm. If you would like to attend a Land Use, please email landuse@dtna.org. Everyone is welcome to join and participate. 

The Land Use Committee Chair is Kevin Riley.

Land Use Blog

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  • 22 Sep 2022 5:07 PM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    Prop D&E Comparison Chart


    Prop D

    Affordable Homes Now (Initiative Petition)

    Prop E

    Affordable Housing Production Act (BOS)

    Approval Times

    0-150 units: 3 months 

    150+ units: 6 months 

    • No BOS approval 

    • No CEQA (environmental) or discretionary (neighborhoods)

    6 months 

    • BOS approval required for projects using City property or financing

    • BOS can request additional time for any reason 

    • No CEQA (environmental) or discretionary (neighborhoods)

    Path 1: 

    100% Affordable Building 

    140% AMI max for individual units

    • $135,800

    120% AMI max for building average

    • $116,400 


    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    120% AMI max for individual units

    • $116,400

    80% AMI max for building average 

    • $77,600


    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    Path 2:

     Mixed-income building (10+ units)

    Number of Affordable Units:

    City Inclusionary Rate (currently 22%) + 15% of the inclusionary units. 

    • Example: 22% of 100 unit building = 22 affordable units, + 15% of 22 units = 25 affordable units total


    +15% Affordable Units Requirements:

    No


    Planning Approval Expiration:

    Yes, after 36-months 

    Number of Affordable Units:

    City Inclusionary Rate (currently 22%) + 8% of the Building's total units. 

    • Example: 22% of 100 unit building = 22 affordable units, + 8% of total units = 30 affordable units total


    +8% Affordable Units Requirements:

    Yes, 30% 2BR and 30% 3BR min


    Planning Approval Expiration:

    Yes, after 24-months 

    Path 3:

    Teacher Housing 

    San Francisco Unified School District or City College employee


    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    San Francisco Unified School District or City College employee


    Approval Streamlining:

    Review and approval with objective standards and ministerial actions only

    Affordable Housing Reports

    No

    Requires the Mayor to provide annual affordable housing reports in the budget

    Streamlining Expansion 

    BOS can amend City law to apply streamlining to additional housing types.

    No

    Labor

    10+ units, prevailing wage required


    40+ units, provide health care benefits and offer apprenticeship opportunities 

    10+ units, prevailing wage require


    25+ units, use a % of workers who graduated from apprenticeship (unions)


    Prop D (Affordable Homes Now)

    • Pros

      • Will likely result in a significant amount of new housing 

      • Expands who can access inclusionary housing, creates a path for “missing middle” housing (housing as a human right) 

      • De-politicizes affordable housing approval (objective compliance, not discretionary)

      • Requirements for healthcare and apprenticeship benefits 

    • Cons

      • Less leverage to demand community amenities 

      • Does not require union labor 


    Prop E (Affordable Housing Production Act)

    • Pros

      • Rewards projects with a significant number of affordable units with streamlining 

      • Maintains inclusionary housing access for only low income residents 

      • Demands family-sized units in inclusionary housing 

      • Maintains a percentage union labor

      • Provides a path for Supervisors to leverage community benefits 

    • Cons

      • More regulations to comply with, less projects will quality for streamlining 

      • Maintains the option for discretionary reviews, extended approval times 

      • Cannot be expanded to other housing typologies 


    Summary

    • Neither ballot measure seems to have a specific or unique impact on Duboce Triangle. 

    • Vote for Prop D if: you want it to be easier to develop housing with at least some affordable units and are okay with less BOS oversight & leverage.  

    • Vote for Prop E if: you are only interested in streamlining housing with a high number of affordable units, and are okay with maintaining BOS oversight & leverage. 


    Links

  • 22 Sep 2022 5:06 PM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    In August, the Land Use Committee met to discuss the upcoming November ballot measures we felt would have a direct impact on Duboce Triangle, consistent with land use topics discussed in the past – public transportation funding and affordable housing production. The committee tends to ‘nerd out’ on these types of policies and used this meeting to get into the weeds on these initiatives. The discussion centered on reviewing the pros and cons of each measure and giving everyone an opportunity to share their perspective. The ballot measures the committee discussed were: Props D & E - the competing affordable housing streamlining measures, Prop L - a renewal of an existing sales tax for transportation funding, and Prop M - the proposed residential vacancy tax.


    Prop L - Sales Tax for Transportation Projects 

    The committee started the discussion with Prop L, as it seemed the least contested measure on our docket to discuss. A YES vote on this proposition would maintain an existing sales tax used to fund a wide variety of transportation projects - such as public transportation and pedestrian improvements. The committee has long been in support of investments in our roads, sidewalks, and transit lines. As an extension of a tax already in place and generating important revenue, everyone in the meeting expressed support for Prop L.  


    Prop M - Tax on Keeping Residential Units Vacant

    This residential vacancy tax is similar in spirit to the retail vacancy tax (Prop D, approved by voters in 2020), but in this case would apply to vacant residential units. If passed, Prop M would introduce a new tax on landlords/homeowners who have a unit vacant for more than half the year. The tax would only apply to buildings with three or more units (including condos). There are several exemptions from the new tax, including units being renovated. The tax varies depending on the size of the unit, would increase over time, and the revenue would help fund affordable housing.


    Overall, neighbors agreed with the concept of incentivizing landlords to fill vacant units but felt this new tax would not have a significant impact. While supporters liked that revenue would go towards affordable housing, they acknowledged it would likely not be a large amount. Some neighbors who opposed the new tax felt it would be another bureaucratic hoop for landlords to jump through but acknowledged that most small-scale landlords would not be affected (single-family and duplexes being exempt). Other opponents felt the tax did not go far enough and were concerned with the money and personnel that would be needed to enforce the tax. Sentiments in the meeting were split, with about half expressing support and the other half not in favor of the residential vacancy tax - no side particularly passionate either way. 


    Props D & E - Affordable Housing Streamlining 

    The majority of the meeting was spent comparing and discussing Prop D (Affordable Housing – Initiative Petition) and Prop M (Affordable Housing – Board of Supervisors). The discussion was guided by a comparison chart of the two measures. Essentially, Prop D was created by a coalition of housing advocates & developers to allow projects with 25% or more affordable units to skip discretionary reviews (Board of Supervisors and CEQA) and would only have to undergo objective reviews (Planning, Building, and Fire departments). Prop E was created by the Board of Supervisors in reaction to Prop D and would allow projects with 30% or more affordable units to skip discretionary reviews while maintaining the option for the Board of Supervisors to review & approve. 


    There was a general skepticism over the intent of both propositions. Several neighbors felt that the Board of Supervisors has voted down housing for political reasons (not based on the merits of the projects), and CEQA has been used to kill housing. Those folks felt that Prop E was performative in nature - laudable goals but wouldn't really produce more housing while maintaining the Supervisor’s ability to kill housing. Those in favor of Prop E felt that some oversight by the Board of Supervisors should be maintained (allowing neighborhood associations like DTNA to play a role in housing approvals) and that additional streamlining could happen in other areas of the planning process. On the flip side, even the neighbors who expressed skepticism of a developer-funded initiative expressed support for Prop D. Those felt that it was a financially sensible simplification of the planning process that would actually generate desperately needed new housing. Some supporters of Prop D went as far as to say that they would support any measure that limits the Board of Supervisors power to veto housing (in reference to 469 Stevenson St). By the end of the discussion, most neighbors were in support of Prop D (Affordable Homes Now). 


    For more details on measures discussed, visit the Land Use page on dtna.org. To partake in future meetings like the one described, email landuse@dtna.org to join the Land Use email list! 


    By Kevin Riley, Land Use Committee Chair

  • 22 Sep 2022 5:05 PM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    Prop D - SUPPORT

    DTNA wants to do whatever we can to support the development and maintenance of affordable housing. While seeing merits in both propositions D & E, the DTNA Board voted to endorse Prop D (Affordable Homes Now).


    Prop L - SUPPORT

    DTNA has long been in support of public transportation and pedestrian improvements. The DTNA Board voted unanimously to endorse Prop L (Sales Tax for Transportation Projects).


    See the “Land Use Committee Discussion of November Ballot Measures” for additional information on the ballot measures discussed.

  • 2 Sep 2022 7:17 AM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    From SFMTA:


    New traffic signal changes for Laguna/Hermann/Guerrero, with final paving in early fall 

    On August 22nd the project team turned on the new signals and signal phasing for the Hermann/Laguna/Guerrero intersection. Changes include a new traffic signal for Hermann Street and dedicated left-turn phases off of Market Street. Additional No Right on Red signage, signal timing adjustments, and final markings will be installed in the early fall (September/October) along with the decorative paving for the Hermann/Laguna intersection just north of Market Street. 


    Traffic changes for 16th/Noe intersection planned for September 8

    The newly-installed traffic signal layout for the 16th/Noe/Market intersection will 'go live' on September 8, 2022. As part of these changes, westbound 16th Street will gain a new dedicated left-turn phase onto Market Street; and left-turns onto Market and Noe Street will be restricted from southbound 16th Street. As requested by nearby residents, the southernmost traffic barrier for the Noe Slow Street also will be removed to improve overall access to the 200 block of Noe Street.


    Uplighting wiring and cobblestone repair to begin in mid-September

    After extensive supply chain delays, the wiring for the uplighting is finally set to arrive this week (for real we've been told). The contractor will be seeking a Muni permit to start the wiring along with center median cobblestone and targeted roadway base repair near the Muni track lanes. Work is expected to begin at the 16th- Castro block and work eastward toward Buchanan Street. Temporary travel and turn lane restrictions should be expected during construction hours (generally 9am to 3:30pm).


    We will certainly keep everyone aware when the uplighting wiring is complete and we are close to turning on this much-anticipated feature. 


    Construction activities to pick up in the Market/Octavia/Central Freeway area

    Supply chain issues that have been holding up work at Octavia are also expected to be resolved soon. The contractor will begin reconstruction of the McCoppin/Market crosswalk in the coming days before moving to the Central Freeway and Octavia intersection to modify medians, curb ramps, and the location of the existing red light camera. Construction-related impacts to Market Street and Central Freeway travel lanes should be expected starting in October, with construction lasting approximately two months.


    Decorative Muni railings to be fully installed by the end of September

    The contractor will be installing railings at the final few locations in the coming weeks, with the Jane Warner Plaza location to be completed in time for the Castro Street Fair. Clear Channel has been requested to begin re-installing bus shelters as quickly as they can where the new railings are in place.


    Sanchez/15th traffic signal, decorative crosswalk coming in early fall

    Sidewalk work at this location is substantially complete but no firm date yet has been scheduled for a traffic signal switchover or completion of the decorative crosswalk and final striping.

  • 1 Aug 2022 7:21 PM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    As usual, there will be several measures on the ballot this November election. A couple measures focus on on housing and relate to the conversations we have at the DTNA Land Use committee. The committee has been specifically focused on the two competing housing streamlining measures and the residential vacancy tax. Below are some links we have found to articles and research about these measures. 

  • 6 Mar 2022 10:24 AM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    See attached research report from UC Berkeley students on the Duboce Triangle traffic calming. There were there project teams, each with their own hypothesis, who studies different areas of our neighborhood. The report presents their data and proposes ways to make Duboce Triangle more pedestrian friendly.    

    FINAL REPORT COMBINED.pdf

  • 5 Dec 2021 7:07 PM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    Our last Land Use meeting of the year, we will have two presentation topics: 

    • The development team for 67-69 Belcher St will be presenting their scheme 
    • Three teams of the UC Berkeley students will present their "Slow Triangle" research. 

    The presentations will take up most of the meeting but there will be some time at the end for discussion topics. See you tomorrow at 7pm (zoom link below)! 

    ____________________________________________________________________________211206 - December Land Use Agenda.pdf

    Topic: [DTNA] Monthly Land Use Meeting

    Time: Dec 6, 2021 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

    Join Zoom Meeting:

    https://us06web.zoom.us/j/93699834155?pwd=VTYrcEd0SUYxZzAzdGNqUCtQUGNFZz09

    Meeting ID: 936 9983 4155

    Passcode: dtna

    One tap mobile

    +16699006833,,93699834155# US (San Jose)

    +13462487799,,93699834155# US (Houston)

  • 5 Dec 2021 5:11 PM | Kevin Riley (Administrator)

    2021 was, as we all know, an unconventional year. The Land Use committee continues to adapt to these unique times - hosting monthly committee meetings, reviewing developments that impact the Triangle, and empowering neighbors to advocate for the positive changes they would like to see. 


    It has been a slow year for new construction and housing development in the neighborhood. We are still in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, but it has become even harder to build. COVID-19 has slowed things down, there are labor shortages, market volatility, and increased construction costs. Several multi-family housing projects in Duboce Triangle have had little to no progress over the past year. Proposed projects such as 2135 & 2140 Market Street have not been submitted for Entitlements because developers struggle to make them financially feasible. Previously Entitled projects, such as 1965 Market, sit dormant - supposedly awaiting additional funding or a new developer. Housing slated to start construction, such as 55 Belcher St, remains unbuilt. It is sad to see such stagnation in a neighborhood like Duboce Triangle that is within walking/transit distance to so many jobs and businesses. 


    There is some hope that 2022 will be a more active year for new housing. Increased Federal and State funding for affordable housing makes it a little easier for non-profit developers to pencil-out projects. New State laws, SB09 and SB10, will make it easier to add units to properties with only one unit and build small-scale apartment buildings. The Planning Department is currently reviewing both these provisions to determine precisely how they will impact San Francisco. The Land Use committee hopes these new laws and additional funding will result in more affordable homes in Duboce Triangle.   


    While building development has been slow, the Land Use Committee has focused on public space and transportation. There has been discussion about how our streets are used and the balance between pedestrian and vehicular priorities. DTNA has issued letters of support for the Noe Slow Street and 14th Street Traffic Calming - both will strengthen pedestrian safety in our neighborhood. 


    The Land Use Committee has also issued letters of support for two murals - one at MaiTri (facing Duboce Ave) and the other at Flore Store (facing the Noe-Beaver Mini Park). Both will bring color to our streets, making a walk through our neighborhood even more enjoyable. 


    Following DTNA’s efforts to improve our built environment, advocate for investment in public transportation, and increase accessibility, the Board issued a letter of support for the new and improved Harvey Milk Plaza at Castro MUNI station. We will continue to work with the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza as their design is finalized to ensure the new Plaza will be an accessible and enjoyable space for our community. 


    Overall, 2021 has been filled with great discussion, debate, and action for the Land Use Committee. We have learned a lot and have tried to make our neighborhood a more enjoyable, accessible, and sustainable place to live and work. To do this, the committee needs neighbors to participate and share their opinion! If you would like to attend a meeting or share your thoughts on land use & transportation, please email landuse@dtna.org 

  • 3 Dec 2021 4:25 PM | Robert Bush (Administrator)

    December 2, 2021, the Planning approved the 240-250 Church Street Porject with 24 units, including three affordable units and space for Thorough Bread and Pastry at 248 Church Street.

    See BAR article.

  • 1 Dec 2021 3:33 PM | Robert Bush (Administrator)

    By Hans Galland

    DTNA has the privilege of working with UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design on exploring the nuances of our vision for a Slow Triangle. Part of this work was inspired by a conversation with Hugo Errazuriz, who researched the Duboce Triangle himself in 2002 while a student at Cal. We had a conversation with Hugo about this work then, and here’s what we learned.

    DTNA: Hello Hugo. Tell us a bit about yourself.

    Hugo: Well, I came to San Francisco in 2000 and after working for a couple of years as an architect, I went to UC Berkeley to get my masters degree in urban design. I went on to work in Asia for more than a decade in the development of complex urban projects, regions and even new cities, mostly in China. In 2019, I moved back to San Francisco and now live on Beaver Street. I work as an urban design principal at the San Francisco office of AECOM, a global engineering and design firm.

    DTNA: What was your first impression of the Duboce Triangle?

    Hugo: I had walked through the Duboce Triangle many times and found it a beautiful place, but I don’t remember knowing it as its own neighborhood. It was not until I was studying the urban grid of San Francisco at Berkeley that I started to pay attention to it, mostly because of its very unique location where multiple urban grids and communities intersect.

    DTNA: We heard you did a project on the Duboce Triangle when you were at Berkeley in 2002. What was it about? 

    Hugo: As part of our Urban Design Research Methods class, we studied the relationship between street design and resident satisfaction. We had selected the Duboce Triangle for the research. During that time, we literally went door-to-door to conduct questionnaire surveys and resident interviews. We wanted to see whether a street that was designed to accommodate more pedestrian activity contributed to a higher resident satisfaction and created a deeper sense of community. 

    DTNA: What were the key things you learnt at that time?

    Hugo: We found evidence that streets planned for people rather than cars (wider sidewalks, seating areas, green bulbouts) contributed to a greater sense of satisfaction. 

    We learned, however, that other factors were also important. For instance, the cul-de-sac conditions, as you find them on Pierce Street or Carmelita Street, were critical for satisfaction and community. These streets did not have bulbouts or seating areas like Noe or Sanchez, yet they scored really high with residents: the fact they did not have vehicular through-traffic created much bigger resident satisfaction and a deeper sense of community. These streets benefitted from pedestrians through traffic. So, unlike traditional dead-end streets that tend to be empty and may feel unsafe, the cul-de-sacs north of Duboce Park had pedestrians, who activated them and made them feel safe. We also witnessed a stronger sense of community in that neighbors on those cul-de-sacs knew their neighbors by name much more commonly than in other streets in the Duboce Triangle. Put differently, even though people on Noe Street were very happy, they didn't necessarily know the names of their neighbors. In sum, the absence of vehicular through-traffic combined with the presence of pedestrian through traffic created a stronger sense of community

    DTNA: Any parting thoughts you would like to pass on to neighbors in the Duboce Triangle and DTNA while working on the Vision for a Slow Triangle?

    Hugo: The Duboce Triangle is so interesting because it has a small scale and thus potential for a strong sense of community. Yet, one should not forget that it plays an important role in the larger city because of its central location, connecting many different neighborhoods. Therefore, any decisions you make within the Triangle affect a much larger area outside the Triangle. 

    It will therefore be important to balance the interests of Triangle residents with those of the larger community that may benefit from assets you find within or near the Duboce Triangle. You would want to be inclusive and not exclusive. Concretely, you can think of providing some areas that just cater primarily to the neighbors and others to visitors from neighboring areas.

    DTNA: Thank you Hugo. These are very valuable insights. 

    Hugo: Thank you for having me.

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