Public Press: Develop the Sunset, Richmond districts
The writer lives in Chicago, which may be the problem. Along with some bobbleheads from academia, she talked to the usual "smart growth," anti-car, pro-development suspects familiar to readers of this blog: Josh Switzky, AnMarie Rodgers, SPUR, Tom Radulovich, and the pro-highrise, pro-CEQA "reform" Housing Action Coalition:
As rental prices skyrocket, the city could add thousands of new apartments without increasing parking problems by carefully tweaking housing regulations in the west---an area largely untouched by the recent construction boom. Joshua Switzky, the acting director of the citywide planning division of the San Francisco Planning Department, said that rezoning along a few key transit corridors in the Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods could add roughly 7,000 new apartment units. To do this, a few key commercial streets served by public transportation would need to be rezoned to increase the housing density by 25 to 30 percent...Even under existing building height and density limits, the west side could fit approximately 5,500 additional housing units near Muni lines and retail districts, Switzky said.
That's preposterous, as Hiroshi Fukuda and Mary Gallagher---quoted to provide a semblance of balance in the story---pointed out:
Western neighbors have valid reasons to oppose rezoning, said Mary Gallagher, San Francisco’s former assistant director of planning. Increasing housing in low-density areas leads to the nuisance of construction and demolition, residential and business displacement, traffic congestion, parking problems and a change in the character of the neighborhood. This would all come in exchange for a modest number of affordable housing units...Hiroshi Fukuda, land use and housing chair of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, said that if large-scale development produced mostly market-rate apartments, it could displace established residents paying lower rents...Affordability for middle-income residents, not “densification,” is their biggest concern. “They’re building the wrong type of housing for people who don’t even live here,” Fukuda said.
Developers would have to bulldoze a lot of buildings in an area that's already built out, as the story concedes. It's not as if there are a lot of empty lots in the Sunset waiting to be developed:
And the west’s geography is inherently unattractive to developers who would prefer to build on a large scale. Compared with the available land in the city’s southeast sectors, western parcels are tiny. A developer might want to buy one if it could be combined with an adjacent parcel, but that process is difficult, Switzky said.