Senator Scott Wiener has introduced a contested bill that if passed will overrule local zoning controls on height, density and design standards on housing complexes near transit-rich urban areas.
SB-827 will ensure that any new housing construction within half a mile of a train station or a quarter mile from a frequent bus stop will not fall under local zoning restrictions. This would allow for the building of more housing units to allegedly alleviate local and statewide homelessness and increasing rent.
However, much of the opposition against the bill comes from Wiener’s hometown itself — San Francisco, where the bill would virtually encompass the whole county. Supervisor London Breed, Supervisor Jane Kim and former Supervisor Angela Alioto spoke of Wiener’s bill in a mayoral forum event hosted by The Chronicle.
Breed, who was endorsed by Wiener two weeks ago, told the forum audience that while the bill has good intentions it still needs to be improved upon.
“I understand that it’s not perfect legislation,” Breed said. “And it is pretty extreme, but what it is trying to accomplish is to push the region to build more housing and to build faster.”
Breed also voiced her additional concerns on possible civilian displacements that may occur if the bill is passed and put to use in San Francisco.
Jane Kim, a long-running political rival of Wiener, has been more opposed to the state senator’s bill. Even hosting her own event in the West Portal Neighborhood last month that focused on her opposition towards SB-827.
“You’re enriching the pockets of developers who are already doing extremely well in San Francisco, without asking them to do anything in return for San Francisco,” Kim said.
Reiterating a position she stated since her March event in West Portal that SB-827 is a plain “giveaway” to rich developers that may not even be based in the city. Adding that if the bill is passed then San Francisco will be “quilted” with “seven story luxury condos.”
In response to Kim’s continued opposition, Wiener tweeted that the mayoral candidate is allying herself with conservatives who don’t want “apartment dwellers” in their neighborhoods.
Wiener, in a statement, said that amendments have been made to the bill already, including a major change to the bill’s maximum height allowance to 55 feet from its original 85. Additionally, Wiener stated that the bill would seek to restrict demolitions, ensure affordable housing and retain significant local control.
“SB-827 bill has triggered a robust and passionate discussion about housing in California, and I appreciate all the feedback we’ve received,” Wiener said. “We will continue to work with anyone committed to solving our housing shortage and we will bring more housing to our state if we work collectively on solutions.”