Weiner’s housing measures struggle before board
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Supervisor Scott Wiener’s “smaller is better” housing measures faced unexpectedly tough sledding before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
Weiner agreed to delay discussion on his plan to trim the minimum size of apartments in the city until Sept. 25 to allow more negotiations with other members of the board and then had to fight off an attempt to put his measure to change the rules on local student housing on the back burner.
While the second measure would ban the conversion of existing rental housing into college dorms, it also would promote construction of new student housing by allowing more units, fewer fees and less required open space for developments designed for students.
The plan, which has been in the works for two years, was approved by the Planning Commission last month after all the concerns appeared to have been solved. But Supervisor Jane Kim blindsided Wiener with a last-minute request to delay action on the plan so that more changes could be made.
Kim called for amendments that could grandfather in existing student housing and also require more reports about how any new student housing actually is being used.
But few board members wanted to see more delays to the housing plan, especially since the amendments would have sent Weiner’s measure back to the Planning Commission for the third time. They were also unhappy with the timing of the request.
“I feel there should have been some effort to reach out to (Wiener)” before the meeting, said Supervisor Eric Mar.
The measure passed on a 9-2 vote, with supervisors Kim and John Avalos opposed.
Weiner was resigned to the delay for his plan to allow 220-square-foot efficiency units in the city, compared to the current 290-square-foot minimum.
Admitting that the new apartments wouldn’t be for everyone, Wiener said the smaller units would be a boon for the 40 percent of San Francisco residents who live alone.