Mission Moratorium Voted Down

​After a lengthy and, at times, raucous hearing, the Board of Supervisors rejected a moratorium on most new housing developments in the Mission on a 7-4 vote.  Co-sponsored by Supervisors Campos, Mar, Kim, Avalos, and Yee, the 45-day moratorium would have prohibited all city departments from approving permits for (a) the construction of a housing project with five or more units and (b) the elimination of PDR (light industrial) space.  Only 100 percent affordable housing projects would have been exempt from the ban. Supervisors Christensen, Farrell, Tang, and Wiener voted against the measure.  (As an urgency ordinance, nine votes were required for passage.)

The 45-day moratorium was widely viewed as the first step toward the maximum two-year ban allowed under state law.  In his introductory remarks, Supervisor Campos noted that only seven percent of new housing in the Mission has been set aside as affordable, while average rents have climbed to $4,500 per month.  Along with other proponents of the moratorium, Supervisor Campos argued that the “pause” in market-rate development would allow the city to plan for the acquisition of 13 specifically identified large development sites where up to 850 new affordable units could be built.

Several supervisors who voted against the moratorium acknowledged the citywide housing shortage, but that shutting off the supply of new housing would only make the situation worse:  the moratorium has no funding attached, would not produce any affordable housing in the near term, and would reduce the flow of affordable housing and infrastructure fees paid by market-rate developers.  Planning Department staff estimated a two-year moratorium could result in a loss of more than $125 million in affordable housing fees alone.

Though the moratorium was defeated for now, the threat of one remains.  A similarly worded ballot initiative was filed with the Department of Elections last month. The City Attorney has until today to issue the title and summary.  To qualify for the November ballot, proponents would have to gather 9,711 valid signatures by July 6th. Alternatively, four members of the Board of Supervisors can put an ordinance on the ballot directly.  The deadline for them to do so is June 16th. 

The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient.  Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein.  Reuben, Junius & Rose, LLP is a full service real estate law firm.  We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law.  We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.