HousingDrought2 Photo: emile lombard/Flickr

The Mission Moratorium is looming over the November ballot, and CityLab has taken a controversial stance encouraging SF residents to vote against it. According to the article published this week in the urban issues-focused digital publication, the Moratorium will not stop evictions, help produce affordable apartments and condos or solve issues of high rental rates.

Eliminating all market-rate development in the Mission District could yield unintended consequences in surrounding neighborhoods according to CityLab writer Kriston Capps. “San Francisco is in the grips of a condo construction revolt. But stopping new construction won’t do anything to curb a rents crisis in the Mission. At best, it will exacerbate unaffordable rents in other neighborhoods,” she wrote.

On Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 for Supervisor David Campos’s initiative for the Mission Moratorium, short of passing by two votes. SocketSite reported that in a meeting independent of the Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission voted 5-1 to enact controls for market-rate housing, retail and office developments in the Mission District. Controls can be put into effect as early as August 6th.

HousingDrought Chart: CityLab/Michael P. Rhodes/University of California Berkeley Center for Cities + Schools

According to the City’s Housing Inventory Report, the Mission added 75 units in 2014. Capps described the real issue as the lack of housing inventory in the city. “This lack of new construction is the source of the housing crisis in San Francisco. It’s hard to come by a cleaner demonstration of the mismatch between supply and demand anywhere else in the country,” she wrote.

“San Francisco is in a housing drought.”

The Mission is in the middle of a perfect storm, with low housing inventory and high demand, an influx of tech companies and an increasing number of AirBnB rentals all while incurring the highest number of Ellis Act evictions out of any of San Francisco’s planning districts. As a result of the evictions Capps concludes, “The sting of those evictions may be driving the sentiment against developers today.”

The City’s Inclusionary housing ordinance requires new developments with 10 or more units provide affordable housing 12 percent on-site, 20 percent off-site or providing a dollar amount to the Mayor’s office. Eliminating market-rate housing will also eliminate the funds creating affordable units. Proponents for the Mission Moratorium propose that the city would need to come up with new strategies to maintain the existing demographic and create more affordable housing.

The 18-month Moratorium proposes to halt two items while the city comes up with new strategies to create affordable housing. It goes beyond the city’s inclusionary ordinance by halting all developments of five or more units and stopping projects that are in Production Distribution and Repair (PDR) zoned areas (light industrial), unless the property will be converted to 100 percent affordable housing.

Advocates for the Moratorium express their fears of the ongoing displacement of the Mission District’s population, as they witness the gentrification of the neighborhood. Some locals feel that the ethnic diversity in the Mission District will be wiped out and that the development will continue to drive out non-profit organizations and small businesses in the area.

SF residents will have to weigh both sides and cast their votes at the polls on November 3rd. Whatever the outcome will be, the City will have their hands tied to meet the growing housing inventory demand, affordable or not.

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