Building More Housing In San Francisco Is Tougher Than You’d Think

April 18, 2016

San Francisco is crowded, expensive, and doesn’t have room for all the people looking to flock to the city for its employment opportunities. San Francisco and its residents are, as the saying goes, like 10 pounds of sugar in a five-pound sack. While the solution to this problem may seem simple, get a bigger sack, the execution of building more housing in San Francisco is not quite so easy.

Although many people in San Francisco may be campaigning for additional housing to be constructed (be it affordable housing, market-rate housing, or luxury housing), when push comes to shove, and it's time to start building new housing in their own backyard, they tend not to support it so vociferously.

As The New York Times reports, many of the city’s large number of progressives only support subsidized affordable housing, opposing almost every new development that does not fall into this category. The problem is, many young professionals who work in San Francisco are too rich to qualify for affordable housing but not rich enough to afford $5,000 rents.

While San Francisco has increased its number of new housing units, it is still lagging behind job growth and is feeling pressure from all sides. Some people are arguing there is too much construction, others argue there is not enough, while others, still, argue the construction occurring is not the right type.

Lafayette, Calif., about a 45 minute drive away from San Francisco, is currently dealing with two lawsuits after the city decided rezone a parcel of land set aside for high-density apartments and office buildings for single-family homes instead. One of the lawsuits is saying the move violated the California Accountability Act that limits a city’s ability to downsize housing developments. The other lawsuit is from a second group claiming the development is too big. Not only is San Francisco having trouble pleasing everyone, it can’t seem to please anyone at all.

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