Policy Priorities


Last year, San Francisco adopted the Housing Element, a mandate from the State of California requiring the City to permit 82,000 new homes by 2031 to address San Francisco’s chronic housing shortage and crisis. Unfortunately, San Francisco permitted just seven new housing units so far this year, only built 2,000 homes last year, and is significantly falling behind its commitment. My bold housing platform meets our state mandated requirements, provides more middle-income and affordable housing for families, streamlines the approval process while eliminating onerous requirements, and asks all of San Francisco to contribute to addressing our housing shortage and crisis.

Increase Housing Supply Through Targeted Upzoning Across San Francisco:

  • Implement new rezoning citywide that enables San Francisco to meet the State’s mandated housing goals
  • Increase building heights to their maximum heights in the Financial District, SoMA, and Mission Bay neighborhoods
    • These neighborhoods have been ultra-dense from the start and are well-supported and served by regional and local transit
  • Increase building heights in Westside and Northside neighborhoods by targeting corner lots, and select transit and commercial corridors
  • Direct that the Planning Department and Staff’s top priority is to provide zoning plans and updates that actually will meet the State mandated requirements

Lower & Eliminate Onerous Requirements & Fees to Spur Development

  • Lower San Francisco’s inclusionary requirements to 10% to spur more development and help more projects pencil given current cost and financing constraints
    • San Francisco’s current rate ranges between 12-16% and reducing the requirement will incentivize more development and funding for affordable housing projects
  • Direct the Planning Department to make recommendations within six months of being in office on the reduction or elimination of housing impact fees that could spur more development given current cost and financing constraints
  • Repeal Supervisor Preston’s 2020 transfer tax increase (Prop I 2020) from 6% back down to 3%

Streamline Housing Approval Process:

  • Streamline permit approval so that San Francisco is compliant with state law
  • Farrell will introduce an omnibus package of Mayoral Executive Directives within his first 100-days in office that direct departments to:
    • Create a comprehensive planning approval tracker that is publicly accessible and will:
      • Adopt a strict paperless policy, requiring all correspondence and documentation to be provided electronically
      • Provide a comprehensive list of final approvals with a firm schedule commitment and responsible party for each approval. This should include all required subsequent permits from all agencies up-front and have a set budget of staff time that cannot be exceeded
      • Allow for document uploads and downloads via an FTP-like secured link to avoid email server file size rejection issues
    • Adopt a Uniform Sheet Index for Planning Review to standardize the details and review of permits and minimize
    • Reconcile all Administrative Bulletins across permitting departments and institute a central review process for any changes that are housing related
    • Standardize review timelines and provide time certainty for permit review and approval that is within state requirements
    • Implement plan review and approval accountability by incorporating KPIs into planning and Department of Building Inspection performance reviews
    • Complete uniform Tribal Notification and Consultation process for Housing Element focus areas so individual projects don’t have to
    • Allow flexibility in building materials to eliminate repeated design reviews
    • Allow vinyl windows with split painted finish and adopt objective and simple performance criteria that should be applied consistently across all facades of residential buildings

Housing Assistance for First Responders, Emergency Personnel & Teachers:

  • Provide rental subsidies for new recruits to the police department and public school teachers
  • Provide more funding for the City’s Downpayment Assistance Loan Program for first responders
    • Both subsidies and down payment loan assistance will incentivize more first responders to live within city limits and the communities which they serve
  • Property tax relief for property owners who rent their units to first responders, emergency personnel, nurses, and public school teachers

Provide Tax Increment Financing for Commercial to Residential Conversion

  • Provide state-backed tax increment financing options to better incentivize the conversion of commercial properties in the Financial District and SoMA to residential
    • Tax increment financing is used to fund and finance projects where upfront investments are needed to enable the development of housing

Incentivize Form-Based Density Development

  • Allow and implement form-based density development, development that allows for the maximum amount of units within an existing building envelope and height, across all of San Francisco’s neighborhoods
    • The Westside and Northside neighborhoods present the largest opportunities for more form-based density development