Taller Buildings in Exchange for Affordability?

October 1, 2015

San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee proposed a plan this week that would allow builders to exceed current height restrictions in exchange for more moderately priced housing. The plan is aimed at adding more affordable units to the city’s housing stock, which is known as having one of the highest home prices and rental costs in the nation.

If approved, the greater the number affordable units that builders offer, the taller they’ll be able to make their buildings. Under the affordable housing bonus program, builders could add an extra two stories of height on projects that include 30 percent affordable units and an extra three stories on 100 percent affordable developments.

The program is primarily aimed at urging builders to provide units for middle-income families rather than low-income. The plan calls for 18 percent of units to be affordable to families earning between 120 and 140 percent of the area’s $122,000 to $142,000 median income for a family of four, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Source: “S.F. Mayor Ed Lee Proposes Deal to Spur More Low-Cost Housing,” San Francisco Chronicle (Sept. 28, 2015) [Log-in required] and “San Francisco to Address Skyrocketing Housing Costs,” HousingWire (Sept. 29, 2015)