Just 23 in-law units built after two years as SF seeks to iron out approval process

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Two years after San Francisco passed a law intended to encourage property owners to add accessory dwelling units to help ease the housing crisis, snags in the approval process are calling into question the program’s effectiveness.

The most recent data shows there have been 109 permits issued for construction of new accessory dwelling units — sometimes called garden apartments, granny units or in-laws — and only 23 units have been built as a result of The City passing legislation in 2016 to allow their construction citywide.

Accessory dwelling units, which are added within a building’s existing envelope, are hailed as a cost-effective way to create affordable housing and are covered by rent-control laws when added to existing rent-controlled buildings.

Applicants, however, are expressing frustration over the approval process and say they are running into obstacles when it comes to passing requirements like the fire code, according to a hearing at the Building Inspection Commission last week… (more)

The program is based on the assumption that a lot of homeowners want to invest in their property to build a new unit to rent out for added income. Why would they want to disrupt their lives and spend a lot of time and money when they like their life the way it is? There are few empty garages in SF and you can’t trust the city to allow you to park outside your home. Why give up your off-street parking space?

These conflicting ideas are not working because you can’t incentivize people to do things they don’t want to do. Maybe instead of hiring consultants to dream up incentive programs, people ignore, City Hall should ask the public to suggest changes they want, and the Planning Department should make it happen for them. If they can work for the developers, they can work for everyone else.


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