Excelsior youth say mixed-use housing proposal would feed displacement

By Laura Waxmann : sfexaminer – excerpt

Youth from the Excelsior District and surrounding areas protested a controversial mixed-use housing proposal Saturday that they said would accelerate gentrification and fuel displacement in the largely working-class neighborhood.

Plans to construct 175 units of affordable housing at 4840 Mission St. — the current site of the shuttered Valente Mortuary — have been in the works since 2014. But earlier this year, the site’s nonprofit housing developer BRIDGE Housing Corporation, partnered with developer Emerald Fund to also transform an adjacent Safeway at 4850 Mission St. into 253 units of market-rate housing…

Former District 10 Supervisor John Avalos supported the protest — while in office, Avalos said he advocated for “a larger housing bond that was passed by voters” that helped fund the affordable project at 4840 Mission St.

The current version of the project “has broken an agreement that had been made when I was in office by a backroom deal with developers,” he said.

“People want the whole site to be affordable. Politically that is something to fight for,” Avalos said, adding that “100 percent affordability is not out of the question.”… (more)

Broken Agreement: The current Planning Department system for processing agreements does not have any legal teeth. This is a problem that many organizations has been raising as the state and city team up to force gentrifying dense development on neighborhoods that do not want it. This is why the residents are fighting back in city councils all over the state. They know they cannot trust the authorities to protect them, even when they negotiate in good faith. Once the developer has the entitlement, there is no incentive to build what was agreed to. Quite often the land with entitlement is sold to anther party, who disregards the agreement that got the entitlement for the previous owner.

Instead of working to make the entitlement process go faster and smoother, we need our city and state legislators to put some teeth in enforcement of the development agreements and we need some caps on the longevity of those agreements. This would be a positive route to producing affordable housing by assuring it gets built within a reasonable time frame. This would be a win for the renters and residents who need protection from greedy property owners and unscrupulous developers, who are generally owned by, or backed by, banks or large corporations. Small property owners cannot are kept out of this market.


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