State Assembly Passes Bill to Link Housing Density with Affordability in SF

Thursday, June 1, 2017

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – The California State Assembly passed legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) that will, when paired with an updated inclusionary zoning ordinance now being negotiated by the Board of Supervisors, strengthen local planning tools in San Francisco to result in more affordable housing.

Assembly Bill (AB) 915 passed with a preliminary vote of 42-28 and moves to the State Senate for further review.

“Housing costs are skyrocketing in San Francisco.  We need to flip the switch so that local planning leads to more affordable housing by default,” said Ting.  “By linking housing density with affordability, we will get more affordable housing to ease the exodus of working families from our neighborhoods.  No community does this and it’s time for us to show the state how it’s done.”

Ting’s bill requires the City and County of San Francisco to apply the affordability requirement of its inclusionary zoning policy to the total number of units in a housing project, including those units granted under state density bonus laws, unless they specifically acts to exempt bonus housing units.

Last month, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a resolution noting the city’s need for AB 915 in order to act on their intention to link housing affordability with density and urging the State Legislature to pass the bill.  Sponsored by Supervisors Asha Safai, London Breed, Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin, the resolution passed with 9 votes in support.

Inclusionary zoning refers to local planning ordinances that require a share of new housing construction to be affordable for people with low to moderate incomes. Density bonuses are a zoning tool that permits developers to build more housing units than normally allowed in exchange for a public benefit, such as a specified number of affordable units in the development. 

San Francisco has the most expensive housing in the state.  According to the housing affordability index, just 13 percent of San Francisco households can afford to buy the median priced home at $1.3 million.  This requires a monthly payment of $6,680 (mortgage, taxes, and insurance) and a minimum income of $267,130.  Furthermore, San Francisco remains the nation’s most expensive rental market.  A new study found the median monthly rent of a one bedroom apartment costs $3,370 and a two bedroom costs $4,500.

California’s Department of Housing and Community Development found that 32 percent of San Franciscans spend at least 30 percent of income on housing.  Across the state, the majority of renters – over 3 million households – pay more than 30 percent of their income towards rent, and nearly one-third – over 1.5 million households – pay more than 50 percent toward rent.


Contact: Anthony Matthews, tel. (916) 319-2019