Supervisor Campos Seeks to Revive Mission Moratorium on New Housing

Site of proposed housing at 1515 South Van Ness, photographed on August 9, 2016

Site of proposed housing at 1515 South Van Ness, photographed on August 9, 2016

Less than a year ago, in November 2015, San Francisco voters were asked to vote on Proposition I, the Mission Moratorium, which sought to suspend construction of new market-rate housing in the Mission District. On election day, however, voters overwhelmingly rejected Prop I, by a 57% margin.

Yesterday, however, MissionLocal broke the story that District 9 Supervisor David Campos now seeks to ignore the results of the Prop I vote and implement the Mission Moratorium through the Planning Department and the Board of Supervisors. MissionLocal writes:

In a letter sent to the Planning Commission on Wednesday, Campos urged commissioners to delay all projects in the [Calle24] Latino Cultural District, which is bounded by Potrero Avenue and Mission Street between 22nd and Cesar Chavez streets.

Campos singled out for delay three housing developments planned for the Mission District that would would bring in 293 units of mostly market-rate housing in the next few years. All three are being opposed by neighborhood activists, who say they would worsen gentrification in the district.

“These and several market-rate projects in and next to the cultural district could transform the district and threaten to displace long-time residents, businesses, and non-profits,” Campos wrote. “The Planning Department should consider the impacts of these projects on the Latino Cultural District and develop measures that will mitigate those impacts.”

That area was designated a “Latino cultural and commercial district” by San Francisco in 2014, a largely symbolic proclamation. Calle 24, the neighborhood and merchants association, hoped that designation would lead to construction guidelines down the road with more legal standing.

Now, Campos and others are acting on those wishes, crafting legislation that will be introduced to the Board of Supervisors later this year to specify the kinds of development that should be allowed in the neighborhood.

Campos wants the Planning Department to study the effects of market-rate housing on the district, specifying the potential effects on neighborhood businesses, residential displacement, rental affordability, and “the Latino community.”

This is a strange request, not least because it would exceed the legal mandate of the the Calle24 Cultural District, which does not include any development guidelines, ethnic quotas, or demographic requirements. Regardless, MissionLocal reports that Erick Arguello, a Mission District landlord and power-broker who leads the Calle24 group, opposes the creation of new market-rate housing projects, even when they meet city-mandated requirements for subsidized-affordable units.

The three housing proposals that would be impacted by Supervisor Campos’s revived Mission moratorium are 157 units at 1515 South Van Ness (at 26th St.), 117 units at 2675 Folsom St. (at 23rd St.), and 19 units at 2600 Harrison (at 22nd St.). All three sites are currently occupied by empty warehouse-style buildings, and construction of new housing on these sites would not displace any existing residents.

In a 2015 study on the potential impact of the Proposition I Mission moratorium, San Francisco’s chief economist concluded there is “no reason to believe that either a temporary moratorium, or an indefinite prohibition, of market rate housing will reduce the number of upper- income residents in the Mission, or slow the process of gentrification.”

36 thoughts on “Supervisor Campos Seeks to Revive Mission Moratorium on New Housing

  1. Since Campos will be termed out, I’d be interested in hearing what Hilary Ronan and Joshua Arce have to say about the reintroduction of this previously defeated issue.

    • While I don’t disagree that we desperately need new housing, its almost certain that the only reason these warehouses are empty is that the owners are attempting to redevelop the lots. Available shop space in the Mission right now is pretty much non-existent.

  2. Ostrich, why is your head in the sand?

    “I can’t hear you, my head is in the sand’


    “I’m feeding my babies whom I’ve placed there, but I still can’t hear you that well.”



  3. The original moratorium had language banning the conversion of warehouses and shuttered businesses into housing as well, which is unreasonable. I oppose direct displacement through development, but displacement by proxy? That horse left the barn a long time ago—probably when they built the freeway. If the new moneyed class of people can’t get the housing they want, they WILL find a way to get yours.

  4. So here’s the thing — Campos’s grandstanding on this issue is clearly racist. It also is a great example of the failure of planning in general — where folks like Campos look at the micro issues and not the macro issues.

    On a micro level, it’s easy to find special interests that don’t want any “big” new buildings built next door that add density and traffic, block views, change the neighborhood, etc. But at a macro level, we know we need thousands of new units every year to accommodate new arrivals. Until folks are willing to accept the big picture:

    –we’re in a housing crisis because we’ve allowed micro-planning that results in under production of housing;
    –we need another 50,000 units citywide;
    –this projects add 300 units, demolishes 0 units, and fully complies with zoning;
    –therefore it should be approved immediately, no BS political grandstanding allowed. Period.

    Until that happens, nothing will change.

      • Definition: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior”

        Brown on white; white on brown; brown on Asian — it’s all racism.

      • How does your definition fit? Superior? Nobody is claiming superiority. This is not racism. I disagree with Campos strongly but it’s not racism.

      • Did you read Campos’s letter? Please do. Here’s some highlights:

        “address cumulative demographic changes that multiple market rate projects in the area would have”
        “I have asked for an analysis of the potential impact of the pipeline projects on… the Latino community living and working in the Cultural District”

        There are plenty of whites and asians in the neighborhood at risk of displacement but they are never mentioned. Not once. But in 1.25 pages he uses the word Latino 9 times. His issue is displacement of Latinos. He is not concerned with the displacement of all low income residents of all ethnicities.

  5. Folks – We need more AFFORDABLE housing. We’ll never build enough market rate housing to impact the cost of housing in SF and the entire Bay Area. Campos’s proposal would permit building affordable housing – and try to save any existing development sites for affordable, not market rate housing.

    • Buck, thank you for confirming that the Campos proposal is just a warmed-over version of the Mission Moratorium that San Francisco voters rejected lat year.

      Thank you also for confirming that Campos (and presumably, you) have so little respect for the democratic process that you are proposing to ignore a clear mandate from the San Francisco voters who rejected the Mission Moratorium last year.

      Apart from all that, you are mistaken about the nature of our problem. Rather than having an “affordable” housing problem, we actually have a housing affordability problem cause by a shortage of housing relative to the size of our growing population.

      Subsidized-affordable housing of the kind you favor costs taxpayers $600,000 per unit to build in San Francisco, according to Governor Brown’s state budget. That means the 293 units of housing you seek to outlaw would cost $176 million to build on the taxpayer’s dime. For comparison’s sake, that is more than half of the entire $310 million affordable housing bond voters approved in 2015 for all of San Francisco.

      It’s disappointing to see that you now favor using anti-democratic means to support your preferred housing option, which turns out to be neither affordable or effective anyway. It’s too bad, because spectacles like this are alienating for those of us who favor the construction of subsidized-affordable housing alongside expanding our supply of market-rate housing.

      • How about a ring of affordable housing high rises around Bernal Heights? And a few sprinkled at the top of your hill for good measure, rock is good for high rise foundations. You hate affordable housing, heck let’s make it all market rate then and feed supply. For sure Cesar Chavez, bayshore, mission, and south bernal are hugely underdeveloped? The era of SF villages is coming to an abrupt end. Something like this would go a long way to solving all sorts of housing in issues. And let’s make sure the entire city votes on issues that only affect your neighborhood, let’s do away with the special entitled statues city-wide.

      • Thank you Todd!
        Campos is a loser!
        I am afraid his minion Hillary is no better and will support this crap also.
        I know who to vote for!

      • I’ve met Hilary Ronen and she seemed more progressive on the issue of development. I think my wife was going to contact her about if she distances herself from Campos on the moratorium issue.

    • Yup. He owns his property – what does he care if no one else will ever has a chance to do the same?

      • And he faces no real consequences for his wrongheaded stance on housing supply. In fact, he is financially rewarded.

        I’m not sure if I should be sad or disgusted.

  6. Between this, the campaign to kill bus lanes, and the opposition to Sunday Streets, I’m completely through with the Calle 24 machine. I’d like to see a definitive list of Calle 24 merchants, so I know who I should be thinking twice about giving my business to through my travels in the Mission.

  7. The Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center crew has long been purveyors of doing what they think is right and do/say anything to accomplish it. The old timers need to move out of the way or at least be honest and above board. We need more housing, period.

  8. Let’s build more market rate housing that will stay unoccupied and occasionally get rented out to Airbnbers. I think that’s a great idea!!!!

    • I’ve got an idea, let’s implement the Campos plan and do nothing. Rich people can’t buy investment properties to put on AirBNB and poor people can’t buy anything. No one wins! That’s your progressive politics for 2016 folks, you get nothing.

  9. With scarcity, people fight over scraps.

    Market rate! Affordable! Market Rate! Affordable!

    It is a false assumption that it is either/or. It’s both/and.

    Build it ALL.

    • Agreed. The only thing that happens right now is that, with scarcity, you win the lottery if you own property already because you can someday have a huge windfall from selling to the highest-bidding rich person or developer.

      • Honestly as a property owner (just my own home, and only for five years) the real windfall is that I now pay much less for a mortgage on a fairly large home than I would pay if I had to go out and rent a 1-BR apartment. This scarcity model of housing really sucks, I spent many years convincing friends from elsewhere to move here, but these days I can’t even justify it for my friends that work in the tech industry.

  10. Adam’s correct, and it’s a conversation I’ve had with so many people. Ownership affords one stability, which is a luxury around here, but there’s no windfall when you still need a place to live near where you make your living.

  11. Let’s face it, campos is a political genius. While purporting to support poor, Latino renters, he is actually helping property owners big time! Just as rents are letting up and we may be hitting a recession, what better way to soften the blow to landlords than to suggest a moratorium on new housing! Gosh we sure wouldn’t want too many units hitting the market and possibly lowering the price to rent, would we? As a landlord in the mission, I think campos is great. Took a page right out of Perkin’s playbook. And with peskin in an influential roll, us landlords are in for a good ride the next few years. Thanks guys, please limit market rate new construction (unless, of course, it’s 100% affordable)!

  12. Pingback: Planning Commission Unanimously Approves New Housing Proposal | Bernalwood

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