Nov 2016: NO on Prop X - Replacement Space Requirement for Development Projects

If you’re wondering why is the ballot so long this year, you could blame propositions such as this, which considers a planning ordinance that could have passed through the legislative process, but was instead punted to the voters by the Board of Supervisors. We support the intent of Prop X, which aims to protect industrial and arts spaces in the most rapidly changing parts of the City, but would prefer a legislative fix, along with the requisite outreach to impacted groups.

This proposed ordinance would impose requirements for certain developments in the Mission and SOMA, through use of conditional use authorizations from the Planning Commission. Within these areas, developers would be required to replace certain uses (e.g. light industrial and crafts, arts activities or non-profit community space), based on the size of the proposed development and the current zoning designation.

This measure does not consider whether the replacement effort would actually achieve the desired effect of retaining well paying jobs for lower skilled residents or keeping non-profits operating in the City. For instance, would the closure of a refrigerator repair shop in the Mission be replaced by a similar business or something like a drone prototyping facility able to pay market-rate rent? More likely the latter under this one-size fits all scheme. Similarly, there are few guarantees the displaced non-profits and arts centers would be able to return.

Sponsors of this proposition seemed to recognize some issues with this proposed measure and allow changes by a super-majority of the Board of Supervisors. We would prefer they make this call in the first instance, after gauging effectiveness, feasibility and desires of the local communities most affected.

The San Francisco League of Conservation Voters recommends NO on Prop X.