San Francisco leaders to vote on luxury condo moratorium

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SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/AP) — The cost for rental properties in San Francisco has hit an all-time high, prompting city officials to vote on a proposed moratorium on luxury housing in one neighborhood.

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday are considering a 45-day moratorium on luxury housing in the Mission District, one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city.

The proposal would give the city room to purchase some of the land available in the Mission, to develop hundreds of affordable housing units for lower-income and middle-income families.

Emotions have run high over the issue of affordable housing in the city. A boom in new developments is pushing out longtime tenants. Housing advocates say working families, especially Latinos, are being forced out to make way for market-rate housing, and they say the city has a responsibility to fight back.

Hundreds of people crowded San Francisco City Hall last month to support the proposed moratorium and to urge a time-out on evictions.

“We were traditionally the most working-class neighborhood, dating back to the Irish and the Italians in the Gold Rush, and it’s no longer,” says Gabriel Medina, president of the San Francisco Latino Democratic Club. “It’s trending into something that’s not a working-class neighborhood.”

Rental sites for San Francisco, especially the trendier areas are priced at well over $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom flat and nearly $5,000 for two bedrooms.

The Mission District has lost lower-income and middle-income households, according to a recent study by the nonprofit Council of Community Housing Organizations. Back in 2000, Families with households making $50,000 to $75,000 made up a quarter of Mission households. Now they make up 13 percent while households with incomes of at least $100,000 have increased.

Tuesday’s vote is largely symbolic, and it faces steep odds of passing. But the move is telling of how lawmakers are desperate to do something about housing in a city where prices are among the highest, with no signs of letting up.

Opponents of the moratorium say the way to make more housing affordable is to build more and that artificial bans won’t bring prices down.

The moratorium needs nine of 11 votes to pass. The board took the unusual step of skipping a committee vote and fast-tracking the issue straight to the full committee.

According to the city, more than two dozen projects would be affected by a moratorium, including the “Monster.”

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