Thursday, February 28, 2019
SF City Seal

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced that in the six months since she issued an Executive Directive to accelerate the approvals of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also known as in-law units, the City has cleared its application backlog. As a result of this action, the City permitted more in-law units than it did in the previous three years when the City’s in-law program was first launched.

The Executive Directive Mayor Breed issued at the end of August called for the backlog of 919 units waiting for approval to be cleared and for all new applications to acted on within four months. It also called on City departments to set clear, objective code standards, and work to improve the application process for people looking to build in-law units. Since then, 439 of the backlogged in-law units have been permitted, over 90% of which are subject to rent-control, and the rest of the applications have been reviewed by the relevant departments and are awaiting responses from the applicants.

“We have made good progress to get this housing approved faster, and we will continue to work to encourage applicants to come forward to build new in-law units,” said Mayor London Breed. “This is just a first step. I will not let our bureaucracy stand in the way of building more housing, especially new rent-controlled housing, because we need more places for people to live in San Francisco. Whether it’s streamlining the approval process or eliminating permitting fees, we can and will do more to get more housing built in our neighborhoods.”

Since 2014, the City departments involved in permitting housing did not have clear and consistent standards on what is needed to add new ADU units to existing single family homes and apartment buildings. Instead, departments preferred to handle these complex applications on a case-by-case basis, resulting in unnecessarily long review periods, inconsistencies in direction to project applicants, and a large backlog of permit applications.

Since the Executive Directive was issued, the City has received applications for 206 new units, all of which were reviewed within the four-month timeframe. Of those new applications, 18 units have so far been approved, while the remainder have been reviewed and are awaiting responses from the applicants. Mayor Breed made the announcement today at a Mission Housing Development Corp. property where new in-law units are planned to be created from former garages.

“Mission Housing is excited to lead the charge for the Affordable Housing Community as we increase our affordable housing stock by what could be hundreds of new units converted from our existing Garages,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “During times such as these, in the midst of this housing shortage crisis, it’s important that every neighborhood prioritizes new housing, and thanks to Mayor Breed’s leadership we’re one step closer to solving the housing crisis. Mission Housing Development Corp. is in the business of housing San Francisco’s low income community, not its cars.”

As part of the Mayor’s acceleration effort, several process improvements were made by the City departments involved in issuing permit approvals. A streamlined “roundtable” review process was introduced where multiple reviewing departments, including the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection (DBI), Fire Department, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Public Works came together concurrently to review applications. This improvement allowed all agencies to issue comments or requests for plan revisions to ADU applicants at once, instead of the former linear process.

Efforts to clarify and expedite the application process have benefited from the addition of public services and documents now available to applicants, including:

  • Optional meetings before filing with the Planning, Building, and Fire Departments, allowing for early multi-agency collaboration and identification of red flags;
  • Public information sessions on ADUs for design professionals and homeowners;
  • Dedicated department staff to provide informative and consistent advice to applicants;
  • Both new and updated public information documents, including a first-ever multi-agency “ADU Checklist” to outline all requirements and submittal guidelines for each agency;
  • An updated “ADU Handbook” to reflect legislative updates and requirements for permitting.

The Mayor recently introduced legislation to eliminate DBI permitting fees for ADUs and 100% affordable housing projects. Permitting fees are a significant part of ADU project costs and fees on 100% affordable housing can range upwards of $100,000-$150,000 per project.

"We are happy to see Mayor Breed and Mission Housing continue to find ways to increase affordable housing opportunities," said Dora Orante on behalf of the tenants at Abel Gonzales. "We're also grateful for the creative ways housing can be designed to help others live in one of these units."

Further information about the City of San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program is available online at

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
take part

Ever wondered what your neighborhood looked like in the 1930s, or how you can help to reimagine where you live today? A rediscovered scale model of San Francisco from 1938 is coming to a branch near you, as a starting point for community discussion.

Organized as part of Public Knowledge, the Library’s partnership with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Take Part is an exhibition conceived by Dutch artist duo Bik Van der Pol in collaboration with over a hundred local librarians, historians, geographers, cartographers, urban planners, artists and designers.

The scale model is a detailed wooden replica of San Francisco at a scale of 1 inch: 100 feet. Built by the WPA, it was first displayed during the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939, and then at City Hall in 1940. Made to be a planning tool, a tourist attraction and for educational purposes, the model has largely been in storage for decades.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor Breed calls for San Francisco to rise to the challenges facing the City, announces ambitious ballot measure to streamline affordable and teacher housing, sets goal to create 4,000 new placements for homeless individuals, and names Dr. Grant Colfax as the new Director of the Department of Public Health

Mayor London N. Breed today delivered her first State of the City Address as Mayor, calling on San Francisco to rise to the challenges facing the City. In her speech, Mayor Breed announced a ballot measure to streamline the creation of new affordable and teacher housing, called for the City to create 4,000 new placements for unhoused residents, and named a new Director for the Department of Public Health.

The speech was held at the new National LGBTQ Center for the Arts at 170 Valencia Street, which serves as the first permanent headquarters of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. In it, Mayor Breed announced she will pursue a charter amendment that would streamline all affordable and teacher housing projects by making their approval as-of-right, which will pair with her support for an upcoming $300 million bond to fund the creation of affordable housing. The charter amendment, which she proposed for the November 2019 election, would allow 100% affordable and teacher housing proposals that comply with existing zoning laws to bypass the usual bureaucratic and appeals process that can result in long and costly delays.


Friday, January 4, 2019
Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London N. Breed today announced the release of San Francisco's Five-Year Financial Plan for Fiscal Years (FYs) 2019-20 through 2023-24. The Financial Plan projects that while the City will experience continued strong, but slowing, growth in tax revenues over the next five years, the cost of City services will outpace growth in tax revenues, resulting in ongoing structural deficits.

If the City does not take corrective action, the projected gap between revenues and expenditures will increase from a deficit of $107 million in FY 2019-20 to approximately $644 million by FY 2023-24. The City’s budget deficit for the upcoming two fiscal years, FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21, is projected to be approximately $271 million.

“We need to make sensible choices in the short-term because while we continue to enjoy good economic times and strong revenue growth, we know that we cannot expect that to continue forever,” said Mayor Breed. “I am committed to making sure we are helping the residents of our City who have the greatest needs, and that we are spending City funds effectively and efficiently.”


Thursday, January 3, 2019
Mayor London N. Breed

Mayor London N. Breed today joined elected officials, City departments, tourism and hospitality industry leaders, and community representatives to celebrate the completion of the $551 million Moscone Expansion Project.

The project adds more than 305,000 square feet of functional area in addition to a host of new public benefits and amenities. With the completion of the project, the new Moscone Center will better meet growing demand for convention and tourism space and increase tax revenue for the City.

“The new Moscone Center is a world-class facility for a world-class city,” said Mayor London Breed. “With the completion of this expansion, San Francisco is taking a major step to support and expand our tourism industry, while also serving residents in the surrounding area. This state-of-the-art facility exemplifies our commitment to sustainability, creates new flexible-use convention and tourism spaces, and supports the neighborhood with a host of new design and open-space improvements.”