April 9, 2008

Market-Octavia Plan And Requisite Rezoning Approved By The Board

Market & Octavia Neighborhood Plan: Upzoning and Downzoning

While the General amendments for the Market-Octavia Neighborhood Plan were approved in October, the pivotal rezoning has finally caught up.

The zoning allows developers to construct buildings that pack more residential units into a project, including boosting tower heights from 20 stories to 40 stories on some parcels near the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Market Street.

The entire package has now been approved by the Board of Supervisors and an estimated 6,000 new housing units could follow. A few details related to said development according to the Chronicle:

As it now stands, the plan requires developers to sell or rent 25 percent of the units they build at below-market rates and imposes fees on developers that could amount to $50 million for an affordable-housing fund.
Forty percent of the new housing in some parts of the rezoning area must be two-bedroom units and parking for all new projects in the neighborhoods has been reduced from one space per housing unit to one space per two units.

UPDATE: From a plugged in reader: "[T]he M&O plan does NOT require 25% BMR. That was incorrectly reported by the [Chronicle]. The plan does not increase the requried BMR percentage at all. It does levy additional impact fees for a whole host of public benefits (in exchange for increasing density, heights, etc.), some of which will go toward affordable housing. Big difference."

S.F. OKs plan for 6,000 housing units [SFGate]
San Francisco’s Market & Octavia Neighborhood Plan Moves Forward [SocketSite]

First Published: April 9, 2008 10:22 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

awesome news.....

"including boosting tower heights from 20 stories to 40 stories on some parcels near the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Market Street.”


Posted by: Spencer at April 9, 2008 10:54 AM

"....and parking for all new projects in the neighborhoods has been reduced from one space per housing unit to one space per two units...."

I still think this diminishes the appeal of these units. It's hard for me to imagine that most buyers shelling out the bucks for a condo in SF who would be satisfied without deeded parking. This artificial, non-market driven scarcity will just drive up the relative cost of the units with parking spaces

Posted by: zzzzzzz at April 9, 2008 11:06 AM

Great! Wonderful! Fantastic! Fabulous! Que Bueno!

Posted by: Tweety at April 9, 2008 11:06 AM

@zzzzzz

It just means that the BMR units will never again come with a parking space, and they'll all get built on site.

And without the parking spaces for the BMR units, can't they just set up the HOA fees to stop taking into account the number of parking spaces you get? Thus, the BMR units will pay a disproportionate share of the HOA fees, making the total monthly payments less below market than they would otherwise be, making them less attractive to lower income people and thus more desirable to have in your building.

I don't know if they can do that, but if they can, the BMR program just got effectively sacked.

Posted by: tipster at April 9, 2008 11:16 AM

Are developers actually on board with financing to build this? Or is this just urban planning porn?

Posted by: Jay at April 9, 2008 11:21 AM

"I still think this diminishes the appeal of these units"

Yes I think thats the point

Posted by: zig at April 9, 2008 11:22 AM

We have to discourage auto use somehow in the city, why not limit parking spaces?

Posted by: lies...damn lies...statistics at April 9, 2008 11:30 AM

ies...damn lies - I completely agree. This is a perfect location to construct urban density and to encourage public transportation. You have BART and Muni rail right at your door step and you are only a stone's throw from the financial district. Why not limit car usage? If you 'must' have a car with your condo, you can be one of the ones who pays a premium to purchase that spot.

Posted by: SFhighrise at April 9, 2008 11:58 AM

The ultimate question isn't creating an idealized vision of car-less urbanity - it's whether buyers will actually embrace it with their hard-earned dollars, and whether the developers feel the parking restrictions make it all economically unfeasible. All of the above remains to be seen.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at April 9, 2008 12:07 PM

I think this is a better location for parking restrictions than is Rincon Hill where I agree with the spirit but see it as a bit misguided since we know those are luxury units

Where parking restrictions really make sense are in lower and working class areas next to transit. Mission Street and Geary Blvd for example would be excellent and I am sure there would be a market for the units

Politically of course the neighbors have come to see street parking as a birth right and would be opposed

Posted by: zig at April 9, 2008 12:09 PM

Exactly. At some point we have to adjust our thinking. All environmental concerns aside-not that they should be put aside, but even if we don't concern ourselves with them-in NYC parking is available, but expensive. And traffic is still awful. We don't have the infrastructure that they do-our roads aren't wide enough for a city of millions of people, all with cars. And yes, I know we don't have millions...but we will.

Posted by: lies...damn lies...statistics at April 9, 2008 12:10 PM

There's nothing wrong discouraging driving, but mandating a certain ratio of units to parking spaces seems to be misguided. The lack of parking will be a show stopper for many people.

I'd be willing to bet that many of these units never get built because, in general, the granola types who don't have cars won't be able to afford these units, and the people who CAN afford them won't buy them without parking.

Posted by: anon at April 9, 2008 12:14 PM

"Idealized vision of car-less urbanity"

There would be real benefits to both housing density and unit price with some parking restrictions according to studies

I think the density thing is pretty obvious. Cars take up a great deal of space. The cost thing seems true as well though you are pessimistic that anyone would choose these cheaper units or those builders will build them

I am not. I see units like this all over the city. My aunt just sold her parking free two unit on Dolores for well over one million (not sure how much) with little effort

Some people seem to accept the trade off


Posted by: Zig at April 9, 2008 12:17 PM

"....and parking for all new projects in the neighborhoods has been reduced from one space per housing unit to one space per two units...."

ooh that is rough. Since the majority of people own and NEED a car in SF, not sure how they expect to sell these. at least not now.

also, i think it is pure BS that 1/4 of units must Be BMR. THE BMR units and parking restrictions just drive up the prices for the work and save crowd.

Posted by: Spencer at April 9, 2008 12:22 PM

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree here. Speaking for myself, I would never consider making such an enormous expenditure on housing without parking, and I'm sure many potential buyers feel the same way.

But on another note - does anyone know how Mirkarimi's last minute intervention changed the final plan? Was the BMR requirement increased, and the ratio of parking spaces decreased? Thanks in advance.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at April 9, 2008 12:24 PM

"but mandating a certain ratio of units to parking spaces seems to be misguided"

So you agree if a builder wants to build without parking that should be ok? I agree but unfortunately we have 50 years of parking mandates that also were not free market

Quick history lesson: If SF allowed the FD to be built as the developers would have liked we wouldn't have the FD as we do. We would have a city that looked much more like San Jose or Houston. The very success of our downtown was predicated on Bart and restricted parking. This was a collective good but not really for individual developer’s profits. I happen to think that was good

Anyhow, I think the parking restrictions are minor and match fairly well with the way the city has already been. I would like to wait and see how it goes and don't think the world will end and do think the unit will be built. Maybe I will be proven wrong

Posted by: zig at April 9, 2008 12:25 PM

@ zzzzzz

Yeah, that is definitely an issue. I do think that there is a large group of people out there who would be willing to give up the cars, but the developers will ultimately make that decision based on the numbers. As they should-they aren't non-profits. I know my girlfriend and I were willing to cut down to one car, even at the high price point we're looking in. And we would both just as soon walk to dinner and events (one of the main reasons we live in the city instead of the burbs), take public transit, ride bikes or even take a cab when necessary instead of driving ourselves. If I can leave the car, I do. And there are many others of a like mind. Many of my friends are down to one car per couple. Most of my younger friends who choose to live in the city don't have one at all. Utopian-no. But definitely progress.

You make a good point, though. Many people work their way up to owning their own condo/house and being able to have a car, maybe even a nice car. There will be a lifestyle shift required for this to really work. But they did in Manhattan-why not here?

Posted by: lies...damn lies...statistics at April 9, 2008 12:25 PM

As far as the one parking space per two units, I bet the parking ratio in many large projects will be increased post construction by converting the stand alone parking spots to valet service (same as happened at ORH). However, the valet option is probably too costly for most smaller and mid sized developments. I think a larger issue here is the 25% affordability requirement. Remember, it was just 2001 or so when the affordability requirements were at 10% of a project started getting enforced. Then just three years ago, the requirement was boosted to 15% of a project. We'll see how much gets built here when a few blocks away from the project area you can still get by with 15% of your project as affordable units.

Posted by: Miles at April 9, 2008 12:30 PM

"But they did in Manhattan-why not here?"

SF's transit system is a *joke* compared to NYC's.

Posted by: Foolio at April 9, 2008 12:38 PM

25% affordable units i agree is absurd all the way around - economically for the developers (hardly an incentive to build there!) and actually can be costly for the BMRs (yes, the HOA's they have to pay like the non-BMRs can really suck and become unaffordable over time).

secondly, does anyone agree with me that until Muni gets more reliable service that many of the parking restrictions are pre-mature?

even in denser european cities where transit is MUCH better than here (save an organized strike every now and then), there are still many cars on the streets. a lot are SMALLER (e.g. the new Smart cars, Fiat, etc) SF is not going to magically get people to dump there cars altogether, especially with Muni service as it is.

Posted by: TheRealScoop at April 9, 2008 12:41 PM

"But they did in Manhattan-why not here?"

Manhattan has much better public transit than we have here. Many parts of our city are basically unreachable by public transit unless you have hours to sit on a bus in traffic... and our regional solution (BART) ignores the peninsula and the south bay (of course, that's because San Mateo and Santa Clara County voters wouldn't chip in to pay for it.)

Manhattan has pretty good 24/7 service, but BART and Muni Metro don't run late at night.

I use my car as little as possible, but I still couldn't survive without one, and I wouldn't buy anyplace without deeded and secure parking. It's hard to imagine that there are hordes of folks with three-quarters of a million dollars + to spend on a new condo but no car. Some will be able to make that transition, I'm skeptical that lots will. Maybe I'll be proven wrong.

Seems to me that if these limited-parking properties actually get built, there will just be a greatly increased competition for street parking, and the value of properties with parking will be pushed even higher. Although developers won't be required to build ANY parking with residential units, I'll bet most projects will go for the maximum allowable via conditional use permit due to market demands.

And there's no real specifics in the plan about improving infrastructure (i.e. MUNI, parks, etc.) to cope with the increased population and demand. Seems like there's just a vague hope that increased property tax revenues and developer fees will eventually provide some money to help with infrastructure improvements. In the meanwhile, packed MUNI trains just get more packed.


Posted by: Dave at April 9, 2008 12:52 PM

There are lots of places in SF with no parking and people still buy/rent them (and although cheaper, they still cost a lot). From the census , there are lots of people in SF who do not own a car (something like 1/3 - also check out MTC website). As a result, a new development that's able to have more, if somewhat cheaper, units should be financially feasible, particularly in this hot area.

Posted by: Eislen at April 9, 2008 12:54 PM

"parking for all new projects in the neighborhoods has been reduced from one space per housing unit to one space per two units." Singles and Eco Nazies can live without a car, but try picking up young kids from different schools and then having to pick up groceries on the way home using MUNI. Seems like new housing is becomming less accomodating to a young family's needs. I'm seeing this in a sleepy family oriented neighborhood at Sloat & 46th Ave also where a new 70 unit development with many 3 bedroom units and all units will be constrained to one parking space per unit courtesy of the anti-car nuts. Many people who are buying these units are working couples that need 2 cars.

And the Mayor is wondering why young families are moving out of SF.

Posted by: young_familiy_in_city at April 9, 2008 12:55 PM

As someone who used to be lucky enough to have a job in the city, it's easy to envision not needing a car to get to work and make the mistake of thinking no one else does either. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of high-paying jobs (outside of lawyers, finance jobs or web 2.0 jobs reserved for kids under 35) left in SF compared to Silicon Valley ergo the need to commute outside SF to pay the high mortgages. I hate driving to Emeryville for work every day, but I'm never going to turn a 30 min car commute into a 90 minute MUNI+BART+Shuttle commute.

Posted by: sfgirl at April 9, 2008 12:56 PM

Oops, sorry forgot to mention that just because you buy a place w/o parking, doesn't mean you have to "give up your car" as some have suggested. I know several familes who own and have cars who either park on the street or rent parking within a block or so away - craigslist has a section devoted to this.

Posted by: Eislen at April 9, 2008 12:59 PM

I've said this many times before, but I'll say it again - number of cars in a neighborhood is almost 100% determined by the number of parking spots in a neighborhood and has almost nothing to do with wealth of the neighborhood or cost of the units. That's why the Bayview has higher vehicle ownership rates than Nob Hill.

If developers don't want to build, they won't. I'd be surprised if that many parcels aren't built on because of the parking restrictions - the BMR requirement is what we should be talking about here. Mandated parking has existed for 50 years, mandating some lack of parking is just the planning department trying to swing back to equilibrium and control the amount of traffic on the streets - exactly what the planning department should be doing. The BMR requirements are a little bit absurd though - and will drive the price of all other units through the roof.

Posted by: Brutus at April 9, 2008 1:08 PM

Oops, sorry forgot to mention that just because you buy a place w/o parking, doesn't mean you have to "give up your car" as some have suggested. I know several familes who own and have cars who either park on the street or rent parking within a block or so away - craigslist has a section devoted to this.

Well, yeah, but then what's the point of having the parking restriction at all? You're not getting rid of any cars. It's dumb.

What's going to happen is that IF someone with a car is willing to buy a place without parking, they'll just end up driving around (and around and around) the neighborhood looking for parking.

It's really less of an urban planning issue than the SF Stupidvisors looking for one more way to tell people how to live.

Posted by: anon at April 9, 2008 1:09 PM

It's really less of an urban planning issue than the SF Stupidvisors looking for one more way to tell people how to live.

The Supervisors in the 50's "told people how to live" by requiring one spot per unit - how is this different? Or is it only bad when it's not the answer you want?

Posted by: anon at April 9, 2008 1:16 PM

"What's going to happen is that IF someone with a car is willing to buy a place without parking, they'll just end up driving around (and around and around) the neighborhood looking for parking. "


agreed. it's going to cause more of a parking nightmare.

Posted by: Spencer at April 9, 2008 1:23 PM

anon - the point is that it builds more housing, not more parking. Even if every new resident owns a car, (and that's highly unlikely given the disincentive and prevailing pattern of 2nd lowest car ownership rate in the country after NYC), there will still be more housing produced.

Posted by: Eislen at April 9, 2008 1:24 PM

"They can't afford cars" is not what's driving people out of the city. As a middle class household with a child in San Francisco, the cost of obtaining private parking near my apartment (the going rate in Nob Hill was about $3600/year when we lived there three years ago) was dwarfed by fact that we can't afford to buy anything larger than a one-bedroom condo, we don't want to use the public school lottery, and we can't afford private schools.

Posted by: DavidQ at April 9, 2008 1:52 PM

anon - the point is that it builds more housing, not more parking. Even if every new resident owns a car, (and that's highly unlikely given the disincentive and prevailing pattern of 2nd lowest car ownership rate in the country after NYC), there will still be more housing produced.

I wonder. Part of the problem with SF is that there are so many restrictions put on building (BMRs, restrictive parking) and landlords (rent control) that it's a DISINCENTIVE to build or invest in rental stock here. Perhaps it all get built, I doubt it, there won't be the demand for units without parking.

Posted by: anon at April 9, 2008 1:53 PM

I think all of the hullabaloo about the loss of parking and # of bmr units is shear misinformed panic.

1st, like others have mentioned, many single family units in the city and other "starter" places like TIC's don't come with parking and they are still sold at a pretty good premium...ask any realtor (no I'm not one nor do I play one on television). This is nothing new.

The other thing is that for developers, not having to build all that parking can actually be a great profit. It costs anywhere from $30-60K a space, when you factor that the space for those parking spots can turn into more rentable/saleable space.

Also, ever heard of Zip car or city car share? A ton of developments are now including them in the building. So for folks who have kids, or are on a fixed income, this solves a lot of problems and can even save money. This isn't even conjecturing... it actually a current way of life for people here in SF.

Lastly, I am sure that the politicos would NEVER allow BMR buyers to be jilted at the opportunity of having a parking space if they wanted to PAY for it. Many developments are splitting out the parking as an option and it is an added cost to the buyer- BMR or Market rate. This is also another way for the developer to make some additional cash on expensive space. A lot of city flippers of these multifamily building that are turning them into TIC's are doing this too. This is nothing new people.

Lastly from what I have read, it sounds like people that fear the muni system never ride the system and don't understand the savings one can gain from riding the muni system(albeit a not perfect system). I am one of those "work and save" (which leads me to my last comment) folks and work in a lower paying job that happens to be close to downtown. I would NEVER fork out $125 a month on parking when I can have a $45 bus pass that gets me all over the city on muni AND bart for unlimited rides. You do the math. It's not about being Green, just saving some.

Now about the "work and save" types...just who does everyone think the BMR buyers are? You typically have to make 80% to 120% of the area median income to qualify for these units and you need a down payment of anywhere from 5-10%. The last time I looked at those qualifiers, I'd think you'd need to be working and saving to qualify for this type of financing plan. These are our teachers, nurses, secretaries, admin staffers....heck a ton of people that are trying to make ends meet in the city.

Last point (sorry so long), it's not like the developers have to put 25% BMR units in the building they construct. They can pay a fee instead which they often do. With the common attitude that San Francisco is "different than the rest of the U.S. housing market", developers will not be discouraged to build in SF just because of a 25% requirement. They will build...we see proposals on Socketsite everyday for new developments and it just so happens to be one of the most expensive places to build in the country.

Posted by: Careful at April 9, 2008 1:54 PM

does anyone have confirmation other than the chronicle article regarding the 25% BMR requirement? I think that the plan was a bit too complicated for the chronicle to figure out and cover accurately. I missed the hearing yesterday but there had never been such a proposal previously.

as for the parking, the 1:2 ratio (this is not uniform throughout the plan area btw, but again that's too complicated for the chronicle to report) actually represents the auto ownership ratios of the existing neighborhood per US census data. myself, i am happily one of the home owners in the plan area who does not own a car (that's how i can afford the mortgage and my son's day care).

Posted by: curtis at April 9, 2008 2:02 PM

Careful, your comment "it sounds like people that fear the muni system never ride the system" is both incorrect and uneducated. It is widely publicised that Muni has a horrendous on-time record and it is not improving.

I live in SoMa and walk-muni-drive in about equal parts. I guarantee you when the weather warms Friday & Saturday, the 12 Folsom won't show up for 45 minutes at a time. Drivers just don't show up far, far too often and the union rules are so ridiculous lax they make me despise all unions. For years, I've noticed the drives "coincidentally" are short on nice weather days. I'm not going to wait around for that long to get to my appointments. THAT IS WHY I DRIVE. I don't want to but it is the SAD state of muni.

Posted by: TheRealScoop at April 9, 2008 2:57 PM

I'm not sure what all the hullabaloo over parking is. This is a city where one can easily survive and live well without a car. I lived in the City for 5 years without having a car and never had an issue with it. We could both walk to work from our place (far easier than packing onto the bus). There's taxis, muni, bikes...If we wanted to get out of town, we just walked a short distance to any number of car rental places for our choice of auto (hot new convertible for that Napa trip or a minivan for a trip to a big box retailer) because that carshare thing didn't exist yet. It's far cheaper and easier than dealing an auto. We only got a car once we moved to Glen Park and had kids (hiking up the hill to the Safeway for groceries isn't much fun when you have a baby in tow) and even now we don't drive a ton. If I didn't have to deal with wrestling with car seats, I'd happily sell the thing and use zipcar instead! Anyway - it looks like a great use of space - I can't wait to see it. Up, Up, Up and Away!

Posted by: nowonderitcostssomuchhere at April 9, 2008 3:28 PM

TheRealScoop: you are absolutely right and I wasn't arguing that the Muni system wasn't broken. My point is that I am a rider and IT SEEMS from the comments posted that I never hear from rider’s experience (which IMO is not such an uneducated opinion). I was also trying to make the point that even in its broken state, many people do depend on it and are fairing well. We make adjustments for it because the savings outweighs the expense of driving and having to pay a premium for downtown parking in the city. For those of you who have to drive because work requires it or other reasons, you are right that it doesn't make sense to use the Muni...that I agree with. So for someone like me and others alike, parking is not a deal killer. Ride the 24, 38L or the 1BX in the rush hour a.m. and you will see the buses (and Muni cars for that matter) jam packed with "suits" that are making it work for them (and probably saving some money for that new dream flat).

Posted by: Careful at April 9, 2008 3:53 PM

@nowonder:

See any conflict in the following two statements?

"This is a city where one can easily survive and live well without a car."

"We only got a car once we moved to Glen Park and had kids..."

Posted by: Foolio at April 9, 2008 4:00 PM

@Careful:

I ride MUNI every day, and it blows.

Posted by: Foolio at April 9, 2008 4:02 PM

One non transit comment here -

2 of the tall sites at market and van ness are long term occupied by the city and will not be developed.

the other 2 sites (all star diner) are controlled by an investor whose fortunes are not rumored to be good -- and the good will site is still owned by good will.

there is no fnancing whatsoever for these projects. so it will be a long time before abything happens.

this is kind of a paper victory for planning and development.

and without these sites built most of the community benefit money does not materialize.

somehow or another feasibility is never a big feature of these plans.

Posted by: Louis at April 9, 2008 4:38 PM

Foolio - did you read the sentence that followed? And my breeding self is definitely in the minority for SF demographics.

Posted by: nowonderitcostssomuchhere at April 9, 2008 4:52 PM

What's with all the blue patches on the map, where building heights were actually *decreased*? It seems like there's a lot more blue on the map than red.

Posted by: zzzzzz at April 9, 2008 4:54 PM

what is the % of SF residents who work outside of the city?

For those of us who work outside of the city, currently public transportation is NOT an option.

I can drive to my work in 30min. It takes 1hr and 45 minutes on walk,bus, bus, bart, bus, walk.

3hr 30 min vs. 1hr commute time is NOT an option. Im sure there are many others like .
Cars are here to stay until we get better transit. We might as well make space for them or the city traffic and parking situation is going to be more of a nightmare.

Posted by: Spencer at April 9, 2008 5:05 PM

a couple factoids that people are getting wrong:
(1) the M&O plan does NOT require 25% BMR. That was incorrectly reported by the Comical. The plan does not increase the requried BMR percentage at all. It does levy additional impact fees for a whole host of public benefits(in exchange for increasing density, heights, etc.), some of which will go toward affordable housing. Big difference.
(2) ORH is NOT increasing the parking ratio in that project post construction. The project was approved with valet operation within the planning code restrictions, so that the ultimate ratio is one space per unit -- including valet spaces. There is an interim period (currently) during which the first tower is built along with all of the parking, but the second tower is not yet built.

[Editor’s Note: An update has been added to our original post to reflect your point number one. Thank you for the correction. And as always, thank you for plugging in.]

Posted by: city resident at April 9, 2008 5:08 PM

I know I'm a broken record here.
but if we simply decreased all these rules and allowed people to have PROPERTY RIGHTS then builders could build more cheaply, owners could renovate more cheaply, and housing prices would come down.

of course, this will never happen because the politicos don't want lower home prices, and those who already own don't want lower home prices.

thus they collude to make building so expensive that it artificially restricts housing supply keeping prices aloft.

Posted by: ex SF-er at April 9, 2008 5:17 PM

Spencer - so the San Francisco Planning Department should be planning this city to be a commuter burb? I don't get it. If you decide to live a long ways from where you work and must have a car - it should not be up to the city to accomodate your desires. If you want to do that, fine - pay extra for the units with parking.

Posted by: anon at April 9, 2008 5:18 PM


"there is no fnancing whatsoever for these projects. so it will be a long time before abything happens. this is kind of a paper victory for planning and development.and without these sites built most of the community benefit money does not materialize. somehow or another feasibility is never a big feature of these plans."

I think there's something you're not understanding about plans and zoning: they're not intended to make things happen overnight. Plans have a horizon of 25 years, and it's not expected that every single developable parcel is built out within that 25 years. That's not even a possibility. Area plans and zoning controls are about potential, and regulating potential. This is NOT a redevelopment plan. In fact, area plans are not necessarily designed to "make things happen." It's totally irrelevant that Good Will still owns their site. At some point in the future goodwill will realize that they're sitting on a goldmine and it will be worth their while to redevelop. Same thing for the City. At some point, the City will want more space.

Posted by: city resident at April 9, 2008 5:28 PM

anon. i think the city should just keep in mind who its residents are.

Posted by: Spencer at April 9, 2008 5:48 PM

So these "impact fees" in lieu of BMR units . . . does this mean that Mirkarimi or Daly get to direct this money to their political cronies? Please tell me the affordable housing portion of these monies isn't going to affordable housing activist groups.

Posted by: SFHawkguy at April 9, 2008 5:55 PM

I'll return to my earlier observation that people who don't support adequate parking are just close-minded paranoid shut-ins who never leave their apartments and have 200 cats.

That is all.

Posted by: Jimmy (Bitter Renter) at April 9, 2008 5:56 PM

Spencer - I agree with anon @ 5:18. No one is forcing you to work outside of SF. Don't like the commute? Live closer to your job. I know many people (myself included) who have turned down jobs outside of SF simply because the commute is so unnatractive.

Posted by: Fishchum at April 9, 2008 6:12 PM

"I'll return to my earlier observation that people who don't support adequate parking are just close-minded paranoid shut-ins who never leave their apartments and have 200 cats."

And because of comments like this, stringent controls like the ones that were adopted will continue to be adopted and people that share your point of view and represent it in such ways will continue to be discounted as right-wing shrill fanatics who can't see or thnk critically beyond their own narrow personal experience and self-interest.

Posted by: realist at April 9, 2008 6:20 PM

Indeed. Unlike yourself, Uncle Realist, who wants to impose your own narrow post-urban car free utopia on the rest of us? Only then can we return San Francisco to "Year Zero" (aka 1968) and achieve transit nirvana.

Posted by: Jimmy (Bitter Renter) at April 9, 2008 6:42 PM

Bitter Jimmy. Aren't you trying to impose your Utopian vision of easy motoring on the rest of us? You simply take one side of the argument. You want to continue the failed policy of car-oriented planning. Others look at successful cities around the world and want to try something different. Maybe you are in the minority on this issue and are trying to impose your wishes on those of us in the majority? It seems the people of San Francisco have chosen to go away from car-centered planning.

So count me as one of those citizens that would like to see more of a focus on mass transit, bikes, and pedestrians than the failed focus on cars. It makes for a better city. It is you that wishes to return to 1958 were cars reigned supreme. That, my friend, is unrealistic. Please don't try to impose your unrealistic Utopian pipe dream of easy motoring on the rest of us.

Posted by: SFHawkguy at April 9, 2008 7:24 PM

SFHawkguy, I am in favor of transit-based policy if the city is committed to actually providing a decent transit system. Read my earlier post and explain to me how I'm supposed to get around a mjor part of the city when the bus doesn't show up? I walk PLENTY, but recently had an ankle injury and can neither ride bike nor walk EVERYWHERE I need to go. I should quite reasonably expect decent bus or underground service, but Muni is always late, missing, or stuck in a tunnel somewhere. F.I.X. M.U.N.I. 1.s.t. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Posted by: TheRealScoop at April 9, 2008 7:38 PM

"the granola types who don't have cars won't be able to afford these units"

Gosh anon@12:14, thanks for the tip. You're right. Owning a car is the key to prosperity. For the petroligarchy that is.

"Singles and Eco Nazies can live without a car, but try picking up young kids from different schools and then having to pick up groceries on the way home using MUNI"

Golly young_familiy_in_city, now that I look at it you're right. It is totally impossible to procreate and nurture a family without access to a car, parking, and oodles of gasoline. Cars equal life and prosperity. There is absolutely no way that anyone can raise a family without cars and lots of government mandated parking. We should be so enormously thankful to the oil industry that every family should be required to have an extra child to take the place of their first born.

We should also be grateful that when God cast Adam and Eve from Eden that he had the mercy to provide a stockpile of minivans and millions of gallons of oil. Otherwise the human race would have perished at that instant.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 9, 2008 9:35 PM

FYI, regarding the sites that are going supposedly going undeveloped, I can confirm that there is serious interest by Goodwill to SELL the site and relocate with the new zoning; and the City is looking at declaring those parcels as surplus for additional future development.

Posted by: pluggedin at April 9, 2008 10:47 PM

"I'll return to my earlier observation that people who don't support adequate parking are just close-minded paranoid shut-ins who never leave their apartments and have 200 cats."

If that's true then perhaps others might observe that people who want a parking spot for every new unit of housing are cranky old retirees who, cradling an old issue of McCall's Magazine folded in their laps and wearing a bathrobe and slippers, shake their fists at teenagers walking peacefully past their house, totally unaware that car sharing exists and that in the Market Octavia corridor it's senseless to own a car in most situations. I'm one of those "shut-ins" that you deride, and I'm out probably 5 nights a week and only rarely resort to using one of the two City CarShare pods within two blocks of my house. Cutting-edge people like me who don't hold antiquated preconceptions on methods of locomotion will snap up the new housing units that don't have parking, and will get around faster than the car-drivers.

Sure MUNI is sub-optimal, but when you're living on Market St. you have your choice of almost any train or bus and rarely need to transfer to get where you're going. Thanks to nextmuni.com and/or textmarks you even know when buses aren't coming so you can react and take a different one. Owning a car in this neighborhood just a status symbol; someone could purchase gold teeth instead and make a similar social statement. I know because I sold my Lexus 2 years ago. Before I got rid of that burden I was saying delusional things like "but I need it to get groceries" and
"I can't keep my umbrella in a car share!".

Posted by: Gdog at April 9, 2008 11:20 PM

Actually I think that God blessed this earth with more like quadrillions of gallons of oil but we're doing our best to burn it off. After the oil is gone, we'll have to resort to burning Fischer-Tropsch coal-derived synthetic diesel for the next 200+ years until that's all gone too. I'm guessing hydrogen fuel cells will become a reality sometime around 2208 at which point we can switch over to that miracle of technology.

But I digress. I live in Russian Hill and work in San Carlos, a distance of 26 miles each way. Public transit does not enable me to make that journey in any reasonable timeframe. Therefore, if I was forced to take transit due to well-meaning parking or car restrictions imposed on me by other residents of San Francisco, I would be effectively banished to the hinterlands down there. Which I don't want to happen. So, I (and everyone like me-- there are a lot of us because traffic is awful!), will oppose the anti-parking legislation, and those of you who know what's best for the rest us, will support it.

God forbid that the free market would prevail and developers would build the amount of parking that is supported by the market. After all, if parking spaces were rented for $20/mo, would anyone build them when land costs roughly $20mil per acre? I seriously doubt it.

If there were so many cars on the road that my commute took 3 hours (like it would in, say, Bangkok), would I bother to drive or would I suck it up and move closer? Probably move.

See how the market works? Its a feedback system.

Its a free country, after all, and for enough money I can do whatever I want, including drive to and from work when it suits me or even take a helicopter or a speedboat. No matter how much gas it uses.

Posted by: Jimmy (Bitter Renter) at April 9, 2008 11:21 PM

After having direct personal experience with BMR units in my condo (for sale) building, I will be hard pressed to buy in a building with BMR condos. On top of the price I paid for my unit for the pleasure of having them in my building (~$20k) these people stretch to pay HOA dues. So let's say dues go up - as they do - these people have a much harder time paying. Sets up class warfare in the building. Not a big fan at all as a home owner. Especially when you have 25% inclusionary. Imagine trying to get a quorum on a vote and those 25% vote as a block against a cost increase - a cost increase which may be necessary to maintain and service the building. HOAs after all have a responsibility to maintain and/or increase the property value of its members.

BMRs in a rental building are another story. The rent subsidy is just paid by the other renters and residents don't get into operational discussions and how much it costs, and therefore you don't end up with class warfare in the building. The have's and the have not's can live pretty well along side each other.

I have nothing wrong with people who can afford to buy, teachers, police, clerical staff, whomever. Just don't force a housing situation that makes matters even worse. Inclusionary in a rental property, okay grudgingly I accept (but 25% is ridiculous), but in a for sale condo building - No way. I will never buy (especially without parking....).

It is sometimes so bad in my building that whole groups of people don't talk to their neighbors. How'd you like to live there. Not again...

So if I were a developer of a condo building in this situation, I'd pay the in lieu fee (even at a premium) to not have inclusionary in my building.

Regarding parking, if parking has a impact, shouldn't there be a nexus that can be calculated and an impact fee charged?. This way the market could decide on both a supply and demand basis. Would a developer be able to make it pencil with a $15k fee per space?...just my two cents.

Posted by: Dede at April 9, 2008 11:54 PM

People who say that parking restrictions shouldn't happen because MUNI sucks-- that is silly. MUNI could be fixed in five years if the will was there. The parking restrictions will determine the shape of the city for literally eighty years to come or more, judging by the average age of buildings.

Posted by: Alexei at April 10, 2008 3:05 AM

Jimmy, no one is making you sell your car. More than HALF of the units will still have parking. You planning on buying more than 3000 units?

Posted by: Jimmy checker at April 10, 2008 7:13 AM

Jimmy,

I'll make a deal with you - you let the market work for use of streets and parking (congestion pricing and market-priced meters and city-owned parking garages), as well as complete market control of parking allowed in new developments - that is, no minimums as well as no maximums - and I'll support them right along with you.

Posted by: Brutus at April 10, 2008 7:34 AM

"...MUNI could be fixed in five years if the will was there...'

Right, when hell freezes over. We've been "fixing" Muni as long as I can remember, but nothing ever really changes. Muni is such a calcified institution - especially when it comes to ridiculously restrictive union work rules - that it literally repels meaningful change. Muni is what it is, for better or worse, and anyone thinking seriously about this has to take that as a given.

Posted by: zzzzzzzzzz at April 10, 2008 8:02 AM

"I live in Russian Hill and work in San Carlos, a distance of 26 miles each way. Public transit does not enable me to make that journey in any reasonable timeframe."

Funny, I live in Hayes Valley and work in Menlo, a distance of almost 40 miles each way. My door-to-door commute time is about 55 minutes even during peak rush hour. On top of that, the 35 minutes of my commute on CalTrain is productive time (either doing work or reading) and much more enjoyable than being stuck in a car which would be time I may as well be dead. So my effective commute time via CalTrain is far shorter than driving, it's cheaper, and it's a hell of lot more pleasant.

Posted by: Gdog at April 10, 2008 8:18 AM

Right, when hell freezes over. We've been "fixing" Muni as long as I can remember, but nothing ever really changes. Muni is such a calcified institution - especially when it comes to ridiculously restrictive union work rules - that it literally repels meaningful change. Muni is what it is, for better or worse, and anyone thinking seriously about this has to take that as a given.

zzzzzzz,

When he said "will", he meant will on the part of car drivers to share some of the road. If we had TRUE dedicated lanes throughout the city, Muni could very easily be fixed. It's like tying two hands behind someone's back and then telling them to pick up something - it's a little hard.

Posted by: Brutus at April 10, 2008 8:45 AM

If we had TRUE dedicated lanes throughout the city, Muni could very easily be fixed. It's like tying two hands behind someone's back and then telling them to pick up something - it's a little hard.

What am I missing here? How does having dedicated bike lanes fix MUNI?

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 9:04 AM

They mean dedicated MUNI lines (not bike lanes)

It is rediculous that MUNI shares the road with cars.

They should either submerge MUNI, or elevate it (but that's expensive and the earthquakes make it hard)

or they should change several streets to BIKE/TAXI/MUNI lanes only.

this way MUNI isn't caught in traffic.

Imagine SF if every 15th street let's say were a bike/MUNI/bus/pedestrian only street.

then you'd have a great grid with which to work, and connect the entire city

It would never be more than an 8 block walk to a public transport line.

alas, it will never happen.

Posted by: ex SF-er at April 10, 2008 9:13 AM

Gdog, not every company on the peninsula is in proximity to CalTrain. Not every company there has a shuttle to CalTrain. Not everyone is physically able to walk or ride a bike to and from the station due to handicap, injury, etc. and therefore must rely on local bus infrastructure which is just as bad there (or worse in some cases) than here.

example: i had a job that had a long term assignment in a san ramon location. i would have had at least a 1h 45m commute walk-1 or 2 muni modes-bart-cc bus-walk each way. that was RIDICULOUS. i drove and it was usually half that time. made no sense to move over there since it was not a permanent assignment. what would you have a commuter like me do?

Posted by: TheRealScoop at April 10, 2008 9:16 AM

The way to encourage people to stop driving is to make mass transit better, faster, smarter, and more affordable.

Not to make driving such an unbelievable pain in the *ss that people get frustrated with it.

IMO SF is following the second option not the first.

Posted by: Foolio at April 10, 2008 9:24 AM

p.s. I also wanted to say that for such a major, interconnected metropolitan area, the interconnectedness of the local & regional transit systems is TERRIBLE. people always look at Europe as a better example, but what Euros clearly have over us is that transit is mostly a NATIONAL issue, and creates interconnectivity (esp. by train) that doesn't exist here. Extend regional siloed transit systems to, say, connectivity with Amtrak. Pshaw! High speed rail to LA: NEVER going to happen in our lifetimes. Terrible and sad for such a creative, entrepreneurial country.

So where this is relavent to this thread: a lot of people who would live on this corridor would not be able to do everything they need to do to live here via the just the existing transit there. Cars will still be needed and used by a bunch of people...even if it's to visit friends/boyfriends/girlfriends/social clubs/sports teams/etc. that are in unfriendly Muni bus territory.

Posted by: TheRealScoop at April 10, 2008 9:33 AM

ex-SF-er,

Exactly what I was saying. There is absolutely no give on the part of drivers, other than "Build me a 50 billion dollar subway system that is as good as NYC or Paris (cities with several times the density of SF) and then we can talk."

Just a few dedicated lanes or streets could DOUBLE or TRIPLE Muni's average speed. We need good surface transit (and it wouldn't cost that much or be that hard - except politically), the rest is a pipedream.

Posted by: Brutus at April 10, 2008 9:37 AM

NY Times article about Silicon Valley slowdown..

Stratch teh parking debate. Maybe some of us "commuters" won't be buying new condos after all

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/technology/09silicon.html

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 9:46 AM

"Spencer - I agree with anon @ 5:18. No one is forcing you to work outside of SF. Don't like the commute? Live closer to your job. I know many people (myself included) who have turned down jobs outside of SF simply because the commute is so unnatractive."

I love my commute, my job, my car and living in SF as I'm sure others do.

Employment for all residents of SF within SF is not an option, so making car-unfriendly policies without transit fixes should not be an option.

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 9:49 AM

there are clearly a lot of people on ehre who don't commute. I understand your anti-car stance, but please relaize that 1/3 of the residents of SF work outside of SF and there is currently no viable public transportation optiosn for us. For those advocating that we move closer to our jobs or work i the city, that is completely unrealistic. Personally, i work in biotech and it is a specialized feild. Doesn't really exist in the city. same could be said for many high tech SV jobs. Without us living in SF, the city would be vastly worse off from a tax perspective. besides there are not enough jobs in SF to support all residents of SF. a car friendly policy is currently the ONLY Option

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 9:57 AM

Employment for all residents of SF within SF is not an option, so making car-unfriendly policies without transit fixes should not be an option.

The city swells by more than 200,000 people each day, telling me that there is more than enough work to fill up SF without the need to commute out. Now, if you CHOOSE to live here and commute out - that's your choice, but decisions on zoning, planning, transit, etc, etc should be made based on the people who live and work HERE to encourage more people to live and work HERE. Same goes for the peninsula cities - planning and zoning and transit should focus FIRST on those who live and work there. Transit between areas is important - but should be SECONDARY.

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 9:58 AM

anon- you must be kidding or smoking something. Do you really think a reality could exist where every person who lives in SF also works in SF? talk about narrowmindedness.....

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 10:05 AM

anon- you must be kidding or smoking something. Do you really think a reality could exist where every person who lives in SF also works in SF? talk about narrowmindedness.....

Of course not - but planning for the city should FIRST focus on working best for the residents who work in the city - especially for a city like SF that has so many excess jobs.

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 10:11 AM

"besides there are not enough jobs in SF to support all residents of SF. a car friendly policy is currently the ONLY Option"

The first statement is patently untrue. You clearly have no grasp of the actual statistics and the jobs/housing imbalance. There are well over 600,000 jobs in SF, and far fewer working residents. There ARE quantitatively enough jobs in SF to employ every resident. In fact SF imports a few hundred thousand workers from around the Bay Area everyday just to fill these jobs. The daytime population of SF swells well beyond the night-time population. In fact, just so you know, a majority of SF residents work in SF. There is in fact a housing deficit in SF, not a jobs deficit. Whether they are all jobs that you want is another story. Just please don't state baldly untrue facts. You choose to work outside of SF. There is also plenty of housing (probably cheaper) closer to your job than here in SF, probably even some close enough where you can stroll in your pajamas to work. Why don't you live there? Probably because you prefer living in SF. Fine. Great. So do a lot of other people. Just don't expect you to be able to import your suburban lifestyle here and feel that the City should cater 100% to your needs and desires.

But beyond that, let me get to the second, and more nonsenical portion of the your excerpted comment -- that because some portion of the city's residents work outside the city at non-transit accessible location that the city should "adopt a car-friendly policy." run that by me again? So you're saying if 50% of the residents have cars that 100% of units should have parking? Hmmm... doesn't seem to add up to me. Let me get this straight -- because some minority of people live this life that we should restructure our City to facilitate it. I don't think so. That's called a downward spiral of doom. It's been played out in countless cities across the country and we don't need to do it here. The rest of the Bay Area has done that. No thanks. No one is forcing you to live in this expensive city. As Jimmy the Bitter Renter points out, hey there's a market feedback loop. At some point, you'll give up the game and realize you need to choose between two options -- the urban non-car-oriented lifestyle in SF, or the car-"friendly" non-SF lifestyle. Urbanity on the scale we have here and cars are non-compatible. It's just a simple matter of fact and capacity and geometry.

And beyond all that, as someone astutely pointed out -- no one is taking away all the parking spaces. New housing development will still have parking. Just not for every unit. You going to buy up all the units? There's plenty of choice for you. You have nothing to complain about.

Posted by: thefacts at April 10, 2008 10:53 AM

Jimmy - You certainly have a lot more faith in technology than I do. It might not be prudent to walk humanity over that precipice that is Hubbert's Peak and expect the genie of technology to be right there with a hydrogen powered escape pod.

And I totally agree about letting the market decide. We can start by asking motorists to pay the full price for their choice of transport. Right now motorists pay only a fraction of the cost. Who's picking up the bill for the environmental damage, the 35,000+ annual deaths caused by automobiles, the cost of the "free parking", or the cost to build and maintain the excess lanes required to support commute traffic ? It certainly isn't the gas tax. And some would say that we are paying a very high price in Iraq right now to ensure access to middle east reserves. We're certainly not in Iraq to protect the USA from terrorists or out of the kindness of our hearts to protect the Iraqi people from a ruthless dictator.

Let everyone choose how they want to commute, but we need to balance the subsidies out to level the playing field. Today motorists and the oil companies receive enormous subsidies.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 10, 2008 10:58 AM

@ thefacts

I don't think people are arguing that a parking space is a right and everyone should have as many as they want. The facts are that people won't give up their cars (even if, as in my case, I use public transportation to get to work). The city should do all sorts of things (improve transportation, increase density, etc) to motivate people to not use their cars, but I'm all for reality-based planning. Given that people like their cars, allow developers to provide enough parking for those who are willing to pay for it. No-one is forcing people to buy a parking space, or drive, or not drive, or take the bus.

I am very familiar with Vancouver, BC. They've done a great job of revitalizing their downtown, and many of their new buildings have MORE parking than units and it hasn't made the downtown any less liveable.

The problem with SF is that they have these worthy goals, but are clueless on how to implement them.

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 11:34 AM

I am very familiar with Vancouver, BC. They've done a great job of revitalizing their downtown, and many of their new buildings have MORE parking than units and it hasn't made the downtown any less liveable.

Anon, you are correct that Vancouver did some of this in the past - now they are changing (as their average population density begins to approach that of SF). Most of their newest developments are required to have 1:1 or even fewer than 1:1 spaces per unit. Check the Vancouver planning code.

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 11:39 AM

"I am very familiar with Vancouver, BC. They've done a great job of revitalizing their downtown, and many of their new buildings have MORE parking than units and it hasn't made the downtown any less liveable."

anon-
What maybe you don't know is that no freeways enter the city limits and they have less job sprawl. If we tore down highways 280, 101, and 80 within City limits, put a $50 toll on the bridges, and demolished 75% of the office parks on the peninsula, sure we could have lots of parking in SF. Canada has higher taxes and land is all techinically owned by the Queen and there are fewer property rights. I'm all for all of that. Are you going to start the campaigns? Sign me up.

Posted by: thefacts at April 10, 2008 12:10 PM

"You choose to work outside of SF. "

Yes, but only beacuse my industry of expertis as well as many others do not exist inside of SF city limits.

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 1:05 PM

"Just don't expect you to be able to import your suburban lifestyle here and feel that the City should cater 100% to your needs and desires."

I never said that. But the city should account for the fact that 30% of its residents work outside of city limits and therefore need a car. transitONLY policies will not work

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 1:07 PM

Just for clarity's sake, i am not advocating everyone have a car...just that the pendulum doesn't swing so much that cars are not considered as part of the options. A car is a necessity for some of us.

to further the point, my car does not leave its parking spot except for the commute. i bike on the weekends.

i would also love to take a train to work but not if it adds 2 extra hrs of commute per day. our public transportation is not good enough to get rid of cars for most commuters.

Posted by: Spencer at April 10, 2008 1:13 PM

Virtually all new development in SF will have-- at most --1/2 parking space per unit. That is a set policy in this city and will not change, you can debate it forever if you all want to.

The only question is whether the City has the will to expand and remake MUNI -- on a major scale.

The ability of the City to grow--either jobs or homes -- will depend on this as will quality of life issues - pollution , pederstrian safety, commute times, whatever.

Energy should be focued here!!

Posted by: Louis at April 10, 2008 2:04 PM

I never said that. But the city should account for the fact that 30% of its residents work outside of city limits and therefore need a car. transitONLY policies will not work

Perhaps you should re-read the plan, Spencer - one parking spot for every two units for this area. Many other areas are still at 1:1 - how is this endangering the so-called 30% of people who work outside the city limits (much higher than the census numbers, but whatever, you must know more than the census)? Also, many existing units already have parking - that's not going anywhere, yet those units can be bought and sold as well.

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 2:43 PM

The only question is whether the City has the will to expand and remake MUNI -- on a major scale.

No - the question is whether the will of the people will allow a MAJOR change in the way Muni operates. Muni cannot get better without give from private autos and other special interest groups (those that demand a stop every block, etc)

Posted by: anon at April 10, 2008 3:03 PM

Anon _ I agree with you in big picture - but i think the City will have to muster some larger leadership on transit and that might mean going against the grain of certain special interest groups.

I.e. single-- our interest advocates whether they are pro car or anti-market-rate housing are just not going to have an epiphany and say -- OK then, go ahead, you were right.

none of this changes without way stronger leadership, that is supposed to be one of the roles of government. and i dont necessarily see it present here.

Posted by: Louis at April 10, 2008 3:25 PM

thefacts-- I am from Vancouver (born + raised) and 'The Queen' does not own all the land there. And taxes, compared to Cali are not all that much different when you factor in State, Fed, Medicare tax and Health Insurance premiums (to make it a fair comparison).

And fewer property rights?? are you out of your mind? At least in Canada you can build a new house or redevelop your house if you want to, unlike here or on the Peninsula where the planning process is so onerous (and NIMBYs so prolific) it is virtually impossible to move beyond the 1950s low-class housing stock. We may theoretically have more property rights in the US, but in San Francisco, practically speaking, we most definitely do not!!!!!

Posted by: Jimmy (Bitter Renter) at April 10, 2008 3:30 PM

Jimmy -
You may have been born and rasied in Vancouver, but that doesn't mean you necessarily have a complete grasp of land ownership in BC. You're right -- I shouldn't use the word "Queen," when I should have used the more generic term "Crown." Let me quote from an on-line resource devoted to land ownership in BC:

"British Columbia law divides up land ownership into a bundle of separate ownership rights. This is rooted in English feudal law, when the King owned all the land but gave rights over parcels of land — estates — to lords. An estate is not the piece of land itself but a bundle of rights in relation to the piece of land... To this day, a landowner owns not the land itself but an estate, or interest, in land. The Crown decides what rights are included in the bundle of rights called an estate. But the Crown has reserved to itself some rights over the land. In British Columbia, for example, you cannot drill an oil well on your property, even if you own the fee simple in land, because in most cases the Crown has reserved that right to itself... However, the Crown, that is, the government, can always take back rights in land by expropriation. But the difference between ownership rights reserved to the Crown and ownership rights taken back by the Crown is that a landowner has never had those rights which were reserved by the Crown. They were never part of the bundle of ownership rights which constituted the estate in fee simple granted by the Crown to the original landowner."

and on another topic, why are you a "bitter renter"? what does that mean? what reason do you have to be bitter? There is nothing particularly gloroius in home ownership, and renting conveys many advantages that home ownership can never have, including the freedom of movement regardless of the fortunes of the market with no equity tied down in non-liquid assets. Not to mention that the rent on an apartment of every size and quality is significantly lower than the monthly costs (mortgage+insurance+ maintenance+taxes+HOA etc) of a comparable SF condo (and will probably always be), and therefore you have more disposable income that you can invest how you choose and live a more indulgent and interesting life than if you were forking over money to the bank. The whole line about "renting is just throwing away money" is nonsense. Oh, I forgot -- this is Socketsite where everyone has a condo fetish.

Posted by: thefacts at April 10, 2008 4:37 PM

That quote references B.C. law, but for all practical purposes is equally applicable to the U.S. You could accurately say the same thing about any common law system derived from English law.

I am certain that there are differences today (i.e., the government in each case can change and has changed the different bundles of rights a property owner holds), but that quote does almost nothing to explain these changes or the current differences between SF and Vancouver.

Posted by: Tom at April 10, 2008 6:03 PM

thefacts-- I'm not actually bitter. That's just sarcasm. I quite enjoy my life and am happy to trade a small sum of money every month (about $1500) for the opportunity to have a comfortable roof over my head in a nice neighborhood. Whether it goes to the bank or a landlord is not really consequential to me.

Which is not to say that I'm living an indulgent life since my other passion (bootstrapping my company) consumes most of my free cash every month.

I often thank God I don't have a mortgage otherwise I'd be working a dead-end corporate job (being Joe Engineer ain't exactly the path to riches) & not building equity elsewhere! With no end in sight. Nothing could be more depressing to a guy like me.

Posted by: Jimmy (Bitter Renter) at April 10, 2008 6:07 PM

There's a huge disconnect between the transit-first goals and the reality of our public school system.

I live and work in the city and take a quick Muni bus downtown after walking to drop my two kids off at day care and pre-school. This is easy because I have chosen to have them cared for at facilities that are very close to my home. This luxury is more than likely to disappear as soon as they hit elementary school. Instead of walking 3 blocks to the nearby school, I may very likely have to transport them miles across the city twice a day.

Posted by: urban_angst at April 10, 2008 6:20 PM

This parking-housing-transit-debate is real interesting. If you want real solutions, replace the majority of the current board of supervisors with people who understand supply and demand and how incentives and disincentives cause people to make different decisions. The current board has primarily a track record of making things worse. Witness the recent changes to oft-delayed and finally approved Market Octavia plan.

I know there will be people thinking that I must be Republican for making these comments (...not, but maybe this city could use more to balance the discussion).

Posted by: Dede at April 12, 2008 1:46 PM

I park on the street now. I hate to think how hard parking will be when in theis neighborhood when this project is complete.

Posted by: kathleen at December 2, 2008 10:05 AM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« 32 Condos Coming "Soon" To The Corner Of Hayes And Franklin | HOME | Two-Year Payout For Evicted Tenants Accelerated And Approved »