“Imposing community impact fees on developers similar to those applied to builders with projects in the South of Market area would likely happen for future development areas, one city legislator said.
“No area plan improvements that create greater development opportunities and greater opportunities to profit from development will go forth in the city of San Francisco without having mitigation or impact fees that will provide for the enhancement of those areas,” Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said.”
Community funds to bridge economic gaps in SoMa [Examiner]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Brian

    What Jake really is saying is that the Supes may have come up with yet another way to pick someone’s pockets to provide the city even more money which will be promptly squandered.
    We might not mind additional fees if in fact the city provided any type service whatsoever in return. But instead the city will take the money, waste it and then cry more revenues are needed. This city is a mess.

  2. Posted by Michael

    In other cities developers are courted and given tax breaks to invest their monies in underdeveloped areas. In San Francisco? We put up barriers and charge them a premium. Brilliant.

  3. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    There’s been talk brewing for about a year of an additional 1% of the sales price being added to the transfer tax as a “green fee”.
    The City is pretty vague about how it will be spent other than to reduce the “carbon footprint” of the home.
    M.R.

  4. Posted by anon

    These extra fees will just go into some supervisor’s personal pet project/patronage slush fund (a la Daly’s extortion of the developer of ORH). I doubt it’ll end up benefiting the neighborhood at all.

  5. Posted by zig

    sfians elect these bozos
    I blame them. This June we’ll see how Daly’s ballet initiative does mandating 50% affordable in HP
    If that passes the message is pretty clear isn’t it

  6. Posted by Mole Man

    Community impact fees are common for projects of that size just about everywhere. If development is expected to drive more traffic, draw more water, generate more sewage, whatever, then infrastructure may need to be improved and it may make sense to make that a part of the deal. Usually the improvements are very specific like new roads and sidewalks nearby. This is a bit more general, but with SF Planning putting neighborhood areas together it might work out.

    Wasn’t the new park in SOMA on Folsom and Harrison between 6th and 7th paid for this way? It is popular and residents seem to want more of that kind of thing.

  7. Posted by zzzzzzz

    “…Future fees, however, should have more money going to such needs as public transportation and a lot less going to nonprofits and social programs, which he called “kind of mushy money…”
    The above is Jake McGoldrick speaking? Well, a stopped clock is still right twice a day.

  8. Posted by Bill

    This cannot be the entire Jake McGoldrick quote; he has never finished a sentence.

  9. Posted by jamie

    Money is spent by the government on bozo projects because the bozos who want the bozo projects are the ones who are most passionate and active about showing up and asking for the money from our government for their bozo projects. The impact fees should be spent on making sure our water/sewage systems can handle the increased demand from the 15,000 or so additional folks living in the Rincon Hill neighborhood in a few years. The money should be spent on improving the streetscape, traffic calming, and making it safer for pedestrians in Rincon Hill. The money should be spent to hire additional police officers for the Southern Station. The money should be spent to provide recreational space in or nearby Rincon Hill. The money should be spent to seismically improve and convert the Sailors Union of the Pacific into the Rincon Hill Community Center for non-profit community groups to hold meetings.
    The money taken from Rincon Hill residents (more or less) should be used to improve the quality of life for Rincon Hill residents. The rest of SoMa will benefit, if they have any business sense, by having an expanded population of folks to sell their services to. The folks who want to preserve SoMa’s manufacturing economy businesses by way of mandatory donations from Rincon Hill residents need to look at my home state of Michigan for where their future is heading (the manufacturing businesses, that is) – nowhere. We’ve all got to change with the times in a market economy – demand and supply, that crap.

  10. Posted by Dede

    Get rid of district elections and you will go a long way towards solving many of the problems. You will get the best of the best elected instead of these village idiots.

  11. Posted by SFHawkguy

    The supervisors are all jealous of how Daly successfully shook down the ORH developers for millions and want in on the action as well. At first they thought it might be unethical or even illegal to shake down a developer but like petty warlords or corrupt officials around the world the allure of their own fiefdom or slush fund is too much to resist. They will make sure they legalize this shady practice. It’s not bribery–it’s community enhancement! Sure, Jake and maybe some of the other supervisors will claim they will not do the shady things Daly is doing by giving money to his political supporters that have no rational connection to the ORH development. No, Jake and the gang will use their slush funds responsibly.
    Actually, it’s quite sickening. I also wonder if Daly has committed any crimes. I sure would like the federales sniffing around Daly and his affordable housing activist buddies to ensure that they have used their slush fund monies in accordance with the laws (and indeed did not commit a crime when they demanded and received the money).

  12. Posted by zzzzzzz

    I wonder how much the prices of the ORH units went up as a result of the Daly extortion/slush fund? Not that they were ever going to be cheap to begin with, but I’ll bet this bit of progressive wealth redistribution came with a hefty price tag for the buyers.

  13. Posted by Trip

    zzzzzzz, ORH was going to sell these units at whatever price the market would bear. They would not discount the price based on a lower Daly extortion amount. I’m not defending Daly’s garbage political strong-arming, but it took money out of the developer’s pocket, not the buyers’.

  14. Posted by jamie

    Reviewing the 2000 demographics for zip code 94105 (the RIncon Hill neighborhood – http://www.zipskinny.com/index.php?zip=94105), I can hardly believe that the handful of people who lived in Rincon Hill were negatively impacted by the new high-rise developments.
    I cannot argue that the demographics of zip code 94103 in SoMa are vastly different from 94105, but I’m not sure how the variables affecting their costs of living are somehow narrowed down to high-rise developments.

  15. Posted by jamie

    What I meant to say above is that the demographics of Rincon Hill (zip code 94105) were most definitely different from the rest of SoMa (zip code 94103) in the year 2000. The Rincon Hill neighborhood is the one with the high-rise development. Why development in zip code 94105 can be blamed for gentrification in zip code 94103 so absolutely seems sketchy to me.

  16. Posted by SFHawkguy

    Our local press seems to be asleep at the wheel on this issue. I remember an article in SF Weekly by Matt Smith on the subject of impact fees (a long time ago) but I haven’t seen much reporting on the subject since then. Maybe it’s me and I have been asleep at the wheel. But it seems like the mayor and the developers don’t want to make a big deal out of it and just want to pay the bribe and get the deals done and the other supervisors seem to be surprised by the lack of outrage and now want to get in on the action. All in all it seems like we have quietly adopted an official land use policy in San Francisco that involves the supervisors shaking down developers and giving the proceeds to their political allies. And hardly a peep was uttered.
    All of this seems really fishy to me and I can’t believe the local press or a politician or a prosecutor hasn’t questioned the whole corrupt system. Where is this 34 million going? Is it paying peoples’ salaries? Have we basically agreed to let Daly shake down developers so he can pass the monies to “community activists” in SoMa in the form of jobs for the next few years? Do we now have an actual patronage system in the guise of land-use policy right here in San Francisco? Have we now ensured that Daly and his allies have an army of paid political operatives? Will these paid activists be attending hearings and getting involved in local politics? Are the “activists” and other beneficiaries of the 34 million really representative of the impacted communities?
    I think we better have the answers to these questions before we fully accept a patronage system as normal operating procedure.

  17. Posted by natomahead

    If you want to know where the money is going and how it’s being planned to be spent read about it here:
    http://www.sfgov.org/site/mocd_index.asp?id=44635
    Most of people/decisions running that committee come from here:
    http://www.somcan.org/about/history.htm
    To Jamie: These fees are NOT for you and ur rincon hill neighbors (not directly, though, indirectly, it will benefit you since the hope is to have these fees help ur 6th st neighbors, whom I’d guess you don’t want running around ur neighborhood). There are already other fees the give you what you asked for (street calming, traffic migration, police, etc). These fees are to help mitigate the impact of 1000s of new residents a few blocks away from an already depressed neighborhood. The city could have built affordable housing on rincon hill instead of your condo, instead they allowed condos to be built there and asked the developer to help pay to provide services to the surrounding neighborhood, that has been there longer than you. It’s supposed to be a win-win. We’ll see if that holds true.

  18. Posted by SFHawkguy

    Jamie,
    Yes, it is a bit ridiculous to include all of SoMa in the impact area. I have a feeling that Daly has a very broad definition of negative impacts from development in San Francisco. I wouldn’t be surprised the fees ended up supporting some third-word country because of the impact ORH caused on the poor people of that region.
    After all, if we simply cut checks to the 2,058 people living in the direct area of ORH then they would each get $16,520. I’m sure they would forget about the impact the towers caused right quick. Heck, let’s go with Mr. Daly’s broader inclusion of greater SoMa (94103) and the 23,016 people it contains and then each person in the community would get $1,355 in “impact” fees.
    Cutting checks to the people that live here is much more fair than letting Daly and his community activists divide up the money amongst themselves.

  19. Posted by natomahead

    anyone who moved into the “94105” area and thinks that they are NOT part of SoMa, and not in the same ‘hood as “94103” is being woefully in denial. Sorry 94105’ers, but yes, that 700k condo u bought IS in the same ‘hood as of 6th St & the “greater SoMa”. And the fact that you want to “pull” away from “greater SoMa” is the main argument used to extracting these fees from ur developer. You are already starting the gentrification process with your polarization of SoMa.

  20. Posted by jamie

    I’m quite aware that the fees were not negotiated to benefit the people they were extracted from – and that’s part of the reason I’m appalled. It is wrong to say that there’s money coming from other sources to pay for hiring more police at Southern Station to keep ratios in check with the new Rincon Hill population. Maybe that’s appropriate as Rincon Hill, with the exception of smashed car windows and graffitti, is a relatively safe area anyway. As far as I can tell, the new property tax dollars from the Rincon Hill neighborhood are going to help pay for retiree healthcare and other debts for existing set-asides and current employees/retirees.
    I’m also quite defiant about anyone suggesting the Rincon Hill neighborhood is being gentrified in a manner similar to the residential areas in the rest of SoMa (94103, whatever, it was handy for U.S. Census purposes) because there has hardly been anyone living in Rincon Hill to gentrify out for the past 100 years. Bringing up the Dot Com gentrification of the SoMa west of 2nd Street and linking it to being caused by high-rises going up in Rincon Hill is delusional (and in denial, whatever).
    The personal attacks are expected, but let me throw out some facts for you to chew on. I live in a humble shoebox of 400 or so square feet in a building built in the early 1990s that my income qualified me to get via City assistance – don’t mistake me as a target for your resentment/envy of millionaires as I am an Appalachian whose parents lived in poverty for the first third of their lives in the 41630 and 41640 zip codes. Chew on those poverty levels for a few minutes before throwing any personal insults my way based on your perception of my socioeconomic level or tolerances. I spend many hours between 5th and 8th Streets in SoMa, and I am a cheerleader for that area too – but not in a manner that extorts money from a geographically separate neighborhood.
    I use this issue as one to hopefully motivate my neighbors to get involved in City and County government matters.

  21. Posted by natomahead

    “As far as I can tell, the new property tax dollars from the Rincon Hill neighborhood are going to help pay for retiree healthcare and other debts for existing set-asides and current employees/retirees.”
    This is wrong. I posted the links to the community stabilization fund which speaks about how the funds will be spent.

  22. Posted by jamie

    I referred to the new property tax dollars from the new residences in Rincon Hill in that sentence, not the $25 per square foot money for the SoMa Community Stabilization Fund that will go to a yet to be determined bunch non-profit groups somewhere in SoMa.
    If you can point me to a link that indicates they will be hiring a proportional number of additional police and increasing other services to go with the increasing population in 94105 over the next few years by using the new property tax income the City will receive, great. Otherwise, I think I need to motivate my neighbors to start hammering the folks in City Hall just to try to make sure some of the property taxes collected by the City from 94105 (outside of those SoMa Impact dollars that we already determined are going elsewhere) do actually benefit 94105 residents.

  23. Posted by natomahead

    Jamie: read here: http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=25076
    After rereading this I’m now somewhat confused. This site states that $11/sf is for the Rincon Hill Community Infrastructure Impact Fee (which would provide for the community benefits you asked for) and $14/sf is for the SoMa stabilization fund. The examiner article and others have stated a $25/sf development fee. It is now unclear to me if the examiner simply added the two fees together, or if the SoMa stabilization portion was upped to $25 in addition to the RH community portion ($36/sf total).
    Also, you should recognize that the reason why RH tax dollars/dev fees are being spent, in part, in areas outside of Rincon Hill (though like it or not, it’s still SoMa) is because the developers did not want to include affordable housing in the neighborhood. They elected to pay this stablization fund in lieu of building inclusionary affordable housing. So this is basically the cost of keeping the ‘94103’ type residents away from Rincon Hill. I guess sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  24. Posted by jamie

    I think you may be right about the $25 figure not being accurate. I believe the SoMa Community Stabilization Fund receives $14 per square foot from some residential developments in Rincon Hill as well as $6 million that will come directly from the $11 per square foot fee collected for the Rincon Hill Community Infrastructure Fund. If you assume around 2,200 new units with an average of around 950 square feet, that comes out to about $2.87 out of the $11 Rincon Hill Community Infrastructure Funds actually getting set-aside for the SoMa Fund. So, I’d say the fee is actually closer to $16.87 than it is to $25 … unless there’s yet some other ordinance out there that adds on another $7.13 that we haven’t spotted yet.
    At any rate, one of the goals of the SoMa Community Infrastructure Fund is to create “community cohesion” – I’m all for that. You’re the only one that keeps throwing out divisive statements about people. My criticisms are only about the policies behind the funding.

  25. Posted by natomahead

    where did you get that $6 million figure?
    I am not being divisive. I’ve read ur rincon hill blog and the posts on this page and it is you that continues to taunt 94105 vs 94103 as if they were different neighborhoods (to me it’s all SoMa). that is the very definition of “divisive”. You also feel that the dev fees coming from 94105 should not go to 94103 (divisive), per ur blog and prior statements. I’m just stating some facts.

  26. Posted by Jamie

    That’s a policy opinion, not an attack on folks that live in 94103. I sleep in zip code 94103 most weekends, by the way. The reason I brought up zip codes is because that is the way census data is gathered and, quite conveniently, the area I consider to be the Rincon Hill neighborhood is covered by the 94105 zip code. I actually consider SoMa to consist of about 6 different neighborhoods these days – South Beach, South Park/China Basin, West SoMa, East SoMa, Yerba Buena, and Rincon Hill. I guess we’ll agree to disagree on that point.
    It isn’t a matter of me thinking my neighborhood is better than yours – it is a matter of me believing they are geographically separate and very different in character due to their different roles in regards to residents over the past 100 years – you can’t gentrify a neighborhood that doesn’t have any residents to gentrify.
    The $6 million figure came from Josh Switzky with the Planning Department when I was asking about the Rincon Hill-specific $11 fee.

  27. Posted by natomahead

    I guess that depends on ur definition of gentrification (which is not an easy thing to define). In my opinion, gentrification is the displacement/disruption of an established neighborhood. While Rincon Hill in the past 50 years has not been a dense neighborhood, it did have “residents”. Most of them may have been homeless/SRO residents, with the type of services geared towards them, but they were residents nevertheless. The development in Rincon Hill has displaced those residents and services to other surrounding areas, like 6th, 7th, harrison, and further west. So 1) the RH dev has displaced residents/services in that area, & 2) disrupted the neighborhoods where they were displaced to.
    lastly, as I stated b4, RH developers opted NOT to include affordable housing in RH. Whether you like the city’s affordable housing laws or not (I do not), they are the law, so RH IS responsible for building said affordable housing. Since they are doing it outside of RH, the money is leaving RH. I also believe that building that housing in another neighborhood adds a significant impact in that other neighborhood that RH should pay for.
    Perhaps you should gather your neighbors to ask our politicians to build the affordable housing in RH so that the money/taxes/fees you pay stay in RH?

  28. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    It is completely normal for new developments to have to pay for public infrastructure, there is nothing unusual or corrupt about this. Google “Mello-Roos” if you don’t believe me. Most new developments have higher fees than this in California.

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