Mayor Ed Lee this week proposed a density bonus policy that would help the city build approximately 16,000 new units of housing, including 5,000 affordable units along select transit corridors. (via Planetizen)

Neighborhoods across the west side of San Francisco could see thousands of new housing units under a measure Mayor Ed Lee is proposing that would allow builders to exceed current height restrictions in exchange for including more affordable units.

The affordable housing bonus program, which will be introduced at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, would allow an extra two stories of height on projects that include 30 percent affordable units and an extra three stories on 100 percent affordable developments.

Unlike state and federal affordable housing programs, the measure is primarily directed at encouraging builders to provide units for middle-income families rather than low-income. It calls for 18 percent of the units to be affordable to families making between 120 and 140 percent of area median income, which is $122,000 to $142,000 for a family of four. The remaining 12 percent would cater to low- to moderate-income people.

Whereas San Francisco’s recent developments have transformed neighborhoods that have been up-zoned — places like SoMa, Rincon Hill, Mission Bay, Upper Market and Dogpatch — the density bonus would apply to transit corridors that have not been rezoned. These include main thoroughfares such as Noriega Street, Taraval Street, Geary Boulevard, Irving Street, Ocean Avenue, Balboa Street and Fulton Street. It also could include areas such as outer Mission Street in the Excelsior and San Bruno Avenue in the Portola district. 1

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