The plan, likely tweaked by the Supervisors, removes someindustrial area in favor of thousands of new housing unitssurrounding the Mission Bay district, Showplace Square/PotreroHill, east SoMa and the central waterfront neighborhoods–the heartof the city's industrial past–while restricting residential andoffice from cannibalizing more of the area. It also providesincentives meant to spark additional commercial development (lightindustry, office, retail and restaurants), creates development feesto pay for the necessary infrastructure improvements, and requiresresidential developers to make some units affordable not only tolow-income families but also to middle-income families.

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During the boom years of the 1990s, dot-coms and residentialdevelopers converted a good portion of the area's buildings intohip office space and loft condominiums. The rezoning–the result ofyears of planning and review, hearings and negotiations–allows thecity to better manage the integration and ensure that none of thereal estate food groups gets left on the plate in the feedingfrenzy expected to accompany the next boom.

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As is, the proposed plan takes approximately two-million sf ofland zoned for light industry–which the city defines as production,distribution and repair uses–and rezones it for between 7,500 and10,000 new housing units over the next 10 years. It also prohibitsresidential and office from further eroding the industrial basethrough special permits, which is how it happened during the boomyears.

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Nearly 100 projects are reportedly on hold, awaiting the rezone,the vast majority of them being residential developments, accordingto published reports. If the new zoning is approved as is, therewill be a new community improvement fee. At a minimum, builderswould be required to pay $8 per sf for residential development and$6 per sf for non-residential construction.

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As for the affordable component, in addition to the City'sexisting Inclusionary Housing Ordinance, which requires thatmarket-rate developments larger than five units provide 15% to 20%of their units at below market rate, the proposed plan requireshigher percentages of affordable housing in formerly industrialareas and raises the top end of the affordability level to 120% ofthe city's median income (approximately $114,000 for a family offour); the low end is 30% of median (approximately $30,000). Thecity estimates that under the new zoning and associated rules that28% of the housing units in the area would be affordable. As forthe commercial incentives, among other things, in some areasdevelopers will be able to build beyond certain height limits ifthey pay additional fees or create more affordable housing.

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A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee is expectedreview the plan in the next several days. A vote by the full boardis expected sometime in October.

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