Affordable Housing Bonus Program Takes Shape in San Francisco

by Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass


The State Density Bonus law has been in effect for almost 40 years, but it has required a prolonged housing crisis to push San Francisco to adopt a local implementing ordinance.  Last year the Board of Supervisors adopted the 100 Percent Affordable Housing Program for affordable housing projects, but was unable to agree on a program for market-rate projects.  Supervisor Katy Tang has now introduced legislation that would consolidate existing and add new density bonus programs to local law.

The Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) renames the existing 100 Percent Affordable Housing Program and adds three new components: 1) the HOME-SF Program; 2) the Analyzed State Density Bonus Program (ADSBP), and 3) the Individually Requested Bonus Program (IRBP).

HOME-SF Program

The HOME-SF Program seeks to increase affordable housing production, especially housing affordable to middle income households.  It provides incentives to sponsors of housing projects that set aside at least 30% of on-site units as affordable, including the minimum percentage and income range required under the inclusionary ordinance, and reaching the 30% threshold by providing units affordable to middle income households (defined here for ownership as an average of 120% of Area Median Income (AMI), equally distributed at 90%, 120% and 140% of AMI, and for rental as an average of 80%, equally distributed at 55%, 80% and 110% of AMI).  The legislation limits the zoning districts to which the HOME-SF Program applies, and among other things, excludes the RH-1 and RH-2 Zoning Districts.  It is not available where a project would demolish, remove or convert residential units, or is seeking a density bonus under one of the three other programs.

HOME-SF Eligibility

Eligible projects must establish that the project will not result in certain specific environmental impacts, will provide a unit mix that includes a higher percentage of larger units designed to accommodate families, and will include certain ground floor active uses. A qualifying project would be eligible for certain incentives, including up to 20 additional feet of height that may be used for up to two additional stories, and an additional height of up to 5 feet at the ground floor in certain cases.  Projects under this program would require conditional use approval, with some specified limits on the Planning Commission’s ability to modify the project.

Analyzed State Density Bonus Program (ADSBP)

The ADSBP is based on the State Density Bonus Program, and offers a specific menu of incentives, concessions and waivers analyzed by the Planning Department and its consultants. Like the HOME-SF Program, the legislation limits the zoning districts to which the ADSBP applies. Among other things, it excludes the RH-1 and RH-2 Zoning Districts, and is not available where a project would demolish, remove or convert residential units, or is seeking a density bonus under one of the three other programs. The project sponsor must establish that the project will not result in certain specific environmental impacts, and that it meets other criteria.

ADSBP Eligibility

A qualifying ADSBP project that provides 12% or more of its units as on-site affordable units would be eligible for a density bonus of up to 35%, and various other concessions and incentives. In some cases, a height increase of up to two stories would also be permitted. Projects with 30% or more affordable units would also be eligible for priority processing.

Individually Requested Bonus Program (IRBP)

Finally, the IRBP is available to projects that generally comply with State Density Bonus law, but are not consistent with the pre-vetted menu of concessions, incentives and waivers offered in the ADSBP, and therefore require individualized analysis. The criteria are similar to the ADSBP, except that it applies to a broader range of zoning districts (generally only RH-1 and RH-2 are excluded, except where the Code would allow 5 or more units on sites within those districts).

IRBP Eligibility

Qualifying projects are eligible for density bonuses up to 35%, as well as other concessions and incentives proposed by the City or the Developer that are appropriate for the project and will result in identifiable, actual cost reductions. In some cases, waivers from development standards may also be granted.

Amendments to the legislation were adopted at the March 13 Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing, and the legislation has been continued to allow time for additional public review.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass

Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.