San Francisco voters passed a big $310 million affordable housing bond measure Tuesday.
The bond proceeds will finance new construction as well as the acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing in a city where the median rent soared above $4,000 this year.
Under the measure, programs would prioritize vulnerable households, including working families, veterans, seniors, and disabled individuals. Prop A would also provide loan assistance for teachers and first-time homebuyers.
In an unofficial count with all precincts reporting, the initiative won 73.5% to 26.5%. Proposition A needed a two-thirds majority win.
The proposition will help San Francisco meet its goal of building 30,000 housing units by 2020.
Prop A allows an increase in the property tax to pay for the bonds, if needed. Landlords would be permitted to pass through up to 50% of any resulting property tax increase to tenants. However, because of the retirement of existing debt and the growth of the property tax base, city leaders who support the plan said they do not expect the property tax rate to increase.
Housing issues dominated the local ballot this year, with Prop A being just one of several housing-related measures before voters.
In one of the more contentious battles, voters rejected a measure that would have curbed short-term rentals by companies like Airbnb.
Prop F sought to limit short-term rentals to 75 days per year regardless of whether the rental is hosted or unhosted and increased penalties for violators.
The result was a significant victory for Airbnb, but it did come at a cost. The company poured more than $8 million into the campaign to defeat the measure, dramatically outspending the measure’s backers, who raised $482,000, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The company also reportedly contacted 138,000 city residents who had stayed in Airbnb rentals or hosted guests during the past year to urge them to vote against Prop F.
The proposal lost 55% to 45% in the unofficial results. Still, city leaders may seek to tighten regulations around vacation rentals.
Voters also shot down a measure that sought to suspend construction of market-rate housing in the city’s Mission District for at least 18 months. Proposition I, which lost 57.4% to 42.7%, also called for a neighborhood stabilization plan to be prepared by Jan. 31, 2017.
Supporters called the Mission “ground zero” of the city’s affordable housing crisis. They argued that a recent glut of luxury development is changing the character of the neighborhood and displacing longtime residents and businesses, including almost a third of its Latino population.
While the intentions may have been good, the method did not connect with voters.
And, one more issue: Voters supported Prop K, which allows surplus land to be used for affordable housing. The measure passed 73.3% to 26.7%.