Clutching at straws in search of affordability

Some of these recent proposals have broke new ground, but not in any way that addresses the fundamentals of the issue. First up was a proposal to limit ADU sizes in some cases to 500 sq ft versus the current limit of 1100. Second up was i believe a couple of planning commission members who lament that current McMansion ordinances actually promote them and that their solution is to further reduce FAR to 0.3.

Of course 2 ppl splitting a 1000 sq ft ADU will be more affordable than one person in a 500 sq ft unit or is the idea that 2 ppl should share the dorm room sized ADU? Too many fixed costs even beyond the land to make a difference worthy of the sacrifice.

And anything greater than 1800 sq ft on a 6000 sq ft lot is called a McMansion? Kinda hypocritical to talk about “family friendly housing” and then mandate how much room each family member is allowed. This will fuel further flight to the burbs for those who don’t want to participate in this contemporary form of asceticism, e.g. my coworker who lives in a 6 person HH in GT…

A lot of emphasis on ADUs. So much so that one gets the impression they could be built on any SF lot and that they will eventually be built in significant numbers to move the needle. Not reality and very doubtful.

Code next should simplify and reduce the number of rules with unattended consequences, but some just can’t help themselves. Of course the devil is in the details and maybe I am overreacting, but the current climate around code next doesn’t seem to be producing real solutions. It also hurts that code next will have less influence (in whatever final form) on the housing market than a large chunk of the public desires.

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The 0.3 for single houses proposal from some planning commissioners was actually a “let’s call your bluff” deal. Those commissioners are in favor of more housing supply and were telling the NIMBYs that they’d take their stated desires about impervious cover, looming, drainage emergencies, etc seriously, but then they’d get LESS square footage UNLESS they added a second unit.

Of course those NIMBY concerns were disingenuous. It was a very smart, pointed, rejoined from the PC and the fact that Karen McGraw et al quickly rejected it shows a lot.

The presentation I saw was at the code next open house sponsored by Conor Kenny and one other commissioner. It didn’t seem like a bluff then but maybe I took them too literally. There was a lot of info presented so it wasn’t done on the fly.


Another thing I did not understand is how can a second ADU be added and meet impervious cover and set backs, unless that too was part of the bluff.