Mayor Breed to create new position to expedite housing project approval

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on Wednesday she's created a new position, the director of housing delivery, charged with helping the city produce more housing in a timely manner.

The position's creation comes as Breed has set a goal of cutting the permitting process time after Planning Commission approval in half for large and mid-size housing projects.

"We are in desperate need of new housing, but our current permitting process is too slow as projects are bounced back and fourth between city departments instead of moving forward," Breed said in a 

"Once the Planning Commission approves these projects, the city must move more quickly to get these housing units permitted so we can create more homes for people. My Director of Housing Delivery's sole job will be to work with our city departments to streamline the permitting process and work 
with departments to get housing built quickly," she said.

The new director of housing delivery will lead a Housing Delivery Team, which will be made up of several housing coordinators.

In addition to helping speed up the process of individual housing projects, the director of housing delivery will also take steps to streamline the entitlement process, as well as implement a plan to digitize project applications so that several different departments can view them simultaneously.

The director will also establish a system to track whether the city's housing goals are met, along with ensuring adequate staff is retained so that applications don't become backlogged.

Under the current system, housing projects approved by the city's Planning Commission go through a permitting process, which can involve as many as eight different city departments, each with unique schedules and processes, according to Breed's office.

The long permitting process often results in delays in affordable and market-rate housing proposals, or the projects' abandonment altogether.

The mayor's announcement comes just days after she along with State Sen. Scott Wiener and Assemblymember David Chiu came out against San Francisco's Proposition C, the Our City, Our Home measure, an ambitious progressive gross receipts tax for homeless services

With 50 percent of the funding from the proposition going toward housing, another 25 percent goes towards mental health services and 10 percent towards cleaning streets and immediate needs like reducing the shelter waitlist. 

Within days of the mayor's announcement Prop. C received major backing from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff who endorsed the measure, adding, "as SF's largest employer, we realize we are part of the solution." 

While Breed sided with Republicans who have endorsed the 'no' vote, some celebrities, including Chris Rock and Jewel have pledged their support aligning themselves with Benioff, Coalition on Homelessness and House Democratic Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi. 

KTVU contributed to this report