State Considers Ban on Build-Permit Appeals, Effecting Only San Francisco

San Francisco Skyline, image by Andrew Campbell NelsonSan Francisco Skyline, image by Andrew Campbell Nelson

California Assembly Member Matt Haney has introduced legislation to eliminate appeals for build permits. The State-wide law, AB 1114, aims to reduce insecurity for residential development after receiving entitlement in San Francisco, the only jurisdiction in California with such an appeal opportunity.

The build-permit appeals introduce yet-more costs to the approval process, increasing construction costs in the already expensive city. The city usually takes nearly two years to provide build permits to developers. During this time, the public will still be able to file appeals and voice opposition during public hearings and to city staff. The new legislation by Haney, the California State Assembly from the 17th District and former District Six supervisor in San Francisco, will cease the unique circumstance in San Francisco where individuals can appeal an entitled project.

2550 Irving Street seen from Lincoln and 27th, rendering by Pyatok Architects

2550 Irving Street seen from Lincoln and 27th, rendering by Pyatok Architects

2550 Irving Street view from Irving and 27th Avenue, rendering by PYATOK

2550 Irving Street view from Irving and 27th Avenue, rendering by PYATOK

According to a press release about AB 1114 by Reuben Law, “one potential hurdle for the legislation is the City’s Charter. Arguably, this proposed change requires an amendment of the City’s Charter, which can be done only by San Francisco voters. But Haney is seeking to bypass that requirement, relying on the state’s vested interest for all California jurisdictions to build more housing.” According to Reuben Law, AB 1114 will only protect projects that are at least two-thirds residential. It is expected to stop future projects from the current appeal against 2550 Irving Street in the Sunset District, where neighbors have filed an appeal for demolition permits related to the entitled project.

The following passage comes from the initial draft for AB 1114:

This bill would modify the definition of “postentitlement phase permits” to eliminate the nondiscretionary aspect of permits not otherwise excluded, thereby applying the definition to those permits without regard to whether they are nondiscretionary. The bill would require issuance of a postentitlement phase permit, defined as modified in this bill, for a housing development project to be a ministerial duty of the local agency with jurisdiction over the project.

The bill was first introduced in mid-Febraury. It is tentatively scheduled for a committee hearing this Saturday, March 18th. State Senator Scott Wiener has voiced support for the legislation, and the Housing Action Coalition assisted in drafting the law. The office of Mayor London Breed has yet to reply to a request for comment from YIMBY.

Subscribe to YIMBY’s daily e-mail

Follow YIMBYgram for real-time photo updates
Like YIMBY on Facebook
Follow YIMBY’s Twitter for the latest in YIMBYnews


7 Comments on "State Considers Ban on Build-Permit Appeals, Effecting Only San Francisco"

  1. Howard Rubinstein | March 17, 2023 at 6:17 am | Reply

    Unfortunately, the headline should read “affecting” not “effecting.”

  2. Long overdue

  3. This is a very good step moving forward.

  4. About bloody time we tried to clean up this balky archaic process.

  5. The process for new housing needs to be less complicated and time consuming. This will help that improve.

  6. JohnMichael O’Connor | March 18, 2023 at 12:57 pm | Reply

    In San Jose, Los Gatos, and Cupertino, getting a building permit is a 2-3 year process. Re your headline—that would be Affecting only SF., not Effecting

  7. Do this IMMEDIATELY. Permitting process should be thoughtful, but expedited. Insane that we’re the only city in the state with this inefficient and costly process.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.