Written by Andrew Keatts
Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposal to eliminate height limits on new development near transit, a headline-grabbing idea he first announced at this year’s State of the City address.
In practice, his idea is not as straightforward – or, likely, as controversial—as what he proposed in a speech during which he declared himself a “YIMBY,” for yes in my backyard, generating a raft of national attention for his pro-development stance.
It also kickstarted a fierce debate over city development that has come to define the race to replace Faulconer. Attorney Cory Briggs was so opposed to the speech that he jumped into the mayor’s race, before deciding to run for city attorney instead.
Councilwoman Barbara Bry has since issued ominous warnings that “they” are coming for the city’s single-family homes and pledged to protect neighborhoods while deriding YIMBY groups as Wall Street tools. Her chief rival, Assemblyman Todd Gloria, sought and won a YIMBY group’s endorsement on the day he launched his campaign.
But Faulconer, it turns out, is not actually proposing a citywide elimination of height limits near transit stations.
In turning his applause line into a policy proposal, he’s tempered it enough that it might not be so controversial after all.
For instance, there would be no changes in single-family home neighborhoods. The policy would be limited to properties that already allow developers to build multi-family housing that are also within a half-mile of rail stations or bus stops where two lines with decent frequency operate.