A couple takes a photo of the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square on Jan. 10, 2022 in San Francisco. Photo by Chris Tuite, Sipa USA via Reuters

(CALMATTERS) – In the latest indication that California is serious about cracking down on local governments that it concludes aren’t building enough housing, the state Department of Housing and Community Development announced Tuesday that it’s launching a first-of-its-kind “housing policy and practice review” of San Francisco. The housing department said that according to San Francisco’s self-reported data, it has the longest timeline in the state for advancing housing projects to construction — and California’s housing accountability unit has received more complaints about San Francisco than any other local jurisdiction.

  • Gustavo Velasquez, the the department’s director, said in a statement“We are deeply concerned about processes and political decision-making in San Francisco that delay and impede the creation of housing and want to understand why this is the case.”
  • San Francisco Planning Director Rich Hillis told the San Francisco Chronicle“They are elevating this issue and wanting to shine more of a light on it, and we get it. We recognize that our process is not geared toward getting housing built quickly and with certainty.”
  • Hillis added that the state’s review could help ensure San Francisco’s final housing element — a document cities are required to produce every eight years outlining their plans for building the number of homes the state projects they’ll need — complies with state law. California’s housing department on Monday sent back San Francisco’s first draft for revisions, a fate that also befell the vast majority of Southern California cities earlier this year.

As if illustrating San Francisco’s challenges in building housing, the city is now facing a lawsuit over one of the two affordable housing measures slated for its November ballot. The group behind one measure — which is aligned with Mayor London Breed — sued the city late Monday night over a competing measure put forward by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, alleging that it didn’t go through a required environmental review before being placed on the ballot, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.