Skip to main content

Bill to Stop Frivolous Appeals Used to Delay New Housing Projects Heads to the Governor's Desk

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

Sacramento –  Assemblymember Matt Haney’s (D-San Francisco) AB 1114, which will limit the city of San Francisco’s ability to deny permitting to new developments that have already gone through the approval process, has passed off the Senate Floor and is headed to the Governor’s Desk. The bill will help San Francisco build more housing by protecting building permits from frivolous appeals after they have already been approved by the Board of Supervisors or Planning Commission.

Permits, which are issued by the Department of Building Inspections (DBI), are not meant to be a referendum on whether or not a project should be built. That is decided through an often years-long approvals and appeals process that is heard by both the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

“We’re literally the only city in the state that allows just anyone to stand up, object, and stop a project even after it has received all its approvals,” said Haney. “To allow that in a city that has such a desperate need for housing is just insane.”

A DBI permit is only meant to determine the safety and building code compliance of a construction plan. Rather than relying on the DBI determination like every other city in California, San Francisco’s charter allows any individual to delay permitting approval by forcing the project's sponsor to appear before an appeal board to argue the safety of the construction plan.

Unfortunately, this appeals process is often used by opponents of a project that have failed to stop a development during the appropriate process. These opponents will attempt to use DBI permitting appeals to delay the project for years hoping the project will run out of money.

A recent 90 unit affordable housing project on 2550 Irving Street was the victim of these frivolous appeals, causing the project to be delayed by two and a half years and adding an additional $1 million cost to the project.

“AB 1114 will help accelerate the housing production process in San Francisco by eliminating unnecessary and time-consuming permit appeals. As San Francisco grapples with a severe housing shortage, we need to use every tool possible to make it faster and easier to build housing in the city,” said Corey Smith, Executive Director of the Housing Action Coalition and the bill’s sponsor. “We thank Assemblymember Matt Haney for his pro-housing leadership and steadfast efforts to help San Francisco progress toward its housing goals."

“Thank you to the California Legislature and Assemblymember Haney for passing AB 1114,” said Ahmad Thomas of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “This critical policy will drastically cut down on the time it takes to build new housing in San Francisco and represents an important step forward towards improving regional competitiveness and quality of life for the broader Bay Area.”

AB 1114 will not change the entitlement process or force the city to approve any projects. It has also received broad bi-partisan support in the Legislature.