San Francisco, CA

Wednesday in SF: City plans to end single-family zoning

Sri Ravipati

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By Sri Ravipati

Good afternoon San Francisco. Here are the top local headlines for June 29.

San Francisco moves forward with plan to end single-family zoning

Housing development advocates scored a major win on Tuesday: San Francisco supervisors voted 6-4 to abandon single-family zoning under a new ordinance, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Instead, the city will finally allow fourplexes and six-unit homes in every neighborhood. Supervisor Rafael Mandelman — who has been trying to pass the new ordinance for over a year — says the move will help to alleviate the city’s notorious housing crunch by encouraging more density while preserving local control over new development. About 40% of San Francisco’s land area is zoned for only single-family homes.

The dissenting supervisors opposed the legislation because it bypasses the permit approval process required by the new state law SB9, which was passed to tackle the state's housing crisis by promoting the construction of more multi-unit housing.

“I share the frustration of those who feel that a measure that was already modest and incremental to begin with ended up even more so after working its way through the legislative process, but I believe today’s vote is nonetheless a move in the right direction for San Francisco,” Mandelman said in a statement after the vote, per the Chronicle. “Still, the reality is that this board needs to do better and be bolder if we are to have any hope of achieving the significant increase in housing production required by state law and demanded by the moment.”

Director of the San Francisco Planning Department Richard Hillis called the act of ending single-family zoning “a pretty big step” while acknowledging that the changes may not be helpful enough.

Parents push back against SFUSD's removal of principal who used racial epithet

On Tuesday, a group of parents with the San Francisco Unified School District voiced their concerns over the San Francisco school board's removal of a long-time elementary school principal who said the "N-word" several times, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Principal Carol Fong used the racial epithet while rebuking the use of the slur by a fifth-grade student allegedly involved in a fight with other students. Additionally, she used the word while recounting the incident to other students and staff. Fong was removed from her role in January during the district's subsequent investigation into the incident, according to the Chronicle.

“In my recounting of the incident out in the yard, I made the mistake of recounting the n-word in its entirety. Although the intention was to teach my students (knowing 40% of them are from non-English speaking families) that saying the n-word was inappropriate, in hindsight, I should not have used the full word,” Fong write in an apology letter she issued May 24.

In recent weeks, more than 27,000 people signed a petition defending Fong. Meanwhile, many within the African American community have called for zero tolerance of district staff who use the word.

Forecast for San Francisco: Anchovies?

Fish are falling from the sky across San Francisco as the result of a boom in coastal anchovy populations, SFGATE reports.

Larry Collins, the president of the San Francisco Community Fishing Association, says he has heard reports of these tiny fish falling from Half Moon Bay to Point Reyes. He attributes the boom to the water this year being the coldest local fishermen have seen in a long time.

“I heard stories just last week from guys who said that the water out there was just covered with thousands of birds, and the birds were just sitting on the water with anchovies in their mouths because they can’t eat anymore,” Collins told SFGATE.

Interim Deputy Director at the Golden Gate Audubon Society Whitney Grover says we are close to the shore where these seabirds are fishing, so "then if they fly back over the land on the way to wherever they’re going, sometimes they drop fish.” 

More SF news:

  • Here's which San Francisco Bay Area tech companies ordered layoffs, hiring freezes [KRON4]

Thanks for reading today's S.F. news roundup! Did any of these stories hit home for you? Let me know in the comments.

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