SF: Proposal to allow new in-law units in Castro passes

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN)

Legislation that will allow for the creation of new in-law units in San Francisco’s Castro District was unanimously approved at Tuesday afternoon’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

The legislation authored by Supervisor Scott Wiener was heard before the full board more than a week after passing through the board’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

Tuesday’s passage will allow home owners within set boundaries around the Castro to choose to add one or two in-law units, depending on the size of a building, in what Wiener hailed as a tool to increase the neighborhood’s housing supply.

He touted the proposal as adding new housing options that will offer some of the most affordable options on the rental market.

“Many residents in the Castro are concerned about the extreme cost of housing,” he said.

The legislation is also bringing in the possibility of new rent-controlled units in the city for the first time since 1979, according to Wiener’s office.

In-law units built in a rent-controlled building will fall under the same pricing controls, he said.

In-law units, which include a kitchen and bathroom, are usually on the ground floor and smaller residences. Wiener said the space is usually a converted garage, storage space or basement.

The measure requires the units be carved from spaces that aren’t already being use for residential uses.

Wiener said the feel of the neighborhood will not change because the legislation requires any new construction to occur within the envelope of a home.

Property owners cannot push out the size of their building or expand a unit into a backyard area under the legislation, and the new space cannot be more than 750 square feet.

According to Wiener, there was 70 percent support for the in-law proposal by hundreds of respondents through a Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association survey.

Wiener also made clear that the measure provides an option to build an in-law unit, but does not require property owners to do so.

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