SF Bay Area Renters' Federation


SFBARF are people who believe SF's housing crisis can be mitigated by increasing the housing supply. We organize renters to testify in favor of new building projects at neighborhood meetings and hearings.

Meetup group
Google group
Ask a question: sonja.trauss@gmail.com


No longer a form

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Community meeting hosted by the SF Planning Department. The purpose of the meeting is to solicit feedback from the community about what should be built on the empty 17 acre site at 11 Phelan Avenue.
The area around the site is not very dense, so even though SF is in a housing crisis, and it seems obvious that they should build as many units as can possibly fit, the immediate neighbors can't be counted on to request high density.
When: 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Where: 755 Ocean Ave (Balboa Park BART)
What day: Wednesday January 21, 2015
Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, Download Flyer

How did you come up with 6000 units?

I multiplied 400 units per acre by 15 acres.
Click here for an example of a 22 story building on a half acre lot with about 200 units. It's ugly but it's just a drawing.
Another example of 400 units per acre, that you can visit, is Trinity Place at 1188 Mission Street.
The nice, round 6000 units estimate includes open space, parking, and some retail, but not a primary school or enough room for roads. The real max density is 5-thousand-something. That didn't look as good on the flyer.
Here is the planning department's page about this public site: http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=3989

Isn't this density illegal? The area is only zoned for 65' high buildings.

Yes, absolutely. But those are man made laws, not laws of nature. The city made them, the city can remake them. We're the humans here, we decide what to build. We decide if we want a housing crisis, or if we want to solve a housing crisis.

Is this density really necessary?

In the mid term, no, but in the long term, yes. SF isn't making more land, all it can do is build more height. Why build houses we are going to have to tear down later? Why plan for a displacement problem down the line? Nothing is on this lot now. Let's not waste the space.

I agree we need housing, but I don't want to live in an apartment. I don't want to live somewhere as dense as you are proposing.

That is fine. If you're reading this, you probably already live somewhere in SF. You can stay where you currently live. Supporting this proposal isn't the same as committing to move into it, just like supporting gay rights isn't the same as committing to be gay.

I agree we need housing and there is no reason to waste an opportunity to build high, but I don't live in Balboa Park. Isn't this their business? Shouldn't I let them decide what to do with their neighborhood?

If you've been affected by the housing crisis, you have standing on this issue. Housing decisions made in each neighborhood affect prices all over the Bay Area. Moreover, as an SF citizen, you are an owner of this public land. You absolutely have the right to give input into how this land is built up.

By that logic, I have standing in Menlo Park, San Jose, Mountain View ... decisions they have made there are affecting SF's housing market.

That's right. Join the mailing list (above and to the left). Starting in February you will have opportunities to get involved all over the peninsula.

I can't come, is there someone I can write a letter to?

Yes, but first help us publicize: Facebook Twitter Meetup Download Flyer.
You can write to
Jeremy Shaw
Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103
Direct: 415-575-9135
Fax: 415-558-6409


Oct 2, 2014

As it turns out, everybody reads The Examiner.

June 11, 2014

Oakland Planning Commission- WOSP
You have to click through to video. SFBARF speakers start at 1h 48 minutes, but there are a couple of great speeches starting at 1 hour 26 minutes. Highly recommended.

June 5, 2014

Planning Commission; 2051 - 3rd Street aka 650 Illinois St.

May 7, 2014

Board of Appeals; 2051 - 3rd Street aka 650 Illinois St. Supporting the ISSUANCE of Tree Removal Permit

May 1st, 2014

SF Planning Commission Video of full hearing

Micah and Carey talking about 650 Indiana St (item 13)

Sonja and Micah talking about 1201-1225 Tennesee St (item 14)