Pro-housing Democrats won a victory Friday in San Francisco after state authorities declared the city had not met its housing permitting goals in 2023, triggering a law some city Democrats opposed that will expedite approval of new builds, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

San Francisco’s sluggish approval of new projects triggered SB 423, a California law that will allow many new housing builds to avoid undertaking extensive environmental reviews and allow development to proceed without approval from bureaucrats on the city’s planning commission.


California Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, both Democrats, are supportive of the streamlining of housing approvals. However, the all-Democrat San Francisco Board of Supervisors, which will lose its ability to scrutinize some developments, has been more hostile toward SB 423, which Newsom signed into law.

“At the end of the day, eliminating risk from the approval process, not having to run through the political gauntlet to get housing approved … will be a huge net positive for housing production in the city,” Housing Action Coalition Executive Director Corey Smith told the Chronicle.

Smith stressed that developers had previously been reluctant to invest in San Francisco due to the city’s byzantine permitting process for new housing.

California had required San Francisco to authorize 82,000 new housing units between 2023 and 2031, though the city only approved 3,039 units in the past 18 months, according to the Chronicle.

San Francisco’s historical reluctance to build new housing, combined with its population of highly paid tech workers, created a market where demand greatly outpaced supply and led to high housing prices, according to the Chronicle.

California’s high cost of living has been a major factor behind the exodus of residents leaving the Golden State, with 45% of Californians saying in a 2023 Public Policy Institute of California poll that high housing costs had them seriously considering moving somewhere else.

Newsom, a supporter of SB 423, attempted to address his state’s housing shortage by pledging in 2017 to build 3.5 million new homes by 2035. Between Newsom’s taking office in 2019 and the beginning of 2024, however, California has increased its net housing supply by only about 600,000 units.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, a Democrat who is running for mayor, opposes many of the new housing projects that SB 423 would fast-track, pressing the city attorney to sue California over the bill in January, the Chronicle reported. Peskin has clashed with Breed, the current mayor, over her desire to allow increased housing density in some parts of the city.

Roughly three-quarters of current housing projects in San Francisco are eligible for streamlined approvals, the Chronicle reported.

“There is a lot of PTSD in the development community about what it actually takes to build in San Francisco,” Smith said, according to the Chronicle. “It won’t take off all of a sudden but as the economy picks up and the rules become better known, it will be a game-changer.”

Peskin did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment, nor did the offices of California’s governor and San Francisco’s mayor.

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation