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Daly City council approves major apartment project, but affordability issue lingers

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, January 11, 2022

“A plan to build 1,200 apartments on the site of a former high school in Daly City won city council approval Monday night despite objections from residents who said the development would be too tall, too expensive for many families and would eliminate a sprawling vegetable garden.

“The Jefferson Union High School District owns the land and wants to partner with a developer to build the project — five rental apartment buildings set to rise over the next 10 to 15 years on its Serramonte Del Rey campus — to bring in much-needed revenue.

“[S]chool district representatives said the district has struggled to boost teacher pay, update facilities and expand student programs. It loses about a quarter of teachers every year, often to other districts that pay more and have more modern facilities.

“Though the council approved the preliminary plan, council members directed the district to make a ‘good faith effort’ to double the percentage of affordable units to 20 percent or more.

“ ‘I’m committed to building as much affordable housing as we can so long as it doesn’t fiscally impact our ability to do the project,’ said [Jefferson Unified High School District Trustee Kalimah Salahuddin].

“The projects come at a time when the state is finalizing each city and county’s housing production requirements for the next eight years…[U]nlike past RHNA cycles, when the majority of cities ignored their production goals, the state now has an enforcement unit tasked with making sure housing is approved as long as it meets local zoning and general plan goals.

“The school district project represents about 23 percent of Daly City allocation of 4,838 units.”

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