SAN FRANCISCO - Proponents of a temporary moratorium on luxury housing in San Francisco may turn to voters in November after city supervisors rejected the idea this week.
Backers are expected to decide whether to advance a ballot proposal that would freeze construction of market-rate housing in San Francisco's Mission District for 18 months.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors declined to approve a shorter, 45-day, moratorium Tuesday after a raucous marathon session that ended just before midnight.
"The community's asked to gather now and to discuss how to move forward,'' said Erick Arguello, president of Calle 24, a merchant and neighborhood association. ``I'm sure it will be happening sometime soon.''
The Mission District has come to symbolize urban displacement in a city with some of the highest housing prices in the country. Rent for a one-bedroom flat in the trendier parts of San Francisco, including the Mission, is well over $3,000 and the cost to buy a small house or condo in the city can easily start at $1 million.
Supervisor David Campos, who represents the district, called for a moratorium in order to give the city time to consider purchasing available property and develop its own units.
The ballot version calls for a lengthier freeze. It also requires city officials to devise a plan to make half of new housing available to households that are middle-income or below.
Scores of supporters testified Tuesday in favor of a freeze. They said high-rise development was pushing out longtime residents, many of them Latino and working-class.
Opponents, who were outnumbered, testified that the moratorium would do nothing to make housing more affordable.
``It's just going to pour fuel on the fire and increase the pressure cooker we have in San Francisco,'' said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who was opposed, at the start of the hearing.
The plan failed, garnering seven of 11 votes. The emergency ordinance required nine votes to pass.
Proponents would need to submit nearly 10,000 valid signatures by July 6 to qualify for the Nov. 3 ballot.