(Photo by Jared Erondu on Unsplash)

San Francisco will become the first major U.S. city to remove minimum parking requirements for building developers after supervisors voted on the ordinance at their recent meeting.

The ordinance would amend the city’s planning code to eliminate off-street parking requirements citywide with the hopes of speeding up construction on housing projects and reducing the number of cars on city streets.

City officials have already removed the requirement from several zoning areas, but the ordinance would make the policy citywide.

“While removing the requirement, this legislation in no way removes the option of the developer building parking. We are not removing the maximum parking requirement nor prohibiting parking, we are just no longer requiring developers to build parking if they don’t want to or if they want to build less than what is required,” Supervisor Jane Kim said. Kim introduced the legislation.

Supervisor Norman Yee, however, argued that a citywide policy would not make sense for parts of the city that are not easily accessible by public transportation, and could increase the number of ride-hailing service cars like Uber and Lyft clogging city streets.

Supervisor Malia Cohen reiterated Yee’s sentiments and suggested that an amendment be made to carve out her district, District 10, from the ordinance because it’s not easily accessible by public transit.

During the first reading, supervisors voted six to four to pass the ordinance, with supervisors Cohen, Yee, Ahsha Safai and Catherine Stefani voting against it. Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer was not present at the meeting.

Both Mexico City and Hartford, Conn., have also recently done away with parking requirements for developers.

Also at the meeting, supervisors voted unanimously to establish an African American Arts and Cultural District in the city’s Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods.

“The neighborhood is home to a vibrant community,” Cohen said. “The purpose of the legislation is to honor and recognize the contribution of the African-American community; past residents as well as present residents, and of course, setting up a place, a cultural home for future San Franciscans.”

The new district joins other established cultural districts in the city, including the SOMA Pilipinas Filipino Cultural Heritage District, the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, and the Leather and LGBTQ Cultural District.

Also, Mayor London Breed introduced legislation to appropriate $181 million to fund homeless and affordable housing programs in the city. The money is the discretionary portion of a recently announced windfall of $415 million that the city is recognizing from newly available property tax revenue, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The legislation would direct $90.5 million for affordable housing programs to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and $90.5 million for homelessness programs to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and the Department of Public Health.

“The voters have been clear that homelessness and affordable housing are a top priority, and I am committed to investing in proven programs that help people off of the streets and into housing,” Breed said in a statement. “As we wait for additional homelessness funding to become available, we can move now to create new affordable housing, continue expanding our shelter capacity under my plan to open 1,000 new shelter beds, and increase our mental health and substance use treatment beds and programs. I look forward to working with the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks to determine how to best fund these programs.”

The remainder of the money would go toward budget reserves and dedicated baseline uses such as transportation, public schools, libraries and early child care and education, children and family programming, as well as tree maintenance.

Story originally published by Bay City News.