Housing-starved San Francisco fines developer $1.2M for building too many units

By Christian Britschgi | Reason

San Francisco, in the midst of a severe housing crunch, has fined a pair of developers for adding more housing units to an apartment complex than they were permitted to build. It might also require them to remove some of the existing illegal units.

On Friday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that an ownership group including Yin Kwan Tam and Cindy Zhou Lee has agreed to pay the city $1.2 million to settle numerous code violations at a collection of apartment buildings they constructed on San Bruno Avenue in the city’s Portola District.

Planning documents show that in 2013 the city granted permission for the construction of five buildings—containing 10 units of housing plus office space and ground-floor retail—on lots that were either vacant or featured a shuttered gas station.

The developers instead ended up building 29 total units without any of the offices or open space they had promised. In addition, the final project lacked some of the promised parking spots and had none of the fancy façade features depicted in the original plans. The new units also lack a second means of egress, which is required for fire safety purposes.

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