Much ink has been spilled in San Francisco about a proposed development at 2700 Sloat Blvd. that would create a 50-story condo in the Outer Sunset, a neighborhood with no buildings over six stories tall. The development likely received its death blow when the Board of Appeals voted down the appeal of the Planning Commission’s rejection of the project.


But even if the Sunset tower never becomes more than an artist’s rendering that proliferated across media outlets, it has already achieved something important — moved our “Housing Overton Window” closer to where it needs to be to alleviate our housing crisis.

In political science, the “Overton window” is the term for the spectrum of acceptable political beliefs in a given system. For decades, it has been perfectly acceptable for neighborhoods like the Outer Sunset to oppose nearly all new multiunit developments. This has created a catastrophic housing shortage to the tune of 3.5 million units statewide — manifesting in astronomical rents and home prices in California and fully one-half of the entire country’s unsheltered homeless population.

Joe DiMento is a resident of Glen Park and a member of the leadership at SF YIMBY

Editor’s note: The “3.5 million units” was originally quoted by Gov. Gavin Newsom. He later admitted the figure was “aspirational”. That value was shown to be grossly elevated by the Embarcadero Institute and the State Auditor.

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