Mayor London Breed Appoints Judson True to Serve as Director of Housing Delivery
In the position newly created by Mayor Breed, True will be responsible for moving projects through the City’s pipeline faster and streamlining the City’s permitting process
San Francisco, CA—Mayor London N. Breed today announced that Judson True will serve as the Director of Housing Delivery, a position created by Mayor Breed to ensure that new housing projects are not held up in San Francisco’s complicated approval and permitting system. True will be charged with managing a Housing Delivery Team to move housing projects forward faster and tasked with implementing necessary administrative changes to streamline the permitting process.
True has served since 2014 as Chief of Staff for Assemblymember David Chiu, who chairs the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee. He previously served as a Legislative Aide for then-Board of Supervisors President Chiu and as a communications and government affairs manager for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
“Judson True is a highly-respected public servant with extensive experience in local and state government,” said Mayor Breed. “We are in the middle of a housing crisis that is a result of not creating enough housing for decades. We need to streamline our overly-complicated approval and permitting system, and I know that Judson has both the expertise and the experience to ensure that we create the housing that San Franciscans so desperately need.”
In 2017 True played a key role in the passage of a historic package of state housing bills to fund affordable housing and streamline production. Other laws enacted under his leadership include this year’s bill to jumpstart housing creation on BART-owned parking lots and a 2016 bill to facilitate development of the new Mission Rock neighborhood south of AT&T Park. During his time in San Francisco City Hall, he worked closely on the entitlement of many of the megaprojects that he will now help deliver.
“We are not building enough homes for the people who so badly need them to live in this city,” said True. “San Francisco is poised to create thousands of homes, including a significant percentage of affordable housing. But for housing production to truly be a top priority, we must try new approaches and not accept the delays that keep homes unbuilt. I thank Mayor Breed for this opportunity to continue serving the city I love.”
“While I will miss Judson’s leadership at the state and the close relationship we’ve developed over almost a decade, his judgement and determination will serve him well in this crucial new role,” said Assemblymember Chiu. “Judson is deeply committed to taking on the housing affordability crisis, and San Francisco is fortunate that he will be back in City government.”
After a project is approved by the Planning Commission, the current permitting process to move the project forward can involve as many as eight different departments, which each have unique schedules and processes. As a result, affordable housing and market-rate housing proposals are often delayed in the implementation phase without clear guidance on how to proceed or how to resolve conflicting requirements from departments. These delays can jeopardize the financing of new projects, make that financing more expensive, and result in them being abandoned altogether.
In addition to working to move individual projects through the process, True will move to streamline the permitting process, including using common schedules to track large projects and a master schedule to provide a holistic view of development in the City. Furthermore, he will be tasked with implementing Electronic Plan Review to digitize applications so multiple departments can review them simultaneously.
Mayor Breed has set a goal of creating at least 5,000 units of housing each year. In order to accomplish this, she is aiming to cut the permitting time after Planning Commission approval in half for large and mid-sized projects.
Prior to his career in public service, True received a Master of Journalism from UC Berkeley and graduated with honors from the University of Virginia, where he studied government and foreign affairs. He occasionally conducts live on-stage conversations for City Arts & Lectures and the Jewish Community Center. He lives in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.
True will begin his new role in January 2019.