In Wake Of Oakland Fire Supervisors Support Unauthorized Art Spaces

By Rose Garrett : hoodline – excerpt

Yesterday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution calling for the protection of unauthorized living spaces and underground art/music venues in San Francisco, calling them “valuable and irreplaceable components of the City’s housing stock and artistic communities.”

The resolution is a response to the tragic Ghost Ship fire in Oakland, which claimed the lives of 36 people. The warehouse and un-permitted living space was hosting an electronic music show when the fire broke out on Dec. 2nd, and since then, there’s been news of post-fire evictions aimed at artists residing in similarly non-conforming spaces.

The resolution urges “various city departments to address safety issues in these unauthorized spaces, develop a legalization process that minimizes displacement, and identify resources to help property owners fund safety improvements and legalization.”

The resolution seeks to assuage fears among tenants and building owners after “media reports … inaccurately stated that the City and County of San Francisco was conducting a crackdown on unauthorized spaces and have generated needless alarm.”

“Both the tenants living in these spaces and the property owners of these spaces should be reassured that the City will work with them and provide resources to help preserve these spaces,” said District 11 Sup. John Avalos in a press release.

The release also notes that the City has convened an inter-department working group that will look into “grants and low-interest loans, amnesty programs, and grandfathering of existing spaces,” and give recommendations in the new year.

See the full resolution here.

This resolution is not surprising given that the citizens of San Francisco just passed a ballot initiative to use zoning laws to protect artists spaces and small businesses from displacement by wealthy corporations.

Gentrification is effecting cities all over the world. If zoning regulations work here, they may work in cities like Nashville, where sound studios are at risk of being priced out. Stay tuned and good luck protecting art and culture wherever you are.


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