Billionaire tech investor Marc Andreessen believes in building more housing. Just not where he lives


Billionaire Silicon Valley kingmaker Marc Andreessen, who has railed against Bay Area NIMBYism, came under fire Friday when a reporter unearthed evidence he had fought the construction of housing in his own backyard.

In its draft plan to meet California’s housing requirement, Atherton — home to roughly 7,000 residents, many of them extremely wealthy — had proposed rezoning certain properties to allow for construction of multi-family housing.

But in public comments submitted on the plan, more than one hundred residents expressed opposition — including Andreesen, the Netscape co-founder and influential early investor in firms like Facebook and Lyft.

Andreessen’s comment, first reported by the Atlantic, was signed by him and his wife, philanthropist Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen. It expressed the couple’s “IMMENSE objection” to multi-family housing units.

“Please IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all multifamily overlay zoning projects from the Housing Element,” the couple wrote. “They will MASSIVELY decrease our home values, the quality of life of ourselves and our neighbors and IMMENSELY increase the noise pollution and traffic.”

Neither Marc Andreessen nor Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen responded immediately Friday to requests for comment.

The Atlantic said the comment came from an email address using the andreessen.org domain and that city official confirmed its authenticity. Another city official told The Chronicle there was no way to verify exactly who wrote the comment.

While the comment was in line with the sentiments typically expressed by residents around the Bay Area aiming to block new construction in their neighborhoods — as well as many of the other 300 comments from Atherton residents — it went against sentiments previously expressed by Andreessen.

In a 2020 essay, “It’s Time to Build,” the financier wrote that a lack of housing is the reason home prices are skyrocketing in the Bay Area, keeping people out.

“We can’t build nearly enough housing in our cities with surging economic potential — which results in crazily skyrocketing housing prices in places like San Francisco, making it nearly impossible for regular people to move in and take the jobs of the future,” he wrote.

He went on to say that the problem was a lack of desire.

“The problem is desire. We need to *want* these things. The problem is inertia. We need to want these things more than we want to prevent these things,” he wrote.

In Atherton, Andreessen fell on the side of those wanting to prevent. In response to the “overwhelming community comments,” the town’s governing council decided to remove the multi-family rezoning feature from its housing element draft, leaning instead on adding accessory dwelling units to existing properties to meet its requirement to develop 348 new housing units over the next eight years.

The new plan will go back to public comment.

Danielle Echeverria is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: danielle.echeverria@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @DanielleEchev





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