S.F. parks commission squashes condos that would shadow SoMa park – upholds Prop K

By J.K. Dineen  : sfgate – excerpt

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission has rejected a condominium project that would cast a shadow on a SoMa park — the first time ever the body has voted down a proposal based on the 1984 Proposition K Sunlight Ordinance.

The commission voted 5-0 to turn down 190 Russ St., a proposed six-story, 10-unit development on the corner of Folsom Street. The vote followed two hours of testimony from residents who said the building’s shadow would have an adverse impact on Victoria Manalo Draves Park, South of Market’s only multipurpose public park.

While the building would increase shadow by only 0.07 percent a year, commissioners said the location of the shadow — the basketball court and a grassy knoll — would blot out sunlight for 42 minutes on summer evenings when the park is at its busiest.

“The community has put an exclamation point on the value of that sunlight,” said Commissioner Allan Low. “This is not just significant adverse impact on the park, it would be a significant adverse impact on the community that uses the park.”

While 190 Russ St. is a small project by SoMa standards, the vote is significant because it is the first in a series of proposals near Draves Park. Nearby projects that will come before the commission include a 92-unit project at 301 Sixth St., a 34-unit development at 345 Sixth St., and a 116-unit project at 377 Sixth St…

Prop. K, passed by voters in 1984, protects the city’s open spaces from shadows cast by new construction of buildings higher than 40 feet.

District Six Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the area, pointed out that SoMa has the fewest and smallest parks in the city and the fastest-growing population. Population in the area has grown 27 percent over the past decade…

Attorney Sue Hester, who helped push Prop. K, said the ordinance was sparked by proposals that would have cast shadows on Portsmouth Square in Chinatown and Union Square. She said Prop. K is regularly disregarded and hoped that 190 Russ St. would begin a new chapter.

“I’m ecstatic,” she said… (more)

A first time for everything. Why did we come to San Francisco’s Eastern Neighborhoods in the first place. We came for the sun and the bay. building tall buildings and planting tall trees defeats that purpose. Tall buildings that block the sun are good for PG&E, not solar independence.


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