S.F. Planning Commission backs 5th and Mission development

By J.K. Dineen : sfgate – excerpt – (includes drawings)

After a raucous nine-hour hearing during which hundreds of members of the public weighed in and deputy sheriffs were called to remove protesters, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted to approve a massive mixed-use development at Fifth and Mission that will transform a 4-acre area with everything from towering luxury condos to low-income senior apartments, kid-friendly open space to tech-tailored office space.

The development, dubbed 5M, has divided the SoMa neighborhood, pitting progressive nonprofits against one another, groups that are typically arm-in-arm in political battle. It was supported by affordable housing developers who stand to receive funding for two 100 percent affordable buildings included in the plan, which covers 212 below-market-rate units.

Yet it was opposed by other affordable housing advocates who said it would fuel more gentrification. Even classmates from the same school were trotted out at the hearing to represent opposite positions, with some students from the nearby Bessie Carmichael School/Filipino Education Center posing as partisan supporters as others were presented as steadfast opponents.

The developer has also committed to give $18.5 million to the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. to help pay for a 100 percent affordable 103-unit family apartment complex at Taylor and Eddy streets.

The project is expected to go to the Board of Supervisors in late November or early December for final approvals. If the board passes the project, construction is expected to start in 2017 and would continue in phases over five to eight years.

Calling the vote a “significant milestone,” Forest City Senior Vice President Alexa Arena said the company is “excited to continue our work on the project with the community and the city.”…

Opponents asked that the city come up with an “antidisplacement and stabilization plan” before approving any project. Commissioner Dennis Richards voted to continue the hearing until December, but the motion failed 4-3. Planning Commissioner Rich Hillis argued that more time would not be useful. “In the 3½ years I’ve been on the commission this is the project that has been before us the most and we have heard the most about,” he said. “I am prepared to vote today.”.

The vote on the certification of the environmental impact report was 7-0. Votes on other aspects of the projects were 5-2, with Commissioners Cindy Wu and Katherin Moore voting against… (more)

We hear they may be appeals. Stay tuned.


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