Community Groups Sue the City Over 5M Luxury Development in Soma

By : sfweekly – excerpt

It’s been an arduous, seven-year climb for 5M, the four-acre mixed-use development slated for Fifth and Mission streets in SoMa. Spearheaded by development company Forest City and property owner Hearst Corporation (which also owns the San Francisco Chronicle), 5M calls for the demolition of a handful of surface parking lots and buildings on Howard, Natoma, and Fifth streets, as well as the construction of three new high­-rises ranging from 200 to 450 feet tall.

Opponents charged that the three high-rises would throw a shadow over the recently renovated Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin. Then they said the project threatened the neighborhood’s working-class Filipino community by introducing more luxury-rate housing. Finally, they accused the city of breaking zoning code controls to accommodate the project’s height.

Nonetheless, during a contentious community hearing on Sept. 17, the Board of Supervisors certified the project’s Environmental Impact Report and opted to move forward with 5M. The Board did score a number of concessions, including:

  • 33 percent affordable housing (or 212 units) within five blocks of the project
  • $12 million to transportation and pedestrian safety improvements in the neighborhood
  • Three public open spaces, totaling 49,000 square feet
  • 12,000 square feet for arts and cultural events

Community groups weren’t appeased, however, and have now filed suit against the city to challenge the Board’s decision. The groups cited are South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), Save Our SoMa (SOS), and Friends of Boeddeker Park…

“We are left with no other choice but to file suit” Cabande said. “We cannot allow the city and the developer to rush through project approvals, dismiss impacts, cut backroom deals, ignore public comment, brush over long standing community plans, and contort the definition of affordable housing. We are standing up for SoMa, the Tenderloin and San Francisco.”… (more)

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