Planning Commission delays PDR displacement, rejects hotel conversion

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excert

Luxury condo plan in Potrero would shadow church windows … as well as destroy 7,000 square feet of PDR space

JANUARY 8, 2016 – The San Francisco Planning Commission delayed for two months a Potrero Hill project that would have displaced a motorcycle repair shop, eliminated a blue-collar work space, and cast a shadow over the cupola windows of a world-renowned church.

The developer wants to put 17 luxury condos on the site on the 500 block of DeHaro St. The item was originally on the consent calendar, meaning it would have been lumped in with several other noncontroversial items and approved without discussion.

But neighbors and church members showed up to oppose the deal, which they said was moving forward without adequate community outreach. “Nobody know about this until Tim Redmond wrote about it on 48hills,” Alison Heath, a Potrero resident, told the commission.

“We are facing a death of 1,000 cuts. With every displaced business we lose a little more of San Francisco.”

Peter Papadopoulos, who works for the Cultural Action Network, said that these luxury condo projects are “displacement machines.” He noted that the mayor has set out a five-point plan to save so-called Production, Distribution, and Repair businesses, and one of those points calls for preserving PDR space.

“And here you have a neighborhood-serving business moving to Berkeley.”…

But what really seemed to resonate with the commissioners was an issue that the Planning Department never really addressed in its hasty recommendation that this be approved with little discussion: The project would block the sunlight that streams in through windows that have attracted visitors and architects from all over the world in the modest Church of St. Gregory… 

This was item was taken off the Consent Calendar.

The commission seemed very reluctant to mess with the church. “Light is a spiritual element in religious architecture,” Moore said. In essence, the panel, by a 6-1 vote, told the developer to go back and solve that problem.

But nobody said specifically that the problem of the loss of PDR had to be solved – although Commissioner Dennis Richards made a strong statement on the issue. The zoning in the area, which is called Urban Mixed Use, isn’t mixed-use at all any more, he said: “It’s just residential. … we have to reconcile the maximum development potential with the protection of PDR.”.

The commission also rejected, pretty clearly and resoundingly, a plan to turn a three-unit building on Nob Hill into a hotel. The landlord, Jennifer Solomon, has been operating her place as short-term rentals for more than a decade, and now wants permission to make that use permanent and legal…

The commission rejected the project unanimously… (more)






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