395 housing units, one of biggest projects in Potrero Hill, wins final approval

By : bizjournals – excerpt

A 395-unit housing project, one of the biggest ever proposed in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, won final approval at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday in a contentious three-hour hearing. Opposition to the project underscored continued backlash against development in the area, which has seen a building boom with over 3,000 units approved or in the pipeline following the 2009 Eastern Neighborhoods Plan.

The Board of Supervisors voted 9-1 to uphold the environmental review of the project, comprised of two buildings at 901 16th St. and 1200 17th St., from developers Walden Development and the Prado Group. The Board rejected an environmental appeal from neighbors of the project who opposed its size and also alleged that the city didn’t properly study the project’s environmental impacts on the community. The decision affirmed a previous Planning Commission approval of the project.

Opponents of the project said it would exacerbate overcrowded streets with new residents’ cars, demolish 109,000 square feet of existing existing light industrial space that could potentially house artists and damage views and open space.

“The environmental review for this project is inadequate and fails to accurate analyze cumulative impacts,” said Alison Heath, a local resident and member of community group Grow Potrero Responsibly, who appealed the project, at the hearing.

Heath noted that as of February, 3,315 units have been approved or in the pipeline in the Potrero Hill and Showplace Square areas, which is more than the 2009 Eastern Neighborhoods Plan anticipated. But city planners have previously said that the level of growth matches what the city expected. She called for the city to reconsider the plan and provide more resources for infrastructure, particularly transit expansion. Other nearby projects include Related California’s 299-unit 1601 Mariposa St., which is approved, and Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR)’s 1010 16th St., which is completed, as well as Equity’s One Henry Adams and 801 Brannan in the neighboring Design District… (more)

But Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the lone vote rejecting the project’s environmental review, criticized the city’s Planning Department for not fully studying the project’s impact on the area and said the department had to do better in assessing future projects.

The meeting was also marked by an unusual moment between the developer and Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents Portrero Hill and had worked on the project’s review for years. Cohen was ultimately recused from the vote following an exchange with developer Josh Smith of Walden Development, where she called for more concessions to fund the nearby Jackson Park… (more)

Tape of the meeting is highly enlightening and slightly disturbing. http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=10&clip_id=25889

http://sanfrancisco.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=10&clip_id=25889
Planning staff explains some things about the PDR reduction plans around (4:08:39)

Statement on the basis for rezoning PDR to UMU: is this what Peter is referring to?

“Let’s take it back to the Eastern Neighborhood Plan rezoning. Adopted in 2008, after 10 years of community conversation. The the basis of the plan was to protect industrial space, PDR. The zoning at the time was from the 1950’s. It was mushy. It allowed office as a right. It allowed housing as a right. It allowed (4:08:56 ???) housing as conditional use. It allowed retail as a right. And there was a ton of land use conflicts going on as land uses were moving next to each other and causing conflict.

We recognized the need to protect PDR jobs, blue collar jobs,. We recognized the need for housing and community benefits. And housing in concentrated areas that you could provide the transit and the parks and the child care in consolidated ways rather than disparately over a large area.

And so the Eastern Neighborhoods plan was that compromise. Half of the land that was zoned industrially became zoned PDR. Much more restrictive. No office was allowed. No retail was allowed. No housing was allowed. And the other half was approved as urban mixed use which isa neighborhood that allowed PDR, allowed some office, allowed retail, and allowed housing as of right for the first time, and also generated from the housing use a higher percentage of affordable housing than required elsewhere in the city, and also generated code benefits throughout the Eastern Neighborhoods benefit fee that was brand new of which we generate over 50 million dollars to date revenue that would not have been generated without the plan.”

RELATED: Many stories on this one, from Pokeman to serious.

Slip of the tongue: The art of squeezing developers for community benefits is nothing new in politics, especially when today’s hot real estate market gives elected officials leverage to extract cash for everything from affordable housing to parks…

395 housing units, one of biggest projects in Potrero Hill, wins final approval A 395-unit housing project, one of the biggest ever proposed in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, won final approval at the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday in a contentious three-hour hearing. Opposition to the project underscored continued backlash against development in the area, which has seen a building boom with over 3,000 units approved or in the pipeline following the 2009 Eastern Neighborhoods Plan
Heath noted that as of February, 3,315 units have been approved or in the pipeline in the Potrero Hill and Showplace Square areas, which is more than the 2009 Eastern Neighborhoods Plan anticipated. But city planners have previously said that the level of growth matches what the city expected. She called for the city to reconsider the plan and provide more resources for infrastructure, particularly transit expansion. Other nearby projects include Related California’s 299-unit 1601 Mariposa St., which is approved, and Equity Residential (NYSE: EQR)’s 1010 16th St., which is completed, as well as Equity’s One Henry Adams and 801 Brannan in the neighboring Design District…

Pay-to-play comment costs supervisor vote on Potrero Hill development 

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