December 9, 2019

Board of Supervisors:

RE:  Please postpone a decision on PDA’s until there can be a robust public process in each district.

Please postpone any votes on Priority Development Areas  (PDA’s)  until the residents of San Francisco have the opportunity to learn about and give input on PDA’s during a robust public process.  Please hold meetings in your district, so that the public can not only learn about PDA’s but also ask questions directly to the Planning Department about PDA’s.  For example, why should San Francisco establish even more PDA’s?  What is the goal of PDA’s?  Where will PDA’s be located?  How will PDA’s affect each neighborhood?

According to MTC/ABAG planning documents, the PDA Planning Program provides financial support for planning processes that seek to intensify land uses.  The PDA Planning processes supports plans that have the greatest potential for resulting in land use zoning and policy changes leading to new development.

Although the Planning Department is characterizing these new designations as areas set aside only for planning purposes, the ultimate outcome from these designations has been very different.

At the November 21st Planning Commission hearing, many housing, tenant, and community leaders expressed concern that PDA’s would be used as a signal to developers that those areas are now “open for business.”  In fact, some speakers suggested that it is time to remove the PDA designation from some areas, not to add new ones.

Neighborhoods need to know what PDA’s will mean for them.  I have watched San Francisco neighborhoods rich in diversity and character be crushed under the forces of big money real estate development with the cooperation of City government.   I am very concerned that PDA’s are a first step in furthering this process and in finishing off the neighborhoods that are left.

The Planning Department has stated that PDA’s are community based.  If the community has not decided on their location, then PDA’s are not community based. The public has had only a short time to review this proposal.  In addition, it is being brought to a vote during the winter holidays, a time when people are more focused on family than on civic issues.  Why weren’t PDA’s brought to the neighborhoods before boundaries were drawn, and the neighborhoods asked how, why, where, and if they want intensive development?

Therefore, I am asking that there not be a vote on these new PDA’s until there can be community outreach and a robust discussion held in each district about PDA’s.

Planning can be done without signing on to the PDA process.  Let’s find out what is in this pill before we swallow it.


Mari Eliza, concerned citizen


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