Planning and Building Notices through September 26, 2015

The South of Market Leadership Council receives public notifications from the San Francisco Planning Department. While it may not be possible 52 weeks per year, there will be an attempt to share notifications that affect South of Market on the website for neighbors to check out if they care to do so.

Notice of Pre-Application Meeting

  • 360 Spear Street – Meeting on October 5, 2015 at 365 Main Street at 6pm; contact: or 415-848-9304; Convert approximately 49,992 square feet of existing Internet Service Exchange (ISE) space to general office space and make related office renovations.

Notification of Project Receiving Environmental Review

  • 1125 Mission Street – Proposed project would completely convert the existing building to office use only.
  • 230 7th Street – Proposed demolition of the existing industrial building and construction of two buildings totaling approximately 56,500 square feet in size with 44 residential units, 720 square feet of commercial space, and 29 off-street parking spaces.
  • 320-330 Clementine Street – Proposed project includes structural, life safety, and accessibility upgrades and general renovations to two existing 13-story apartment towers, each consisting of 138 residential units (total 276 units) and three service and maintenance structures.

Notice of Building Permit Application

  • 70 Oak Grove Street – The project proposes to construct a new passenger elevator at the north corner of an existing 2-story building.
  • 425 10th Street – The proposal is change the existing use to a Photography Studio (Art Activity) within the existing building envelope.

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Protect Life in SoMa’s Residential Enclave Alleys – Vision Zero and Natoma Alley

One of the best ways to protect life on the alleys is to limit the amount of traffic on them. The Western SoMa Citizens Planning Task Force memorialized this thinking in the Western SoMa Community Plan with the following two objectives relating to alleys:


Facilitate the movement of pedestrians and bicycles in the alleys


Limit the speed and volume of motor vehicles in alleys

Unfortunately, the San Francisco Planning Department appears to be ignoring our community’s agreed upon planning objectives for alleys by making it a policy to prefer vehicular traffic to enter new development projects from the alleys, even when the site abuts one of the major neighborhood serving streets.

This is what is happening at 9th and Howard Streets (Mario Andretti gas station). The Natoma alley neighbors have made it very clear that the driveway for approximately 90 cars should enter and exit onto Howard Street. The Natoma alley is a narrow (approximately 35’) one-way alley as it spans from 9th to 8th streets with the Canon Kip Community House for 104 formerly homeless, primarily disabled seniors in SRO units on the corner of 8th and Natoma (705 Natoma) and the Community House provides a 7-day per week senior community center for activities.

This segment of the Natoma alley is currently congested with both business and residential users. A driveway for the approximately 90 cars on Howard Street would let the traffic disburse in many directions, whereas the Natoma alley exit would create many more trips for drivers to go north or west.

The only downside is the potential conflict with a bicycle lane, but the traffic planners have planned a bicycle traffic light and stacking space to minimize the conflict.

It seems much more dangerous to funnel more traffic onto Natoma alley and diminish the pedestrian safety intended for the alleys of SoMa than to have cars enter and exist onto Howard Street. With primarily disabled seniors in very small SRO units at the end of this block of Natoma alley, it would seem Vision Zero policies would prioritize the safety of pedestrians even more than other streets that do not have 104 formerly homeless, primarily disabled seniors trying to get some breathing room outside of the building on the corner of Natoma alley and 8th Street.

Before Jim Meko died, he supported and would have trumpeted the entry and exit of vehicles to the new project at 9th and Howard Streets (currently Mario Andretti gas station) and opposed the entry and exit occurring on Natoma alley. That is the agreed upon objective in the Western SoMa Community Plan for alleys like Natoma.

We need to let Planning know that they need to minimize traffic on the alleys, no funnel it onto them. Please contact Planner Tim Johnston about Case Number 2014.0011E at e-mail address or by telephone at 415-575-9035 to let him know the project’s entry and exit for cars should be on Howard Street in order to comply with Western SoMa Community Plan Objectives 4.1 and 4.2.

PDF file containing the Alleys section of the Western SoMa Community Plan


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SoMa Development Tsunami

Change both good and bad is nothing new to SoMa. But now the neighborhood’s special character is threatened by an unprecedented wave of proposed development.

Nearly every block in the area bounded by Market, 2nd Street, Townsend, and the Central Freeway on Division Street, has at least one project seeking approval from the city.

Pending projects in the neighborhood as of August 2015

Pending projects in the neighborhood as of August 2015; doesn’t show projects that are already approved; Source: San Francisco Planning Department web site

These projects are not a done deal. They have to seek approval from the Planning Commission—and in some cases from the Board of Supervisors.

Other neighborhoods have stopped inappropriate development by persuading the city to modify projects or to reject them altogether. We can, too.

The South of Market Leadership Council has long served as an information clearing house and forum for discussion about neighborhood planning. Continuing that tradition, we’re providing the following list of significant projects and the dates of their upcoming hearings at the Planning Commission.

September 3, 2015:

  • 75 Howard, APPROVAL (Items 14 and 15 on the agenda)
    220’ tall high-rise on the waterfront, extreme luxury housing
  • 5M (Fifth and Mission) mega-project PRESENTATION (Item 16, 3:30 p.m.)
    For more info, contact the South of Market Community Action Network ( Share this information flyer with your neighbors.

September 17, 2015:

  • 5M mega-project APPROVAL
  • 1532 Harrison APPROVAL
    7 stories, 136 residential units (formerly 6 stories, 119 units of group housing)

September 24, 2015:

  • 525 Harrison (right next to the bridge) APPROVAL
    raise Rincon Hill heights and shrink required separation distance between towers

October 1, 2015:

  • 363 6th Street STAFF REPORT
    9 stories, 104 residential units, shadows Gene Friend Rec Park

October 15, 2015:

  • 363 6th Street APPROVAL

What You Can Do:

  • Contact District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim (
  • Share this information with your neighbors, your formal and informal neighborhood organizations, your local merchants, your schools, your places of worship, and anyone you know that shares your love for South of Market.
  • Subscribe to the SoMa Leadership Council e-mail list by sending an e-mail to with your first name and last name in the e-mail.
  • Get involved with the SoMa Leadership Council or any other SoMa neighborhood organization.
  • Tell the Planning Commission what you think about specific projects either in person during public comment at one of their Thursday afternoon meetings at City Hall (Room 400) or in writing. You can find Planning Commission meeting agendas here. To learn how to sign up to receive notices for public hearings regarding these proposed South of Market neighborhood development proposals and changes, please e-mail and ask for information on how to be added to the Planning Department notification mailing lists.


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From casket factories to convention centers: a photographic memory

Ted's Howard Street


Janet Delaney will be presenting photos from the current de Young exhibition, Janet Delaney: South of Market, at St. Patrick Catholic Church on Mission Street, on Thursday July 16. Preservation Planner Jonathan Lammers will provide an overview of SoMa’s oft-contested development history.

Janet Delaney built a darkroom in the third bedroom, and started photographing her neighborhood. South of Market was filled with industry: casket factories, blacksmiths, sign shops, auto mechanics. It was a working class neighborhood with families, a growing gay population, and artists. But that was about to change, and Delaney wanted to capture it on film.

Read more and listen to radio interview:


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High-rise towers threaten Rincon Park

rincon high-rises


Environmental groups and neighborhood advocates gathered recently at Rincon Park on San Francisco’s waterfront to announce a new campaign to protect the well-used waterfront park from being darkened by shadows from proposed new high-rise luxury towers.  Later this summer, developers are expected to ask city officials to approve two tall new luxury high-rise condo towers:  one rising to 240 feet at 75 Howard facing the Embarcadero and another rising to 400 feet at 160 Folsom, a block from the waterfront.  As proposed, the two towers would be far taller than the 8 Washington “wall on the waterfront” luxury condos that voters overwhelmingly rejected.  Continue reading

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Developer seeks to transform 10th and Harrison parking lot into “smart interim spaces”


Speaking of creative uses for shipping containers, Dennis Wong ( has announced a pre-app meeting for a three-level “mixed-use” development at 10th and Harrison Streets. This is the same vacant lot that was to be home to a recycling center last year.  Continue reading

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Soak, an urban bathhouse in five shipping containers, at Mission Bay


SF Curbed reports that the newest addition to Mission Bay will be Soak, an urban bathhouse in five shipping containers, which is officially moving ahead with the recent blessing of the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, the successor to the Redevelopment Agency that oversees the Mission Bay redevelopment area. The idea, says Soak founder Nell Waters, is to conjure the communal spirit of the urban bathhouses of yore, but with a 21st-century ethos of resource consciousness.  Read more 


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