By JIM MEKO
Last time we checked in on our buddies over at the Planning Department, they were putting the finishing touches on their “Central SoMa Plan,” an ambitious new area plan that would devastate our neighborhood’s service and light industrial base and blow the lid off job protections built into the recently adopted Western SoMa Community Plan. As Planning Director John Rahaim reportedly said, “this is really about expanding downtown.” (see “The attack on SoMa – a new downtown?”)
In light of the fact that their own calculations show that the Central SoMa scheme would destroy about 1,800 good working class jobs in order to build more high tech offices, they have proposed a nifty solution right around the corner in “the Eastern Neighborhoods” that would incentivize the construction of brand new production, distribution and repair (PDR) space (you’re not gonna believe this) by allowing even more high tech office space to be built on land that was set aside as a “haven for PDR businesses.” This new construction would provide 33% new PDR space at a cost of allowing in 66% more high tech office space. Continue reading
by JIM MEKO
Since we put the Western SoMa Community Plan to bed (it’s just about a year since it passed!), you may find yourself all alone with nothing to do at night. Awww … are you yearning for another community meeting? After the thousand-plus ones that we sat through for the neighborhood planning effort, finally, here’s an opportunity to attend more meetings! Pre-application meetings! Continue reading
Last week Zelda Bronstein published the first part of what promises to be an extensive analysis of the Planning Department’s ambitions for our neighborhood in an essay titled, “The attack on SoMa: city wants to create a new downtown, wiping out culture and thousands of blue-collar jobs.” The piece in its entirety can be found on Tim Redmond’s new blog, 48hills: the secrets of san francisco.
As a former Planning Commissioner (and two-term chair of the Berkeley Planning Commission), Bronstein’s acknowledged interests include land use, manufacturing, public finance, feminism, theater, film, and the political economy of Berkeley and the Bay Area but are perhaps best captured by a favorite quote from Jane Jacobs (“The Death and Life of Great American Cities”) who wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”
While the displacement of residential tenants has become big news in this city, local blue-collar jobs and businesses are getting forced out of San Francisco, too – and if history is any precedent, the city is asking for a fight. Continue reading
by JIM MEKO
The “No Wall on the Waterfront” campaign turned in more than double the number of signatures needed to qualify a measure for the June 3 ballot that would require voter approval for any development on the San Francisco waterfront that exceeds the existing height limit. Continue reading
by JIM MEKO
In a press release issued this morning, organizers of the “No Wall on the Waterfront” office alerted supporters that the deadline for turning in petitions is fast approaching. Their citywide campaign to turn down the 8 Washington development was a roaring success. The same organizers hope to carry that enthusiasm forward to put more restrictions on the Planning Department’s blatant disregard of existing zoning controls. Continue reading
Plans are in the works for a 6-story group home at 1532 Harrison Street in Western SoMa. Three separate buildings connected by sky bridges will house up to 235 “suites” ranging from 227 to 409 square feet. The rooms, intended for single- or double-occupancy, would be equipped with bathrooms and kitchenettes. Each building would feature 9 common kitchens, dining and living rooms for residents of the adjacent rooms to access. Continue reading “Modern Communal Living Could be Headed for Western SoMa”
by JIM MEKO
An early morning fire this past Sunday did to the so-called purple building on 11th Street what years of controversy failed to do.
Once the target of anti-residential zeal, the entertainment lobby convinced Supervisor Jane Kim to change the zoning along 11th Street from WMUG (friendly to residential development) to WMUO (mixed-use office), which precludes housing. Entertainment advocates had pushed for a down-zoning to service and industrial uses but Kim and the Planning Commission chose instead to create a different sort of up-zoning. The residential project proposed for the site has since been changed to an office development.
The Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) is an effort, begun in 2005, to update the routes and levels of service for the MUNI system. The study is in its final stage and time to have any impact on these changes is quickly running out. The Planning Department released the Draft Environmental Impact Report earlier this month and the public comment period will end on August 26th, 2013. Continue reading