My remarks to the Planning Commission during public comment on June 28, 2012:
Let’s talk a little more about the Central Corridor Plan. The Planning Department would have you believe that this is all about accommodating the high tech industry. This incursion into the Western SoMa plan area has very little to do with high tech and everything to do with political pressure from the Chronicle, the Flower Mart and other large property owners in that area, the Academy of Art University being the largest of them all.
Creating an entire Plan Area predicated on such an ephemeral phenomenon is pollyannish to say the least, especially considering the impact this will have on the existing service and light industrial base.
My source for these concerns? Our very own Planning Department, that’s who. Remember the countless hours of exposition on the importance of PDR to the health of this city? The Planning Department assured us all that Western SoMa would accommodate all the PDR that the Eastern Neighborhoods could not handle.
You can’t keep pushing these businesses this way and that. More are moving into Western SoMa all the time and this Central Corridor Plan pulls the rug out from under them. PDR cannot compete with office uses any more than entertainment can compete with housing. Good planning is supposed to find ways to balance compatible and incompatible uses.
The Western SoMa Plan does that and I’d appreciate the opportunity soon to show you how.
But … if the Planning Department must play Santa Claus to some well-connected property owners, don’t sacrifice the rest of the community to provide cover for this blatantly political move. Go ahead and carve out the Chronicle and Flower Mart sites and create a special use district for them but leave the rest of South of Market alone. It was your very own planners who wrote:
“These locations for PDR business activity are critical to the City’s ability to offer entry level jobs with upward mobility to these current and future members of the City’s workforce.”
– Final Environmental Impact Report, Eastern Neighborhoods
Jim Meko, chair
SoMa Leadership Council