Following two informational hearings before the Planning Commission, the Western SoMa Community Plan moves relatively unscathed towards its December 6 adoption hearing. Following that Planning Commission action, the Plan will still require approval by the Board of Supervisors and the signature of the Mayor. If all goes well, the Plan could go into effect early next year.
Over the last seven years, the members of the Western SoMa Citizens Planning Task Force have devoted thousands of hours of their own personal time to creating a new Community Plan, one that will preserve and enhance what is already here while making sensible land use decisions to accommodate growth in a way that doesn’t ruin what we already have.
Two areas in the Plan have sparked controversy. The Task Force attempted to create growth management tools, first through an annual housing cap, which failed to gather sufficient votes to be included in the Plan, and then later through a less intrusive method of metering new market rate housing known as the Community Stabilization Policy. Any attempt to control the impacts of development on Western SoMa continues to draw fire from Tim Colin and his Housing Action Coalition.
Entertainment industry advocates also continue to argue that new housing along the 11th Street corridor is incompatible with nightclubs and they appear to have won Supervisor Jane Kim’s support. She has indicated that she favors down-zoning 11th Street from Folsom to Harrison to prohibit any more housing and the Planning Commissioners appear to favor an option that would apply mixed-use office controls to the one block area.
Otherwise, public comment on the Plan itself has been almost non-existent. Recent area plans, such as Market/Octavia and the Eastern Neighborhoods, were bogged down for months in the face of seemingly endless and acrimonious hearings.
Jim Meko, chair
SoMa Leadership Council