by JIM MEKO
The Eastern Neighborhoods Community Advisory Committee (ENCAC) holds the pursestrings for all the money collected from new developments in the various plan areas of the Eastern Neighborhoods.
The new development team that’s taken over the former Archstone project at 8th and Harrison Streets has asked to put nearly half of the more than $4 million in development impacts fees into Ringold Alley, an alley of particular interest and importance to the LGBTQ community. At best, the CAC is leaning towards devoting about $1 million to a paired down list of improvements. The members of the CAC want the majority of the cash to go to other neighborhoods that don’t have such lucrative projects to solve their own infrastructure problems.
The 350 8th Street project is a proposed eight building multi-use development with over 400 residential units and 22,000 square feet of retail, office and arts space.
The plans for Ringold, developed through years of discussions with the community and the developers, is adjacent to a public park at the corner of 8th Street and Ringold Alley and would include undergrounding the utility wires, turning the street itself into a “shared street,” which would slow down cars and concentrate on pedestrian safety, and public art projects that memorialize its rich past. The housing on the north side of Ringold would remain, complemented by similar scale housing on the south side. Town house style housing would be built to meet the needs of same sex couples.
The Ringold improvements were identified as one of the “priority projects” in the recently adopted Western SoMa Plan by the community-based task force which wrote the plan. They’re also meant to be the beginning of a much more detailed LGBTQ Social Heritage District plan that has been in the works for more than eight years. The CAC is supposed to show deference to priority projects of each neighborhood.
When the 400 additional units of housing are completed, Ringold will become a full-fledged “Residential Enclave District,” the primary residential zoning adopted by the Board of Supervisors last April.
The Eastern Neighborhoods CAC meeting that will consider the request today (October 21, 2013), at 6:00 pm at the Planning Department’s offices, 1650 Mission Street, Room 431. The public is welcome to attend and comment.