‘Hub’ plan at Market and Van Ness faces key vote

By : sfexaminer – examiner

Project would make room for more than 15,000 more residents in the transit-rich area

Planning officials on Thursday will weigh key approvals to upzone the area of Market and Van Ness, a plan which could make room for more than 15,000 more residents in the transit-rich area.

The San Francisco Planning Commission will take a vote on certifying an Environmental Impact Report for an 84-acre area development plan touching South of Market, Western Addition, Civic Center, and Mission neighborhoods. The zoning changes ,through what’s known as the Hub Plan, would increase height limits for 18 sites, boosting the number of units by 8,100 new residential units…

“It’s a big deal being decided in the middle of a pandemic,” Henderson said. “We as a city need to think about how we can house teachers and essential workers. We should be planning in that political paradigm, a post-pandemic reality.”… (more)

City Attorney Outlines Impacts on Santa Barbara of State Housing Legislation

By Giana Magnoli : noozhawk – excerpt

With laws ‘basically designed to strip local control,’ city planners are working to create objective design standards for development projects.

Santa Barbara city planners will spend the next year creating objective design standards for development projects in response to the package of state housing legislation that then-Gov. Jerry Brown approved for California in 2017.

Assistant City Attorney Tava Ostrenger presented a breakdown of the legislation’s local impact to the Planning Commission on Thursday and said it was “basically designed to strip local control.”

The intent of the legislation is to boost housing development and affordability, streamline development, and increase accountability and enforcement of cities’ and counties’ housing goals… (more)

Making house-razing developer squirm: It feels so good

There are moments when the symbolic aspect of architecture, a structure’s power to embody larger aspirations or fears, becomes impossible to ignore.

We are seeing one such moment in the reaction to the demolition and possible resurrection of the Largent House, architect Richard Neutra’s once-modest and much-altered house on the slopes of Twin Peaks.

It was built in 1936 as a four-room home for a teacher and artist. It was razed in the fall of 2017 by construction workers for the owner, a developer who lives in Florida. San Francisco’s City Planning Commission now insists that it be rebuilt to look as it did on day one… (more)

SF halts Mission housing development over ‘bulky’ design

By Michael Barba : sfexaminer – excerpt

The “bulky” design of a mostly market-rate housing development slated to span several lots of Mission Street prevented the project from moving forward at the Planning Commission last week.

The development would take advantage of the state density bonus law allowing developers to build denser and taller than typically permitted in exchange for on-site affordable housing.

It would rise eight stories near Mission and 25th streets and bring 75 units of housing to the neighborhood, including eight units rented at below-market-rate prices. The project is also just a block away from the 24th Street BART Station and has spots for bicycles rather than car parking.

But several commissioners were troubled by the size and design of the proposal, which would replace a laundromat and outdoor parking lot on three lots of Mission Street.

“It’s just basically plopping a foreign object into this area and not thinking about its consequences,” said Commissioner Kathrin Moore.

The commission unanimously voted last Thursday to delay a decision on the project until late November, asking the developer to redraw the plans as multiple buildings rather than one… (more)

 

Codebreakers: The City Attempts to Streamline Its Epic Planning Rules. Hilarity Ensues.

Codebreakers: The City Attempts to Streamline Its Epic Planning Rules. Hilarity Ensues.

By Joe Eskenazi : sfweekly – excerpt

The Planning Department’s ongoing effort to condense the codes governing building and development in this city has spanned 18 months. So far. The overall goal, says city planner Aaron Starr, is “to make it easier to use.” A new, user-friendly document weighs in at a svelte 468 pages. This is merely the ordinance amending the actual Planning Code, which stretches to nearly three times that length.

“Easier” is a relative term.

Concerned neighborhood groups, who exist in a perpetual state of concern, are concerned about who, exactly, will have it “easier.” A consortium raised red flags and marched into last week’s Planning Commission meeting with grave concerns over a specific clause within the 468 pages of arcana…

Stoking neighborhood groups’ fears was language they interpreted to shift conversion of a structure into student housing from a feat requiring a “conditional use” hearing to an activity that was “principally permitted.” The pernicious specter of sweeping up ever more American Spirit butts from one’s stoop sent a shudder through the neighborhood activists’ collective spine.

How surprised they were to learn, on the cusp of last week’s Planning Commission meeting, that the language in question regarding student housing wasn’t new at all — but codified via city ordinance all the way back in 2012. “It slipped through,” bemoans neighborhood activist Doug Engmann, a former Planning Commission president.

And yet, claims Starr, the Academy of Art still cannot legally infiltrate your neighborhood: Language in other sections of the nebulous Planning Code expressly forbids conversions of residential units into student housing. There is one caveat, he notes: An educational institution could indeed purchase an apartment and convert it into student housing — if it serves as a convent…

Engmann worries the city’s efforts to render the Planning Code less confusing have actually had the opposite effect. Starr disagrees. Cantankerous neighborhood activists, he says, “are finally able to see what is permitted in their neighborhoods. … And they may not be happy.”

No, they may not be.

“So, in that respect,” Starr says, “It’s a success already.”… (more)

 

Aaron Starr’s Plaza Program Overview and Presentation Material

The Plaza Program does not establish any plazas, but would establish a program framework

Mar. 13, 2014 Planning Commission meeting: MARCH 13, 2014
…Proposed amendments to Section 234 of the Planning Code that could support the more broad Plaza Program as well as address several common – sense clean – up and efficiency amendments to that section that are not directly related to the establishment of this new program. We look forward to describing the goals and processes of the Plaza Program for you so that you can have more context for the small section of the proposed Planning Code amendments (234.1(e) that is designed to support this new initiative. The proposed Plaza Program does not establish any plazas, but would establish a program framework… (more)
Four pieces of legislation were introduced at BOS – January 28, 2014 (140061, 140062, 140063, 140064) Hearing at Planning Commission – February 27, 2014 2014.00180T. Legislation was drafted by OEWD (Robin Havens – 554-5395), and is co-sponsored by the Mayor and Supervisor Cohen. There is virtually no public notice or awareness and the scope is unknown, but appears to be wide-ranging.
One project mentioned is a plaza converting 19th Street up against I-280 freeway. This legislation is racing through. No one seems to be informed or aware of this. Read attached staff report… (more)

SF CEQA Hearings in March

SF CEQA Hearings in March

The Planning Department has just sent out a notice announcing that
Supervisor Wiener’s CEQA legislation will go before the Planning Commission
on Thursday March 14
, and then before the Historic Preservation Commission
on Wednesday March 20
. It is likely the legislation will then go to the
Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on Monday March 25, and the full
Board of Supervisors on Tuesday March 26.

Stay tuned for changes in the schedule changes

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