Supervisors approve Western SoMa Plan, rejecting expanded office development

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The Board of Supervisors today approved the Western South of Market Community Plan, the first step to ending a development moratorium that has been in place since the citizen-based planning process that developed the plan began in 2005, but not before some supervisors made a last-ditch effort to allow more office development and nightlife.

“I have real concerns over the plan,” Sup. Scott Wiener said as the plan came before the full board for the first time, continuing an effort to modify the plan that he began a few weeks ago when it was before the Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

While some of Wiener's colleagues echoed his concerns and those raised by the business and entertainment communities, most decided to defer to the area's Sup. Jane Kim and the Western SoMa Task Force that developed the plan. It was approved on a 10-1 vote, with Wiener in dissent. It will guide development and set land use rules for the Western SoMa area after being approved on second reading by the board next week.

Wiener led the critique of the plan's restrictions on office development in most of the plan area, particularly around the transit hub of 4th and King streets, concerns that were echoed by Sups. London Breed and Malia Cohen, likely indicating that the business community has been lobbying supervisors on the issue.

But Kim said she is concerned about the area's artists, nonprofits, and light industrial businesses – dubbed Production Distribution and Repair (PDR) in the city planning code – being squeezed out if the area is opened up to more office development.

“Office space is hot right now and it's pushing out PDR uses,” Kim said. “Zoning is an importance tool, otherwise everything will turn into offices in South of Market.”

Wiener, Breed, and other supervisors also sounded their support for the entertainment community that has lobbied for changes in the plan, winning greater protections for nightlife at earlier hearings – including a ban on residential development on the raucous 300 block of 11th Street and persuading owners of “the purple building” to switch from residential to office – pushing for removal of more of the plan's restrictions on attaining limited live music permits.

“I also have some real concerns with how the plan treats nightlife and entertainment,” Wiener said, while Breed said, “As a big supporter of the arts, I'm concerned there are limited live performances in the plan.”

Kim noted that the plan tried to strike a balance in the conflict between nightlife and housing, and she said that expanding the ability business in areas zoned Regional Commercial District (RCD) shouldn't be done in just in a part of town where there conflicts have often been difficult to resolve.

“If you're going to permit it in the RCD areas, it should be citywide rather than just in Western SoMa,” Kim said, noting that she's open to futher discussions after the plan is approved.

Sup. David Campos and other supervisors urged their colleagues not to tinker with the compromises and hard-won balance in the plan. “I'm not 100 percent happy with every aspect of the plan, but I do think some deference should be given to the district supervisor,” Campos said.

Wiener agreed that deference to the desires of district supervisors is an important consideration, “but there are times when this board does not vote the same as their supervisors,” citing as an example the board's approval of the controversial 8 Washington luxury condo project over the objections of Board President David Chiu.

Afterward, Terrence Alan of the California Music and Culture Association, which had lobbied for expanded protections of nightlife, told us, “Entertainment as a whole fared well.” But he said that they would continue pushing for greater citywide nightlife protections, including supporting Wiener's proposal to expand the limited live music permits to include DJs.

Comments

SOMA has mostly got where it is without micro-management but rather by evolution. The eastern part, in particular, has boomed without invasive planning controls, and I would be concerned if the seedier, western parts were to atrophy because of a lack of will and inspiration.

I'd prefer more occupational and residential density but I suspect that eventually downtown will stop spreading south much beyond Mission Bay and will then turn west again. The large blocks and broad streets of SOMA are idea for high-density development.

but not too fast, I guess, is the message.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 4:45 pm

Politican's pet causes are coming before allocation based on the highest value use again

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

YES! The neighborhood is coming before allocation based on the highest value.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 8:48 pm
LOL

LOL

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 5:30 am

With temporary residents, dubious establishments, a bunch of elevated freeways and the all-pervasive stench of stale urine.

Ideally we would tear it down and start over, as it is one of the least attractive parts of the city, but could be booming with high-density mixed-use.

Great transit and freeway connections demands high-density here.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 8:29 am

Non-people, living non-lives in a non-neighborhood managed to get more out of developers than anyone else and I bet that must really grind your gears, huh?

Tell me more about that.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:06 am

Keep blocking development until no one making less than $100k lives in SF

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:18 am

There are so many people living in San Francisco that nobody wants to live there anymore.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:29 am

I can understand why those who seek a very different vision of SF would lose faith. But, fear not, many more will take your place, so you should be able to sell your condo even though it is on a crapppy block.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:47 am

Why would we sell our home when it can generate almost twice PITI pa and only gains in value while cranking out income cash no matter what craptacular condos surround it? Parking plus yard plus 500 steps from BART plus old San Francisco charm will always out compete however much new crap corruption cranks out.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:00 am

The very same real estate speculation that progressives hypocritically claim to oppose, while personally trying (usually fairly badly) to profit from it.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:18 am

No matter what land use policies are enacted, our home gains value because it has the that special something that developers can't and won't produce these days. Along with WSOMA's pro-community victory, that must really grind your gears, huh?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:49 am

that are not still rundown and crime-ridden.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:03 am

I am not greedy like you.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:21 am

how much money you will be able to rent it out for rather than create an affordable housing opportunity for an under-privileged family?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

We did not seek this, the windfall landed in our laps. I raise it because it drives you trolls fucking crazy and I enjoy that.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

But it does leave you open to accusations of hypocrisy when you support low-growth policies.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Of course, my positions on land use and housing are the same as before we got the unit. Odds are we do okay, but I'm more concerned about San Francisco remaining accessible to the slackers who make complement the stunning natural beauty with a culture that is found to be interesting worldwide.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

with your lack of a moral compass on any other issue as well.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 15, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

whether he is just going thru the motions now, having largely given up on the progressive ageenda when he bought his condo.

Lilli seems to think Marcos has sold out, but I'm not sure he just doesn't get it. He wants to turn SF into Detroit, and I do not think he is onto a winner there.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:29 am

How many units would need to be built in San Francisco to see a downward pressure on price? How many units would be needed to produce what amount of downward pressure? How long would that last? What happens next?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:42 am

affected by the new build. To some extent, if we built a lot, and prices dropped, that might merely increase demand.

Even so, if we built, say, 100,000 new homes in tower blocks in SOMA all the way down the under-used east side, we would see significant drops in home prices and so in rents.

I can see why you wouldn't want cheaper rents and home prices tho, as noted.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:55 am

If the dismal science cannot provide any predictive capacity behind its theories, then those theories are insufficient.

Back of the napkin calculations would do fine.

How many units would need to be built to see the first downward pressure on price?

How many units would need to be built to see how much downward pressure on price?

How long would price be held down due to the construction of these new units?

And what would happen then?

Extra credit:

How would these units pay their freight of infrastructure?

If they do not cover their costs, what would the cost to be to San Franciscans due to extra load put on existing infrastructure?

What would the gains in lowered housing price be relative to the increased costs of public subsidy of private developer profit?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:05 am

What do you mean by " public subsidy of private developer profit?"

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:15 am

The truth is the exact opposite, of course.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:26 am

Developer impact fees only cover 50% of the infrastructure costs to service these new residents, and with Prop 13 the taxes generated by housing decrease over time and at some point do not cover their costs of city services.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:34 am

What is the infrastructure impact of low-income residents who pay net negative taxes given subsidized units in new buildings?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:53 am

His great myth is that the poor pay more tax than the rich.

It's bizarre but somehow he says it with a straight face.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:04 am

The Planning Department, MTA and TA all say this in public meetings. It was discussed at the WSOMA hearing. Impact fees only cover 50% of infrastructure costs.

That means that transit riders subsidize developer profits by tolerating slower, less reliable transit which can be measured in dollars and cents out of our pockets and into developers' coffers.

Privatizing gains, socializing downsides.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:14 am

Impact fees are one small part of the benefit of having good jobs in SF.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:35 am

Not if they don't even pretend to cover the costs and San Franciscans have to pay more to accommodate them.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:53 am

You're crazy if you think new offices and condos will be a net negative. Compared to most units in the city, property and sales tax will be higher. If we acted on your analysis applied to many existing parts of the city we'd have to bulldoze them.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

We can't handle our current load and you want to load us up with even more load on essentially fixed resources? What kind of conservative are you?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

The people buying million dollar downtown condo's typically do not use much in the way of city services.

And more wealthy people means more property tax, sales tax, spending and job creation.

Your math is bogus and self-serving.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:59 am

today, which you apparently seem to like.

Everyone will do their sums slightly differently, but only an idiot would deny that high RE prices is a supply/demand problem, and more supply will alleviate that.

In case you haven't noticed, there are cranes everywhere constructing condo's while you sit on your ass all day whining.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:21 am

So you have no clue as to how your prescriptions would pencil out in the real world, you cannot do the math because your economic sharia must be taken on faith and faith alone, gotcha.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:35 am

plan for and predict things. the best cities arise spontaneously and not because some low-level city bureaucrats gets out his slide rule.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 11:00 am

So your economic theory is little more than the "waving of the hands" punctuating repetitive blather?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 4:19 pm

You only appear to support that when the outcome is one you think you will like.

Although I suspect the end result will not be to your taste, just as all those live/work lofts in the 1990's ended up being rented out to knowledge workers for 3K a month with an exemption from rent control carved out for them because dimwits like you thought they were actually going to be lived in by "artists".

When, all along, we knew better. I know, because I used to own one and there was one year when I doubled the rent, and the tenant just paid it.

12th and Harrison - close enough.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:23 am

More high-rise office buildings mean more jobs. More high-rise condos mean more rentals available for the rest of us. If the Board of Supervisors didn't reserve the space for low-value uses, they admit many more high-rises would be built, so they're publicly taking a stand against jobs and living units. Thanks, Board of Supervisors!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

Low rise uses create jobs and provide San Franciscans with vital services such as auto repair.

There are also jobs creating arts uses allowed in the SALI between 4th and Townsend and 7th and Harrison.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 12, 2013 @ 8:50 pm
Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 5:49 am

Tell me more about this problem that you're having.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 6:49 am

Ask anyone who builds things for a living rather than telling others what they should think or do.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 7:22 am

The cheapest way to add value is to steal it.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 7:52 am
Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 8:21 am

Air and light are common resources that are used by many but confiscated by a high rise. When air and light go, wind and cold replace them.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:30 am

head, so we might as well make it a home for someone.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:47 am

The air 100' above my head provides sun and air to acres of other parcels.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 9:57 am

make you feel queasy.

The second most crowded city in the country, with it's inevitable high-rise, high-density structures, seems an odd choice for an agrophobic.

Posted by anon on Mar. 13, 2013 @ 10:16 am

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