Supe: Tougher plans, goals needed for eastern S.F. 

Requirements for development in San Francisco’s eastern neighborhoods may reach some very high standards.

Supervisor Sophie Maxwell has drafted a resolution that would not only set a timeline for when the Planning Department must issue new development and zoning plans for the eastern neighborhoods — the Mission district, South of Market, Potrero Hill and the Central Waterfront — but also require the plans to include significant goals.

For example, the resolution would require that 64 percent of all the housing units developed in these neighborhoods be below market-rate price. It also seeks to protect existing art venues and protect their space for expansion by "[prohibiting] market-rate housing" in the vicinity.

The resolution comes as the Planning Department is in the process of drafting an environmental impact report on the development plans for the eastern neighborhoods, which is expected to come out in August.

The Planning Department embarked on what is called the Eastern Neighborhoods Community Planning process in January 2002 in response to development trends.

"The eastern neighborhoods have experienced some of the most significant changes in terms of land use, housing stock, employment and population," according to a recent city-sponsored socioeconomic impact report on the area.

Maxwell said the resolution sends a strong message to the Planning Department to meet its August deadline and to aim for these challenging planning goals.

"If there is any development that is going to happen, it’s going to happen in [the eastern neighborhoods]," Maxwell said. "So we have to make sure that it’s planned well for San Francisco. This is kind of the last hurrah here."

The Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee will hold a hearing on the resolution today.

"The Planning Department has not taken a position on the resolution, and we are considering the implications of the resolution," said Amit Ghosh, head of The City’s policy planning.

"If we put everything that is being asked of us to do in the eastern neighborhoods, then we don’t believe it will fit. It’s one thing to say what the needs are, it’s another thing to make us produce that," Ghosh added.

Maxwell said she proposed the resolution to "give a little bit more direction as a board and policymakers."

Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, a public policy think tank, said the resolution is incomplete and is "short-circuiting the process."

He added, "If the Planning Department wants guidance on values and its priorities, I feel that we need to add a much longer list" to the resolution.

"This is hardly short-circuiting, this is making it more comprehensive," Maxwell said.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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