Twin Peaks development killed over open-space concerns 

click to enlarge The Planning Commission's approval of a four-unit housing development was overturned. - MIKE KOOZMIN/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo
  • The Planning Commission's approval of a four-unit housing development was overturned.

A four-unit building proposed in a small wedge of open space in the Twin Peaks development of Vista Francisco will not be built after the Board of Appeals denied its permit.

The project would not "preserve and protect" the character of the existing development and would negatively impact surrounding properties, according to the board, which worried it would set a precedent that could allow for more development of small pieces of open space.

The project would have allowed a five-story building with four housing units over a parking garage to be constructed on a 6,300-square-foot parcel next to 70 Crestline Drive.

Vista Francisco was developed in the 1960s and included 14 plots of land meant to be preserved as green space. Though no documentation has been found stating these spaces were to remain open, neighbors and the Planning Department believe that was the intent.

As a result, neighbors raised concerns that the project would set a precedent to develop other open plots, increase noise and traffic, and remove vital parking spaces. Planning Department staff agreed, and they recommended the project be denied at a hearing in November.

However, the Planning Commission approved the project 5-1, with one commissioner absent.

Neighbors then appealed the permit, which was issued in May.

Following a 90-minute hearing in front of the Board of Appeals last week, members voted 4-1 to uphold the appeal and overturn the permit, canceling the project.

"Ultimately I think if we close one green space we are going to close all of them," Commissioner Darryl Honda said before the vote. "I think if it was easy to build on this space it would've been done in the '60s, '70s, '80s or '90s. My concern is if we fill one green space, the decision this board makes determines if all those green spaces are going to be filled."

Neighborhood groups were pleased with the outcome.

"We're very happy and we think the board really saw the precedent-setting nature this would take of future development, and that was a big factor in this decision to deny the permit," said Donald Bateman, co-chairman of the Twin Peaks East Neighborhood Association.

Calls to the structural engineers and sponsors of the project were not returned Monday.

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