Controversial building project delayed by EIR vote 

A decision on whether a 425-foot corkscrew condominium tower will be allowed to be built next to the 850-foot Transamerica
Pyramid was delayed by more than a month.

The majority of San Francisco planning commissioners ruled Thursday that an environmental impact report associated with the 248-unit project was inadequate.

Under California law, such a report must be certified by the commission before construction can begin.

It could take more than a year for a new report to be completed. The vote was 3-2 against certification, with two members absent.

At least four votes were needed to certify or reject the report.

After an environmental impact report is certified, The City’s Planning and Recreation and Park commissions will rule on whether the project is allowed to proceed.

The 248-unit twisting condo tower, with four underground levels of parking, was designed to complement the adjacent pyramid building.

The developer offered to contribute funds to improve a nearby park filled with redwood trees in a bid to offset the tower’s shadowing impacts on city parks.

Some nearby residents — including Aaron Peskin, a member of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers neighborhood association and former president of the Board of Supervisors — told commissioners they oppose the project because of its height, shadows it would cast on parks and traffic congestion it could create.

Other neighbors said during the hearing that the condos would help bring foot traffic and vitality to the area, which is quiet in the evenings, and would therefore improve public safety.

The job-generating potential of the project also was lauded by supporters.

Hisashi Sugaya, who was appointed by Peskin as a planning commissioner, said the environmental impact report was deficient because it failed to comprehensively assess a long list of matters.

“You really need to redo the [report],” Sugaya said.

Commissioner Michael Antonini characterized issues with the environmental impact report as “relatively minor,” and said they could be resolved within a “couple of weeks.”

jupton@sfexaminer.com

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