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SoMa ‘5M’ project gets green light

September 19, 2015

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

City commissioners have paved the way for a major mixed­-use development that will transform a chunk of the South of Market neighborhood in the coming years.

The Planning Commission on Thursday unanimously certified the final environmental impact report and voted 5­-2 to in favor of a slew of conditional use authorizations for the development at Fifth and Mission streets, the brink of the SoMa, Downtown and Mid-­Market areas. Vice President Cindy Wu and Commissioner Kathrin Moore were the dissenting votes.

The “5M” project — led by development giant Forest City and property owner Hearst Corporation at 925 Mission St. and nearby parcels — includes offering 212 of the 690 residential units at or below 50 percent of the area median income, and helping fund the construction of a Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation below­-market-­rate housing site at 168­-186 Eddy St.

Also Thursday, the Planning and Recreation and Park commissions jointly signed off on raising the shadow limit at Boeddeker Park at Jones and Eddy streets in the Tenderloin. The project is anticipated to cast a shadow over the upper corner of the park, though the shadow will disappear before the park opens at 9 a.m. each day.

The commission also found the project consistent with The City’s general plan and recommended the Board of Supervisors approve the project agreement between the developer and The City. However, the commission called for the establishment of a small sites acquisition fund and a stabilization fund for displaced residential and commercial properties.

It was also recommended by the commission that the development agreement include $300,000 toward a Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

“What’s challenging for me is the general plan,” Wu said when commissioners began discussing the project Thursday. “I look at [some] eight priority policies … and a number of them refer to preserving affordability in [The City] and not impeding the streets with too much more traffic.”…

Several hundred speakers expressed support and disdain for the project, with those against primarily concerned that the development will ultimately lead to the displacement of residents within the community, particularly among the neighborhood Filipino population.

In fact, opposition for the project rang out loudly enough for the Planning Commission to consider an impromptu continuance of the hearing. When that effort failed, the meeting was delayed for nearly an hour while the public chanted for the termination of the project. Opponents also pushed for more time to come up with a plan to tackle displacement… (more)

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