The following is an item on the January 13, 2009 San Francisco Board of Supervisors agenda for anytime after 4 pm.
It's relevant because it's about a residential development at 299 Valencia in which the developer requested -- and was granted unanimously by members of the San Francisco Planning Commission -- a CU, or conditional use permit, to exceed the allowable parking.
The project at 299 Valencia is in a dense, transit-rich part of San Francisco. Our city is also governed by a "transit-first" clause in our charter. In particular, it states, "Parking policies for areas well served by public transit shall be designed to encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation."
By right, the developer can include one parking space for every two units in the project. That's a significant improvement over the one-to-one that developers have been accustomed to. But this particular developer went to the San Francisco Planning Commission and asked to be able to provide more than the allowable .5:1 parking.
That's not good. For one thing, parking adds to the cost of residential units, driving up the cost of housing, in a city where housing prices are already inflated beyond reason. For another thing, if the developer gets his or her way, congestion will worsen, buses will slow down, and pedestrians and bicyclists will be in greater danger. And the ecological demise of the planet will accelerate. Besides, the development at 299 Valencia is part of a planning area, Market and Octavia, that has been under consideration for nine years. And while not everyone is satisfied with the final plan, community activists worked hard to reduce the amount of parking that developers would be able to include in future projects. Now that the planning process is more or less complete, to allow a developer early on in the development process to get a CU to increase the allowable parking sets a very bad precedent indeed.
But neighbors and activists have gotten busy. They have appealed the Planning Commission decision to the Board of Supervisors and plan to coalesce in the Board of Supervisors chamber on Tuesday afternoon (Room 250, City Hall, SF, CA), and testify in favor of the appeal. If all goes well tomorrow, that's where I plan to be also.
[Public Hearing - Conditional Use Appeal for 299 Valencia Street]
Hearing of persons interested in or objecting to the decision of the Planning Commission by its Motion No. 17739 dated November 6, 2008, relating to the approval of a Conditional Use Authorization (Case No. 2006.0432CV), under Planning Code Sections 121.1, 151.1 and 303 to allow a large-lot mixed-use development providing up to 25 off-street residential parking spaces and 2 car share spaces in an NCT-3 (Moderate-Scale Neighborhood Commercial Transit District) Zoning District and a 50-X Height and Bulk District on property located at 299 Valencia Street, Lot 014 in Assessor's Block No. 3532. (Filed by Jason Henderson on behalf of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and subscribed by Supervisors Peskin, Ammiano, Maxwell, Daly and Mirkarimi; District 6.)
12/9/2008, CONTINUED. The President inquired as to whether any member of the public wished to address the Board. Continued January 6, 2009.
1/6/2009, CONTINUED. The president inquired as to whether any member of the public wished to address the Board. Jason Henderson, appellant Silvia Johnson Continued to January 13, 2009.