12. 2000.1081E (J. KUGLER: (415) 558-5983)
RINCON HILL PLAN - Public Hearing on Draft Environmental Impact Report. The proposed project is a revised Rincon Hill Plan (an Area Plan of the San Francisco General Plan) and revised planning controls for the Rincon Hill area. The San Francisco Planning Department proposes to replace the Planning Code's existing Rincon Hill Special Use District (SUD), as set out in Planning Code Section 249.1, with a new Rincon Hill Downtown Residential Mixed Use District (DTR), which would increase height limits, revise the "R" bulk district, amend the Rincon Hill Area Plan, and make other General Plan and zoning changes intended to stimulate additional high-density, residential development in the Rincon Hill area. Improvements to the streetscape, transportation system and open space would result from implementation of the new Plan. Rincon Hill is in the northeast section of San Francisco, south of the Financial District and Transbay Terminal, and north of the South Beach neighborhood. The project area is bounded generally by Folsom Street, Steuart Street, The Embarcadero, Bryant Street, the Bay Bridge approach and the Transbay Terminal ramps and encompasses about 12 city blocks.
Preliminary Recommendation: Hold Public Hearing. No action required.
NOTE: Written comments will be received at the Planning Department until 5:00 p.m. on November 29, 2004.
Ken Werner - Trinity Plaza Tenants Association
- He asked the Commission to reconsider this plan because it does not offer low income housing.
- This is unacceptable to the people of SOMA.
- He asked the Commission to reconsider this proposal.
- This project does not have low income housing.
- It is unfair for the community to look elsewhere to find a house.
Richard Marquez - Mission Agenda
- Rincon Hill is returning to its roots of exclusivity of class and social segregation.
- What other project will accompany this type of project?
- Why is the Department "Vancouverizing" San Francisco?
- This project puts affordable housing "out of sight."
- He requested that the Commission fight for San Francisco's affordable future.
Dustin Dun - Mission Agenda
- Forcing people out of housing that they can afford is terrible.
- There is too much disparity here.
Stephen Wilson - Archdiocese of San Francisco
- This DEIR fails on various counts: 1) it limits the Commission's range of actions; 2) it is inadequate because the alternative selected and analyzed limits the range of actions and decisions possible by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors; 3) it limits housing production; 4) it does not meet Proposition M; 5) there has been a defacto moratorium and this should be stopped; 6) there is a more aggressive and better way to develop projects.
- The Planning Commission should direct staff to develop and analyze an alternative project that fits within the proposed Rincon Hill height limits.
- The draft EIR only provides for 2,100 units and there could be more.
- This draft EIR should provide the community the information to broadly evaluate the various plans and zoning controls to optimize housing. It does not do this.
- The EIR does not have an economic analysis.
Maurice Healy - Archdiocese of San Francisco
- There is a loss of housing with this project.
- Under current zoning this project could provide more housing units.
- Taller buildings would be more expensive to build.
- An alternative should be proposed that optimizes housing.
- Staff's preferred option is flawed in this EIR.
- The plan does not increase housing production.
- Most Rincon Heights are already built.
- The few remaining housing sites are not much.
- Housing is more important than tower separation.
- An addendum can be issued for public comment.
- The DEIR does not contain any information that super housing could be afforded by real people.
- This draft EIR is defective.
- Almost every EIR has an economic analysis and this one does not have it.
- A comprehensive study should be made before building these fantasy towers.
- The Draft EIR is based on false assumptions.
- He strongly urges the Commission to require that the EIR be rewritten in order to have site specific solutions.
- Preservation of views and blue sky seems to be more important than housing in this EIR.
- The maximum housing option should be the preferred option and not the option that the department suggests.
- It is important that this EIR acknowledge that there are projects that are moving forward.
- This current building is not a historic resource as the EIR states.
- 375 Fremont should be evaluated as proposed under current zoning.
- There are various projects that have been in the pipeline.
- 375 Fremont is consistent with the Rincon Hill Plan.
Eleanor Killebrew - BrownBrew
- The Rincon Hill area is within walking distance of downtown and public transportation.
- None of the proposed plans include open space areas.
- Proposed high-rise projects would not displace anyone.
- Maximizing the number of high-rises and housing is a good idea.
Theodore Brown - BrownBrew
- He is for the tower separation in order to optimize housing.
- Rincon Hill is a good place for housing because it is close to the proposed Transbay Terminal.
- Density optimizes fiscal efficiency and utilization of expensive infrastructure.
- The proposed project would not have any negative effect on current utilities.
Calvin Welsh - Council for Community Housing Organizations
- The Draft EIR is in need of amendments because it is incomplete and fails to address the range of environmental impacts of the proposed project.
- The EIR draws too narrow a focus.
- It fails to look at the SOMA community in both housing and traffic, especially for families and seniors.
- The definition of the setting of the plan tends to ignore the impact of dismissing the recently approved Housing Element.
Chris Durazo - South of Market Community Action Network
- The EIR should be amended.
- She feels that the scope is inaccurate. It looks like spot zoning.
- This is an EIR for rezoning and not for a specific project.
- The Housing Element that was approved should be included.
April Veneracion - South of Market Community Action Network
- The Draft EIR is inaccurate and does not effectively address the long-range impacts of maximum density on the socio economic well being of the South of Market residents and workers.
- The Draft EIR is incomplete in scope.
Rajiv Bhatia - San Francisco DPH
- There are ways that the EIR can fully analyze the impacts.
- People have spoken about increased density so more housing should be built.
- There are imbalances between jobs and housing.
- There is no school plans on the site.
- The new workers would not be able to live at this location.
- Also, there is an assumption that lower income people drive less.
- There are too many assumptions in the EIR.
- The plan needs a more complete analysis of jobs and housing.
- The Metropolitan Commission could provide more ideas.
- This project needs to be looked at in a citywide perspective.
Julia Dimaio - Senior Action Network and Senior Housing Action
- Seniors are in desperate need of housing but they are concerned about the amounts the units would be sold for.
- The Rincon Hill Plan does not attend the needs of the community, families with children or seniors.
Charles Stewart - SOMECAN
- He does not support the DEIR for the Rincon Hill Plan. It is very unreasonable.
- This project is wiping the residents of the south of market out of the area.
- The Rincon Hill plan will not be community friendly.
- He requests that the EIR be redone to focus more on the community.
Angelica Cabande - SOMECAN
- Every day she speaks to tenants in the South of Market area and they are concerned with the difficulty of displacement, affordability, etc.
- How will the Rincon Hill plan focus on the community?
- An EIR should be done that mitigates the negative impacts the zoning changes will create.
- The preferred option has many negative aspects. It is not community focused and should not include the projects that are in the pipeline.
- The Planning Commission should be informed on the economic impacts of the housing costs, neighborhood parking, and the housing markets likely to be served when major zoning changes are proposed.
Azalia Merrel - Carpenter's Union
- She is concerned over her "cozzy" rent controlled apartment of seven years.
- She would not be able to afford the million dollar condos that are on the market.
- This is another project that started under one set of rules and has continued with another set of rules.
- She is not opposed to the super towers but has concerns about their affordability.
Robert McCarthy - McCarthy and Swartz
- The preferred choice of staff would result in less units, less tax revenues, eliminate construction jobs, etc.
- This plan is the greatest "power grab" in history.
- The Commission needs to preserve their discretion.
ACTION: Meeting Held. No Action at this time. Written comments accepted until 5:00 p.m. on December 10, 2004.