A formal challenge of the proposed building and beer hall to rise on the slender Hayes Valley parcel known as Central Freeway Parcel T (a.k.a. 188 Octavia Boulevard) has filed by a neighbor on Haight:

From the application for a Discretionary Review (DR) of the project to be held by the Planning Commission:

“Constructing [27] apartments that will rent for at least $6000 a month on city owned property is an egregious violation of Section 101.1 (b) housing policy priorities. [The project] utterly fails to comply with San Francisco Planning Code’s unequivocal mandate that affordable housing be preserved and enhanced; and that housing and neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic of our neighborhoods.”

“[The project] is taller and denser than surrounding residential properties which will lead to a loss of sunlight, open space, vistas and parking spaces. Project specifications violate the usable open space requirements under Section 134, 135 of the of the San Francisco Planning Code. [And project] parameters contradict essential provisions of Section 101.1(b) of the San Francisco Planning Code’s Priority Policy 8 which states that “[our] parks and open space and their access to sunlight and vistas be protected from development.”

The DR requestor’s proposed changes to the project in order to reduce its adverse effects:

“Dramatically decrease the anticipated rental rate for each apartment to $1200 a month [and] decrease density to 8 units, not 27. Change [the] use of [the] property to an arts organization or a non-profit, not unduly expensive condos.”

Also noted: “Hayes Valley has been inundated with hundreds of expensive condos…[the] impact of gentrification upon Hayes Valley is disproportionate and unfair.”  (And obviously the windows are too large.)

As proposed, the 27 units to rise at 188 Octavia Street are a mix of 12 studios, 4 one-bedrooms and 11 two-bedrooms, ranging in size from 395 to 962 square feet, with 4 of the units to be offered at below market rates (BMR).  Building permits have been requested.  And the necessary variances for the project were approved last week.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Wendall Majewski

    The neighborhood plan for this area has been approved since 2007. Outreach began in 2000. I’m guessing neighbor may have missed that 7 year window. An empty lot on a freeway on ramp is preferred to this building unless it’s scaled down to 1/5th the approved scale and price. Nah man, I don’t buy it at all. To the developers credit, they’ve shown consistent commitment to the neighborhood as well. Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do?

    • Posted by Robert M.

      I bet that neighbor probably moved to the city in 2012

      • Posted by donjuan

        Bought the condo across the street. Views are blocked :/

        • Posted by Harambe

          Whoops. Said neighbor lives in a metropolis. The mere fact s/he HAD a view at all is surprising.

          BUILD IT.

  2. Posted by BobN

    I think they’re requesting a time warp.

  3. Posted by sassySFboy

    Snowflakes and pussywillows are allowed by law to file if they pay the fee…so i see no story here.

  4. Posted by Tank_Hill

    The demands in this DR are simply laughable and ridiculous.

  5. Posted by Michael

    I agree that the demand to down-size the project is ridiculous, but there’s something to be said about the use of city-owned property and priorities.

    I realize the Market/Octavia plan was set years ago but a lot has changed in the past decade and every neighborhood plan that’s more than a few years old needs to be revisited posthaste.

    • Posted by Chris

      That may be a valid point, but you cannot change the rules for a developer who has already invested significant money and won initial approval for the project. If you want to say going forward one should revise a plan, fine, but this appeal is a little late in the game. Of course, it is allowed, and of course, it will fail, but it still seems like a colossal waste of time for everyone involved.

    • Posted by LM

      If all you do is re-visit plans every few years you will kill development. Why? Because it takes 6-10 years to get something built in this town. But of course that’s what NIMBYs want, to take away any sense of stabilization in the land market that props their own land values.

  6. Posted by pablito

    If the City doesn’t respect and follow it’s own policies then who will?

  7. Posted by JackBaker

    There’s a lot of crazy here: $1200 rents, 7 units, non-profit use instead of housing, city-owned property. How is this even allowed to be submitted? There has to be some “extreme vetting” of these DR’s before they’re actually allowed to go to Planning.

  8. Posted by invented

    Thanks for the weekend comedy show! Hayes Valley has in it, and is surrounded by, thousands of units of government housing. In every direction there’s massive low income housing. Which should basically be demolished & converted to mixed income and denser as other cities are doing.

    • Posted by Gorkem

      Why is this so complicated? Blocks of western addition are surrounded by 2 floor government housing with parking lots in the middle. Block by block move people living there to newer affordable housing that’s being built and replace the old crumbling houses with 7-8 floor mixed income buildings, and sell some of the units market rate to fund the whole project. You can do this slowly at your own pace block by block but at the end you can literally house 10x more people and create a brand new walkable neighborhood.

      I understand Filmore urban renewal project in the 70s didn’t have a happy outcome for folks living there but that doesn’t mean every single urban renewal project has to be a failure.

  9. Posted by NOPA

    Here’s an idea, let’s rebuild the elevated central freeway and see what those [people] have to say.

    If those neighbors don’t like the code compliance building nobody is stopping them from buying the parcel and turning it into a park.

  10. Posted by that_dude

    “make it cheap and for arts” because “we like art” so “artists should live here” and “$1200” is a number we wrote down on a piece of paper together.

    That’s about as much thought that went into this complaint.

  11. Posted by unlivable city

    Poor Hayes Valley. Its like that restaurant space that just never felt right and is always changing ownership.

    Speaking of which I went out to eat in a place there the other night and lord oh lordy. It had the charm of a piece of stainless steel sushi. I’m going to put a steak in the ground and go out on a limb here (mixed meat and metaphor intended):

    You just can’t be a city where the average cost of living is higher than trump’s tacky towers, and build a bunch of me-too “sleek” condo and apartment buildings in a formerly truly dank little sinkhole, slather it with recycled everything and some drought tolerant plants and crazies on its margins and expect anything but what we have with Hayes Valley now. A place tourists visit and forget shortly thereafter, and locals more and more avoid.

    • Posted by Marvin

      Ha. Sure I guess Hayes Valley was somehow a bastion of cutlure back when it had a drag bar, or was it when it was a seedy underpass with abandoned cars and creeps lurking around, or maybe even at the end of the 1800s when it was a pleasure retreat for the wealthy who wanted to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city? The argument that a place has gone wrong because new buildings have been built, the shops aren’t the ones you want and the people make enough to pay insane rent is tired.

      • Posted by Jake

        Hayes Valley’s cultural bastionhoodie has never recovered from the closure of Richard Hilkert Bookseller, Ltd., in my bookish opinion.

        The two phase removal of the mile or so of elevated 101 freeways north of Market wasn’t only good for Hayes Valley. It also made neighborhoods from Potrero Hill through Mission and Noe Village to Glen Puck more valuable as they were to the southside of the resulting clustercongestion’uck trying to get to/from SV.

  12. Posted by notadinasour

    Are you serious? I wish hayes valley was twice the size and every new construction as good as 400 grove

  13. Posted by Robert Link

    What a ridiculous request and concept. DR request should be immediately rejected. The project opposer should go fund their own BMR project or just get out of town and remove themselves from obstructing the process of housing creation.

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