88 Arkansas Rendering: 17th Street

The Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association has lost its appeal of Martin Building Company’s approved development of 127 apartments and a Del Popolo pizzeria at 88 Arkansas and 17th Street, across from Jackson Park in Lower Potrero Hill.

Approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission in a fast-tracked hearing earlier this year, the Boosters had argued that the development’s “nested” bedroom layouts, which don’t have exterior windows in the second or third bedrooms, do not meet the current standards of San Francisco’s Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, which requires at least 40% of the units in a new development to have two or more bedrooms.

With one member absent, the Board of Appeals voted 4 to 0 to uphold Planning’s approval for the project.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Jackson

    Yea, like the “Boosters” were really concerned about the nesting of bedrooms. It was all a ploy to stop all development on Potrero Hill and I’m happy the project is moving closer to being built.
    More please.

  2. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    Finally some sanity. The Boosters have done enough damage to our neighborhood with their incessant obstructionism and desire to preserve blight and vagrant campgrounds.

  3. Posted by J.R. Eppler

    Actually, the Boosters weren’t even concerned about the nested bedrooms, per se. We were instead concerned about the ongoing standard for exceptions to the unit mix requirements.

    Had the Boosters won the appeal, the project would have been built to the same density and general design with different floor plates. But the Boosters lost the appeal; fortunately, Martin Building does nested bedrooms well and the overall design is good. The positive side is that legislation to correct the error in the Code that was the basis of the appeal is working it’s way through the Planning Department, so there will be no ongoing issues.

    I know this does not jive with the black and white framing that perpetuates so many discussions on planning, but those are the facts.

    • Posted by Orland

      You’re saying you were primarily concerned that a standard would be established that would allow for developments of 60+% true 1-bedroom units upon the basis of exceptions other than the definition of a “bedroom?”

      • Posted by J.R.

        Yes, or with nested bedrooms that are not nearly as well designed. Until the correcting legislation is passed, we’re in limbo as to the standards.

        • Posted by Orland

          I guess I better understand, but frankly, I think the policy behind the minimum 40% 2-bedroom units requirement (ostensibly to encourage families to live in SF) is misguided. The reasons why we have one of the lowest incidences of households with children have nothing to do with “unsuitability” of the existing housing stock. Moreover, I don’t think that such goal should be so prioritized such that units should necessarily be built for which there may not be an adequate market.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            I guarantee you, this won’t change anything for the Boosters. The next time they find a technicality – any technicality – about a new project they can use as an excuse for another lame NIMBY protest, they’ll be chomping at the bit. And if this project had all 2-BR units by the “proper” definition, they’d be objecting to the addition of “luxury housing” out of reach for normal people, and how it would change the character of this once lower middle class neighborhood.

          • Posted by J.R. Eppler

            I agree that there are a lot of factors that make family life difficult in the City. The presence of family-friendly housing stock, however, is one that we have some control over as we increase density. I cannot say if it will have a measurable effect. Sure, having two or more bedroom units does not mean that they will be occupied by families, but building only one bedroom units and studios forecloses the opportunity for families to live in such units for any length of time. We think having longer term residents is better for the City (even if you just stay a decade instead of five years), and having families living in new development is more in character with the existing neighborhood. Just look at Mission Bay, and the number of families there fighting for the Mission Bay School, to see that we can keep families in denser development, at least for a time.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            1601 Mariposa has lots of 2BR and even some 3BR units. That project has been universally opposed by various NIMBY groups, including the Boosters.

          • Posted by J.R. Eppler

            1601 Mariposa had a lot of moving parts at the Planning Commission. We wanted them resolved prior to the Commission hearing. That did not happen, but several of the more substantive concerns were more thoroughly addressed post-approval.

            The Boosters did not oppose either of 1301 16th or 901 16th/1200 17th. Particularly with the former, we were pleased with the outcome. Timing concerns prevented formal membership approval of the project, but that’s something we hope to iron out for the future.

          • Posted by Orland

            While the Boosters may not have opposed the developments on the Corovan site, “Save the Hill” has. I’m sure there is a commonality of membership. To their credit, after successfully convincing Kaiser not to build there, they did not simply move to block any project, but took the initiative to engage an architect to come up with a rather ingenious rehabilitation proposal for a substantial residential development.

            I’d be interested in knowing just what the current status of that proposal is.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            Yes, lots of overlap in membership. And with “Grow Potrero Responsibly” as well. But I can’t imagine the Planning Dept. is fooled and doesn’t realize that when you have “multiple neighborhood groups” objecting to something it’s really a small group of people with too much time on their hands. The whole NIMBY scene always reminds me of the scene from “Life of Brian” where there are dozens of tiny Judean separatist groups scattered all over the arena.

  4. Posted by HousingWonk

    Thank god. I’m lighting a candle at church on Sunday that Governor Brown’s of-right legislation passes. Practically every parcel of land in SF zoned residential that isn’t SFR will no longer have to deal with this garbage.

    • Posted by Orland

      This atheist is fervently praying it goes nowhere. I care too much about San Francisco to turn it over to the “discretion of developers and property owners.

      • Posted by bleeper

        Because the property owners who block everything have done so well by San Francisco

        • Posted by Orland

          You won’t see me leaving for any “as of right” jurisdiction.

          • Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

            But do you promise to leave CA if the proposed legislation is enacted?

          • Posted by Alai

            The idea is that “as of right” jurisdictions will be cheaper (because they’ll just keep building as long as the demand is there). Now, maybe you won’t leave for one– after all, if you’ve got yours, here, why would you? But it’s important for a lot of people, who don’t yet have theirs.

          • Posted by Orland

            Has nothing to do about price, but everything with quality and appropriateness for the City at large.

          • Posted by Alai

            Well then you’re fortunate that you apparently don’t have to concern yourself about price. Most people don’t have that luxury.

    • Posted by sassySFboy

      Count me in, and that will be my 1st candle lit…ever.

  5. Posted by Sitzpinkler

    This project has been complete stalled for several months. Rumor has it they’re paused for asbestos removal. Any updates?

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