The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the proposed 40-story tower to rise at the intersection of Market and Van Ness has just been released along with a number of project refinements and new details.
The condo count for the One Oak Street project has dropped from 320 to 310 and the development’s underground garage has dropped from 160 to 155 spaces accordingly.
And in addition, what was to be 13,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space at the base of the tower, adjacent to a new public plaza in the Oak Street right-of-way, has been reduced to 4,000 square feet in total, primarily fronting Market Street, and the proposed Oak Plaza has been dramatically redesigned.
The tower, which would take an estimated 32 months to complete once the ground was broken, would be 100 percent market rate with the development team planning to pay an in-lieu fee to meet the City’s inclusionary housing requirements, a fee which is envisioned to fund the development of below market rate (BMR) units along Octavia Boulevard on former Central Freeway Parcels R, S and U.
But as outlined in the DEIR, there are a number of “potential areas of [public] controversy” for the project which will need to be addressed or resolved prior to being entitled for development, including concerns about wind, aesthetics and transportation:
1. Wind: Comments express concern regarding strong winds in the area, note the increased development activity over the past decade and many planned future projects that require continuous updating of the wind model, note the increase in residences in the area that has shifted the timing of pedestrian use, suggest a charge to maintain and update the model, and state that the effects on pedestrians must be considered for all projects because the City desires an active pedestrian environment
2. Aesthetics and Historical Resources: Comments express concern with maintaining visual access to City Hall, an important visual landmark in the adjacent Civic Center.
3. Transportation: Comments express concern for the provision of parking spaces for residents of the proposed project and other projects in the area that would make it more likely that they would use their cars during commute hours. Comments also express concern about the proliferation of delivery trucks and other vehicles that may double park, and about the proliferation of private commuter shuttles, or “Google” buses, and Academy of Art, California Pacific Medical Center, and University of California San Francisco shuttles that stop on routes along Van Ness Avenue and throughout this area.
A letter from the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) notes that Van Ness Avenue is designated as U.S. Route 101 and is under Caltrans jurisdiction. It states that the Traffic Impact Study (TIS) prepared for the proposed project should analyze multimodal demand, VMT reductions that could be achieved, and Travel Demand Management (TDM) measures.
The public hearing to review the adequacy and accuracy of the Draft EIR has been scheduled for January 5, 2017, after which comments will be collected, responses will be written, and San Francisco’s Planning Commission will then decided whether or not to finalize the EIR and approve the development of the One Oak project as proposed.