As we first reported back in June, plans to remove ten of the eleven garage doors and parking spots at the base of the existing twelve-unit building at 1100 Fulton Street, across from Alamo Square at the intersection of Pierce, are in the works.

And as proposed, the ten openings would be filled with matching brick, wooden windows and paneled doors, resulting in minimal changes to the form of the building without removing any existing character-defining features or materials, and behind which six new accessory dwelling units would be constructed, including four one-bedrooms and two twos.

Down the street, the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco sits at the corner of Pierce and McAllister. And the church has now requested a Discretionary Review (DR) of the aforementioned proposal by Planning, seeking to have it stopped.

According to the filing, the church is concerned about aesthetic impact of the changes to the historic building. But also cited, as ten off street parking spaces would be eliminated, and residents in the new dwelling units would likely bring a few new cars to the neighborhood, the project “would adversely affect traffic and parking,” impacting the church’s congregation whenever a service was being held.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

49 thoughts on “Church Opposes Infill Housing, Cites Competition for Parking”
  1. A dwindling auto-centric congregation that already double parks and flaunts parking rules on its service days.
    Are we surprised? The DR process is broken and there is no interest in fixing it as it remains an essential piece in the NIMBY toolbox of delay and obstruction.

    1. This is ludicrous. If the church is so concerned about parking, then they can build a parking garage. I’m tired of religion dictating policy and laws; now they want to dictate something as incidental as Sunday morning parking availability?!

        1. That’s a bit misleading. Yes, it will create some number of street parking spaces, but it likely won’t equal the eleven that are being eliminated. And that doesn’t even take into account the possibility of new residents having cars of their own.

          I’m not saying I agree with the church’s position, but saying that this increases parking simply isn’t true.

          1. It increases *public* parking, which is what their congregation relies on. The more car-free housing there is in SF, the more car-free residents we will have.

      1. It’s a Baptist church in the Western Addition.

        The congregants drive because they were all displaced by redevelopment and gentrification.

        1. Even taking your supposition (that they were “displaced”) as a given, that doesn’t mean they have to drive. I live happily in the city and don’t even own a car; I could get from my home in the Inner Richmond to this location easily by bike (I know, I do it every day as part of my commute) or bus.

          1. I greatly appreciate you using your bicycle for your transportation requirements. You sound like you are physically fit for bicycling, but not everyone is capable of doing this level of exercise to get to church.

            Think about this, how many of your friends, acquaintances, or co-workers bicycle to their place of worship? The City is very expensive to live, please don’t require that residents are also physically fit.

  2. Heaven help them! (Which maybe is Plan B). I’m thinking the net loss of spaces will be quite a bit less than ten, since curb cuts will no longer be needed, And, as ST noted (above), most churches are seeing declining attendance: that parking needs are not going down with it is a surprise…or maybe a little hard to believe).

  3. This is Christianity at it’s literal core. A so-called “church” more concerned with parking cars than providing places for people to live. Shame!!

    1. Amen. I especially love that the church is “concerned” about the aesthetic impacts of matching brick, wooden windows and paneled doors in lieu of the 10 blank garage doors currently there.

      1. And in light of the fugly brutalist church building that they possess – I bike by there every day, and it’s definitely an out-of-place intrusion in the architectural fabric of the neighborhood.

    2. The best way to fight them is to call SFMTA to report illegal parking when they block a lane of traffic on sundays.

  4. I’m guessing the ADU’s would be “affordable.” Not a very Christian gesture toward those in need of housing.

  5. So a church that provides no parking for its congregation is concerned that this guy wants to provide no parking for his tenants? As the church grew in its early days, all the nearby residents just had to put up with the church’s increased parking needs. And the street spaces, for which the church pays nothing in property taxes to maintain, now belong to the church?

    1. And that’s the basic hypocrisy in the street parking debate: “I was here first, you go away”. Cities grow and as a result there’s increasing demand for common assets. Everyone who ever moved to SF, even the pre-gold rush farmers, impinged on the prior inhabitant’s use of the commons.

      Streets are a public asset and nobody should be entitled to maintain the same level of access to that asset forever. Cities sometimes need to completely remove parking when the space is better suited for transportation.

  6. Then to assure Church members no additional parking stress will occur for the neighborhood have the leases of the six new accessory dwelling units swear, in writing, they will not own vehicles and the City will not license Residential Parking Permits for said new units?

  7. True, this project will eliminate 10 parking spaces in the garage, but it will also create new parking places on the street by filling in the existing curb cuts. So a key question: What’s the net loss/gain? The change is likely pretty marginal.

    In any case, lordy, lordy! Third Baptist wants the city to withhold approval of six new apartments that can be built relatively quickly and likely house a dozen people across from a park to preserve a very few parking spaces needed several hours a week? I respect Third Baptist and love my church-going neighbors, but this effort inspires righteous indignation. Please, Supervisor Brown and Mayor Breed: On behalf of the broad-based general interest of neighborhood and city, DO NOT SUPPORT the effort by narrow special interests to delay or reject this new housing in our neighborhood! It will be very telling to your constituents if you act in favor of the church’s effort.

    Regarding the church’s objection to new housing because of the impact of aesthetic changes to the building: This is kind of galling. In the first place, the proposal bends over backward to make the garage door replacements coherent with the rest of the building. The new facade will almost certainly look more historically harmonious than the existing garage doors. Plus, the Third Baptist Church did far more to affect the historic nature of the neighborhood when built than the replacement of 10 garage doors with front doors and windows will. Not even close.

    If Third Baptist prevails in a situation like this where the benefits to the public so clearly and dramatically outweigh the minor cost to a special-interest group, then it’s hard to believe real progress is possible on addressing our chronic-acute housing shortage.

  8. If the church wants to pay taxes like the rest of BUSINESSES, which a church really is, THEN they can start complaining about parking congestion.


  9. Weren’t Sunday parking fees eliminated to accommodate churchgoers? Wasn’t the otherwise illegal double parking on Dolores and elsewhere legalized to accommodate churchgoers as well? Now this congregation is actively opposing a plan that would result in the creation of additional street parking. Parking for me but not for thee.

  10. How about taking the church’s tax exemption status away, bleed its coffers, and force them to sell the building which can be razed for more housing?

    I have spirituality in my heart and do not need to a group of people and physical space to practice what I preach.

      1. And for a man who can turn water into wine, I am sure he could build quality homes ahead of schedule and under budget. His father created the world in six days, I like the names of those sub-contractors.

        1. And with the proper permits: IIRC, Jesus, unlike some on this site, advocated yielding to temporal authority

  11. People go to church for like an hour a week. Vs housing is occupied 24/7. Maybe they should just do podcast.

  12. Hmmm…wouldn’t a church have a spiritual interest in maximizing housing? And their congregation could grow more local from the added housing. But no, God must want the church to maximize its own utility for a couple hours a week vs being a net benefit to society with more housing. I’m sure that’s how Jesus would see it…

  13. My religion is gay bruch at Bisou on Sundays but you sure don’t see me double parking and blocking the F train.

  14. 3rd Baptist is not ‘just another church’

    I can imagine they do feel threatened by the ‘elimination’ of parking, and the densification of that block (which will almost assuredly bring more cars to park – despite the ‘gain’ of some on-street spots.

    Yet their need (3 hours a week?!) – seems like there could be a work-around somehow – without blaming or shaming. Maybe spots around Alamo Sq Park could be White-zoned on Sunday AMs?

    Don’t forget – they have the ear of the Mayor and a symbolic – if not sympathetic – message of displacement. AND they have political clout. Doesn’t mean they should stand in the way of progress. But they should receive due consideration.

      1. The Third Baptist Church complex was designated an official city landmark, number 275, this past November. (“The Third Baptist Church Complex is significant for the role it has played in the social, economic, and political advancement of African Americans in San Francisco under the guidance of civil rights leader, Reverend Frederick Douglas Haynes, Sr., and as a rare and notable example of Midcentury Modern ecclesiastical architecture in San Francisco.”)

        1. Amos Brown, who I believe is still pastor of Third Baptist (or maybe Emeritus?) was appointed Supervisor for District 5 in the 1990’s, and the church is probably the pre-eminent African American church. Even now, Brown has a lot of political influence, and he can (rightfully, perhaps) play the race card for representing those disposessed during the urban renewal clearances of the Western Addition, and since then by gentrification. I moved into that neighborhood in the late 80’s and it was still significantly Black. No longer, except for the public housing down the street.

          1. Like it or not, look at what is going on in Harlem in NYC. Many old churches or underdeveloped buildings in Central Harlem are torn down completely to make way for housing.

  15. I don’t know about the church, but it would seem that the owner of the apartment has figured out the way to maximize profits. First, take away the parking from the tenants. A large percent of them will have to move since they cannot live comfortably in this neighborhood without parking. This opens up all those apartments to the current market rent, almost surely much higher. With the former garages now tiny apartments, the owner can sell for a large profit. Nothing wrong with profits, but it is hard to feel sorry for the owner when attacked by a neighboring church.

  16. “A large percent of them will have to move since they cannot live comfortably in this neighborhood without parking.” What? Are you kidding? What is this assertion based on? And are you aware that some of the parking spaces in the garage are empty, that is, unused by tenants? You must not live in the neighborhood. If you did, you’d know that the 5 Fulton stops one block (really more like a third of a block) away from this apartment building. The excellent 5R Fulton (frequent, efficient new, spacious buses in both directions) stops at the corner of McAllister and Divisadero and the corner of McAllister and Fillmore. Depending on traffic, the former gets you downtown or to Golden Gate Park in about 15 minutes, the latter in about 12 minutes (I know because I use them all the time from Divisadero.) The 21 Hayes across the park is another option. If one is not coming in the next five minutes, the other usually is. Plus, the 24 Divisadero will take you north to Pacific Heights and south through the Castro and Noe Valley to Bernal Heights and beyond. It goes both ways frequently. Finally, the walk to the N-Judah, through two lovely parks, couldn’t be more pleasant. Conclusion, to put it charitably: Yours is an uninformed objection.

    1. It appears that you hate cars, and also are easily angered. Let us see how many tenants move when their parking spaces are taken away.

      1. I don’t hate cars – in fact, I love to drive – and I’m not angry. Rereading my reply, I see evidence of cogent disagreement but none of hate or anger. I note here, however, that your comment evades answering the question I posed: What is the assertion that “a large percentage” of residents “will have to move” based on?

  17. Eight or so years ago when I lived in that neighborhood, the 3rd Baptists used to double park congregant cars along the streets around their church during services. While I have thoughts on that practice in general, does it still continue? If so then this seems like an even more frivolous DR.

  18. FYI, per their website calendar, Third Baptist is hosting a gathering of some sort every day except Tuesday.

    So this isn’t just about a few hours on Sunday, looks like they support many community needs beyond church service.

      1. plus a quick look at these events shows that most are smallish (bible study, choir rehearsals etc) and also events for which people are quite likely to come on transit or from the immediate neighborhood (homeless services. AA meetings, etc). My own memory of living in the hood (and this was years ago) that it was only on Sunday morning when there were lots of cars.

        1. I hear you and I definitely think the housing should be approved, just pointing out that they do support other gatherings besides sunday church service.

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