As we first reported last year, a proposed revision to the previously approved plans for a new 13-story, mixed-use building to rise on the site of the columned Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist at 450 O’Farrell Street was in the works, a revision which would have yielded around 300 “Group Housing” units rather than 176 individual apartments (the approved plans for which had included 45 studios, 69 one-bedrooms and 62 twos).

While the proposed revision was approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission this past July, the Commission’s decision was subsequently appealed.

And yesterday, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 to overturn the Planning Commission’s decision to approve the proposed revision, disapproving the required Conditional Use Authorization for the Group Housing project, with President Walton characterizing the recent spate of proposed “Group Housing” projects as “anti-family” and “anti-community” and Supervisor Ronen noting a growing trend of entitled projects being “significantly changed after the fact,” with “very little process or consequence,” “a problem [the Board needs] to fix legislatively.”

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

9 thoughts on “Supervisors Overturn Approval of Group Housing “Switcheroo””
  1. “Columned”, tho correct, seems inadequate to describe what the building really looks like: the coulmniation is Doric – and the building has the heavy proportions typical of its ilk so maybe we can find something more evocative…mausoleum-like? The Christ, Scientists seemed particularly fond of classical fronts, and while I don’t think it’s one of the more inspiring efforts, it does round out the selection of Ionic, Corinthian, Composite….

    You ask why bother so much when it’s about to be KO’d??…oh ye of [over]abundant faith…

  2. The developer should’ve used the State Density Bonus Law — along with SB-330 — to get this project through (just like “468 Turk” successfully did a few months back when faced with similar opposition).

    By doing so, the developer could’ve achieved 50% more density (over 450 units!) while only providing a net effective below-market rate percentage of 13.33%. (The Group Housing unit typology is already hitting the 110% AMI price point — so one can essentially disregard its potential negative impacts upon the pro forma.)

    From a construction perspective the developer was already proposing a high-rise, so taking the SB-330/Density Bonus route would have allowed them to have achieved a simpler, more cost-effective overall building configuration as well — since they could also blown through all the non-objective design review nonsense.

    Given the idiotic and myopic local housing politics of SF, all significant (and creative) housing developers in the City must avail themselves of SB-330 in concert with the State Density Bonus Law in order to ensure success.

    As this case in point has clearly demonstrated, it is, regrettably, foolhardy and foolish not to — and it leaves the door open for the BOS to do exactly what they did yesterday.

    Alas, you can’t play nice in this town — don’t take a knife to a gun fight.

    1. Do you mean SB 330 or SB 35? It’s not clear to me how SB 330 would help here. As I understand it, it’s mainly about vesting rules (preliminary application), and also bans future downzoning that aren’t offset by upzoning of other sites.

      1. Also protects against future fee increases (e.g. inclusionary housing fee) as well as excessive required public hearings/meetings and — potentially — appeals (5 max; including continuances)

  3. “Anti-family”. Oh…right. So let’s see: Young fresh-out-of-schoolers who may have considered renting there will instead room-mate in 2 and 3BRs that otherwise could have been available to…. you guessed it, families, no?

    Looks like the BOS is peeing down everybody’s backs and telling us it is raining. It stands to reason we rather have a developer here who’s not paying off the right “City Familiy” grifters and racketeering non-profits.

    1. your asking for the BoS to think about unintended consequences or 2nd order issues. They clearly dont have that cognitive ability

      1. Agreed. 90% of our problems in this city are a result of unintended consequences of laws our BoS has put into place with no consideration of such issues. Then they try to solve those new problems with equally ill-considered legislation.

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