Height Opposition to 1415 Mission sign now

THIS PETITION IS TO ASK THAT THE SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING DEPARTMENT NOT APPROVE THE PROPOSED 146 FOOT TALL BUILDING AT 1415 MISSION (SW CORNER OF 10TH AND MISSION) DUE TO EXCESSIVE HEIGHT AND BULK SINCE THE BUILDING IS NOT COMPATIBLE WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD FABRIC AND CHARACTER AND WOULD NOT COMPLY WITH THE SF PLANNING DEPARTMENT'S "URBAN DESIGN ELEMENT" THAT CLEARLY DEFINES TRANSITIONS BETWEEN BULK AND HEIGHT DISTRICTS AND NEIGHBORHOODS
(for a depiction of this building, please e-mail [email protected])

We, the residents and business owners, of the area in proximity to 1415 Mission Street, OPPOSE the proposed project at 1415 Mission Street in its current form. Any development should contribute to the transition between buildings of greater height and density along Market Street and as far as the north side of Mission Street to the lower height, density and scale along the south side of Mission Street, immediately bordering the reduced heights as specified by the Market/Octavia Plan on the south side of Mission to the east and the existing low-scale neighborhood adjacent to the property to the south in Western SOMA with an RED (Residential Enclave District) designation. This is in accordance with Urban Design Element of the SF General Plan. We are not opposed to development of this site; rather, we strongly suggest that the following actions be taken:

1. The proposed building, whether commercial or residential, should not exceed 65 feet in height. In addition, the building should incorporate setbacks to make the building narrower as it reaches maximum height.
2. No variance should be granted for parking in order to not exacerbate existing parking limitations, especially during the day.
3. No conditional use should be granted that would allow in excess of one dwelling unit per 125 sq. ft. lot area in order to avoid excessive bulk.
4. No variance should be granted for the dwelling unit exposure.
5. The wind study should be re-assessed due to the extremely hazardous wind conditions that are created by Fox Plaza and perpetuated by the existence of 120 foot tall buildings along 10th street.

HEIGHT
The proposed building, whether commercial or residential, should not exceed 65 feet in height. In addition, the building should incorporate setbacks to make the building narrower as it reaches maximum height. (#1)

South Side of Mission Street
o The RED on the north side of Minna is 40 foot zoning and all of Natoma is 50 foot zoning along with the greater part of 10th street south of Mission beginning at the south side of Minna Street. This borders the project immediately to the south.
o Market/Octavia on the south side of Mission Street, up to the eastern boundary of CIIS at 1453 Mission, was re-zoned down to 85 feet from 130 feet. This is the border immediately to the west of the proposed project. The CIIS building is 85 feet tall. All of its windows facing east will be blocked. (See picture 1).
o 122 10th Street is directly adjacent to the south and its north windows would be fully blocked. This building is only 3 stories tall and immediately adjacent to the site with 40 foot zoning (See picture 1).
North Side of Mission Street
o All of the building heights above 100 feet are on the north side of Mission Street.
o Mercy Housing is 113 feet tall (123 at the top of the equipment).
o The southern end of the BofA building between Market and Mission, bordering 11th Street, is only 6 stories tall while the 20 story tower is further north.
o The SF Mart and Mart 2 are both the same height as mercy Housing.
General
o The project would be visually consistent with the heights of buildings to the north, and somewhat consistent with buildings to the south, but the project would be taller than and visually inconsistent with existing buildings to the east and south (P. 71 draft EIR)
o The height and mass of the project would be part of a trend and transition from the smaller structures south of Mission Street to the taller and bulkier projects proposed or under construction north of Mission Street. (P. 70 Draft EIR). The existing neighborhood strongly favors a transition and does not favor encroachment. A 146 foot tall building is disruptive rather than transitional.
o Though there are not any scenic views that would be blocked, the view of the sky and other buildings in the distance would be blocked (see pictures on page 66, looking south toward views of Saint Josephs Church, a historical landmark, at 10th and Howard and views north on page 69 of open sky and distant buildings in the Draft EIR). In addition, this would block natural light (not shadow). This is generally referred to as access to light and air by the Planning Department. From many of the residences on Natoma Street, we used to have views of Buena Vista Park and Grace Cathedral. These views have been fully blocked in the last 10 years and the neighborhood needs to preserve its existing views and access to light and air. (See pictures 2-9)
Transitions
o From the Draft EIRThe Citys height and bulk districts serve a variety of urban design purposes. (SF Planning Code, Sec. 251, height and Bulk Districts: Purposes).
 Principally these districts relate the height of new buildings to important attributes of the City pattern such as the height, scale, the character of existing development to avoid an overwhelming or dominating appearance. They also promote harmony in the visual relationships and transitions between new and old buildings. There is a variety of height and bulk districts nearby, ranging from a high of 320 feet, on the block to the north of the project sight, to a low of 40 feet, adjacent to the project site to the west. (122 10th Street is actually to the south)
o According to the SF Planning Department: Plan Element: Urban Design (Urban Design Element):
PART 1 CITY PATTERN AND CONSERVATION
 Large buildings impair the character of older, small scale areas if no transition is made between small-scale and large-scale elements. (Part 1, p.18, Fundamental Principles for Conservation, 4A)
 Visually Strong Buildings which contrast severely with their surroundings impair the character of the area. (Part 1, p.18, Fundamental Principles for Conservation, 4D). This directly affects the existing RED. (See picture 10)
PART 2 MAJOR NEW DEVELOPMENT
 The fitting in of new development is, in a broad sense, a matter of scale. (Part 2, p.1, Human Needs) The scale of the project does not correspond well with the existing scale of the RED and existing zoning immediately to the south.
 Much effort has been made in the past to relate each new building to its neighbors at both upper and lower levels, and to avoid jarring contrasts that would upset city pattern. Special care has been accorded the edges of distinct districts, where transitions in scale are especially important. (Part 2, p.1, Human Needs)
 A building that is well designed in itself will help reinforce the citys form if it is well placed, but the same building at the wrong location can be utterly disruptive. (Part 2, p.2, Human Needs)
 The remaining aspect of building scale to be considered is that of bulk, or the apparent massiveness of a building in relation to its surroundings. A building may appear to have great bulk whether or not it is of extraordinary height, and the result can be a blocking of near and distant views and a disconcerting dominance of the skyline and the neighborhood. (Part 2, p.2, Human Needs). This is consistent with our request for setbacks and lower height.
 - The apparent bulk of a building depends primarily upon two factors: the amount of wall surface that is visible, and the degree to which the structure extends above its surroundings. (Part 2, p.2, Human Needs)
 Harmony with existing development requires careful consideration of the character of the surroundings at each construction site. The scale of each new building must be related to the prevailing height and bulk in the area, and to the wider effects upon the skyline, views and topographic form. (Part 2, p.2, Objective 3: Moderation of Major New Development to Complement City Pattern, the Resources to be Conserved, and the Neighborhood Environment)
 Larger, taller buildings can blend pleasantly with small-scale areas if the change in scale is not excessive and if their form or surface pattern is articulated to reflect the existing scale. (Part 2, p.3,, Fundamental Principles for Major New Development, Item 1E)
 The relationship between areas of low, fine scaled buildings and areas of high, large-scaled buildings can be made more pleasing if the transition in building height and mass between such areas is gradual. (Part 2, p.4, Fundamental Principles for Major New Development, Item 4)
 A bulky building creates the most visual disruption when seen from a distance as the dominant silhouette against a background and/or foreground of much smaller structures. (Part 2, p.5, Fundamental Principles for Major New Development, Item 13)
 New buildings should be made sympathetic to the scale, form and proportion of older development. This can often be done by repeating existing building lines and surface treatment. Where new buildings reach exceptional height and bulk, large surfaces should be articulated and textured to reduce their apparent size and to reflect the pattern of older buildings. Although contrasts and juxtapositions at the edges of districts of different scale are sometimes pleasing, the transition between districts should generally be gradual in order to make the citys larger pattern visible and avoid overwhelming of the district of smaller scale. In transitions between districts and between properties, especially in areas of high intensity, the lower portions of buildings should be designed to promote easy circulation, good access to transit, good relationships among open spaces and maximum penetration of sunlight to ground level. (Part 2, p.6-7, Policy 3.1, Promote Harmony in the Visual Relationships and Transitions Between New and Older Buildings)
 Tall buildings should be clustered downtown and at other centers of activity to promote efficiency of commerce, to mark important transit facilities and to avoid unnecessary encroachment upon other areas of the City. In these areas, building height should taper down toward the edges to provide gradual transitions to other areas. (Part 2, p.8, Policy 3.5 Relate the height of buildings to important attributes of the city pattern and to the height and character of existing development, Map 4 Urban Design Guidelines for height of buildings)
 In residential areas of lower density, the established form of development is protected by limitations on coverage and requirements for yards and front setbacks. These standards assure provision of open space with new buildings and maintenance of sunlight and views. Such standards, and others that contribute to the livability and character of residential neighborhoods, should be safeguarded and strengthened. (Part 2, p.25, Policy 4.15 Protect the livability and character of residential properties from the intrusion of incompatible new buildings). This proposed building has walls that rise up 130 feet on all four sides.

PARKING
No variance should be granted for parking in order to not exacerbate existing parking limitations, especially during the day. (#2)

The project would create a demand for 158 spaces under the proposed revised zoning to C-3-G. The building will only have 46 spaces (self-park) or 101 valet spaces. Daytime parking is at full capacity and at about 35\% during the evenings. Under the current C-M zoning, the project would require 57 spaces (57 units would be created instead of 117 units).Under C-3-G, the maximum is 116 spaces or 117 under current C-M zoning if 117 units are built.
Parking breakdown per unit
o 65 studio/1 bedroom allowed up to 49 spaces
o 52 2-bedroom units allowed up to 52 spaces
o The total parking demand of 158 spaces would exceed the capacity of the proposed 116-space garage (valet) by 42 spaces (and would exceed the proposed garages self-park capacity of 61 cars by 97 spaces) as per the Draft EIR.
The analysis of the vehicle trips may be too general for the Western SOMA area. The location is favorable for people who work in the Peninsula or East Bay due to the easy access to freeways. CalTrains inadequacies are also demonstrated by commute times to simply reach CalTrain from most parts of the City and also the arrival points of CalTrain in the Peninsula that leave the commuter far from places of work. The easy access for vehicle usage for those who prefer to use cars to commute due to these shortcomings is a selling point to buyers/renters when attempting to market the units that specifically attracts tenants that have a greater propensity to own cars to the Western SOMA area. Claims of nearby public transit would convince people to eliminate cars may be overstated due to Peninsula commuters and tenants who desire to have a car for leaving the city (leisure).
For example, in our building, we have 8 units and there are 8 spaces and 8 cars (and a motorcycle and various bicycles). All 8 cars are not used except to leave the City for leisure. Otherwise, residents use public transit, walk, bike or motorcycle (everyone works in the City). Under the same assumption that each unit will have one car, but not use it except to leave the City, where will the potentially additional 97 (self-park scenario) or 42 (valet scenario) cars be parked during the week, including daytime, if parking is already at full capacity during the day (97\% capacity)?
Cumulative parking demand, exacerbated by the elimination of off-street parking from in-fill sites would likely create parking deficits relative to demand as the proposed project would. As per the Draft EIR

VARIANCES
No conditional use should be granted that would allow in excess of one dwelling unit per 125 sq. ft. lot area in order to avoid excessive bulk. (#3)

No variance should be granted for the dwelling unit exposure. (#4)

The exceptions/variances the project would need are the following (p. 2-3, Draft EIR Summary):
o Zoning Map Amendment under Planning Code Section 302, Planning Code Amendments, to reclassify the project site from a C-M (Heavy Commercial) to a C-3-G (Downtown General Commercial) Use District
o Exception for Accessory Parking above the principal permitted amount (Need a parking variance since there will 158 space needs versus only 117 spaces created)
o Exception for Rear Yard Requirements
o Exception for Curb-Out location on 10th Street
o Conditional Use authorization under Code Sections 303(c) and 215 for dwelling-unit density in excess of one unit per 125 sq.ft. of lot area pursuant to Planning Code Section 215(b), to exempt the floor area of on-site below market-rate units from the FAR limit pursuant to Planning Code Section 124(f) (Planning Commission)
o A variance from the dwelling unit exposure requirement for an open area at the southeastern corner at the site that several windows open onto that does not conform to Planning Code Section 140 (Zoning Administrator). (Sec 140 open area does not increase at 5 feet in every horizontal dimension, thus it requires a variance. In addition, this is the side that faces the RED and faces a 40 and 50 foot height district and would abut right against 122 10th Street and completely block the existing windows of that building, completely blocking access to light and air for 122 10th Street).
o Transfer of Development Rights under Section 128 of the Planning Code, Transfer Of Development Rights in C-3 Districts, for building above the permitted FAR in C-3-G Use districts (Planning Commission)

WIND
The wind study should be re-assessed due to the extremely hazardous wind conditions that are created by Fox Plaza and perpetuated by the existence of 120 foot tall buildings along 10th street. (#5)

Wind The Fox Plaza create hazardous wind conditions and the wind is channeled down 10th street. The consistency of 100 ft. tall buildings down this street perpetuates the problem. The existence of another building that is even taller will make the problem worse. A stepped-down smaller scale version will help this wind tunnel effect dissipate, whereas a taller one will exacerbate the problem.
We request that monitors be installed for wind speeds to exceeding 25 mph to shut down construction.
As per the EIRBuildings that are much taller than the surrounding buildings intercept and redirect winds that might otherwise flow overhead. Building walls divert winds downward towards the street, where ground-level wind speed and turbulence may be increased. These redirected winds can be relatively strong and incompatible with the intended uses of nearby ground-level areas. The consistency of the faзade all the way up to 130 feet on all four side of the building will definitely create this effect.
In regards to the Hotel Intercontinental at 5th Street and Howard Street, can we review the wind study in its EIR and then compare that to actual results. There is now a noticeable difference in wind strength and patterns due to the erection of this building along the Howard Street corridor just south of 5th Street that is especially noticed by bicycle commuters along this bicycle transit route.

GENERAL

The developers objectives that would not be met with a smaller version of this project are the following:
o Meet the project sponsors objective of a reasonable return on investment (profit should not be the driving factor for development at the expense of livability for the existing neighborhoodthere is a balance.)
o The goal of anchoring the corner site with a visually prominent building (That is a very personal goal. The Neighborhoods goal is to anchor it with a park and the existing neighborhood and residents and businesses certainly need to have a voice)
As per the Draft EIR, Alternative B (Existing Zoning Alternative) would be the environmentally superior alternative because it would have even less physical impacts than the proposed project. Nonetheless, the SF Planning Department is moving towards eliminating C-M zoning in favor of C-3-G zoning. The intent is to implement the updated parking requirements (fractional), but it brings higher density limits.
The number of cumulative units added north of Mission Street is 3,745 to 4,440. Doesnt this neighborhood already absorb more than its share of housing? Livability and the addition of open space, to address already serious deficiencies in open space for SOMA, should not be sacrificed at the expense of excessive density and unreasonable profit thresholds by developers.

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  • 25 October 201598. Margaret B
    This monstrosity speaks for itself. SF - a destination city of wonderful neighborhoods - not with this kind of development. Address 1453 Mission Street, Ste 520 Business or Resident (please specify) Business - IHSS Consortium
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  • 19 June 201589. Gary P
    I'm opposed to such a large building with so many variances - stay within the CODE! Address 132 Hamerton Avenue Business or Resident (please specify) Resident
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    Stop caving in to developers who can't even be trusted to pay their permit fees! Address 1122A Stanyan St. Business or Resident (please specify) resident
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  • 24 February 201580. Walter S
    not enough parking Address 1040 Natoma Street Business or Resident (please specify) both
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    Too high for earthquake country, sunlight, too many shadows on the ground blocking Address 431 Natoma Business or Resident (please specify) resident
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    The proposed structure is not compatible with the neighborhood. Sensible development is a good thing; Manhattan-style Mega Structures that ruin a neighborhood are BAD. Address 2172 15th St. #2 San Francisco, CA 94114 Business or Resident (please specify)
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Gracie LewisBy:
HealthIn:
Petition target:
San Francisco Planning Department

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