Sep 21, 2015 0 Comments in Community Outreach, density bonus, Land Use, Planning Department, Policy, Tour by

Last Thursday, the SF Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) took some members on a walking tour along Taraval Street in the Outer Sunset to explore a handful of sites that have the potential even at current zoning to yield more housing over retail. We walked to three of the largest parcels – two banks and a gas station – which have some of the greatest housing potential in the Outer Sunset neighborhood. Big thanks to all the city agencies working on bringing new neighborhood services and more housing to the west side — Supervisor Katy Tang, Office of Economic Workforce Development (OEWD), the Planning Department, and the Mayor’s Office of Housing — and for joining us on our tour.

FullSizeRender (6)Our chief tour guide, Dolly Sithounnolat, from OEWD kicked the tour off with an overview of the streetscape improvements happening in the Outer Sunset, which was part of the Invest in Neighborhoods initiative. Next, Supervisor Katy Tang gave the group a warm welcome, and story behind why her office has created the Sunset District Blueprint, a community driven plan for the future of the Sunset neighborhoods. One emphasis for her was to “incentivize people to invest here.” There’s great infrastructure includes the L Taraval train which came every 3-7 minutes during our tour, and is a short 20 minute trip downtown. The SF Housing Action Coalition applauds Sup Tang for setting out to find ways to keep the neighborhood character, provide desirable retail and build denser family sized housing so multi-generations can call San Francisco home.

At the first stop, outside the Bank of America building at 1007 Taraval, we heard a detailed presentation about the proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program (the local take on the state’s density bonus law) by Kearstin Dischinger – Policy Planner at the SF Planning Department. The Affordable Housing Bonus Program has been created so neighborhoods, like the Outer Sunset, can build more market-rate housing while achieving a healthy 30% on-site affordable housing target where we aren’t seeing much housing construction. This program operates under the current zoning in the neighborhood, which hasn’t been touched since 1979 — the same year that Prop 13, rent control and state density bonus all came into being. The attendees were especially interested in this program, and asked good questions about legislation timing, current zoning, density allowances, perks for building such high levels of on-site affordable (beyond the mandated 12%) and one neighbor was very interested in parking requirements for all the new housing. Tim Colen was quick to remind everyone that while parking is still an issue, numbers are showing downward trends in car ownership rates amongst urban dwellers. Locations in proximity to reliable transit and neighborhoods with desired amenities, parking becomes less of a concern. 

Moving along, we saw another property currently being occupied by a Chase bank that has the potential for 15 new homes above retail. Teresa Yanga, Director of Housing Development with the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH) shared information about the new draft legislation that the Mayors Office of Housing has been working on — the Inclusionary Dial — where developers could build more affordable homes for moderate income earners. IMG_3348

One of the most interesting parts of the tour was at the finale with Dimitri Vardakastanis, co-owner of Noriega Produce Market shared his experience working with OEWD and the city to develop a gas station into a grocery store with housing above. With help from the OEWD and the MOH, he is now going through the entitlement phase of constructing, so far, he’s gotten good feedback from the neighbors and city in the process. Dimitri hopes the new Affordable Housing Bonus Program is in place by the time he goes to to the Planning Commission with his project because he would be interested in building more housing for neighborhood families.

Tour Locations:

1007 Taraval St. Currently a Bank of America
Parcel size (sq ft) 13,000
Potential residential units: 15
Potential Commercial (sq ft) 11,676

924 Taraval St. Currently a Chase Bank
Parcel size (sq ft) 10,500
Potential residential units: 12
Potential Commercial (sq ft) TBD

918 Taraval. Currently a Shell Gas Station
Parcel size (sq ft) 14,500.
Potential residential units: 18
Potential Commercial (sq ft) 31,878

Check out Invest in Neighborhoods fact sheet to learn more great info about the Sunset.

Neighborhood Fact Sheet

About the Author

SF Housing Action Coalition

SF Housing Action Coalition

The SF Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions for San Franciscans.

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