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333 Harrison Street Plans Under Review

While I’m still fired up about my natural sunlight getting walled off by a proposed new building at 430 Main / 429 Beale and creating a cave for our courtyard and those of us living in BayCrest units facing the courtyard, there’s another site in Rincon Hill that the Planning Department is reviewing at 333 Harrison. The folks involved in this project met with attendees of the December 2008 Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting. I think the consensus was that we’d rather have a development on the lot than another parking lot to encourage more cars into the City, but I don’t know what the design looks like and what sort of impacts the folks at Bridgeview might suffer from the building.

As I stated about the 430 Main / 429 Beale project, I do not believe there should be exceptions to the Planning Code when the Rincon Hill Plan was just passed in 2005. In this case, stick to 154 parking spaces because we need less cars in San Francisco – not more. Instead of building 75 units that do not have at least one window facing a street or alley, a Code-complying rear yard or open space, make larger units … 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom units instead of studios or 1 bedroom units. On that note, I understand that 40 percent 2-bedrooms would probably be hard to sell in this neighborhood that lacks a school, lacks open space (right now anyway), and has the Bay Bridge traffic rolling through at dangerous speeds because the San Francisco DPT focuses on cars moving more than pedestrians and bicyclists safely getting around, but only 4.5% two bedrooms ?!?!?

I believe there is a meeting at One Rincon Hill’s community room on Thursday, March 12th starting at 6pm for those parties interested in talking with the Emerald Fund folks about this proposed project. They’ve been great about keeping an open dialog and working with the community.

I’ll be writing a letter about this project with my disagreements of the above items.  I’d encourage you to do so as well if you’re not in agreement with the exceptions and variances requested. I’d get it in the mail by Monday.

Here’s the notice I received in the mail today (thank goodness for high school typing class):

A public hearing is scheduled for Thursday, March 19, 2009 beginning at 1:30pm or later (please call 558-6422 on or after Monday, March 16, 2009, or thereafter for a recorded message giving a more precise hour that the hearing of this specific matter will begin), in City Hall, 1 Dr. Cartlon B. Goodlett Place Room 400.

Persons who are unable to attend the scheduled hearing may submit written comments regarding this case to Ben A. Fu at the Planning Department, 1650 Mission Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. Comments received by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on the day of the hearing and will be made a part of the official record and will be brought to the attention of the Planning Commission.

2007.1250XV: 333 Harrison Street (a.k.a. 105 Harrison Street), bounded by Harrison Street to the north, Beale Street to the east, the Bay Bridge west approach to the south, and the Fremont access ramp to the west; lot 009 in assessor’s block 3766 – Request under Planning Code Sections 309.1, 825, and 827 for determination of compliance, and exceptions to allow greater than one parking space for every two units, dwelling unit exposure, and minor height measurement modifications. The subject property is located within the Rincon Hill Downtown Residential Mixed Use District with a 65-X Height and Bulk Designation.

The project proposal is to construct a new seven-story, 65-foot building consisting of up to 308 dwelling units over a below-grade parking structure for up to 204 spaces. The development proposal also requires Variances for unit mix and open space, to be heard and considered by the Zoning Administrator at the same hearing.

Though under separate action, the project is related to the proposed ordinance to amend Planning Code Section 309.1 that would allow the Planning Commission to grant, as exceptions per Section 309.1, minor height measurement modifications that would otherwise be permitted under Section 304 for a qualifying Planned Unit Development for projects in Downtown Residential Districts.

Design Review and Exceptions

Planning Code Section 309.1 requires Planning Commission review of design of projects greater than 50,000 gross square feet or 85 feet in height and allows exceptions such as parking, dwelling unit exposure, and height measurements.

Planning Code Section 827 limits the off-street parking requirement for residential uses to up to one space per every two dwelling units, or 154 spaces for the project. Up to one space per dwelling may be permitted on a case-by-case basis by the Planning Commission. The project proposes a total of 204 spaces for the proposed 308 dwellings.

Planning Code Section 140 requires dwelling units to have at least one window facing a street or alley, a Code-complying rear yard or open space. 75 of the 308 proposed dwelling units would not meet the requirement.

The proposed ordinance to amend Planning Code Section 309.1 would allow exceptions for minor height measurement modifications. The project would seek derivation from the provisions for measurement of height by utilizing the Fremont Street access ramp as point of measurement.

Variances

Planning Code Sections 207.6 and 827 rquire new residential construction to include a minimum of 40 percent of the total number of proposed dwelling units to contain at least two bedrooms or 30 percent of the total number of proposed dwelling units to contain at least three bedrooms. The project proposes approximately 4.5 percent of its units to contain two bedrooms.

Planning Code Sections 135 and 827 require 75 square feet of open space for each dwelling unit. Though meeting the square footage requirement, approximately 34 percent of the proposed open space does not meet the dimensional or exposure requirements.

For further information, call Ben Fu at 415.558.6613, or e-mail at ben.fu@sfgov.org and ask about Case Nos.2007.1250XV.

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