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Bayshore Boulevard Navigation Center up for approval by SF Planning Commission

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RVs are shown parked on Barneveld Avenue near the site of a planned new Navigation Center. (Mira Laing/Special to S.F. Examiner)

The Planning Commission is expected to vote Thursday to allow the construction of a Navigation Center near a tangle of freeway overpasses at Cesar Chavez Street and Potrero Avenue known as “the Hairball.”

The area was until recently home to a large homeless encampment that at its height provided shelter to several dozen people, prompting The City to clear it last fall.

The proposed center will bring 128 beds along with social services for the homeless to two lots at 125 Bayshore Blvd. and will operate for four years, according to planning documents. The lots total some 31,260 square feet on a block bounded by Jerrold Avenue, Barneveld Avenue, Oakdale Avenue, and Bayshore Boulevard.

Due to its location near the intersection of Districts 9 and 10, priority will be given to the homeless living in both neighborhoods, according to Jeff Kositsky, who heads The City’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.

The proposed center aims to respond to an ongoing need for services in the area. Despite the Hairball encampment’s official resolution, campers who found temporary placement in surrounding Navigation Centers often return to the site due to its remote location, according to Carolyn Goosen, legislative Aide to Mission Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

The center’s construction would require improvements to an existing warehouse and office building on the site, as well as the construction of a 1,554 square-foot exterior deck. Two 865-foot trailers containing modular restroom and shower facilities will be placed on-site for the use of clients.

The center is expected to open its doors no later than mid-July. Planning staff are recommending approval of the project.

According to Kositsky, the planned center faces little opposition. Planning officials say two neighboring businesses have contacted the Planning Department with concerns that having a homeless shelter nearby could impact patronage and increase trash and crime in the area.

There are currently five Navigation Centers operating in the City, including two in the Mission District, at 1950 Mission St. and 1515 South Van Ness Ave., that are expected to close this year; the Civic Center Hotel, which is expected to close in 2019; the Central Waterfront Navigation Center in the Dogpatch; and a center near Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Another 125-bed Navigation Center planned for Division Circle, at the intersection of 13th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, is expected to open in June. The City is also planning to place another 85-bed facility at Fifth and Bryant streets.

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