Despite concerns that African-American residents would be displaced in a major neighborhood overhaul, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve a $188 million redevelopment plan for Bayview-Hunters Point on Tuesday.
If the plan is given final approval next week, 1,300 acres in The City’s southeast area — from south of Cesar Chavez Street and east of Highway 101 to the Bayshore area — will be designated as a redevelopment zone. Conferred upon areas determined to be blighted, state redevelopment status allows San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency to use the area’s property taxes to fund improvements.
Changes within the scope of the 30-year plan include the rehabilitation of historic buildings, business façade improvements, traffic calming devices, park and street improvements and the construction of 3,700 housing units, one-fourth of which will be priced for low-income families.
In the works for nearly a decade, the plan has divided the area’s residents, some of whom say the area desperately needs business renewal, better housing and safer neighborhoods. Others point to an infamous redevelopment effort in the 1960s that pushed The City’s African-American population out of the Fillmore District as proof that such plans often result in other populations taking over the improved area.
City officials, including Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, who has championed the redevelopment plan, say restrictions on eminent domain land seizures, new amendments that provide for citizen oversight and a city audit of the project as it progresses will serve to protect the existing local community.
“I believe we’re a different city than we were 40 years ago,” Supervisor Bevan Dufty said before voting for the plan.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano, who voted against it, said there were too many unanswered questions that could lead to unintended consequences for the area in the future.
“I think they’re trying to do something that is very good, but I just have deep concerns,” Ammiano said. “Even though it’s been nine years [since project plans first began], I feel this is somewhat hasty when you consider the scale and the breadth of this.”
Maxwell responded sharply to Ammiano’s comments. Without calling him out by name, she said veteran board members should be “ashamed” for not doing more to help the dilapidated high-crime area.
“If you’ve been so interested in Bayview, why does it look the way it does now?” she said.
The plan passed on a 6-3 vote, with two supervisors absent.