Public comment window opens for Central SoMa Plan

A 60-day public comment period has opened for the community to provide feedback to The City on the proposed redevelopment of Central SoMa.

In the works since 2013, the Central SoMa Plan aims to create a mixed-income zone that raises structure height limits, and prioritizes affordable housing, historically preserved buildings, and improved parks and streets.

For those interested in the details, a hefty 698-page Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been released, covering everything from new pedestrian infrastructure to zoning changes.

“There are over six years of public engagement reflected in the Central SoMa Plan,” said John Rahaim, Director of San Francisco Planning. “We could not have come this far without the community’s contributions and insight, and we look forward to taking this next step with them. This approach to public involvement should allow us to achieve a new level of public analysis and response.”

SEE RELATED: SF seeks to upzone Central SoMa neighborhood

In addition to writing emails, residents will be able to submit comments on the plan through a new website, built specifically for collecting Central SoMa feedback. All comments submitted will be accessible by city planners, who will then be able to organize the data by topic.

This type of public comment website, built by SmartComment, has been used to collect information for a number of high-profile state and federal projects, particularly ones where a large amount of comment data will be collected. It’s been used for the proposed $5.4 billion extension of the 710 Freeway in Los Angeles, the Nanushuk oil discovery in Alaska, and the proposed Lucky Minerals mine in Montana. It’s the first time the City of San Francisco has asked for comments to be submitted in this way.

“With manual comment management, planners and consultants would have had to spend untold amounts of time coordinating their efforts, gathering and organizing comments, setting update meetings, and other time-consuming tasks,” said SmartComment co-founder Tim Mullen. “Now, they can simply log in to the project interface and get an up-to-the-second view of the latest input and their own individual work silo. It’s the ultimate win-win for both the public and the planning department.”

The 60-day public comment period on the Draft EIR opened on Dec. 14 and will close on Feb 13, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. Comments can be submitted here.

Nuala Sawyer
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Nuala Sawyer

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