The San Francisco Planning Commission has approved The City’s first low-income housing development for LGBT seniors, but some members of the surrounding community say it will attract too much traffic to the already congested neighborhood.
The development at 55 Laguna St. is part of a larger construction project that will fill about 6 acres of land. The development will include 330 market-rate units and 110 units for low-income LGBT seniors. A public park, community center and community garden will also be built on the site, along with 310 underground parking spaces.
The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has vocally opposed the planned parking, even though it supports the development. Before the commission’s unanimous vote Thursday, association members proposed limiting the number of parking spaces to 165. But its suggestions were not included in the final plan.
“Even though we support the character of this project, we still need to make sure we’re looking at this parking issue closely,” said Jason Henderson, chair of the Transportation and Planning Committee for the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. “They’re implementing additional parking spaces to an area that is already transit-rich.”
Some commission members have argued that adding more parking spaces is necessary since many elderly people drive.
“While we encourage public transportation, but a lot of people don’t feel comfortable using it and want to drive their own car,” said Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini. “It’s unrealistic to assume that just because a certain percentage of the project is earmarked for seniors, they’re not going to have cars. A lot of seniors need to drive because their mobility is compromised.”
Of the 310 parking spaces, 51 would be reserved for employees and clients at a dental clinic on the property. Setting aside those spaces, the available parking will average about one space for every two residential units, Antonini said.
“We have been very congenial with the developer and have a good working relationship despite this disagreement,” Henderson said. “HVNA will continue to encourage the developer to reduce the parking and we also hope to continue a discussion about the dental school parking.”
The senior housing development, scheduled to begin construction in 2014, would be the nation’s largest development for LGBT seniors.