Mount Sutro housing development approved

A housing development approved Thursday for the west side of Mount Sutro will feature 34 units in 12 two-unit and 10 one-unit buildings.

It also will create a new road to access the development, 68 parking spaces and a water-catching system to prevent the hillside from getting saturated and potentially creating landslides, according to development plans.

Though the project was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission, dozens of residents from the surrounding neighborhoods opposed the development during a 90-minute comment period in which they raised concerns over traffic issues, pedestrian safety and the stability of the hillside.

The project will be located off the north end of Crestmont Drive; it is currently an empty lot.

Paul Gorman of the Crestmont-Mt. Sutro Neighborhood Preservation Coalition said the group wholly opposes the development.

“According to the San Francisco general plan, a project must contribute to the neighborhood, not degrade it,” he said. “We feel this project will degrade the neighborhood.”

Resident Amy Birch, who lives on Devonshire Way, asked the commission to consider the concerns of the residents before approving the project.

“We are the folks who’ll be living through the construction and living with the traffic because of this project,” she said.

Many of the neighbors pleaded with the commission to visit the site before making any decision. Residents said the roads were too narrow for additional traffic and the area is prone to landslides.

Others supported the development, saying San Francisco needs more single-family homes.

“To us, this project raises the issue of density equity,” said Tim Colen of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition. “It’s less dense than we’d like to see, but it’s an excellent design and it fits the neighborhood well in context. This project is a long time coming.”

Planning Commissioner Michael Antonini said the plan is consistent with the density of the neighborhood, despite the concerns voiced by residents.

“This has the potential to be a significant development and it could be a very good one,” he said.

According to developers, they wanted the project to remain consistent with the neighborhood, so duplexes and single-family homes will be built.

The original plans in 1976 called for 105 units, but that was reduced to 83. Shortly after that change, 48 units were built, leaving 35 available for construction. The current plans call for 34.

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