The entrance to the UCSF Medical Sciences and School of Nursing at the Parnassus campus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

The entrance to the UCSF Medical Sciences and School of Nursing at the Parnassus campus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Community groups suing in effort to stop UCSF Parnassus expansion

Three community groups are filing lawsuits in an attempt to stop the planned expansion of the University of California, San Francisco’s Parnassus campus.

San Franciscans for Balanced and Livable Communities, the Parnassus Neighborhood Coalition and The Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium allege that the environmental impacts that will be caused by the expansion were understated by the university, and suggest that the expansion would be better suited to the existing Mission Bay campus.

“The aim of the lawsuits is not to stop this project, but to make it work for all of us,” said former Mayor Art Agnos, who has joined neighborhood leaders pursuing citywide efforts to change the plan.

Some of the groups also expressed concerns that the expansion will clog up transportation in the Inner Sunset and negatively impact the housing market and air quality in the neighborhood. Additionally, two of the groups made reference to the university’s 1976 promise to refrain from expanding the campus.

The Yerba Buena Neighborhood Consortium added that the expansion would create more of a demand for housing, which would not be satisfied by the 1,263 units being added.

The planned expansion would increase the size of the campus by 50%, and includes affordable housing aimed at UCSF workers, a hospital and research facilities. The university has committed to investing $20 million in local transit to offset concerns about the expansion’s impact on traffic in the area.

UCSF community advisory board member and Inner Sunset resident Kevin Hart says he thinks the university has been “careful and deliberate” with the expansion process, and that it understands the needs of the neighborhood.

“I feel like they’re sensitive to the fact that they are expanding in our neighborhood,” Hart said. “And I think they’ve shown a willingness to ameliorate the possible downsides of having a big construction project like this go on and on.”

Hart, who is also an architect, said he thought that based on the consultants, campus planners and architects the university has hired, if they go forward with the expansion the neighborhood will get a hospital “like no one has ever seen before.”

“The university has been here for a long time, as we all have,” Hart said. “And over that period of time, science and medical science has changed enormously. The most modern hospital that could have been done in 1975 is way different — it’s now 46 years later. It’s logical for the requirements to have changed in that period of time.”

UCSF was unable to comment on the lawsuits on Friday.

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