Fees, less parking mark new plan for Market-Octavia

Two-way Hayes Street is part of proposal that would try to relieve area congestion

Under a new proposal for the Market-Octavia area, Hayes Street traffic could run two ways, fewer parking spaces would be provided to new residents and developers would pay special fees under a proposal for the area.

The latest incarnation of the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan — which calls for 4,400 new housing units by 2025 in the area of Market Street between Van Ness Avenue and Church Street, including the new Octavia Boulevard — would provide less than one parking spot per housing unit as is the standard under The City’s planning rules.

“Too much parking creates a suburb [like] Mountain View,” said Jason Henderson of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association at a presentation of the plan at The San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. “Too much space for automobiles makes it less livable.”

The neighborhood plan has been in the works for more than six years and is scheduled for review by the Planning Commission this month. The plan, which offers a policy framework for development, includes controls such as maximum building heights (400 feet), land use, building designs, parking, and loading and open space. The plan is long overdue largely because the environmental review of the plan was not completed while the plan was taking shape, city planners have said.

The neighborhood, which once had a portion of the Central Freeway shadowing it, has changed its image, City Planner John Billovits said. That, in conjunction with rising real estate values, makes it a prime spot for development, he added.

In another attempt to mitigate traffic congestion in the area, which is likely to be home to twice as many residents, Hayes Street, which runs east to west, would be transformed into a two-way street.

The new configuration would encourage cars to drive slower and would create a more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, planners say.

A development fee to cover the costs of green space and other neighborhood improvements is also being floated.

Developers that want to build in the area would have to pay an additional $10 per square foot for residential development projects and $4 per square foot for commercial development.

The fee proposal is aimed at generating $68 million for public improvements, roughly half of which would pay for open space.

“It’s another piece of the public benefit plan,” Billovits said. “We’re asking for partial payment for the impact. We’re just asking them to fund a portion” of the costs.

The South of Market multitower development of Rincon Hill imposed a similar, controversial fee upon developers.

Developers have thus far not criticized the latest fee proposal, said AnnMarie Rodgers, a planner with The City.

The neighborhood plans are designed to avoid piecemeal planning in areas measuring 40 acres or more. It includes long-term planning guidelines that span decades. If the Board of Supervisors later endorses the plan, it would become a part of The City’s general plan, which governs development.

mcarroll@examiner.com

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