The site of a proposed development at Fifth and Mission streets in San Francisco. (Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo)

SoMa community groups appeal ‘5M’ project

Opponents of a major mixed-use development proposed in the South of Market neighborhood have filed an appeal with The City seeking to challenge the final environmental impact report and other project approvals that were supported by the Planning Commission last month.

The South of Market Action Committee, South of Market Community Action Network, Save Our SoMa and Friends of Boeddeker Park sent a letter of appeal dated Friday to the Board of Supervisors, citing concerns with 17 approvals of the project. The development agreement between The City and “5M” project must still be approved by the board.

The 5M project — led by development giant Forest City and property owner Hearst Corporation at 925 Mission St. and nearby parcels — includes more than 600 market-rate units, offices, open space, parking and restaurants. The project would also fund the construction of 212 residential units at no more than 50 percent of the area median income, including a below­-market-­rate housing site at 168­-186 Eddy St.

The Planning Commission at its Sept. 17 meeting unanimously certified the final environmental impact report and voted 5­-2 to in favor of various conditional use authorizations. The Planning and Recreation and Park commissions also jointly signed off on raising the shadow limit at Boeddeker Park at Jones and Eddy streets in the Tenderloin.

In addition to offering a third of its homes at below-market-rate, the commission called for developers to establish a small sites acquisition fund and a stabilization fund for displaced residential and commercial properties. The commission also recommended that the development agreement include $300,000 toward a Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

But opponents of the development – who argue it will ultimately lead to the displacement of residents within the community, particularly among the neighborhood Filipino population – claim in the appeal letter that the agreement violates area plans, codes, zoning designations and regulations, and proper analysis of wind and shadow impacts were not conducted.

“We don’t believe in passing special laws to make the 5M project possible,” said Dyan Ruiz, spokesperson for the SoMa Action Committee.

The appeal letter also argues that the EIR fails to adequately analyze impacts of height, traffic, pedestrian safety, open space, shade and shadow effects, wind and inconsistency with area plans and policies.

Alexa Arena, senior vice president of Forest City, said the project will proceed for approval as planned, and noted the development is the first private project to offer 33 percent below-market-rate housing in the same neighborhood.

“We will be presenting our current project for approval, which is a collaborative effort with the community created over six years, approved by the Planning Commission and has support from neighborhood, affordable housing and arts groups,” Arena said in a statement.

The project will pay $8.8 million for transit improvements as well. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority Board of Directors on Tuesday is slated to vote on the project.

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