Not in our neighborhood - Page 2

District 2 residents and supervisor oppose housing projects for at-risk young people

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The Booker T. Washington Community Service Center would be expanded to include housing for at-risk young people
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY BEN HOPFER

The report called for 400 new affordable housing units for this population to be completed or under construction by 2012. Edward II and BTWCSC are located in the Marina and the Western Addition, respectively, in proximity to affluent neighborhoods in a district with a dearth of affordable housing.

"With supportive housing [going] into neighborhoods that never had affordable housing, there is a certain unknown and it makes people uncomfortable," said Gail Gilman, Executive Director of Community Housing Partnership, which owns and manages the Edward II project.

Patricia Vaughey, a resident of the Marina-Cow Hollow area since 1976, is perhaps the most vocal critic of the project. She has used the neighborhood associations and every other city forum she can find as platforms to lambaste the plans. "It just kills my soul to see this project," she told us, voicing a variety of concerns about how the project would be managed. "I am so worried about the kids ... We are asking for the best program in the country and we are not getting it."

Yet Gilman said that considerable energy and many resources have been invested in designing Edward II and that she trusts Larkin Street Youth Service, a respected nonprofit agency, to do the programming. "We chose to partner with Larkin Street because they are the experts in this area," she said.

Vaughey characterized the stretch of Lombard Street between Divisadero and Van Ness streets, where Edward II will be located, as marred by crime and prostitution and unsuitable for this project. "We have a little Tenderloin down here," she said.

Gilman disputed that characterization and said the building was chosen after an extensive search and that it met the criteria of having the right sized building in a safe neighborhood with good access to public transit and open space.

But many residents have expressed concern over the pending change to zoning for the building. And if the BTWCSC project couldn't win Farrell's support, the Edward II project faces an even more uphill battle because Farrell told us, "There's an even stronger level of neighborhood concern over that project.... It's going to be a tough hill to climb."

The contentious issue under review by the Planning Department is an application to expand the density limit from 16 units to 24.

John Miller, president of the Marina Community Association, said that "from a neighborhood dynamic perspective," a change to density is problematic. He said changing the density for one building is a slippery slope that could hurt the entire neighborhood. "Higher density is inconsistent with the neighborhood. It could work beautifully at lower density."

Miller said potential renters in the vicinity would be concerned with "loitering that could occur when people are coming and going ... With so many people there is no sense of community"

Yet as with BTWCSC, proponents say simply slashing the project to a smaller size would kill it because then it wouldn't pencil out financially. Making an issue of density is therefore obstruction of the project because compromise cannot be reached on the issue.

Farrell, a venture capitalist, said he ran the numbers on BTWCSC and believes it would still be a viable project at four stories if the Mayor's Office of Housing is able to offer some unspecified assistance, as he said the officials there have pledged to him they would. "I know we need more affordable housing," Farrell said, rejecting suggestions that D2 residents tend to oppose all affordable housing projects. "I don't think that should be a part of this conversation."

Farrell criticized the outreach done by Edward II proponents, telling us, "I don't think it was done in a tactful way." But Miller said a recent meeting with Gilman and others was positive. "It was an effort on their part to respond to the neighborhood concerns as best they can," Miller said.

Comments

Apparently, for these upper-income jackasses, it's all about THEIR kids and the poor kids can f*ck*ff. Maybe they'd prefer a 5 story Barnie's instead so they don't have to drive their kids all the way to Union Square. These people are just so sickening. They complain about poor people on the streets, then complain when housing/shelter is proposed, then they pass useless sit-lie laws to tell them to go *somewhere* else when there isn't anyplace to go. No. They're concerns are NOT valid. Loitering?? Seriously?? On that stretch of Lombard? There probably wouldn't be anymore that 10-15 kids living there AND it will have on-site services to help them become self-sufficient!! What do you people want!?!? Maybe they would prefer a soylent green solution and just collect and grind up all the poor for snacks. What is wrong with these people???

Posted by Guest on Jun. 01, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

Maybe getting these at-risk kids out of the slums and low income neighborhoods and let them be around more affluent surroundings will encourage them to get an education and work hard in order to one day have their own material success. Either that, or they'll start selling dope to little Skylar and Colten.

Posted by chelsea on Jun. 02, 2011 @ 8:55 am

Well, I live near this neighborhood, and I am torn. I also do not like to be near such projects due to potential negative impact. However, it is also unfair that these facilities are ALWAYS placed in the same areas, and should really be spread throughout the City so everyone shares in the burden. In NYC, similar facilities are to be found in EVERY neighborhood EXCEPT the ritzy Upper East Side, which is unfair and and highly hypocritical of the bleeding-heart millionaires (Bloomie anyone?). Nothing worse than a wealthy liberal, they champion affordable housing, charity, and helping the downtrodden, and they vote for politicians and taxes that support a multitude of social programs...as long as none of these facilities are in their neighborhood. So really, these moneyed Marina dwellers can suck it. Now you know what people in other areas of the City complain about.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 06, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

I live on the block (Sutter) half a block from the Center. I am in favor of affordable housing for youth. I even worked for the Larkin Street project for a short time as a temp. I had a lot of misgivings about the build up of the center because I have to drive for my job and need parking in my area. It's possible that there won't be many extra cars owned by poor youth so maybe it's a moot point.

I do have a problem with the portrayal of the area as being upscale and affluent. There are a few condos in the immediate vicinity but mostly rental housing for middle class working people. If you go north for several blocks there's Pacific Heights; a real, bona fide affluent area. An area that they won't propose this kind of housing and I wish they would. They need diversity more in that area.

If you go two blocks east of the center you will find housing projects already there. Don't take my word for it; go there and look for yourselves. So it isn't the affluent area painted in the article. There are some important facts contained in the article but I think it loses some credibility when it tries to create a rich vs poor struggle story.

Get the facts, get all the facts, then make your opinion.

Thank you for reading my rant.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

These are the neighbors (mostly a multi cultural family neighborhood of artists and working people) that said yes to the project . So..The developers switched the in code- 40 fit project first submitted-- to a 70 ft big box structure that dwarfs the mostly historic victorian 1 and 2 story home community surrounding it.-BTW needed a special spot zoning in order to make the 500% density building expansion legal passed quick.. so this is why the neighbors are attacked in the press. BTW never sat down with the neighbors to include them in any of the new community centers building plans unlike other well managed Westside Court in Western Addition affordable housing project in the same neighborhood ... BTW was funded by the City for the project even before a make shift Environmental Impact Report was ever done with just wrong misinformation about the residential home buildings surrounding it. The 5th story reduction in question is not slated for foster youth transitioning.. They are market apartment units owned by the developer and could be reduced and not effect the youth apartments or finances says the MOH. There is no parking planned for the units and the whole building is out of code for the height and density. It is illegal according to current building code laws and density for the neighborhood. It takes a 3-4 city blocks of light away from neighbors with a giant 65-70 fit huge walls buttress to many 1 and 2 story homes so that light will not fall on houses or backyards. Officials stood by while Drew School or Treasure Island new buildings plans opted out on affordable housing.. so now the neighbors that said yes are just not that important. The 1 billion dollar investment push on public housing will loose money if they care about SF neighborhoods,too.

Posted by Kathy on Jun. 15, 2011 @ 9:03 am

It's not about the who. It's about the density and the parking. There are a number of large apartment buildings on that block as well as numerous multi unit building and few garages and even less parking spaces.

Any new development of whatever kind would have a negative impact on the neighborhood.

And please don't call this an upscale neighborhood. It's as far from that as possible.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 15, 2011 @ 9:20 am