UCSF gives city planning the royal salute

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By Tim Redmond

UCSF, which is developing a huge new campus at Mission Bay, wants to put a new research facility a few blocks away on Third Street. The Pritzker Center would focus on mental health for kids, and I'm all in favor of that. Of course, it involves turning a vacant warehouse into essentially office and clinical space, which may violate the city's attempts to preserve blue-collar jobs in the southeast neighborhoods, but we may never hear any discussion of that issue, or of any other planning-related issues, and here's why:

In a remarkable Fuck You to the entire city of San Francisco planning process, UCSF has essentially declared that it doesn't have to abide by any city planning procedures at the site.

This isn't even part of the Mission Bay campus, which is already zoned for UC's use. In fact, UC doesn't actually own the building. So by any normal standard, UCSF would have to apply to the city planning department for environmental review.

No such luck: The school has done its own review, determined on its own that there are no environmental issues, and told the city planners to kiss off.

Maybe the Pritzker Center is a fine use of that space, but it's a scary precedent that could set the stage for UC expanding far beyond Mission Bay, taking other property and turning it to campus use -- without any meaninful community input.

Sue Hestor is fighting the move; you can see her letter as a PDF here.