Appeals To City Hall Over Edward II Youth Housing Project Fail

November 2011

On Oct. 4, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors held a marathon meeting that included three agenda items regarding the transitional-age youth housing development proposed for 3151–3155 Scott Street, also known as the Edward II Inn.

The first item was the introduction of a proposed ordinance to create the Lombard and Scott Street Affordable Group Housing Special Use District. The legislation was introduced by Supervisor David Chiu in the Land Use and Economic Development Committee and was forwarded to the board for a vote without recommendation.

Two appeals initiated by the Cow Hollow Association and other neighborhood associations were also on the agenda.

The first appeal concerned the issuance of a mitigated negative declaration for the project by the S.F. Planning Commission in July 2011. A mitigated negative declaration is issued when an environmental impact study is required under state regulations, but revisions to the project plans are made that satisfy local review agencies before the study is released for public review. Such a “neg dec” says that there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. The appellants contend that sufficient and adequate analysis was not performed by the city that would justify a negative declaration.

The second appeal requested that the board overturn the Planning Commission’s approval of a conditional use authorization allowing a 25-unit residential project on a site that is not zoned for such density. The appellants maintain that the authorization requires a special use district that was not in place at the time of the approval.

After over three hours of public testimony, the Board of Supervisors denied both appeals and approved the Lombard and Scott Street Affordable Group Housing Special Use District. Supervisor Mark Farrell was the only vote in favor of the appeals and in opposition to the creation of the special use district. During the same meeting, Supervisor Farrell introduced legislation crafted with the Mayor’s Office of Housing to establish an e-mail notification system where individuals can opt-in to receive earlier notification about future developments being funded by the city. “My hope and belief is through this simple legislation, we can avoid the debacle which has unfolded over the last two years in my district, avoid these appeals, and the likely lawsuits as well.”

According to members of the neighborhood associations involved in these appeals, the courts will be the next stop for this issue.