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Planning nixes housing-lite Whole Foods

The former location of Lombardi’s sporting goods at Polk and Jackson Streets looks like it might never get a Whole Foods 365 store after a vote by the Planning Commission in early November. In a 5–1 preliminary vote, the commission rejected Village Properties’ plan to use the existing building for a grocery store and eight residential units (a mix of studios, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom units). The commissioners said the site needed more housing, even if it required tearing down and replacing the building with a larger project, something that would require a zoning change.

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Planning Commissioner Milicent Johnson saying, “I could not in good conscience let this be a supermarket for the next 25 years in a time of a housing crisis.”

“Over the past three years, more and more housing has been built in the immediate neighborhood,” Russian Hill Neighbors President Carol Ann Rogers told the San Francisco Business Times. “It isn’t responsible or thoughtful to continue to build housing when there is no infrastructure the people in that housing need. Grocery is a pretty basic, reasonable service to expect to have nearby.”

The commission was not expected to change its mind in its final vote on Nov. 29.


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