Open Letter to Gordon Mar: Successfully Integrate Affordable Housing
Updated: Mar 17, 2021
As published in Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon on 02.10.21
Supervisor Gordon Mar,
The residents of District 4 and the Mid-Sunset Neighborhood Association have been attempting in good faith to communicate with you about the neighborhood’s concerns / considerations around this project. The majority of our constituents are supportive of Affordable Housing and support the intent of the project. However, instead of working collaboratively with your constituents who are looking to support the project, you are focusing on specific comments from fringe groups who are not even residents of the Sunset district. You leverage these comments from the fringe groups in your recent PR piece where you name-call and brand people in your own community as racist and classist because they disagree with certain elements of your proposal.
We want to collaborate with you as our elected representative to create Affordable Housing that will be a win-win for both the existing and proposed new residents of our neighborhood. We also request you avoid inflammatory rhetoric meant to discourage reasonable community discussion and provide the press you engage with a balanced view of what is really happening in your community.
As you well know, the Mid-Sunset Neighborhood Association (comprised of immediate neighbors) have been trying to work with you to reasonably integrate an affordable housing development at 2550 Irving Street for the benefit of new and existing residents and businesses alike.
We define reasonably integrated in this specific case as a development that:
Prioritizes affordable housing for existing Sunset residents and families with children, in keeping with high-density family of the neighborhood
Maintains or improves the character of the neighborhood for both new and existing residents
Maintains or improves congestion and transport for both new and existing residents
Maintains or improves public safety for both new and existing residents
Maintains or improves property values for existing residents and new ones buying into the neighborhood.
These are neither unreasonable view points nor racist or classist. In fact, they shouldn’t even be contentious for someone who actually cares about integration. They are the asks of a community that is invested in the future development and growth of their neighborhood for the benefit of existing and incoming residents of all income ranges and races.
Examples of the types of reasonable discussions and compromises we have been trying to have with you and the developer (MOHCD & TNDC) to successfully integrate affordable housing at 2550 Irving Street include:
Reduce the height of the building from 7 stories to 4 stories and design an exterior in harmony with the distinctive Sunset style, particularly given the surrounding blocks’ Parkway Terraces Historic District designation. Note: The other proposed affordable housing units (listed below) in the Sunset are 4-5 stories high, with a couple exceptions that don’t back up right until 1-2 story single-family homes like this development will:
Shirley Chisholm Village: new 4 and 5 story building with 134 units of 100% affordable multifamily housing project (preference for SFUSD teachers) with a mix of studios, 1-, 2- and 3-bedrooms, and 48 parking spaces.
3945 Judah Street: 5 stories, 20 units, 5 BMR.
3601 Lawton Street: First proposal was for 15 units/4 stories, but City approved new plans adding a 5th floor and greater density (41 units/5 floors) in exchange for 25% of units are AH.
3701 Noriega Street: 4 stories, 12 units, 42 parking spaces (18 residential, 24 commercial) in basement.
2255 Taraval Street: 4 stories, 10 units, 1 BMR.
Sloat Garden Center: 8 stories, 213 condos, 49 BMR, 48 parking spaces
The Westerly on Sloat: 5 stories, 56 condos, 7 BMR.
Keep the 100% affordable housing, and:
Guarantee that 1) 40% of the popular will actually be from the Sunset & 2) 50% will actually be ‘families with children’, as is in keeping with the intention of the development and what you have been saying publicly.
Adjust the affordable housing tenant mix to be more balanced and supportive of working families (including teachers, health-case workers, essential workers) and seniors who need affordable housing as these groups don’t currently qualify for the majority of units skewed to special population/formerly homeless & extremely/very low income – again in keeping with the intention of the development.
Assess the level of needs of the 20% special population/formerly homeless and provide adequate social services, security & maintenance – for their benefit and the surrounding community, keeping the community informed.
Address parking, traffic and public transit concerns by increasing the parking-to-unit ratio from 3.6% ratio (proposed 11 parking spots for 300 people) to 25%.
Minimize the impact of construction & development on immediate neighbors – including accommodations for shade, privacy, etc.
We appreciate you engaging with the community to make this affordable housing a success – and we would appreciate it if you could share the community’s reasonable concerns with the press next time you speak with them, including how you’re planning to engage with us to address them.
The Mid-Sunset Neighborhood Association