The San Francisco Planning Commission just helped to right a major wrong.
On April 20th, the proposed housing project at 469 Stevenson Street was once again approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission. After it was infamously shot down in 2021 by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the project quickly became the poster child for San Francisco’s housing dysfunction. Barring another lawsuit, which the original plaintiff acknowledged to be unlikely, the project has finally cleared its last hurdle on its quest for entitlement, after years of obstruction and delay.
The confounding rejection in 2021 attracted a great deal of attention from the press, making headlines across the state. It was a textbook case of housing opponents disingenuously using “environmental” analysis” to stall the development of desperately needed–not to mention environmentally beneficial–infill housing. In the aftermath, many speculated that the Board of Supervisors had ulterior political motives that conflicted with doing their real job — acting in the best interests of San Francisco.
This weaponization is neither new nor unknown. As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, “San Francisco’s flavor of discretionary review is the most expansive among major California cities. The city also has the longest permit-review process in the state, another obstacle to building more housing.”
This particular saga culminated when the Housing Action Coalition joined community members and local organizations in calling for the city to do the right thing and approve the development that should’ve had shovels in the ground a year ago. The planning commission moved the project forward in a 4-2 vote (with the two opponents coming from–surprise–Board of Supervisor appointees).