Related's proposal is currently under environmental review by the city planning department. This review is expected to take at least several months. We believe that is that there are enough significant impacts, peculiar to this site, and cumulative impacts with other development in the neighborhood to require a full Environmental Impact Report.
Notes sent to SF Planning on Environmental Review
1. Studies prepared by Related CA indicate there is substantial contamination from landfill containing asbestos fibers as well as lead and arsenic, and naturally occurring serpentine. Of particular concern is contamination from three underground storage tanks that resulted in high levels of benzene.
Considering that there are three schools within a one-block radius, as well as a daycare center and a popular playground and park, all within ¼ mile of the project, a heightened level of review and full EIR analysis are mandated. Although the tanks were capped in the 1980s, in the 1990s, the site was deemed appropriate for commercial use only. It is our understanding that the high levels of contamination would require that soil be removed completely, down to the groundwater. There would certainly be a substantial impact on the schools and park during mitigation that would likely require closing the schools and park for some time.
2. We anticipate that a project of this scale would involve a lengthy period of construction. This will result in noise levels that will have a major impact on classroom learning over a long period of time. It will also be a disturbance to those using Jackson Park. With construction vehicles present, there are serious concerns about traffic safety and air quality.
3. The proposed 320 unit residential and commercial complex at 1601 Mariposa remains a matter of public controversy which will have widespread impacts in the neighborhood, particularly in the context of many other large projects that are being considered in the area. The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan EIR did not specifically consider, analyze or mitigate the impact of a project of this scale at the 1601 Mariposa site, nor did it address the cumulative impacts of multiple large projects on traffic, parking, transit, open space, utilities and other infrastructure.
Traffic and parking on nearby streets is already at full capacity. There are serious concerns about pedestrian safety. Increased traffic will expose children and residents to higher concentrations of pollution. There are already limited options for neighborhood commuters, people with disabilities, families and others. Adding hundreds (and cumulatively thousands) of residents with little investment in transit will be a disaster for the neighborhood.
The addition of so many residents would place a substantial strain on Jackson Park, which is already heavily used and suffering from maintenance issues, and result in the net loss to the neighborhood of recreational facilities, and further deterioration of the park.
4. Since initial shadow studies show some shadowing of the southern side of Jackson Park, we ask that shadow studies be part of the review. Shadows will impact the quality of time outdoors, particularly the playground area that is used by families with small children during daytime hours, and the use of community gardens located along the southern perimeter of the park.
5. The project is out of character, density, and scale with the existing buildings on neighboring streets. The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, in Policy 3.1.6, states that, “New Buildings should epitomize the best in contemporary architecture, but should do so with a full awareness of, and respect for, the height, mass, articulation and materials of the best of the older buildings that surrounds them.” The project’s aesthetics will degrade the existing visual character of its surroundings. Its impact on neighborhood character cannot be mitigated, without a substantial reduction in scale, and should be considered as part of an environmental review.
6. The UMU zoning for this project should honor the Eastern Neighborhoods objective to “support the economic well-being of a variety of businesses.” As proposed, the project will result in the displacement of viable PDR and blue-collar jobs with most of the square footage devoted solely to residential use.