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Curbed SF Reports: Tension High at SoMa Task Force Meetup

— Curbed SF operative Andy Wang dishes on last night's goings-on.

Western SoMa can't be feeling too much love these days. The tension was fairly thick Thursday evening when the nabe's citizens task force met with the city's Business and Land Use committee Business and Land Use committee of the nabe's citizens task force met to tackle the "Interim PDR Loss and Replacement Policy," a that comes down from some 2001 decisions that the task force has apparently just realized they've been saddled with. In short, it says all projects occurring in almost half of Western SoMa have to build the entire lot's square footage equivalent in production, distribution, and repair (read: light industrial) space in order to proceed — until said task force presents an alternate plan, and you better believe they are scrambling to get all over that.

Needless to say, the item, which was supposed to be the fourth on the agenda, instead got top billing last night, with a healthy "WTF?" tag line beneath it. Planning Department rep Paul Lord spent a good half of the evening trying to explain just what the hell the new policy means for Western SoMa, let alone how the task force should go about addressing it.

How much is an entire lot's worth of PDR square footage? He illustrated thusly: a house that recently burned down in Dogpatch will need the equivalent of a whole floor of new PDR encompassing the entire lot — if another single-family house ever wants to sit on that lot again.

According to Lord, the Planning Commission sees the policy as consistent with "current zoning," but a couple task forcers weren't having it. Their angle: the city's pushing light industry into their yard so they could proceed with their Eastern Nabes vision. Cynicism: duly noted.

The task force's alternative will suggest mixed housing above Harrison Street, and below, PDR replacement only — none of this new PDR madness — and they expect hope to have their plan ready by next month's meeting. "For now," sighed one task force member, "all we want is a stopgap measure so some projects can go through."