Last night, after a strong neighborhood showing and a Stanley Saitowitz monologue on successful architectural design, the Planning Commission approved Hayes Valley's 555 Fulton with its original, glassy look. The five-story supermarket and 136-unit residential project started its life with a comparatively more uniform design — before changes requested by the city turned it into a thing with alternating terra cotta paneling. But as we reported back in March, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association had already been through the public process with Saitowitz, and was not at all into the new look. In a rare display of community muscle, a bunch of residents showed up insisting on the old design and citing a John King column earlier this week that argues "nobody is fooled" by the "stage-set urbanity" on which the city planning staff's proposal is supposedly premised. One guy compared the city's "meddling" to a "nurse telling a brain surgeon how to do their work." Mmm hmm. He went there.
The Planning Commission ultimately bought into the argument, even if at least one of them wasn't in love with either design. But, aside from a surprise revelation that there were tenants living illegally on the supposedly disused commercial site, the one other major issue was parking (naturally). The developers argued that unlike other supermarkets in San Francisco, with upwards of 300 parking spaces, this one was only asking for a little over a hundred, 15 of which would have electric charging stations. But the level of parking they were requesting, both for residential and for grocery-store usage, was way above levels set by the density- and transit-heavy Market & Octavia Plan. You can't cash in on the extra density allowed by that plan, said one commissioner, and also ask for more parking. Her colleagues agreed, and slashed grocery parking down to 77 spots and residential down to 68, plus three car-share spots — for a total of 148 spots, as per the Planning Department's recommendation.
· Hayes Valley Saitowitz Gro-Sto Project Faces Appeal This Week [Curbed SF]
· Neighbors Want the Old Design for Hayes Valley Gro-Sto Project [Curbed SF]
· Stanley Saitowitz's Mixed-Use Supermarket Project in Hayes Valley [Curbed SF]