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Western SOMA Community Plan: Taller Buildings, More Density, and Preserving Diversity

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Western SOMA's been changing on contentious and ad hoc basis for the past decade, and finally (six years in) we're beginning to see a plan take shape in response to those changes. The Western SOMA Community Plan DEIR is available online, and like any other planning document, it's long and bound to be fraught with challenges, although even a brief look here at Curbed SF HQ was encouraging. There are so many stakeholders, from the GLBT and Filipino communities to developers, preservationists, and artists to affordable and/or supportive housing activists. One thing we can say: expect height limits to go up on corners while preserving SOMA's low-rise character mid-block, along with encouragement of an office corridor along Townsend Street with building heights up to 85 feet. Housing preservation is key to the plan, but it takes mixed-use to a new level in an ambitious attempt to forge a new neighborhood out of the old and (historically ignored) part of town.
Along with adaption into the General Plan and the inevitable rezoning, the final component of the plan is what to do with that vast open bus yard at Harrison and 8th Streets, AKA 350 8th Street. The plan proposes mixed-use development with 444 residential units, 436 parking spaces (for residents, car-share plus bikes) studio space for arts uses, community spaces (to argue about conditional use changes in 2016) along with commercial space and with luck, a lively retail streetscape along Harrison and 8th Streets. Built around an oval one-way lane around the center it's composed of a number of structures rather than a monolith with randomly-placed pedestrian walks to the perimeter.

Have a look at the Found SF gallery of vintage images of the area, dominated by manufacturing and a network of street-level rail tracks until the '90s. The plan's on the agenda for tomorrow's Historic Preservation Commission (think of it as an aperitif) and up for public comment at a Planning Commission meeting on July 26, with written comments accepted until August 2.
· Western SOMA Community Plan [2nd item/SFPD]
· Harrison From Dunes to Trains [Found SF]