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Even more Mission housing seeks approval

Meanwhile, vacancies on commission loom

The Mission is still growing, and tempers are still rising. Two long-planned housing developments come to the Planning Commission today, hoping to add nearly 180 new homes to the neighborhood’s stock.

1515 South Van Ness wants to be your newest six-story, 157-unit housing development just north of Caesar Chavez Boulevard, taking up the space presently held by a circa 1948 warehouse vacant since last year. BDE Architecture just trotted out a new, somewhat softer design for the project this week.

By comparison, 2600 Harrison Street is somewhat modest, proposing only 19 units (albeit spread out over four stories) near 22nd Street, coming with a surprisingly dark and looming design by Kerman/Morris Architects. Right now the site is a disused plywood warehouse.

The tale of these two developments couldn’t be more Mission standard: Both have been making the rounds since 2014, both have drawn the ire of activists (the larger dubbed "The Titanic Mess On South Van Ness," (which is unfortunately wordier and not as catchy as the "Beast on Bryant" and similar slogans), and at least one lawmaker has aims at holding them up.

While the Planning Commission could always surprise us with a shocking plot twist, it seems likely that both will skate to a recommendation. That body has after all shown a pronounced predilection toward housing over no housing in recent years, and just waved through another big Mission development last week.

Keep in mind, though, that like the Mission itself, the Planning Commission is about to go through some changes. Commissioner Cindy Wu stepped down after last week’s meeting. And Commissioner Mike Antonini (one of the city’s only registered Republican officeholders for 14 years) hangs up his spurs after this week.

Commission seats are always appointees; the mayor’s office will replace Antonini, while the Board of Supervisors will pick someone to fill in for Wu. Ed Lee will probably try to find a new commish with Antonini’s decidedly developer friendly attitude.

The makeup of the board, on the other hand, has changed quite a bit since Wu’s appointment in 2009, and the present body may think it’s time for a change in attitude at the planning level.