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Neighbors appeal to block ‘pre-apocalyptic’ Outer Sunset housing

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Green Party politician calls 20-unit Judah Street building “toxic”

A rendering of a five-story building with a long profile and gray-green color scheme. Courtesy of Leavitt Architecture

A handful of Outer Sunset residents want to block a new five-story, 20-unit building on Judah Street with an appeal, according to Hoodline. The group criticizes the “pre-apocalyptic future” design of the rare multi-unit, mid-rise building in the neighborhood, alleging health hazards.

Mike Murphy, who describes himself as an “ecology activist” and member of San Francisco’s Green Party who ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2018, said last week that he filed an appeal to the SF Planning Commission’s decision earlier this month to demolish a long-disused gas station at 3945 Judah in favor of the new building.

Murphy calls the plan a “totally toxic project,” claiming that the land is contaminated and should be barred for environmental reasons. Murphy says in a tweet that he would like to see the derelict property developed, but only if the city cleans up the land and uses it for “social housing.”

He also compared the design by Leavitt Architecture to a Sandcrawler from Star Wars and the developers to Jawas, a reference from Curbed SF’s original story about the project.

Neighbor David Scheer set up a Go Fund Me page to cover the $750 price of the paperwork and fees. Scheer says that those looking to block the building hope to “empower residents of the Judah corridor of the Outer Sunset to influence the way our neighborhood is developed.”

Scheer says he would back a smaller building with four stories and 16 units, but finds the current design untenable. Like Murphy, he also asks for “a valid soil-remediation plan” to mitigate any harmful materials that the lot might carry from its decades as a gas station.

Nobody at the Planning Commission hearing that approved 3945 Judah seemed concerned about supposed environmental risks, although many neighbors did complain they don’t like the height or design of the building.

The five-story profile is the result of the city’s HOME-SF program, which upzones buildings in certain areas in exchange for more affordable housing.

At the time commissioners praised the building for adding more infill housing in a neighborhood that barely had any net housing development at all in recent years, despite the complaints.