A rendering of the proposed building at 1458 San Bruno Ave. overlooking toe Potrero Del Sol community garden.

Update: Tuesday’s meeting had approximately 105 participants, according to Chris Goode.

The Goode family, who has long held the property next to Potrero Del Sol Park and has invited offers from affordable housing developers, wants approval for a seven-story, 232-unit building with 28 affordable units. 

“I was at the original meeting that was in person, and it doesn’t look like you’ve changed the plan at all,” said a resident named Noelle, referring to the first meeting in November, 2019.  

While the project did grow from 205 units to 232, and from 22 affordable units to 28, those attending the meeting repeated earlier assertions that the building, set to be mostly market rate, would contribute to the gentrification of the Mission. 

The Zoom meeting’s settings made it impossible to see the total participants, or whether there were participants still waiting to speak when the hour-and-a-half-long meeting came to an end.

During the meeting, two attendees spoke in support of the project and roughly a dozen spoke in opposition.

Another primary concern raised by attendees was the negative impact of shadows the building would cast on Potrero Del Sol’s community garden and skatepark. 

Chris Goode shared images of projected shadows the building would create, based on a shadow study they commissioned. It shows that the building’s shadow would cover the community garden and a portion of the skatepark in the early morning, but the shadow decreases throughout the morning and disappears entirely by noon, according to Goode. 

“We don’t want no shadows at all, at all. Absolutely none, whether it be morning, day, night, no, no shadow at all,” said Roberto Hernandez, a community organizer and executive director of Carnaval. 

Hernandez said the Mission’s large number of children needed access to the sunlight, and asked Goode how much money he would want to sell the project to the city so it could become fully affordable housing. 

Goode took the opportunity to reiterate a point he has made repeatedly: he does not want to be doing this to begin with. 

As Goode tells it, the property-owning family began trying to improve the site in 2004, perhaps for more commercial use, but in 2008, the land was rezoned for housing instead. 

Over the next eight years, he said, the Goode family reached out to the city in hopes of turning the site into a navigation center or supportive housing site. Officials showed early interest, but did not follow through.

Multiple nonprofit developers were invited to tour the property: BRIDGE Housing, Mission Economic Development Agency and Tenderloin Community Development Corporation. All three came out, but only BRIDGE made an offer to buy, but it also asked the owners to offer up a lot they did not own, Goode said. 

He also had interest from market rate developers but, “they’re all contingent on the property being entitled,” Goode said. “The issue wasn’t the pricing of the property, the issue was nobody wanted to take on the entitling of this property.” 

Goode told Hernandez he would absolutely “take much less money from an affordable housing developer,” but said most interested parties have wanted the property to be entitled first.  

Some attendees also criticized developers for seeking multiple waivers for open space requirements, yard space requirements, building height and off-street loading requirements. 

“Because we’re trying to smash the building down as much as we can to avoid shadowing, we’re asking for some modifications to the density bonus to compact those open spaces,” Goode said. 

Goode explained that the building would have a rooftop garden of approximately 725 square feet, and most units in the building would have their own balconies. Commenters at the building said the balconies would be impossible to enjoy, with the car fumes coming from the nearby Highway 101 freeway. 

Planning Department staff estimated in February that it would take at least a year for the San Bruno project to gain approval. In the meantime, the department will be conducting its own shadow study and completing its environmental review. 

Juan Carlos Lara

Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at...

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30 Comments

  1. Discretionary Review enables corruption. SF needs to set clear rules for development, enforced consistently and approvals granted within one year. If SF wants a certain percentage of units to be subsidized, define it in the rules. This per-project micromanagement means less housing for everyone — but more money for corrupt interests who know exactly how to abuse the process.

    1. If DR is going to make a project not pencil out, then that project was marginal to begin with. DRs have no measurable impact on housing price, which is set by the maximum that the market will bear, not the costs of construction.

      Why are YIMBY demanding we accommodate marginal projects or whatever the developer throws over the transom? Do you really expect for DBI to follow requirements faithfully?

  2. Roberto Hernandez sounds like a complete clown. Mission kids need access to sunlight? Aren’t kids in school during the mornings. I take our dogs to that park everyday. The are never kids there in the morning. The playground is rarely used. Even in the Mission, morning are partially overcast and gardens thrive from noon on. We have a garden in our yard that is shaded in the AM and we still get healthy yields of fruit and veges.

    Lastly, as a reminder, San Francisco is a City. There will be building shadows throughout the day.

    Looks like yet more wasted time and delays in housing which augment the housing shortage and push low income residents out even faster.

    1. Have you looked at this area? Do you think a 7 story building is appropriate there? This is not SOMA. The top stories would literally be living in the freeway. Lol. If anyone sounds like a clown, it is you.

    2. Roberto probably does more good for the Mission in one day than you’ll probably do in your entire life.

      1. That’s the problem, the right-wing Fox News [sic] hack lobs the word “clown,”and Hernandez’ operation takes $1m/yr from the City for I’m not sure what.

        For all of the decades of tenure of “The Mayor of the Mission,” the neighborhood is worse for wear and tear.

        Instead of outrage at the failure of advocacy to organize residents of the community to defeat gentrification, the Mission nonprofit hack parade gets more exercised when one of their own is not lauded or made accountable for failure.

  3. ““We don’t want no shadows at all, at all. Absolutely none, whether it be morning, day, night, no, no shadow at all,” said Roberto Hernandez”

    The fact that Hernandez wants zero impact from any new development shows only the extent of his bad faith and lack of flexibility.

    So do we lose 28 affordable units, and many more much-needed homes, because Hernandez thinks that nobody ever wants any shade in the warmest, sunniest part of the city?

  4. This Goode is very disingenuous. If the family don’t want to build this building, then don’t. Donate the land to extend this highly-used park. Donate the land to Habitat for Humanity for small scale development.Don’t pretend that there is no option but ugly, maybe adding people to an already densely populated area or maybe sitting mostly empty like the new builds on 12th St.

    1. The landed gentry is rooting for Roberto Hernandez and others with this point of view. The more resistance, hassle, time and money it takes to get new housing built – the better. Density is undesirable and yes – making potential developments into parks is a great idea.

      For every unit of market rate housing that does not get built – current residential property values go up and up and up. Extra bonus if that large lot near you ends up as a nice open community space or park.
      Yay! – if you’re on that side of the equation.

      1. Plenty of poor people don’t want all of these new buildings. We know that we get all the construction disruption for a building that is not for us. Any so-called affordable units will be smaller and either in the basement or closest to the freeway noise.

      2. I’ve correlated the 3x increase in value of our home over the past 20 years to the arrival of luxury condos post-2008 that have gentrified the Mission.

        If more units are entitled, then housing prices rise.
        If fewer units are entitled, then housing prices rise.
        Until demand is clipped, as we saw last year, housing prices rise.

        Prices will rise because nobody will risk their nest egg buying into a market where added supply threatens to meet demand, leaving them underwater soon after buying.

        It is testament to the bogosity of YIMBY theology that people continue to invest in housing in SF, knowing full well that demand outstrips supply by orders of magnitude, and that the only way their equity will fall is due to the business cycle, not the fundamentals of the housing market.

        1. That is why those who oppose new homes are an odd mix of dirt poor people propagating their envy, and well off property owners rubbing their hands together and licking their lips every time a new housing development gets closed down.

          NIMBYs come in rich and poor versions. And meanwhile the poor soul in the middle gets screwed.

  5. Another housing project goes down the drain because some so called community rep decides no shadow anytime.
    And let’s not forget the red herring ” Gentrification “. And you ask WHY nothing gets built in the CITY…

    1. This article cherry picked some awkward quotes and says nothing about how traffic would impact the school, lack of parking would affect the park and neighbors, the businesses that use the existing space that will be evicted, the fact that a high density 7 story building in a dead end cul de sack with a view directly into the high way is detrimental to tenants, it will be market rate efficiency studios and not family oriented … So many issues not addressed.

      A 4 story building with a focus on 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with the ground floor rated for mixed use and built in parking is the appropriate building for the neighborhood. Not the current scheme.

  6. I wish the author of this article had explained the requirement that the property be entitled in order to attract affordable housing developers. What does entitled mean? What keeps the property from becoming entitled? The number of affordable units does seem inadequate and maybe not worth the tradeoff of sunlight. What can be done to get development here that is at least 50% affordable?

  7. I live in this neighborhood and I support this project 100%. More housing for people and less storage for cars.

    1. You do understand that there will suddenly be about 40 more cars trying to use street parking in your neighborhood if it gets built, right? Plus all the uber/lyfts…

      Can you imagine the school getting deliveries by semi in that mess?

      1. And 40 is a generous underestimate considering its 200+ units. It would probably be more like 125 vehicles.

  8. “…those attending the meeting repeated earlier assertions that the building, set to be mostly market rate, would contribute to the gentrification of the Mission.”

    Utter nonsense.

    The surest way to gentrify a desirable place (i.e., one with economic, social and cultural opportunities) is to NOT build housing…. a lot of housing.

    Due to this kind of ever-increasing NIMBY opposition, we have been under-building housing relative to demand in SF and throughout CA for the past 4+ decades and, voila!, we have a massive housing shortage and runaway housing costs.

    Go figure!

  9. It’s easy to debate the origins of gentrification in the abstract after reading a few paragraph news report. If you visit the park frequently as I do, you’ll see it’s ridiculous to propose a 7-story building right up against the park boundary. That area is all either undeveloped or not more than a single story tall. There are hardly any buildings 7-stories tall in all of the Mission and Potrero Hill. I am all for higher density housing and more housing in general, but that area makes no sense, and there are other things to consider in city planning. Protecting urban green space is one of them.

  10. I attended both community meetings. While I expected to be in support of the project because of course we have a housing issue, it was clear that all of the original Latinx residents of the East Mission were vehemently opposed to the project. Even those measly 28 below market rate units won’t be affordable to them. This building is clearly designed to cater to yuppie tech workers and will only further erode the community roots of one of the last hold outs to gentrification.

  11. 220 Units without a single parking!! why not 2000 units? Because we need more housing we should let developers build whatever they want.

  12. Agree with Andrea – ML please explain what constitutes or defines an entitled project. Is it one that has cleared the hurdles of city permits, SF’s Byzantine bureaucracy, and goofballs like Hernandez?

  13. There is no housing shortage in san Francisco.
    There IS an overabundance of greed, speculation and runaway capitalism. Before the pandemic exodus there were something like 30,000 vacant units in this city, yet we have homeless encampments. What’s wrong with this picture?
    It’s what happens when something that is a human right (housing) becomes a commodity, subject to the whims of the marketplace.

    1. @ Tom Anderson,

      Do you own your home or do you rent?
      Who built the home you live in?
      Why do you want to deny to others that which you currently enjoy?

    2. Tom, most of the reason those housing units are vacant is because of rent control, and owners not wanting to risk being stuck with a multi-decade tenant lifer.

      Those who own units not subject to rent control, such as condos, lofts, SFHs and new build, have no incentive to leave their units empty. They can always rent cheap and increase the rent later when conditions improve.

  14. I attended both community meetings on this project and it is frankly shocking to me that the owners did nothing to address the real concerns of the neighbors in the year and a half between the meetings.

    Neighborhood residents fought hard to create Potrero del Sol park, it is an important part of keeping us healthy and vibrant, and this project would take sunshine away. You can say, “oh well the sun wouldn’t be gone all day,” but parks are owned by the people and they shouldn’t be diminished so a private family can make more profit. Why aren’t the city and the parks department stepping up to protect our park?

    1. Jen,

      The only reason that owners have these meetings for neighbors is because the city permit process mandates that such meetings take place. So the owners document the meeting and attendees to jump that hurdle. They do not have to take on board anything that you say.

  15. I am the property owner discussed in this article and would like to put forth a clarification. I absolutely want to build this building. What I was referring to was not looking forward to what will predictably be a grueling entitlement process. This is why we had the property for sale in 2016.
    Also the building will cast shadow on a very small portion of the park at any one time and then primarily in the early morning hours.

  16. Parking, parking, parking !!!! No parking comes with this building. With as many units as it has it will bring TOO MANY CARS to our neighborhood. There is already a parking problem in our hood. We do NOT need that exacerbated ! The only way I’d be okay with this building (I am concerned with both overcrowding our little neighborhood AND the shadow issue) is if there was a parking lot designated to the tenants. The other option is for the developer to buy as many spaces needed (1 for EACH UNIT) in the Hospital garage. Those spots would come as part of the rent for each unit. If the parking issue is not addressed to my satisfaction I will do everything in my power to block this building from being built. To those who say that kids are never on the playground in the AM hours you are wrong. I live on the block of park and am there often. The elementary school uses that playground ALL THE TIME. Also S.F. has enough overcast days. The last thing I want is something man made to take away ANY sunshine we do get

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