Monday, April 19, 2021
News + Politics Can we stop the displacement of arts space and...

Can we stop the displacement of arts space and industry?

Kim drafts legislation that would stop the decimation of affordable PDR and arts space in Soma and the Mission

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Sup Jane Kim is drafting legislation that seeks to strongly deter the destruction epidemic that is attacking arts and industrial spaces in the Mission, Soma, and other communities, and dis-incentivize projects that will displace local community service organizations or longtime neighborhood legacy businesses.

It’s still evolving, and a draft is at the end of this article.

Which Central City neighborhoods to include, and what specific replacement requirements should be in the package, are still open for discussion. Many zoning districts with very different current rules have to be carefully sorted out.

Sup. Kim wants to save arts and PDR space
Sup. Kim wants to save arts and PDR space

A key issue is how to make the required future replacement spaces turn out to be the kinds of space that displaced artists, businesses, and nonprofits can actually afford and use. This will be directly addressed in the ballot measure by requiri

ng Conditional Use approvals for displacement-causing projects that take into account: (1) the physical suitability of the replacement space for the former uses; (2) the affordability of the replacement space for the former uses; and (3) the adequacy of temporary and permanent relocation/return of the previous tenants without interruption.

It has become apparent in the last year that the San Francisco Planning Department/Commission will do nothing to protect the longtime artists, small businesses, and local nonprofit groups that are being driven out of our Central City communities today for real estate development. The commission has proved a hand-wringing rubber-stamp for every new luxury housing development it sees, no matter what the displacement consequences. It considers even the entire so-called “UMU” urban mixed use district that wraps throughout the Eastern Neighborhoods (the Mission, Soma, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch) to be a 100% market-rate housing zone, destroying hundreds of thousands of square feet of low-rent Production, Distribution, and Repair and arts spaces as it approves project after project. And even when it requires some replacement PDR/Arts space or approves new PDR/Arts projects in other locations, there is no condition that it be affordable or that the displaced arts/nonprofit groups and small businesses get any relocation help at all, let alone be able to return someday.

This is an abject failure of City Hall’s “City Planning,” and the reason why “ballot box planning” now presents the only hope for our Central City’s communities to survive and still be a viable part of San Francisco’s future.

And the voters are ready to act! Our TODCO poll of likely November voters, conducted in March, found:

• 84% feel that “the displacement of artists’ studios, small storefront businesses, and industrial workspaces used for production, distribution and repair” is a Very or Somewhat serious issue for the future of San Francisco.

• 85% feel that “the loss of neighborhood and community character and cultural heritage” is a Very or Somewhat serious issue in San Francisco.

• 69% will support a ballot measure “that requires all new developments to replace any demolished or converted space dedicated to artist studios and workshops.”

• 51% feel that “just in general, things in San Francisco” are “off on the Wrong Track,” while only 35% believe they are “moving in the Right Direction.”

• And last but not least, only 32% are Very or Somewhat Satisfied with the Planning Department’s “ability to manage the City’s growth and the impacts of the growth,” while 45% are Very or Somewhat Dissatisfied.

It’s now or never.

Here’s the draft language:

CONCEPT SUMMARY: SAN FRANCISCO ARTS, COMMUNITY, AND ECONOMIC DIVERSITY PROTECTION ACT (Draft of 5/27)

1) All new development, substantial building renovation, or change of use approvals for properties located in the following zoning districts that results in the loss of indoor building space that has been occupied by Arts/PDR uses at some time in the last __ years shall require provision of replacement space within that property or nearby that is permanently restricted to Arts/PDR uses as follows:

a. In the SALI, PDR, C3G, and M zoning districts in effect as of 7/1/16 the amount of indoor Arts/PDR building space existing at that time must be 100% replaced either on-site or within the same zoning district.

b.  In the SLI, UMU, Mission Eastern  Eastern Neighborhoods Sub-Area, and [Tenderloin? Chinatown? Western Addition?] zoning districts in effect as of 7/1/16 the amount of indoor Arts/PDR building space existing at that time must be 50% replaced within the same neighborhood Plan or Sub Area.

All new development, substantial building renovation, or change of use approvals for properties located in the following zoning districts that results in the loss of indoor building space that has been occupied by Arts/PDR uses at some time in the last __ years shall require provision of replacement space within that property or nearby that is permanently restricted to Arts/PDR uses as follows:

c.   In all other zoning districts the amount of previous indoor Arts/PDR building space must be 25% replaced within the same neighborhood Plan Area or Sub Area.

All of the above provided that:

d. Except as specifically provided above, there is no requirement for replacement of Arts/PDR uses in the C3O and all R zoning districts in effect as of 7/1/16.

e.    There is no requirement for replacement of Arts/PDR uses (a) within the Port of San Francisco, (b) on property owned by the City as of 7/1/16, and (c) within SUD zoning districts and Redevelopment Project Areas in effect as of 7/1/16, except as may be specifically required therein.

f.    These requirements may be modified, but not completely eliminated, by Special Use District zoning adopted by ordinance.

2) All new development, substantial building renovation, or change of use approvals for any property that results in the loss of building space that has is occupied by a current or future Legacy Business must require provision of an equal amount of replacement space with in that property or within ¼ mile that is permanently restricted to Legacy Business uses as follows:

1) All Zoning Districts wherein commercial uses are permitted.

All of the above provided that:

1) There is no requirement for replacement of Legacy Business space uses within (a) the Port of San Francisco, and (b) Redevelopment Project Areas and Special Use Districts in effect as of 7/1/16, except as may be specifically required therein.

2) All new development, substantial building renovation, or change of use approvals for properties located in the following zoning districts that results in the loss of building space that has been occupied by nonprofit community uses within the last __ years must require provision of replacement space with in that property or within ¼ mile that is permanently restricted to nonprofit community uses as follows:

a.    All Eastern Neighborhoods Sub Areas, C3G, [Tenderloin? Chinatown? Other?]

b.    Except as specifically provided above, there is no requirement for replacement of nonprofit community uses in all R zoning districts in effect as of 7/1/16.

b.    There is no requirement for replacement of nonprofit community uses in (a) the Port of San Francisco, and (b) Redevelopment Project Areas and Special Use Districts in effect as of 7/1/16, except as may be specifically required thereby.
16 Except as specifically provided above, there is no requirement for replacement of nonprofit community uses in all R zoning districts in effect as of 7/1/16.

1) There is no requirement for replacement of nonprofit community uses in (a) the Port of San Francisco, and (b) Redevelopment Project Areas and Special Use Districts in effect as of 7/1/16, except as may be specifically required thereby.

4) The amount of the required on-site replacement space for Arts/PDR, Legacy Business, and nonprofit community services uses required in new developments, as provided above, shall be reduced by the amount necessary for the properties’ non-PDR uses’ ground floor (a) building lobbies and exitways, (b) building maintenance, mechanical, and utilities facilities, and (c) on-site open space and bicycle facilities required per code, provided that no reduction shall be permitted for parking facilities.

5) Conditional Use approval shall be required for all projects with a requirement as provide above to include replacement space for PDR/Arts, Legacy Businesses, and/or nonprofit community services uses. In determining whether to grant Conditional Use approval the Planning Commission shall take into consideration the adequacy of:
a.  The physical suitability of the replacement space for the replaced uses.
b.   The affordability of the space for the replaced uses.
c.   The provision of adequate relocation space on or off-site for the previous PDR/Arts, Legacy Business, and community /social services occupants, as applicable, of the buildings that are proposed to be demolished for the new development.

6) These replacement requirements shall apply to any development, change of use, or substantial rehabilitation project that submits a building permit application after _____.

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  30. If only artists were totally uncool, so that people would not want to live near them! As it is, once an area has become an Arts District, artists can’t afford to live there anymore. I think it’s the fate of artists in our culture to be ever on the move.

  31. Thanks Supervisor Kim and John Elberling for putting together a proposal to preserve PDR, and artists space in San Francisco.

  32. Sure, we can preserve PDR space. It just means less housing and higher housing prices. Unfortunately, politicians like Kim who tell you that you can have your cake and eat it too are lying.

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