Thursday: Planning Department Hearing for Nine-Story Shotwell Housing

Rendering of 1296 Shotwell, as proposed with revised southern facade, facing Bernal Hill.


Elevations showing proposed facades facing South Van Ness (above), and Bernal Heights (below).

After almost a year of community meetings, some redesigns, and more community meetings, the housing development planned for 1296 Shotwell, near the corner of Cesar Chavez, will go before the San Francisco Planning Department for the first time tomorrow, on Thursday, December 1.

As you may recall, 1296 Shotwell is proposed as a 100% subsidized-affordable development that will rise 80-feet above street level, to a height of nine stories. That’s 20 feet more than current zoning for that site would allow, so Thursday’s planning meeting will consider the project developers’ request for a height waiver under the Affordable Housing Bonus Program.

Here’s the Planning Department’s agenda item on the project:

1296 SHOTWELL STREET – west side of Shotwell Street between Cesar Chavez and 26th Streets; Lot 051 in Assessor’s Block 6571 (District 9) – Request for 100% Affordable Housing Bonus Program Authorization to allow for the demolition of an existing 1-story building and construction of a new nine-story 100% affordable residential building for seniors and formerly homeless seniors with 94 units, pursuant to Planning Code Sections 206 and 328. The Project requests development bonuses for 1) increased height above that which is principally permitted by the zoning district and 2) reduced dwelling unit exposure pursuant to Planning Code Section 140. The Project also requests an exception for the rear yard requirement pursuant to Planning Code Section 134. This Project is within the Mission Street NCT (Neighborhood Commercial Transit) Zoning District and 65-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approve with Conditions

You can view the complete Planning Department assessment on 1296 Shotwell here.

The Planning Department meeting starts at noon on Thursday in Room 400 at City Hall, and 1296 Shotwell is the 16th item on the agenda. There will be opportunities for public comment from residents who live near the project during the meeting.

15 thoughts on “Thursday: Planning Department Hearing for Nine-Story Shotwell Housing

  1. Hello BH Lovr, The answer to your question is YES! The SF Planning Dept has “conditionally approved” the project. The Planning Commission hearing on Thursday at noon will determine if a majority of Commissioners will authorize the developers to proceed. MEDA (Mission Economic Development Agency) and Chinatown Development CDC are the two non profit developers, who have much to gain financially to build above the zoned height limit of 6 stories and to increase density – more units on a relatively small lot. The developers are no different from a private sector developer. It is all about $. The members of the Inner Mission Neighbors and Bernal neighbors are trying to present opposition to this “Monolithic Slab” that will have a detrimental environmental impact on traffic patterns, shadows, wind tunnels, and the general aesthetics of the neighborhood – economically diverse, and the historical significance of the architecture along Shotwell St. We have met with the developers several time to request changes to original design, specifically the 9 story proposed height and lack of parking on the site. The developers have refused to make any changes to their design. We need Bernal Heights residents to help us, your neighbors in the inner Mission to request a continuance from the Planning Commissioners and to ask John Rahaim, Director of Planning to mediate our differences with the developers. Please send your emails to each of the members of the SF Planning Commission and John Rahaim before 5 pm today, or better yet, please come to City Hall and express your concerns directly to the Commissioners. Please send your emails to the individuals below:
    John Rahaim, Director SF Planning Email:

    Planning Commissioners:
    Rodney Fong Email:
    Dennis Richards Email:
    Rich Hillis Email:
    Christine Johnson Email:
    Joel Koppel Email:
    Myrna Melgar Email:
    Kathrin Moore Email:
    Thank you for your consideration. If you need additional information, feel free to email me at :

    • Oh man. This definitely will have an effect on the aesthetics on neighborhood, just not the one you imply. This is what the location looks like now:

      I’m not a big fan on MEDA, but your opposition to this project, on the basis of the the most overworked NIMBY cliches, is just laughable.

      • I have to agree with Dan regarding the aesthetics of that area. Almost anything would be an improvement. My only concern is the lack of parking. What are they thinking? Every development in SF should include parking.

      • Laughable? I was born and raised in the Mission. I worked as a blue collar worker at the Boat Mart 25 years ago when it was located at 1296 Shotwell ST. It is now a car repair business. This is the Mission “aesthetic”. Some of us still work with our hands and minds at warehouses and plants across the Mission. The Eastern Neighborhoods EIR specifically protects PDR (Production, Distribution and Repair use. This project eliminates the car repair business and puts people who work for living on the street. Welcome to the Mission!

    • Craig, that may be your Mission “aesthetic”, but not those who came before you, and not those who will come after you. Congratulations on being born and raised in the Mission. You did as much to earn that as our president elect did to inherit his fathers millions.

  2. NIMBY of the first order. The look of the building is no better or worse than any other moderate-rise building put up in the Mission since the 1960s. (Has anyone looked at the new apartments next to the New Mission Theater?) Well, okay, the corner of 30th and Mission looks cool with its Victorian era style. But is it possible to do something that lavish when attempting to make 100% of the apartments affordable?

    As a someday senior, I LOVE the idea that such a building will be located within easy walking distance of the Mission, Muni, and BART. This is the way things SHOULD be!

    I welcome the addition to the neighborhood.

    • You mention the building next door to the New Mission Theater. It is referred to as the Vida project. A little history lesson is due here. The developer of Vida was a group of Houston based real estate investors who wanted to build luxury condos on the site. Vida chose to offer the land at 1296 Shotwell St to the city in lieu of building affordable units in their project. It was perfectly legal, except my neighbors must now deal with a proposed 9 story monolith with no parking on site proposal. Also, since the Lennar project, next door was blocked by the Board of Supervisors last week, there will be a high concentration of “affordable” and public housing (Bernal Dwellings on Folsom) in the neighborhood. This may be ok with residents who live far away from Shotwell St, but is not ok with me.
      BTW – as part of the VIDA “deal” the deep pocketed Houston money men offered a $1 million payoff/hush money/extortion payment to several “non-profit” organizations in the Mission. Some of these non profits are now supporting the 1296 project. This unfortunately is how business get done in the Mission.
      Inner Mission Neighbors is trying to preserve our quality of life in the Mission, however we face big opposition by non profit organizations who have more resources and political influence than us. This is the main reason that I am requesting the Bernal Neighbors to support our cause. Thanks

      • Craig, is there any development in the Mission you would support? The building that’s being proposed is affordable housing for seniors. If you can’t get behind that, what would you support? Seniors are the highest risk group when it comes to getting displaced. What makes the Mission special is the people. That should be the priority more than one person’s aesthetic bias. The art of the Mission was made by people. The food of the Mission is made by people. The vibrant Latino culture is people, not buildings. As someone who lives a block from this development, I welcome this 9 story building (even if it doesn’t have parking). I welcome the seniors and hope they can get the security and care they deserve. I also hope that NIMBYs don’t interrupt this project because they personally don’t like the design.

      • As I have written on this blog and Nextdoor many times, I support affordable housing for seniors at 1296 Shotwell. I don’t support a 9 story building on land that was zoned for 6 stories by the Eastern Neighborhoods Enviornmental Impact Report. I also supported the Lennar project, next door. It is sometimes easy to dismiss my arguments as just another NIMBY speaking. I am not a NIMBY. I simply want my neighbors and I to be equal partners with MEDA to plan senior housing at 1296. MEDA has met with us at one meeting and has ignored our concerns. We refuse to give up the fight. I am a Latino who appreciates everything that you write about, I just want an environmentally friendly and safe neighborhood to raise my family. The project at 1296 Shotwell as it is proposed will not ensure this. 

      • Well I am also a 54 year resident of Bernal .Yes the population is getting to be a little much to deal with but no parking wow .That is unexceptable. There is no longer parking as it is .Parking must be mandatory. Oh I know we dont need cars unless you plan on never leaving Rome .Bart and your there muni laugher .A lot of us actually work out of the city and drive out of the city often . This is starting to sound more like the NC pipeline big money moves mountains .

  3. Craig,

    Thank you for your efforts and clear argument against this too tall monolith.

    Sincerely, Chris Doyle

  4. This building is fine, and we need the increased density. We also need the mixed-rate Lennar project next door– hopefully Campos has not managed to kill off either of these worthwhile projects.

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