Park-Merced-7143.jpgThe San Francisco Planning Commission tonight will discuss a project that would add thousands of apartments and demolish others at the Parkmerced complex near San Francisco State University.

The large complex, located at 19th and Holloway avenues, is looking to expand by adding about 5,700 new residential units while demolishing and replacing about 1,800 in the next two to three decades.

The project, which has been discussed since 2007 and could have its final environmental impact report approved by the commission as soon as next month, has drawn criticism from some residents who say the proposal will inconvenience them, create traffic gridlock and leave the complex susceptible to earthquakes.

More than 100 people came out to a special Planning Commission hearing held last week at SFSU.

Terence Faulkner of the Parkmerced Action Coalition, a group that opposes the project, said many of those who attended spoke against the proposal.

He called the project “a big, disruptive thing” that will displace and endanger residents.
Faulkner said that in addition to residents being pushed out of their homes, many of the new apartments will be in high-rise buildings, which he said is “an invitation to collapse and serious loss of life.”

Parkmerced spokesman P.J. Johnston called Faulkner’s concern about earthquake safety “ridiculous.”

Johnston said the new apartments will be “considerably safer” than the garden apartments that currently make up much of the complex, many of which “were built in a rush after World War II, using substandard materials which have considerably deteriorated over the decades.”

He said that while many residents will have to be relocated within the complex, the new apartments will be built before the old ones are demolished so people will only have to move once.

The new apartments will be similar to the old ones in size and configuration, and residents will pay the same rent and have the same rent control status, Johnston said.

He decried the Parkmerced Action Coalition for the “last-minute scare tactics” they are using.

“If you saw the flyers people are putting out, you could see how you can scare up a lot of concerned people,” Johnston said.

“We have had more than 250 community meetings with residents and neighbors, and have thousands of constituents who are well-informed about the project, many of whom have testified at meetings and will tonight,” he said.

The portion of tonight’s Planning Commission hearing that focuses on Parkmerced is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. The meeting is taking place in Room 400 at City Hall.

Commissioners will discuss some unresolved issues with the project, and could potentially initiate amendments to the city’s planning code to create a Parkmerced special use district.

Faulkner said members of the coalition will attend tonight to ask the commission to shelve the project.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Want more news, sent to your inbox every day? Then how about subscribing to our email newsletter? Here’s why we think you should. Come on, give it a try.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!