Opponents File Lawsuit to Block Massive SOMA Housing, Office Project

Several community groups today said they have filed a lawsuit challenging the approval of a massive new mixed-use development in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

The 5M project, approved by the Board of Supervisors in November, includes 1.6 million square feet of office and housing space on a 4-acre site at Fifth and Mission streets.

The plans call for two residential buildings and one office building, and around 50,000 square feet of public open space.

The project was vehemently fought and appealed by community groups who argued it would contribute to displacement among area residents and particularly among the Filipino community.

Members of the Filipino community had been working to create a Filipino heritage district in the area.

The suit argues that the city failed to consider traffic and shadow impacts, and created a special district for the project that violates local zoning laws and efforts to create a Youth and Family Special Use District in the area.

“By this approval, this City wiped out years of neighborhood planning efforts that were initiated to protect families, youth and seniors,” said Angelica Cabande, a member of the South of Market Community Action Network, one of three groups taking part in the lawsuit.

Supervisor Jane Kim reached an agreement with the project developer shortly before its approval that said the project would have 40 percent affordable housing.

However, opponents have argued that the housing included in the project is not affordable enough to qualify under the city’s housing laws, and note that the developer is taking credit for paying money toward projects off-site.

“The 5M Project has zero affordable housing,” Cabande said in a statement today.

Sara Gaiser, Bay City News

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