Fact-Checking Related's "Myth Vs. Fact"
No Environmental Review: "1601 is completing a focused EIR, a process managed by the SF Planning Department. Included in the EIR will be Hazardous Waste and Transportation studies that will be made available to the public."
Fact: Related is not "completing" an EIR; they have not even begun an EIR. SF Planning has not even determined the scope, nor have they announced that there would not be a community plan exemption. Prior to any determination, the Planning Department will conduct a public scoping process. During this time the community will have the opportunity to weigh in on the scope of the EIR and which specific issues should be included as part of an EIR. Until that process is complete, any claims made about the scope of a theoretical EIR are purely speculative and not based on any official determination. (Source: SF Planning Department Environmental Review Process Summary
Too Dense for Site: "1601 Mariposa is actually consistent with other nearby projects with 96 units per acre compared to 91 units per acre at 1130 Mariposa and 450 Rhode Island. Additionally the project will have twice as much open space as required, meaning less building than otherwise allowed."
Fact: Rather than compare 1601 Mariposa to the densest large development in the area (450 Rhode Island) or to a relatively small parcel that was originally zoned for commercial use only and which required conditional use approval and a rear yard exemption (1130 Mariposa), it is more appropriate to compare the project's density to the residential area that surrounds it. The average for Potrero Hill is 27 units/acre, which is less than one-third of the 96 units/acre density of the proposed development at 1601 Mariposa. However, If one were to look at the actual density for 450 Rhode Island, the correct calculation would be 165 units over 2 square acres, which would be 82.5 units/acre, rather than the 91 units/acre claimed by Related. (sources: SF Property Information Map, Related CA, San Francisco Planning Department, SF Planning Commission Motion 13282, approved 2/13/1992, "The Potrero" initial sales website)
Fact: Related CA is seeking an "exception" to the rear yard requirement of 25% (Planning Code Section 134). Additionally, they include a mid-block passage as part of the rear yard open space requirement, which is not permitted by the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan. A total of 34,061 square feet of open space has been proposed, which is only 23.3% of the total sq. feet. for the site. This is not "twice" the amount required. Furthermore, only 62% of the proposed open space will be publicly accessible, making any community benefits negligible. (sources: San Francisco Planning Department Preliminary Project Assessment 2012.1398U, Related CA public presentations, Eastern Neighborhoods Plan)
Monolithic Structure: "1601 is actually four sub-buildings designed to blend in with the surrounding area by using distinctly different architecture for each side of the project. 1601 also features 35,000 square feet of public green space and two parklets."
Fact: Planning Code Section 270.1 requires any project with a frontage of more than 200 feet to incorporate one or more mass reduction breaks in the building to reduce the horizontal scale of the building into discrete sections not more than 200 feet in length. The minimum dimensions required are 30 feet of width and 60 feet of depth above 25 feet. Related CA is seeking Horizontal Mass and Mid-Block alley exceptions to skirt this requirement. In the Preliminary Project Assessment, the Planning Department commented on the proposed project's failure to provide adequate separations along Arkansas and 18th Streets, as well as noting the lack of a publicly accessible mid-block alley on Arkansas. (source: San Francisco Planning Department Preliminary Project Assessment 2012.1398U)
Fact: The project includes less than 35,000 square feet of open space and only a portion will be publicly accessible. Nearly all of the publicly accessible space will be a mid-block passageway that appears to include a significant amount of hardscape, rather than green space. Related's own website indicates that there will be "21,000 square public usable open space... Plus an additional 13,000 square feet of shared open space available to residents". This is a total of 34,000 open space, of which only a portion will be publicly accessible. (sources: 1601mariposa.com, Related CA public presentations)
Exceeds Height Requirements: "1601 is planning to build within the 40 feet height standard designated for the area, proposing mostly 3 or 4 story buildings."
Fact: Portions of the building will be greater than 4 stories high, and the proposed development appears to violate Eastern Neighborhoods Plan policy. While the project fits within the requirements of a 40-X height and bulk district, Related CA has said that some of the buildings towards the interior and down slope will be as high as 5 stories and over 40 feet tall. Since most of the buildings in the area are 2 or 3 stories high, the project will exceed the average height of existing buildings in the adjoining blocks. The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan POLICY 3.1.6 states that, "New buildings should epitomize the best in contemporary architecture, but should do so with full awareness of, and respect for, the height, mass, articulation and materials of the best of the older buildings that surrounds them." (sources: Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, p.30; Related CA public presentations)
Out of Town Developer: "Related California has been active in the development of affordable, mixed-use and market rate communities in San Francisco, resulting in more that 1200 homes completed and in operation since its inception. They key project leaders all have long histories working in San Francisco real estate."
Fact: Related California is part of Related Companies, a global real estate company, headquartered in New York City, with assets valued at over $15 billion. They have offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Abu Dhabi, San Paolo and Shanghai. Although Related CA opened a branch office in San Francisco in 2011, their main CA office is located in Irvine, CA. (sources: Related & Related California websites)
Related's Original "Myth Vs. Fact" Document