An apartment complex that included affordable housing in one of America’s most expensive places to live was just unanimously rejected over concerns about a minor increase in shade in a public park.
In San Francisco, California, the average rent for an apartment is $3,811/month according to real estate site RentJungle, which is more than 6% higher than last year. Logically, this would mean the city would prioritize new affordable housing construction. However, one housing project that would have included new affordable housing units was just unanimously voted down by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that the 10-0 vote against the proposed 63-unit apartment complex (which would include 15 units at below-market rent) came after a meeting in which members of the community pleaded with supervisors not to approve the project as it would cast shade over Victoria Manalo Draves Park, a multi-use public park South of Market Street.
“This park is important to our community,” youth baseball coach Heather Phillips said at the meeting. “It’s not about housing versus parks. About 60 units of housing is not going to make or break the housing balance, but it will damage a park.”
The shade in question is negligible. According to the Chronicle, on June 21 — the sunniest day of the year — there would only be an increase in shade of approximately 18% on the Northeastern section of the park for a little more than an hour and a half, and only between the hours of 5:46 and 6 PM.
“This is yet more evidence of why local jurisdictions are failing so badly to deliver the housing that the city needs to help the housing crisis,” San Francisco Housing Action Coalition spokesman Tim Colen said. “The city’s housing crisis will not abate unless and until we dramatically increase production of housing projects exactly like this one.”
For now, the proposed housing project goes back to the city’s planning commission. Though the fight to have more resources in the community for those less fortunate remains contentious in the wealthy city. As Grit Post previously reported, wealthy San Francisco residents went so far as to crowdfund money on GoFundMe in order to fight a proposed homeless shelter in the Embarcadero neighborhood. A competing GoFundMe in support of the shelter attracted tens of thousands of dollars, including a donation from GoFundMe itself.
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.