Supes Approve Framework for Trinity Plaza Development Agreement

by Randy Shaw on March 24, 2005

The Land Use Committee of the Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 yesterday to allow the rebuilding of the Trinity Plaza Apartments at 8th and Market to proceed by way of a development agreement. The legislation ensures that the tenant protections included in the unprecedented project are enforceable by the City, not just the tenants. While there was no opposition to the measure, the Supervisors’ comments signaled likely changes in the proposed Mid-Market Redevelopment Plan.

Current city law does not allow for an enforceable development agreement to be used protect the rights of tenants at the Trinity Plaza Apartments. Based on the comments of yesterday’s four Supervisors at the Land Use Committee hearing (Maxwell, McGoldrick, Sandoval and Daly), the legislation allowing a development agreement to govern the Trinity Plaza should pass the Board unanimously next week.

But the real news from the hearing occurred when housing activist Calvin Welch questioned why far greater public benefits were being provided by Trinity Plaza owner Angelo Sangiacomo than were being asked of owners pursuant to the Mid-Market Redevelopment Plan. Since Trinity Plaza is currently in the Mid-Market Project Area, Welch expressed “confusion” as to why developers receiving public benefits through Redevelopment should only be required to provide 12% inclusionary housing when Sangiacomo is providing much more (34%).

Supervisor Daly responded to Welch’s point by expressing his deep disappointment with the Mid-Market Plan’s limited affordable housing requirement. Daly’s point was echoed by both Supervisors McGoldrick and Maxell, and the latter concluded the hearing by stating that the Sangiacomo commitment should be “the goalpost” that we should be aiming for at Mid-Market.

It appears that a majority of the Board of Supervisors views the 34% affordability offered by Sangiacomo as the benchmark for Mid-Market, rather than the 12% adopted by the developer-controlled Mid-Market Project Area Committee. And as Welch correctly emphasized, logic would impose an even higher public benefit requirement on other Mid-Market developers, as, unlike Sangiacomo, they will be reaping the benefits of the Agency’s largesse.

Angelo Sangiacomo, long the bane of tenant activists, has now become the hero of those pushing for more affordable housing in San Francisco. Put that in the next edition of Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

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