Master Plan angering Park Merced residents
September 18, 2007 11:41 AM
Park Merced residents are up in arms over SF State’s Master Plan to redevelop outlying areas of the campus. The plan goes before the CSU Board of Trustees for approval on Nov 13 and 14.
Residents claim the plan will encroach on Park Merced property, damaging its reputation. In addition to revamping campus property the plan also calls to increase enrollment to 25,000 students by 2020. The plan is now in the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) stage.
“The EIR completely washes over Park Merced,” said Aaron Goodman, Vice President of the Park Merced Residents Organization, a community board of residents in the Park Merced property. “They’re not paying attention to the historical resources of the site. They’re on the wrong track.”
Goodman says that Park Merced property is a gem and the Master Plan is not "positive urban planning."
“The plan is in the footprint” of SF State, said Jason Porth, the associate director of community relations in the government relations office at SF State. “This development is not in Park Merced. It’s in University Park North and University Park South."
SF State bought University Park North, former Stonestown apartments in 2005. The school bought the University Park South from Park Merced in different parcels from 2000-2005, according to Ellen Griffin, the SF State spokesperson.
The plan involves adding new buildings including a new Creative Art complex, a new gym and a university conference center. “It’s a redevelopment plan in many ways,” said Porth.
To pay for the project, funding would come through the California State Legislature, bonds, donations and income through rents. This revenue would pay for the bonds.
The only part of the Master Plan that falls outside of the property that SF State owns is the former School of the Arts site at 700 Font Blvd. The property is currently owned by the San Francisco Unified School District. The property is up for sale for $13.75 million but SF State bid below that amount.
“We’re still interested. We’ll still pursue it,” said Griffin. “We are the best buyer.”
Goodman said that the Master Plan will hurt the Park Merced neighborhood.
“A lot of stuff is going on without proper review from the neighborhood,” he said. “There were meetings held on campus during work hours. There was no communication to include all the communities.”
Porth disagrees and said that an outreach campaign started in early 2006 to make sure residents were aware of SF State’s plans.
“We had eight meetings with the community, with one in Park Merced,” said Porth. “We sent a letter to over 13,000 addresses to come to a meeting in Dec. 2006. There has been an opportunity to get people to attend.”
Porth said that residential response influenced change to the plan. “The entire University Park South was for development, retail on the first floor and residential living the rest of the floors,” said Porth.
Residents voiced their opinions and that part of the plan was “dramatically reduced,” according to Porth. Now only one block of University Park South is being redeveloped.
Goodman said that SF State simply is not paying attention to concerns being voiced.
“It doesn’t look like they look at the community at large,” he said. “If SF State is not paying attention, legal recourse is our only action.”
To view the SF State Master Plan, go to www.sfsumasterplan.org
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