Board of Supervisors Approves Balboa Reservoir Housing Project
1,100 new homes—50% affordable—built next to City College will prioritize family-friendly housing and affordable housing for educators
San Francisco, CA — The Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to approve the Development Agreement for a housing project at the Balboa Reservoir site. After five years of a community engagement process, Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee introduced legislation in April to initiate the first steps of the City’s review of the housing project. The project is an important part of Mayor London N. Breed’s efforts to create more housing in San Francisco, and includes building 1,100 new homes with 50% dedicated for affordable homes for families and essential workers, four acres of public open space, a 100-seat childcare center with 50% of the seats reserved for children of low-income families, and a community meeting space. Situated next to City College, it will include 150 affordable educator units to be prioritized for City College faculty and staff housing.
“San Francisco is still in the midst of a housing shortage, and we need to continue to build more homes throughout the entire city,” said Mayor Breed. “The Balboa Reservoir housing project will create over a thousand new homes for families, for workers, and for teachers, while also providing much-needed open space and childcare facilities. This project is a victory for San Francisco and our residents, and will help make the City a more affordable place to live. I want to thank President Yee and all the City staff who have worked tirelessly to make this project a reality.”
“Overall, the Balboa Reservoir project captures all the elements the community fought for over the years,” said President Yee. “The neighbors and the City College community were deeply engaged with shaping the project. We have come a long way and I believe we achieved the best possible project to bring online 550 affordable new homes for low- and middle-income families in perpetuity. City College educators and staff will also get first preference to 150 educator housing units. This project will be one of the first to actively incorporate child-friendly design elements to ensure that the housing attracts families with children and multi-generational households. Moreover, there will be a new public park, a community center, and a quality childcare center. It is not enough to just build housing, but to also provide connectivity and encourage diversity for a complete, inclusive neighborhood. I want families to see their future here in the neighborhood I was fortunate enough to raise my own children in.”
The Balboa Reservoir property is an approximately 17-acre parcel that the City and County of San Francisco owns under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. It is located in the West of Twin Peaks area of south-central San Francisco, north of the Ocean Avenue commercial district, and directly west of the City College of San Francisco Ocean Campus.
The project was approved unanimously this spring by the Planning Commission, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board. Supervisor Norman Yee established the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee in 2015, which included representatives for neighborhood associations, including Westwood Park, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, and the Ocean Avenue Association. The Committee provided a public forum to establish principles and parameters for the potential project that guided the City’s selection of a development team.
The Development Agreement, Special Use District, General Plan Amendment, and SFPUC Purchase and Sale Resolution approved today at the Board of Supervisors is the result of five years of collaboration between the community, City officials, and City College. The Developer Team will be a partnership between BRIDGE Housing and Avalon Bay Communities with Mission Housing and Habitat for Humanity participating in the affordable housing component of the project.
Community Driven Project
The project proposal is a response to more than five years of neighborhood outreach and discussion. From neighborhood meetings and workshops in 2014, the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Community (BRCAC) was formed. Over the following year and a half, the BRCAC created the parameters and goals for the project, and subsequently helped select the developer team. Since their 2017 selection, the Development Team continued to work with the BRCAC to refine the master plan and complete the environmental review.
550 Affordable Homes
Half of the 1,100 total homes will be affordable to low- and moderate-income families (30% to 120% of Area Median Income). The affordable housing parcels that receive local financing will be deeded back to the City. Over 25% of the affordable units will be dedicated to educator housing, with a first preference for City College faculty and staff.
A New Neighborhood Park and Open Green Spaces
The development will include a new two-acre public park, located at the center of the new neighborhood and easily accessible to all community members. This is part of four acres of total public open space, including recreation areas and pedestrian ways.
Child-Friendly Project: Childcare and Community Spaces
A new childcare center will provide 100 spaces for children from families at a range of income levels, with 50% of the seats reserved for children of low-income families, and will serve the surrounding community and families who move into the new homes. The project will include a large indoor community space on the ground floor adjacent to the public park. The project will also include housing design elements that will be targeted for families with children and will be guided by the San Francisco Planning Department’s Family-Friendly Housing General Plan Amendment and Design Review Guidelines that are part of Mayor Breed and President Yee’s San Francisco Child and Youth-Friendly City Initiative.
The project will pay approximately $10 million in Transportation Sustainability Fees to the City for transit and infrastructure improvements. The new neighborhood is designed around transit-first principles to encourage new residents to walk, bike, and ride transit. As a mitigation measure, the project will improve traffic signaling and rearrange dedicated turn arrows along Ocean Avenue, aiding transit and automobile flow.
Collaboration with City College
City College staff and educators will have first preference on over 25% of the affordable units. Public parking options will be available to the City College community to accommodate the redevelopment of the existing reservoir parking lot. Neighborhood design and community amenities will be arranged to provide easy access to the City College community and to complement planned new College buildings.