May 12, 2022 6 min read

Rocky Meeting Held for 8-Story ‘Oceanviews’ Development

Development rendering
A rendering of the 227-unit Oceanviews affordable housing mixed-use development. | Courtesy image

From notifying neighbors to state orders about contamination, the first meeting for the Oceanviews housing project was a swirl of issues.

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From properly notifying neighbors to addressing the state’s orders about contamination, the first public meeting regarding an 8-story housing development project was a swirl of commentary and allegations.

More than 30 people attended a Zoom meeting at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 6, for “Oceanviews,” a 227-unit building proposed for the 1600 block of Ocean Avenue on the site of four commercial buildings that have intermittently been in play for infill development since 2005.

Property owner and developer TJ Development Inc. tried to develop the site with architectural support from SIA Consulting but stopped during the environmental review phase. The Irvine-based company is now working with Global Premier Development to get approvals.

The project will have 120 units for seniors and 107 units for the general public. Both groups will have their own community areas, laundries and entrances.

“We’re going to rent — once we have all of our financing and we’re all built — to people making as low as $26,000 a year, and the highest income that you could have living in this project is going to be at 104,000 a year,” GPD President Andrew Hanna said. “One of our goals is to set aside 10 units for women that are survivors of domestic violence.”

Several neighbors expressed concern over the eight-story height given that it’s double the size of the recent development projects in the area.

“Four stories is the biggest it should be,” Ingleside resident Leigh Escobedo said. “Eight stories is not good. It's not appropriate. And when you look at the AvalonBay buildings and the other buildings, they're not very well built.”

Hanna took note of Escobedo’s comment.

“If we can reduce the height and still make the project financially viable we'll definitely do that,” he said.

Others expressed concern over the backside of the building looking like a prison because of its small windows and over the fact there were only four parking spaces.

Hanna was accompanied by staff from Jeffrey B. Riggs Architects who shared elements of the building's design from floor plans and the initial drawings for the roof gardens.

Escobedo requested that the design be beautiful.

“Our goal is to develop something that's beautiful, that you want to see every day,” Hanna said.

He said that he would like to put a metal skin on the building’s facade and that the project will max out as much solar energy as possible and use water-saving shower heads, sinks and toilets.

“I think it'd be an awesome addition to the community,” Ingleside resident Steve Marzo said. “I think our neighborhood needs more housing.”

The development team plans to use Senate Bill 35 and Assembly Bill 330 to assist in the approval of the project. They have already obtained tax credits.

EJ Jones, a legislative aide to District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai, asked about the inclusion of family-sized units.

“We do have flexibility on the non tax-credit, affordable units,” Hanna said, adding that he would explore putting in two and three-bedroom units.

During the meeting, a participant was able to insert text outlining their opinion against the project onto the developer’s presentation.

A screen capture from when the presentation was taken over by a participant.

Business Tenants

The project plans have three commercial spaces on the ground floor of 669, 1,100 and 1,440 square feet.

The site currently has seven vacant commercial spaces along with three small businesses, a storefront church and an office called New Dream Funding that recently opened. Two of the small businesses, The Ave Bar and Ocean Hair Design, are San Francisco Legacy Businesses.

“Ideally, we'd like to relocate the existing tenants that wish to stay in the area back into these units,” Hanna said.

TJ Development Inc. stopped allowing the tenants to pay rent and has not communicated with the tenants. Many complaints about blight have been made about the vacant storefronts.

“Being a Legacy Business and one of the only very few Black-owned businesses in San Francisco — because our population has declined down to 3% — it's kind of important to me to stay in that neighborhood right where I'm at,” The Ave Bar co-owner Bomani Caungula said.

Hanna said he would reach out to all of the merchants within the next week

“We could see what we could do with those businesses to really help them out so they're just transitioning comfortably,” Hanna said.

Contamination

Jen Low of the Office of District Seven Supervisor Myrna Melgar, which oversaw the project before redistricting put the property in District 11 in April, said the meeting was not properly noticed and requested that a follow up meeting be held at a more convenient date and time than 6 p.m. on a Friday.

“We haven't seen any outreach actively to any of the commercial tenants — or the neighborhood,” Low said. “I do feel that this scoping meeting was not properly noticed. In fact, I had to contact people myself. And so I would like you guys to consider having an additional meeting, given that the postcards were not sent properly. And some of the neighbors that live adjacent to this property probably did not receive this notice.”

Outreach wasn't the only problem.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control met with Hanna in June 2021, but hadn't heard back from anyone involved, and has been actively trying to get into contact with the development team, she added.

On May 5, 2022, DTSC sent a letter to TJ Development stating it “will take further action, which may include an enforcement action with assessment of penalties or other administrative or civil actions for violations as a result of non-compliance” and may “perform the work” needed to remediate contamination from a dry cleaner that was once on the premises.

“Currently, we don't own the property,” Hanna said. “They do have some air filters. [...] But the goal is to get this project approved, get it financed, so we could put a real serious system in place.”

The soil removed from the site would be sent to an EPA-approved landfill. The design will include a mechanical vapor barrier to capture any rising vapors, Hanna said.

DTSC Supervisor Lora Jameson wrote into the Zoom chat that the “current property owner (TJ Development) has not been responsive to DTSC since early 2020, and has not responded to the order that DTSC has issued in December 2021. We are preparing to reach out to the current tenants that have air filtration systems because of the lack of engagement by the current owner.”

She also said that the DTSC has not received any notice about the proposed development, environmental data referenced by Hanna or plans for vapor mitigation.

“We encourage Global Premier to reach out to DTSC sooner than later,” Jameson wrote.

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