Update on Cala Site
By Calvin Welch, HANC Board
It has been about two months since the public hearing on the Environmental Impact Report on the proposed condo and Whole Foods development proposal at 690 Stanyan, the site of the old CALA store at Stanyan and Haight Streets. The massive seven floor (including the three floors of underground parking for 176 cars), 205,000 s/f development will be nine times the total size of the previous CALA with nearly four times the off-street parking space of the existing use.
The overwhelming size of the proposed development, its covering of nearly the entire surface site of two lots, its continuation of the Frankenstein design used by the owner at his Haight and Cole Streets property, and the estimated 2,000 car trips a day it will generate, was the subject of a full EIR and also the subject of HANC’s and neighbors testimony about the failure of the EIR to adequately and completely discuss the projects impacts, especially its horrid design and its traffic and parking impacts on public transit, Golden Gate Park and the immediate neighbors, seven of whom provided testimony, along with HANC, opposing these impacts and asking the developer (and the Planning Commission) to change the design and reduce the size of the project.
The approval process for the project requires the approval of a “final” EIR, then the approval of the project and then the approval of a demolition permit for the existing CALA building. For the “draft” EIR that was heard on February 28th to be made “final” all of the comments submitted at the hearing and/or in writing must be answered by the project sponsor.
According to the Planning Department, they have yet to receive these “responses” to the public “comments”. They cannot process the EIR until the developer “responses” have been received. In addition, Ms. Jones of the Planning Department has said that “additional analysis necessary to respond to some of the comments” has also been requested by the department and the developer’s consultants have yet to provide this analysis. The progress on the EIR is thus somewhat stalled, with no time certain as to when the developer will provide the required information.
The question of the project’s design also seems to be in flux with two Planning Commissioners and a senior Planner telling the Voice that the design has been the subject of continued discussion between the department and the developer and that changes can be expected.