Supes approve Shotwell senior housing

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously backed an affordable senior housing project in the Mission District, rejecting an appeal filed by neighbors who argued the nine-story building was too tall and would contribute to crime and blight in the neighborhood.

The 94-unit project at 1296 Shotwell St., which will replace a one-story industrial building, will house low-income seniors with incomes of less than $38,000, and includes 20 units designated for formerly homeless seniors.

The Inner Mission Neighbors Association appealed the project, arguing that it was too tall, too dense, did not have enough parking and would bring more crime and blight to a neighborhood already struggling with those issues. The group asked for additional review of the project’s environmental impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

Group spokesman Craig Weber said Tuesday:

“We do not oppose low-income senior housing for seniors. … What we do oppose is a nine-story building on a residential street.”

Weber added:

“There’s heavy crime in this area. … To continue to build low income housing in a dense area like Shotwell and 26th is going to create even more problems for the neighbors here.”

The project, sponsored by the Mission Economic Development Agency and the Chinatown Community Development Center, drew a large number of supporters and an impassioned defense from Supervisor Hillary Ronen, who represents the Mission District.

Ronen said to the project’s opponents:

“I don’t understand how you can, in the same sentence, say that you’re for senior housing and then, right after that, equate senior housing with crime in the neighborhood. … It’s offensive to me and I don’t understand the logic of your argument.”

Ronen noted that neighborhood residents have also recently opposed a soup kitchen, a project she supported. She argued that projects serving the poor and homeless are not contributors to the crime and homelessness that plague the neighborhood but instead provide solutions:

“Seniors and residents of affordable housing are not a nuisance or a blight to be pushed out of the neighborhood. … Poor people are just as entitled to be part of the Mission and every other neighborhood in San Francisco as the wealthiest members of our community.”