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Neighbors And Residents Raise Concerns At Kirkham Heights Forum

Hoodline by Walter Thompson

September 2, 2015

On Monday night, the Sunset Heights Association of Responsible Persons (SHARP) hosted a forum on the planned Kirkham Heights redevelopment project, near Fifth Avenue and Kirkham. Representatives of the site’s owners gave a detailed presentation to the standing-room-only crowd, addressing audience questions and concerns about the project’s potential impact on the community.

Westlake Urban has owned the 6.35-acre rental property for 40 years, and hopes to redevelop the site to boost density and potentially create a mix of rental and privately-owned housing. As they gather data for the environmental review process, the site’s owners have hired project-development management firm Transform Urban to reach out to neighbors and share information about their plans.

Built on a steep slope on the western edge of Mt. Sutro, Kirkham Heights currently has 86 units of housing. If the plan is approved, that will increase to 460 units, with 86 held over as rent-controlled for existing tenants. As they move out, their units will be offered at market rate; developers will also set aside 12 percent of units for below-market-rate housing.

When it was built in 1950, Kirkham Heights was zoned for as many as 690 units, but developers have no plans to max that number out. If the Board of Supervisors approves a pending proposal to boost density by relaxing height limits, Naomi Porat of Transform Urban said developers might seek to build up to six stories, instead of four.

“We’ve received significant positive feedback from neighbors during our community-wide meet and greets, through our project website, and in social media,” Porat told Hoodline. “We have also heard positive feedback from Kirkham Heights residents about our intent to provide new rent-controlled units for all current tenants, at rates comparable to their current rents as of the time of relocation.”

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