Letter to Editor: PUC Site at 3-5-Stories, No Larger, Does not fit the neighborhood

South San Francisco, CA   October 14, 2019 by SSF Resident Peggy Deras

I am writing to you today to express my (reserved) support for the South San Francisco PUC Site Redevelopment Project. I support the 400 unit, 3 to 5 story proposed project, which Council approved some time ago with (reluctant) backing from the community. Because, we are told, “it provides a great opportunity for our city to have a vibrant mixed-use development that will provide much needed housing for more residents, as well as benefits to the community like affordable housing, childcare, open space and a Market Hall.” Maximum 3-5 stories for these buildings will fit better with the surrounding community than the outrageous concept of twice as tall, with twice as many residents and half the parking they will need. Twice the units with half the parking will only inundate Sunshine Gardens, Buri Buri, and on and on, with vehicles with no place to park. We have already seen that issue on our one-block street way up in Serra Highlands. Also: nobody, including you, wants to shop at Market Hall, or attend meetings if it means getting caught in an hours-long traffic jam with no way to escape.


Additionally, we are told, “the project will be providing much needed housing at a time when more and more households are struggling to afford the cost of housing in the Bay Area. Rather than force more people to relocate to more affordable homes farther and farther from their jobs, we should build more units here in South San Francisco and support more affordable homes for those that live, or work, or want to live and work in South San Francisco.” The forgoing is a fine concept if the owners are restricted to renting to only people who work in South San Francisco. I doubt that is, or could ever be, the case.


This location is the promised location for building 400 units of housing because it is fairly “close to the SSF BART Station. The Bay Area needs more high density housing near our public transit stations in order to combat the housing crisis while simultaneously building in a manner that is better for our environment.” We are told that “housing near public transit helps reduce the use of automobiles by its residents and thereby reduces carbon emissions and reduces traffic congestion. There are fewer and fewer sites in the Bay Area that allow for developers to build this many homes so close to public transit and they should take this opportunity to build 400 more homes here”, as the developers, and the community, were promised.


South San Francisco is not the only city on the Peninsula where high density housing should be built. Though it would seem so. Bart extends to Millbrae, with stops in San Bruno as well. There is also a lot of unused acreage around the Daly City Bart Station that could be built up with hundreds more housing units than are possible here. Heck, the graveyards of Colma also present an opportunity! They emptied the graveyards in San Francisco because space for housing was needed. CalTrain extends all the way down to Silicon Valley and beyond., with many stops offering prime opportunities for housing.


Finally: I would like to express my deep concern for the disastrous traffic situation which I have long predicted will arise if the northern end of Antoinette Lane is left unconnected to El Camino Real. Ingress and egress from North Antoinette Lane will be impossible at certain times of the day and in a police emergency. Chestnut is already a street to be avoided. Consider adding 400 more, plus those who already call Antoinette home and the added traffic from shoppers, library attendees, Council attendees, etc. I think the City had better start planning for the additional cost of that connection, let alone to Mission Road. If it is not included now, the community will pay for the necessary new roads, to the tune of many very angry voters. The developers and our 400 new neighbors will be smiling all the way to the bank. Even more so if they get away with doubling the size of our, already generous, contribution to the housing crisis. I’d be interested to learn just how many housing units have been, and are in the process of being built in SSF in the last few years and currently?


Thank you for your time and consideration.



Peggy Deras

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Dolores Piper
Dolores Piper
3 years ago

I fully agree with the letter above. 3-5 stories with garages at street level somewhat like Cadence would be a much better solution than putting up 7 and 8 stories. Other cities need to step up and provide housing as well as SSF.