Watch CBS News

San Francisco Supervisors Debate Developing Balboa Reservoir Site

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors began discussing a new plan to build housing on the site of the Balboa Reservoir.

A hundred years ago when the Balboa Reservoir was first built, it was designed to be filled with water at a depth of 25 feet. Despite those plans, not a single drop has ever been stored at the location.

But for the last 40 years, people have been pushing to develop the site for housing. On Tuesday, that effort continued.

At 17 acres, it is one of the largest undeveloped pieces of land in San Francisco that is not a park. It currently is used as an overflow parking lot for SF City College, but it doesn't belong to the school.

The site belongs to the city and San Francisco Supervisor Norman Yee wants more housing, not parking.

"I've been pushing this concept of family housing development for the last few years to help the planning commission to adopt some language about what that really means," said Yee.

He means the zoning must be changed before housing goes in. The potential developer, Bridge Housing Corporation, says the 1,100-unit proposal would provide ample affordable housing.

"The parameters required a 50 percent affordable housing component here. Pretty high bar! Unprecedented here in San Francisco, frankly," Bridge Housing Corporation Executive Vice President Brad Wiblin explained.

The development will include acres of parks, a day care center and a new community center. However, not everyone is on board. City College Professor Wynd Kaufman describes herself as an activist and is against the proposal.

"I am not trying to save a parking lot, and that's the problem. The optics are bad. I want a hundred percent affordable housing," said Kaufman.

The idea of building housing started years ago in the '80s and '90s during the time when Diane Feinstein and Art Agnos were mayors. Today, the discussion continues.

One issue could be the environmental impact report may need updating due to COVID-19 effects. Many people are paying attention.

Board President Yee said teachers will benefit too.

"Of the 550 units of affordable housing, 150 -- one whole building -- will be dedicated for educators," said Yee.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.