MEDA’s recently expanded Policy and Advocacy team is working hand-in-hand with community partners and the District Supervisor’s office to stem the displacement of Latinx residents and family-serving businesses in San Francisco’s Mission District. Since the year 2000, there have been 8,000 Latinos displaced — that’s over 25 percent of our community. Concurrently, myriad small, immigrant-owned businesses have fallen by the wayside.
A focus is the Mission Street commercial corridor, long the lifeblood of the neighborhood. There are 400+ small businesses just on this stretch between Duboce Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street.
Mission Interim Controls passed on Jan. 9, offer protections that last 15 months (until April 2019), augmenting similar previous controls to bring ever-greater protections to our community-serving retail. This new legislation is a healthy step in maintaining a balance of sizes and types of businesses on the corridor, adding more City scrutiny — under the authority of Planning Commission Conditional Use Authorization — to new, full-service restaurant conversions and storefront mergers that are larger than 2,000 square feet. The intent is to slow the trend of the Mission moving from a family-serving retail corridor to becoming a tourist/destination site that makes it harder for residents to get what they need in their own neighborhood.
Preserving and encouraging healthy “neighborhood-serving” retail furthers several of the eight San Francisco Planning Code priorities, found at Planning Code Section 101.1(b), including:
- That existing neighborhood-serving retail uses be preserved and enhanced and future opportunities for resident employment in and ownership of such businesses be enhanced.
- That existing housing and neighborhood character be conserved and protected in order to preserve the cultural and economic diversity of our neighborhoods.
This legislation is a sensible step toward meeting those priorities to ensure that the needs of residents, including immigrant and low-income households, are served, plus are not crowded out by establishments that are dependent on “destination” patronage and rely predominantly on out-of-neighborhood clientele.
MEDA and Mission allies, including Calle 24 and the San Francisco Tenants Union, worked with District 9 Supervisor Ronen’s office and the San Francisco Planning Department to get this measure passed on behalf of the community through the Mission Action Plan 2020 process, which is a community/City partnership that seeks to reverse the displacement trends of low- to moderate-income residents, community-serving businesses and nonprofits.