Forest Knolls and its’ SF Overlook Development

SF Overlook Development, LLC have completed their environmental review with pending planning approval to build a proposed 34 units on the hillside below Crestmont Dr. in San Franciscos’ Forest Knolls neighborhood.

Crestmont Preservation is an organized group of home owners and community members with the common cause of preserving the quiet and peaceful enjoyment that is their right as homeowners.  Their primary concern is the additional 340 person trips, (136-170 car trips…based upon round trips per person for average of 5 residents per 2-3 bedroom unit per day), moving through this quiet, residential neighborhood of narrow, hilly streets along with the increased density this large development will bring to the end of this cul-de-sac, already the city’s longest.

SF Overlook states their 34 unit project is 44% less units than the max allowed by zoning.  The mix of units are two and three bedroom family townhomes and one 11 unit building.  This project will improve hillside stability through water management, new retaining walls and drainage improvements.  They propose to add 51 off-street covered parking spaces and will apply for up to 68 parking spaces.

Crestmont Preservation is concerned about the movement of heavy equipment and semi’s through the narrow winding streets that border Mt. Sutro, the lengthy period of the build and it’s ongoing impact on safety and congestion, hillside stability during construction, the homeowners quiet enjoyment, home values and re-sale opportunities during this period.  

Forest Knolls is a community at the base of Mt. Sutro between Twin Peaks, UCSF, Golden Gate Heights and the Inner Sunset, of over 500 single family homes and a few 2-3 unit multi-family homes.  The Overlook Development proposal adds Townhomes to the primarily single family home neighborhood with the location of a higher density of duplexes adjacent to the proposed project site.  Townhomes and condominiums typically transfer in 3-5 years , as opposed to single family homes which transfer in approximately 7-10 years.  Currently the neighborhood has only seen 12 single family homes sold since January 2011, 1 multi-unit and 1 condo.  This is a  neighborhood of residents who stay.  There is a unique tranquility and small neighborhood feel to living in this San Francisco hillside enclave with the rain forest of Mt. Sutro towering above.

I spoke with Sam Sobol, Crestmont Preservation Coalition Organizer who communicated the that the Coalition’s ideal goal would be to have the area remain Open Green Space, although it is a privately owned parcel zoned for residential development.  If construction cannot be prevented the goal is to have SF Overlook Development, LLC consider seeking planning approval for another of 3 alternate plans for the project, specifically a proposal for 16 single family homes built to the higher end of the market.

According to the Public Relations Representative for SF Overlook, the City of San San Francisco EIR report states there will be no siginificant traffic impacts.  The Crestmont Preservation Coalition believes that building single family homes would reduce the daily and additional traffic by approximately 50%, with much less impact on congestion & safety. The community has also expressed concern for whether or not the current proposed project will negatively impact home values during the length of the project and in the future, in what is a primarily single family neighborhood.

It is easy to see what they express when you drive along Crestmont Dr. and imagine heavy construction traffic for SF Overlook’s estimate of 6 to 8 months maximum, followed by Crestmont Preservations belief that street traffic will signficantly increase upon project completion, and wonder how the neighborhood will bear it.  The concern of Crestmont Preservation is that the neighborhood cannot literally withstand the project or the long term result of the increased traffic due to the narrow winding roads and encroaching forest which is maintained by UCSF. This issue is a point of debate between the parties.

Crestmont Preservation recognizes that some project will, in all likelihood, eventually be built and if so, will fight to promote the lower density, higher end single family homes as the choice of the developer and San Francisco City Planning.  They will make their proposal at the City Planning hearing scheduled for June 7th.  They believe the single family home alternative will improve the neighborhood, stabilize home values, reduce the traffic impact and allow the developer to succeed financially while making the right choice by truly improving what is already a special neighborhood, not merely profiting for the sake of profit.

San Francisco Overlook addresses most of the communities concerns in its prospectus. For more information about the project from the developer, go to  To further understand the position of the community members and homeowners who make up the Crestmont Preservation Coalition, go to






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