Legislation Stalls Amazon Warehouse

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Amazon has paused development of a proposed 5.8-acre parcel delivery facility at 900 Seventh Street in response to municipal legislation passed earlier this year. The location is the site of a former waste maintenance facility, now empty, which Recology sold to Amazon in 2020. 

The land use law, authored by District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, requires new or expanded parcel delivery service centers to secure a conditional use authorization from the Board of Supervisors. The Planning Department must examine project impacts and consistency with the City’s General Plan and Planning code, solicit community input and identify how the facility will benefit the surrounding neighborhood. 

According to Walton, the quality of community input will be measured by how much time a company spends talking to community groups and neighbors about its project. 

“The community’s decision will be received as it would for any other development project. Neighborhood groups will state that they support the project after discussions with the company proposing it have gone well. We would love for Amazon to come to the table about this center,” said Walton. 

The legislation was approved 10 to zero, with District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin recused because he owns Amazon stock.  

“We will continue to evaluate our long-term use of the site. In the short-term we will work with our neighbors to look at ways to use the location to serve the community,” said an Amazon spokesperson. 

Under the law the Planning Department has 18 months from Mayor Breed’s signing of the legislation to study the impacts of Amazon’s facility and identify potential mitigation measures. 

Supporters of the legislation include the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW), San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association (DNA), and San Francisco Southeast Alliance, which advocates on behalf of labor, residents, and the environment. 

“The intent of this legislation was to make sure the future of this kind of facility is in the hands of the neighborhood,” said Walton. “So far, Amazon has not treated its employees and subcontractors appropriately. It has not done the mitigation promised on other sites in District 10. It’s taken them a few years to address the increase in trash at the 888 Tennessee Street facility. They need to work with the community to come to an agreement to mitigate pollution, traffic, and other potential harms that will impact the community.”   

Katherine Doumani, Dogpatch Neighborhood Association president, wasn’t surprised by the Board’s unanimous approval of the legislation.

“It’s taken a really long time for Amazon to treat the neighborhood with any sort of respect,” said Doumani. “The company still has not addressed a number of issues, like their open waste dumpsters and mounds of Amazon trash that blows through Esprit Park and down our streets. Their delivery drivers speed through our community and regularly head the wrong way along 20th Street.” 

“Amazon can’t just run in and do a backdoor deal,” said Jim Araby, UFCW Local 5 director of strategic campaigns. “A large parcel delivery center has the potential to increase pollution and traffic. Amazon also pays its workers and contracted employees below industry-standard wages.” 

“If Amazon is going to come, we want to make sure it’s done right,” Jason Rabinowitz, secretary-treasurer for Teamsters Local 2010. “We want to make sure the project is reviewed, and the delivery center is good for the City and workers. We don’t want the wages to undercut workers in similar jobs. Right now, it’s not possible to support a family on what Amazon pays delivery drivers and warehouse staff.”

Sophie Maxwell, a San Francisco Public Utilities Commissioner who served as District 10 Supervisor between 2000 and 2011, said residents need to look after their neighborhoods.

“These trucks are using our streets, our infrastructure. We should have a say in that. It was time to send the message that in San Francisco, we value our small businesses and neighborhoods,” she said.