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SAN FRANCISCO-A San Francisco supervisor criticized Hastings College of the Law this week, urging the city attorney to consider filing a lawsuit to stop a large parking garage from going in at a former housing site.

Before Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced his measure to try to keep the school from building a controversial eight-story garage at Golden Gate Avenue and Larkin Street, two others on the board had already expressed their support.

Peskin called the garage “wrongheaded,” noting that it would encourage driving despite San Francisco’s transit-first policy and does not conform either to the city’s General Plan or its planning codes. An aide to the supervisor also pointed out that the 85 affordable housing units, which were lost when the building was razed after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, would be lost entirely under the Hastings plans.

Because Hastings, as part of the University of California system, is a state entity, many San Francisco housing and public transit advocates had assumed the city could do nothing to halt the project. The Board of Supervisors has already gone on record against it.

But Peskin refers to a legal opinion rendered in 1986, when Hastings had proposed to construct an office building at the same site. The city lawyers concluded that unless the project was devoted to an educational purpose, city rules would apply.

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