Saturday, March 3, 2018



Act now…hearing in five days!

Dear Neighbor:

The San Francisco planning commission will soon review a highly questionable construction project at 48 Saturn Street.  Right now, the site is an empty lot that abuts 52-54 Saturn.

It is a monstrous mistake that attempts to squeeze way too much into a very small lot.

Specifically, it is not in compliance with:

* Many aspects of Corona Heights Special Use district that was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors

* City requirements for 45% of open space

* City requirements for no more than 55% lot coverage

* AND a five-story structure that towers over adjoining properties by ONE FULL FLOOR.

So what can you do?  Support your neighborhood association (Corbett Heights Neighbors) and speak out:

1) Send an email (this weekend) to the planning staff at city hall opposing the proposed development a 48 Saturn

2) Attend and speak out at the San Francisco Planning Commission hearings on Thursday, March 8 at Room 400, City Hall.  The meeting is set for 1 pm but contact the planner to get a schedule update as times can shift.

Join your neighbors and fight this grievous mistake.  Months ago, the first version of this plan was unanimously turned down by the Planning Commission, but now they are back with a worse proposal.

Corbett Heights Neighbors



Thursday, February 1, 2018

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes: January 25, 2018


The meeting was called to order at 7:05.

Almost every seat in the room was taken, with several people standing off to the side.

Huge thanks for the folks who helped distribute the fliers for the meeting: Ted Teipel, Kathy & Hank Flanders, Kazumi Matsuyama, Bill Prince, Janice Low, Paul Allen, Grace Gellerman, Phil Byland, Nancy Peoples, Desiree Roldan, Bonnie Day, Tom Murphy and Dash and Dirk Aguilar.

First we thanked Chad Beecher for his incredible work in restoring three neighborhood parks: Corbett/Ord Triangle, Merritt Park at the intersection of Danvers and Market, and most recently Mars Park at the corner of Corbett and Mars. Merritt Park especially, was one that until a few months ago, people would have almost preferred for it to be cemented over. Truckloads of ivy, blackberry brambles, syringes and feces representing several species were cleared away by Chad. We presented him with a thank you note from the Board, a bouquet of flowers as well as complementary one-year membership in the association.

Board member Brad Lyman completed work to improve the email distribution system to members using Mailchimp.

(For our April meeting we have invited Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, running to retain his position as Supervisor of our district. In addition, we decided that we would invite the two mayoral frontrunners to address us in January and in April. Senator Mark Leno spoke with us last week. We will invite the other to address us at the April meeting.)

Rafael Mandelman, running Supervisor of our district is currently President of the Board of Trustees of City College as well as Deputy City Attorney for Oakland.  He listed about a dozen reasons he is deeply qualified to be our Supervisor and took quite a few questions from the audience.  He graduated from Yale, the Kennedy School at Harvard, and UC Berkeley Law School. He is an urban development attorney and serves on the board of the LGBT Center. As President of City College's Board of Trustees he worked to restore CCSF's accreditation.

- Regarding homelessness, his priorities would be to increase affordable housing, improve public health services and coordination among relevant agencies.

- Public transportation must be improved and to some extent re-imagined.

- The city needs to work with landlords to address the substantial increase in empty retail store fronts.

Mark Leno, formerly our District 8 Supervisor, formerly our 13th District Assemblyman, formerly our 11th District CA State Senator and currently running for San Francisco Mayor.  He specifically addressed the issues of affordable housing, homelessness, transit, and the general quality of life in the City. Regarding homelessness, issues that need to be addressed include possible Ellis Act reforms, mental health services, and inter-agency coordination. He also discussed an interest - or a need to reform the Planning Department, the need for infrastructure investment, and the large number of vacant retail spaces citywide.

Our board put together a list of questions to ask him. They included: What does he plan to do to preserve the character and beauty of our San Francisco neighborhoods?; What ideas does he have to improve the Planning Dept and DBI?  Both budgets are financed exclusely by permit fees paid by developers. Does this create a sense of conflict of interest?; How would he reduce rampant demolitions that are performed under the guise of remodels?; Does he feel there should be a saturation point in the number of residents we are willing to accommodate in our 49 square mile city, or will developers dictate a never-ending increase in density, potentially negatively impacting our quality of life?; And how might he reconfigure our existing $10 billion budget? He also answered numerous questions asked bythe audience.

Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement: Hoping to not upset people who paid more early on, we've decided to reduce our donation request for the history project book, "Corbett Heights San Francisco: An Historic Context Statement" to $40 for members and $50 for non-members.

Garrett Robertson, who is coordinating much of the improvement work on the neighborhood street parks, is looking for volunteers to help with park clean up efforts once per month on the 2nd Saturday. If you're interested in helping out, please let me know! We'll be sending out a notice each month letting you know which park we'll be addressing.  In the coming months we'll be using CHN funds to plant quite a few native plants in several of our street parks.

Corbett Slope: It's been more than half a year since they completed the concete slab and the redwood planters. What happens next and when that may be is not being revealed.  Giving up on trying to find this out from DPW I'm now working with someone in the Mayor's office to try and get answers.

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District: I mentioned last time that of the dozens of notices for construction proposals that I receive each month, only a tiny fraction of those are for property sites within our SUD. So it's still working! This is not the case elsewhere like Noe Valley where most of the expansion and virtual demolition of older homes has become chronic.

Mount Olympus Project: (271, 301-303 Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th St): At this time there is still no hearing date scheduled.

The instability of the hillside is likely the primary reason that the environmental review is still going on. As I mentioned last meeting, the other issues being dealt with in the review are:

- Noise during construction would exceed allowable levels;

- Dust is said to contain toxic levels of silica - would be blown around the neighborhood during construction;

- Danger to adjacent buildings.

But recently there have been efforts to try and make nice with different groups of opponents. I've scheduled a meeting with them for Wednestday afternoon. They promise that they're able and willing to finally reduce the individual unit square footage. They're trying to figure out how anyone could possibly live in a unit that's smaller than 5300 square feet. More to come soon.

3198 Market: This is the home being built below Al's Park on Corbett. I just heard from the owner/architect that the foundation work is almost complete. Framing of the house should start sometime in February. Once it's complete we'll be meeting to come up with a redesign of Al's Park. A lot of wonderful, funky stuff that used to be there has been saved and hopefully will return. Al, creator of Al's Park turns 97 next week!!

1965 Market/FedEx: Last Thursday the Planning Commission approved plans for this 96 unit set of buildings. Taking advantage of the recently passed State Density Bonus which is allowing them to add an entire two floors to the building, the Market-Octavia plan that allows an 85' building on that corner, as well as using the phrase of the decade - increased density - they were able to get this project approved.  The only concessions made, of those requested by several groups, was to use a light colored brick instead of sheet metal for the facade, and to include some windows and improved cladding on the previously blank wall facing west. There will be 14 BMR (below market rate) units in the mix.

SFMTA Safety Plan: Two representatives from MTA spoke at last October's meeting.  Recently, sending a curveball to residents, local merchants and neighborhood groups, they will be removing 4 blocks of parking just west of Octavia Blvd. The reason for this is that in order to install the desired bike lanes, fire trucks would not be able to get close enough to a burning building if a parking lane were to remain. Meetings to discuss this are ongoing.

D8LUC (District 8 Land Use Coalition): A few of us, coming from several different neighborhood organizations in our district are creating a new group that will be called D8LUC. It will focus primarily on four areas: preserving neighborhood character, trying to find ways to retain affordability, preventing rampant demolitions and hopefully, finding ways to reform the Planning Dept. If you're interested, and if you feel you have some level of understanding or interest in Land Use in San Francisco, let me know.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45.

Thank you for your interest in the neighborhood!!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Corbett Heights Meeting - Thursday, January 25th

Hi Neighbors - 

We have a wonderful couple of guests for this upcoming meeting:

Senator Mark Leno will discuss his plans if elected Mayor of San Francisco.
(The other of the top 2 frontrunners will be invited to our April meeting.
We will begin with a few questions our CHN Board has come up with, 
followed by Q&A from the audience - using index cards passed out to 
anyone interested in asking a question.)

Rafael Mandelman will discuss his plans if elected Supervisor of District 8.
(Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, currently our Supervisor will speak to us during 
our April meeting.)

In addition we'll discuss updates to our parks, Upper Market construction projects, SFMTA Traffic Safety plan, the proposed rebuild of the destroyed-by-fire Hattie Street properties as well as the biggest project in our neighborhood's history - the mammoth Mt. Olympus proposal.
We'll also have copies of our Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement available for a donation of $40 for members/$50 for non-members.

Hope to see you at the meeting!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - October 26, 2017

45 showed up for last week's meeting!

First - I must thank the folks who helped distribute the fliers: Kathy and Hank Flanders, Bill Prince, Janice Low, Paul Allen, Grace Gellerman, Phil Byland, Kevin Dunn, Nancy Peoples, Desiree Roldan, Bonnie Day and Dirk Aguilar. Thank you all!

(And thanks to Paul for taking notes!!)

Treasurer's Report: We have about $4700 in our bank account. We've been recouping some of the money we put out to get the History Project (Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement) going several years ago through donations for the book. More details below.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy:

Supervisor Sheehy reviewed several matters: (a) The passage of a bicycle chop shop ordinance that is designed to aid law enforcement in controlling the proliferation of such shops that block sidewalks and in some cases streets and parking areas. (b) Legislation that would require the disclosure, by merchants with more than 25 stores, of the use of antibiotics in meats, the goal being to reduce the sales of such meats. (c) His attempt to secure city water for the much improved Corbett/Ord Triangle Park, as well as Merritt Park. (d) Work on city cannabis legislation in anticipation of legalization next year. The Supervisor also thanked Captain Sanford for his service at Park Station and introduced the new Park Station chief, Capt. Una Bailey.

Capt. Una Bailey, Park Station: Newly appointed Park Station chief Capt. Bailey made a short presentation and answered several questions. Captain Bailey has been with the SFPD for 16 years, having worked variously at the special victims unit, several SFPD stations including in the Tenderloin and 7 years in the Mission, and at headquarters. She noted that the monthly Park Station community meetings will continue to be held at 5:00 pm the third Monday of every month. She urged the reporting of all crimes by residents of the district because such reports are essential to prevention measures as well as, of course, solutions. There was a discussion of the homeless problem, in which Supervisor Sheehy participated. Both acknowledged the complexity and magnitude of the problem although no new solutions were identified. Nonetheless, Capt. Bailey urged the reporting of issues to the relevant homeless outreach teams. It was noted that the police receive 5000-6000 calls per month on this issue.

Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement: After what seems like centuries, the book is complete. And it's as wonderful as we would have hoped. There was a complication due to owner's rights to some of the photographs (Bancroft Library, SF Public Library, to name 2 of about 5 sources), and therefore the books are available only with a donation to Corbett Heights Neighbors where the funds will be separated out. For those interested, (our website payment link for the History Project is not functioning) please mail or drop off $50 per book payable to CHN to 197 Corbett. Make sure you leave your address and contact info so that we can drop it off at your home.

SFMTA Upper Market Street Safety Project: Casey Hildreth and Patrick Golier made a presentation on the Upper Market Street Safety Project in support of Vision Zero SF whose goal is to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024. The goal is to enhance safety and comfort in the upper Market Street Corridor, defined as the area from Castro to Octavia. They noted that several improvements have already been completed; e.g. the addition of pedestrian bulb outs, better bicycle striping, and larger and better marked pedestrian crossings. Additional changes have been planned most notably at the Market/Noe/16th, Market/Sanchez/15th, and Market/Church/14th intersections. There was considerable discussion of a set of changes at all three intersections that would eliminate many left turns from side streets into Market. Hildreth and Golier noted that there will be a community meeting in January to obtain input.

Having personally attended several of the meetings during which SFMTA ostensibly sought input from neighborhood residents, as well as several presentations given at neighborhood organization meetings, it's become apparent that the latest version of this plan is oddly almost identical to the initial one of several years ago. I know of several suggestions that have been basically ignored. One obvious one is the proposed new left turn from eastbound Upper Market onto Castro going northbound. Among other problems with this proposal are the "Google buses" that stop several feet from the curb along side Pottery Barn. Even without this left turn in place, cars heading north on Castro need to wait until the G-bus is onloaded or offloaded as the northbound lane is shrunk in half by the bus.

Another issue with the plan is that with the removal of all left turns onto Market (with the exception of the existing one at 16th St. going west) is that all north-of-Market traffic hoping to head downtown on Market will need to travel through the small side streets in the Duboce Triangle. And last, all intersections are rated by the department by "level of service". "A" is best, and "D" is worst as it relates to pedestrian safety. Both the Castro/17th and the Noe/16th intersections will be demoted if this proposal passes.

Two links that provide more detailed information are at the bottom of the page.

Levi Conover, Rec. and Park.: Mr. Conover provided an update of the $6 million renovation of the Randall Museum, which receives over 90,000 visitors per year. The project includes new geology and zoology exhibits, a new science lab, renovation of the live animal exhibit, and new classrooms and restrooms. The museum is expected to reopen early in 2018 to be preceded by a welcome event for the neighborhood.

Corbett Slope: After waiting for years, the improvements to the Corbett Slope have finally begun to take shape. We now have a large central concrete platform surrounded by solid redwood planters, and new fencing. A new sidewallk was poured, although the western portion will be torn up again in a few months to install proper support piers.

Next year, the final stage will begin - a stairway connecting Corbett to Market Str. Garrett and Jake, our resident gardeners extraordinaire are anxious to plant dozens of additional native California plants. Please - we will need volunteers to help out after the work is complete. We hope to form the Friends of Corbett Slope.

Corbett/Ord Triangle & Merritt Park: A mysterious person dropped down from the sky with a formidable goal of beautifying parks in our neighborhood. He first tackled Corbett/Ord, after which time he organized an entire neighborhood event, catered for 125 people, and got permits to close off Ord St for the afternoon. He's now tackling Merritt Park - something that so many people over the years started to tackle but got disillusioned. He told me that there were enough syringes and excrement from several species - including quadrupeds and bipeds - to fill a wheelbarrow. He's not asked for a penny from anyone, and has done this all with no help from anyone else. Stop by if you see him and say hello - and thank you!

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District: I receive notices for develpment proposals that would take place over a big chunk of the city. The applications I receive for all other neighborhoods far exceed those in the area covered by the new SUD. With the new restrictions in place, the permitting process to build oversized homes is more costly and it's less likely developers will be granted the excesses they are requesting. It's working!

As I've mentioned, this came about due to both Supervisor Wiener's and Supervisor Sheehy's willingness to protect our neighborhood from over-development. The new boundaries go from Market and Clayton, up Clayton, across 17th St, Ashbury to Clifford, to Roosevelt, to Museum, down to include all of States to Castro, down Douglass to Market, and Market back to Clayton.

271, 301-303 Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th St. Mount Olympus project: - Due to the as yet unreleased environmental review, the Planning Dept. has decided to continue the project indefinitely. Apparently it is still nowhere near complete. Issues being dealt with in the review are:

- The instability of the hillside (several landslides and rock wall failure have taken place in the immediate area);

- Noise during construction would exceed allowable levels;

- Dust is said to contain toxic levels of silica - it would be blown around the neighborhood during construction;

- Danger to adjacent buildings.

There still hasn't been much discussion about reducing the square footage of the units which currently top out at 5300 square feet.

75 Mars: At this point, now that the dust has settled, the owner has moved in and the gardens are complete, the years of noise, construction mess and giant blue tarps are beginning to fade. The new stairs and the plants that surround them are pretty spectacular.

3198 Market: Work is taking place. Al's park isn't what you are used to seeing. A new paved path goes downhill to the building site. It was a requirement by the Fire Dept. to be 4' wide, with 1' shoulders on each side. This would enable fire officials and paramedics to navigate the steep hill. Most of the plants you may remember have been removed, but lots more will be planted. We'll be forming an Al's Park garden committee. Many of the quirky objects will be reinstalled. And last, we hope to plant a large tree to honor Al. He's in his mid-nineties, and still attached to his park.

1965 Market/FedEx: This project is still awaiting environmental review. UDAT (Urban Design Advisory Team) has reviewed it and are still a good distance away from giving its stamp of approval.

The current owners/project sponsors are Jeffrey Keller and Eric Grover of Keller Grover, LLP, a law firm. Their offices are in the building. The Mission Revival building is considered a historic resourse and must be retained.

UDAT and Historic Preservation staff have been working with the developers to improve the look, scale and overall feel of the buildings. The building on the parking lot site will be 85' tall. It's improved considerably - with brick now part of the facade. The building that will go over the existing FedEx store leaves a lot more to be desired. Sheet metal is still the architects' preferred cladding material. There's a desire by the Planning Dept. to have the building resemble a residential building rather than an office building.

It's an enormous project which will eventually be built. But in the meantime, we're still hoping for some improvements.

Sullivan's Funeral Home (2254 Market): We keep being told that ground-breaking is imminent. It will ultimately become a 55' tall building with 45 dwelling units and 13,550 square feet of ground floor retail.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): It's in progress. It will eventually become 7 stories, with 62 units, and two spaces for ground floor retail.

Barry's Boot Camp is hoping to move into the recently vacated CVS store, formerly Tower Records. They say they would activate the space with 50 workout bicycles. They would also install planters and cafe tables and chairs in front.

Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Corbett Heights Meeting Thursday, 10/26

Hi Neighbors:

We hope you're able to attend our next meeting - this Thursday, October 26.
We have a pretty packed agenda:

Our new Captain of Park Station, Una Bailey, will introduce herself;
Supervisor Jeff Sheehy will be there to discuss District 8 issues;
Representatives from SFMTA will describe the proposal to redirect traffic along the Upper Market corridor.  Most left turns towards and away from Market St. will be eliminated, for example.
And, Levi Conover will discuss the about-to-reopen Randall Museum in Corona Heights.

Hope to see you at the meeting!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Corbett Heights Meeting Next Thursday, 10/26




7:00 PM



(Thru the BofA doors, take stairs or elevator on right)


  • Supervisor Jeff Sheehy will talk about District 8 issues.

  • Levi Conover will discuss the Randall Museum upgrades.

  • SFMTA will describe the proposed changes to Market St. traffic: removal of left turns; bulb-outs; bike lane improvements.....

  • Corbett Slope: Improvements almost complete!

  • History Project: Finished and printed! Copies will be

    available at the meeting!!

  • Amazing improvements to our parks:

    Corbett/Ord Triangle and Merritt Park!!

  • Latest updates on the Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th St. project.

  • Castro & Upper Market Development Projects

  • and more...


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Membership is not required to attend meetings. Those who pay dues ($15/year)*

receive regular email updates, assist with printing costs, and contribute towards neighborhood improvement events.

*Please go to and pay using PayPal, OR

you may bring cash or check - made payable to CORBETT HEIGHTS NEIGHBORS or CHN -

to the meeting, OR mail to 197 Corbett, SF 94114.

Make sure you include your name, address, phone numbers, and your email address.

Contact us at:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Please support the Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement!

Dear Neighbors,

As I mentioned in the just sent meeting notes, our History Project (or the Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement) is now complete!  We who have lived with delay after delay over several years are extremely proud of the finished project.  It is, I believe, 256 pages, and includes dozens of historic photos and maps, and tells an amazing history of our neighborhood.   It has passed muster with everyone so far, and goes before the Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.  The hearing begins at 12:30PM in Room 400, City Hall.  
If you are able to attend, it would be very helpful.

PLEASE send in a quick letter of support, if possible by this Friday, August 4th.   

All it needs to say is that you, as a resident of the neighborhood, are aware of and are in full support of the document " Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement".  

Please include your name, address and contact information.  You can email it to: 
Shannon Ferguson -
or mail it to her:
Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

Please cc me if you email her.

Soon we will be able to celebrate the actual books!

Thank you!