Many thanks for the folks who helped distribute the fliers for the meeting: Ted Teipel, Kathy & Hank Flanders, Desiree Roldan, Jennifer Creelman, Janice Low, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Grace Gellerman, Philip Byland, Nancy Peoples and new member in new section of Corbett Heights - Barbara Pletz.
Vice-President: Maryann Dresner, Ord Court
Treasurer: Leslie Koelsch, Corbett Avenue
Other Board Members:
Dirk Aguilar, Ord Street
Kevin Dunn, Corbett Avenue
Grace Gellerman, Vulcan Steps
Bill Holtzman, Lower Terrace
Rick Johnson, Corbett Avenue
Brad Lyman, Corbett Avenue
Desiree Roldan, 17th Street
Mark Ryser, Ord Street
5 Aggravated Assaults (44 YTD / -8% YTD Change)
7 Robbery (28 YTD / -35% YTD Change)
36 Burglary (174 YTD / -14% YTD Change)
24 Vehicle Theft (126 YTD / -31% YTD Change)
97 Theft from Vehicle (519 YTD / -47% YTD Change)
The community is vital to preventing crimes. If you see a crime in progress call 911. Taking a video of a crime in progress is helpful to the police, but Captain Bailey stressed that you should call 911 FIRST. The police non-emergency number is: 415-553-0123. Park Station's number is: 415-242-3000. And, if you'd like to discuss a particular issue with Capt. Bailey, her email is: email@example.com
She offered the following recommendations for preventing burglaries:
Contact SAFE (Safety Awareness for Everyone - sfsafe.org). It's a great a program that offers a free walk through of your home and gives tips to preventing burglaries. We've had them present at a Corbett Heights meeting twice in the past. Several people contacted them and set up SAFE blocks.
Install cameras: A video of the same criminals committing multiple crimes enables the police to build a case and attach suspects to other crimes. This helps to lead to convictions.
Skateboarders on Corbett: There was a lengthy discussion with Captain Bailey about the ongoing problem with skateboarders on Corbett. She said that skateboarding is not a crime but when these individuals threaten neighbors, vandalize property, run stop signs, board MUNI without paying... then the police can write tickets. She found the information provided by neighbors to be helpful. She'll review the reports that have already been filed and send officers out on a few different days between 3 PM and 5 PM to try and catch the skateboarders in the act.
Interestingly enough, homelessness never came up in our discussion with the Captain.
Rafael Mandelman is our newly elected Supervisor of District 8.
Our meeting was the 3rd of 5 that he was scheduled to attend - he ended up staying about 40 minutes.
He discussed his 3 aides:
Kyle Smeallie – His former campaign manager will be his point person on land use and planning. He was present for the whole meeting. firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Mundy – Mark Leno's former campaign manager. She'll handle Corbett Heights issues, homeless issues. email@example.com
Tom Temprano - College Board Member. He'll deal with issues in the Castro and Mission. firstname.lastname@example.org
According to our discussion with him, homelessness is the most important issue in the district. As other parts of the City are being swept for tents/encampments, homeless people are being pushed from these areas into the Castro and Upper Market. Vacant commercial space makes the Castro attractive. He also said we need to work on the number of beds at SF General for treatment of those in crisis (substance abuse/mental illness). The current system prioritizes housing based on length of time on the street; he said that at this rate you'd have to be on the street 21 years to qualify for housing. The best successes have been with the newly homeless. The most effective program has been reunification of homeless individuals with friends/family. He's looking to have strategic meetings at City Hall to improve the overall problem vs. just responding to each individual incident.
A question that came up was - what can be done about the increase in traffic/speeding on Mars (also Uranus/Deming) due to Waze and the new no left turn sign at Clayton/17th Street? He asked his aid, Kyle, to research what has been done to date and then follow up. (I'll let you know what is suggested after discussing this with him in a week or two.)
Traffic: There were questions about the possibility of regulating Uber and Lyft – Supervisor Mandelman explained that these ride-hailing services are regulated by the State so they can't be regulated on a local level. This is frustrating to SFMTA. One way to deal with the problems they cause is to enforce the local traffic laws (double parking, picking up in crosswalks, etc…) but the City has very few traffic officers – there are approximately 8 (of 37 total) on duty on any given day - in the whole city.
Complaints about dirty sidewalks: He said that San Francisco is spending a lot of money on sidewalk/street cleaning and the budget will increase by $700K. We can clean the sidewalks more but that's not really a solution to the larger issues.
Excessive retail vacancy in the area: He plans to meet with property owners in the district about vacant retail space and encourage them to lower the rents to fill the space. Supports a vacancy tax but said that it would require staff to monitor. One possible solution may be to raise the existing vacancy fee.
Of the dozens of emails he receives daily, Supervisor Mandelman said the top issues in our district are the homeless/homeless encampments, street cleanliness and street trees. He offered his mobile number: 415-516-7761. Call or text him with your questions and concerns. email@example.com
I asked whether legislation could be possible that would require that NO new market-rate development can take place without simultaneous improvement to MUNI, potholes, schools, police, water, sewer....... Kyle will report back
Garrett Robertson, our Parks Coordinator, gave us some updates on our parks. He's spearheaded the monthly street park cleanups in our neighborhood. Usually on the 2nd Saturday of each month, they focus on a different park each time - we have about 12 in all. We'll send out a notice alerting you ahead of time to which one will be spruced up.
WE NEED NEIGHBORS to help, though. Few volunteers have showed up on Garden Days. We usually provide water, snacks, gloves and tools. Come by and pull a weed!
If you have an interest in helping out, please let me know - I'll forward your contact into to Garrett. Even if you don't lend a hand, please stop by and say hello! firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next park cleanup will be in Merritt Park on Sunday, August 12, from 10AM - 1PM. This event is in collaboration with the Castro CBD who will be sending volunteers to help. For more information, please contact us at email@example.com.
Corbett Slope: On Saturday, August 4th dozens of new native plants will be delivered to the Corbett Slope. Please come by and help plant. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, Public Works has agreed to create a park sign for Corbett Slope. Once we get a design idea to them, work should begin on that.
In the very near future Public Works will be replacing the sidewalk after doing some serious reinforcement. This should take at the very least 2 months during which time parking will be unavailable between 315 - 341 Corbett.
Corbett/Ord Triangle: The water access line to this park is currently broken beneath the sidewalk on the Ord Street side. When the water is turned on it shoots up through the sidewalk. This and the irrigation lines should be (?) repaired in the coming weeks. This garden is now impossibly dry. We've been pushing for the water to be repaired for almost a year.
Mars Park: This park had some erosion during the winter after all the invasive ivy was removed. Jonathan Deason, owner of 75 Mars has generously offered to let us use his water to irrigate the park. Garrett and I went to the Urban Farmer store last Friday and purchased the materials for a new system. We should be installing it within the next week. Once some new plants begin getting regular watering they will begin covering the bare soil and help prevent further erosion.
WE HAVE MONEY FOR THE CORBETT HEIGHTS PARK NEAR YOU! If you and 4 or so others would like to improve the green space near you, please go to our website: www.corbettheights.org, and click on "Parks Fund Request". The funds cannot be used for hiring outside help, but is specifically for improving the space.
Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street Project:
After waiting for more than 2 years, the Environmental Review was released a few months ago. As predicted, the outcome was pretty nice for Dawson & Clinton, the architects/project sponsors. One big concern by everyone in the immediate area was the fact that toxic silica dust WILL be released into the air during excavation. Even a small amount of airborne silica dust can create a health hazard - small amounts have been known to cause lung disease and lung cancer according to CalOSHA.
The means by which Dawson & Clinton will be managing the site is, according to many who are knowledgable about this issue, is insufficient. In May this Environmental Review was appealed by a neighbor in Corbett Heights. I'll let you know how this progresses.
Of all of the people who will be affected by this project, some were more concerned about the safety of their property during construction, some were concerned with their views. Since the other issues were being dealt with, we focused on how we could protect neighborhood character and honor the Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District CHLRSUD) ordinance by restricting the size of the project. By possibly tripling the size of the average home in Corbett Heights, this project will have an enormous impact on the affordability and character of our neighborhood. So far we haven't been quite as successful as some other interest groups. The average unit started out as 5300 square feet each for 10 units, plus a lap pool for each. Now the average is 4100 square feet. And, they've scratched the lap pools .
Also, the 2-unit structure on Upper Terrace must remain rent-controlled. But considering the fact that all of these units will all be sold, it's not terribly likely that rent-control will ever take place.
In a separate notice I'll be sending a request for you to submit letters to the Planning Department expressing your support or opposition to this project.
143 Corbett: This one is one big mess.
Back in the 90s the owners at the time had a 3-level deck constructed - with no permit. Not an uncommon thing. About 10 years later the same owners enclosed one floor of the deck on the main level to create a breakfast nook. This was also done with a permit or any sort of inspection.
In 2014 the building was sold. The new, current owner hired a - questionable - contractor. They ended up expanding the breakfast nook out farther into the backyard, an expanding it out in either direction right up to the property line. They walled in what had been large windows on this nook which now extends farther out into the tiny rear yard than any other house on the block. And they built out into two lightwells. None of this was done with permits, inspections or neighborhood notification. Then the excavation began. I don't know the exact amount of soil that was removed, but it went on month after month. There had been an inlaw unit in the basement level but it was considerably shorter than what is allowed. So they dug down on that level, and then at the backyard level they excavated out what had been a storage area. The space is now large enough for a good sized 2 level, 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath unit. All of this, including the excavation was done without permits or inspections. The work was stopped for a year. A new contractor coame along - blamed everything bad that had happened on the previous contractor, and began to try and make things right.
Somehow - - at the Planning Commission hearing in June, despite all of this egregious stuff that had been done, including damaging the neighbors' foundation, despite the fact that it considerably exceeded the limits of the CHLRSUD, and without issuing any citations or even fines, the Commission basically legitimized everything.
For more reasons than I care to go into now, we submitted an appeal which will be heard by the full Board of Supervisors.
Both the owner and the contractor told us that they have no intention of ever renting this new legalized unit. The owner would like to have a place to stay when he comes up to the city to visit his not yet conceived grandchild. He lives down the peninsula.