Sunday, April 15, 2018

Corbett Heights Meeting


Our quarterly meeting will be on
Thursday, April 26th - 7PM

501 Castro at 18th Street, 2nd Floor, above BofA

We have lined up some great speakers for our meeting on April 26th.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy will be there to discuss his accomplishments as our Supervisor, and his intentions if elected in June.

Former Mayor Art Agnos will attend to discuss the importance of the upcoming election in San Francisco.  When he last spoke with us in January, 2014 he had the whole room captivated by his stories of his time as Mayor.

We'll also have many updates on the neighborhood parks, development projects and citywide issues that will impact Corbett Heights.

You'll receive more details as the date approaches.

Hope to see you there!

Corbett Heights Neighbors Board

(Please let me know if you are able to help distributing fliers.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018


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Controls are possible in the near future - with your help.


My apologies for sending out a second email on the same day - but it appears that we're being bombarded with either bad legislation or very bad actors in the Planning Department and the Department of Building Inspection.

My earlier email about SB 827 & 828 goes before the Senate Housing Committee NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 17th! If it fails to pass at that time, it may be a while before it's brought back to life in another bill or in another form.

But this email is about demolition, and the lack of any real protection or prevention. 
As I mentioned recently, developers of 17 Temple Street, a very small cottage built in 1890 received entitlements to "remodel" the structure four years ago.  The Planning Department's definition of demolition - very generally - is that half of the structure would be removed. 

After noticing that all but parts of two walls remained, I communicated with several members, in several capacities, within both Planning and Building Inspection.  All said that it didn't meet the criteria for demolition.  Then, when the south wall was also removed, I was sure they would change their determination.  Even after one small section of one small wall remains - and is surrounded by all new material - they are still trying to convince the public that it's not a demolition. 
For another project elsewhere in the city, a neighborhood advocate was told that a similar situation didn't amount to being considered a demolition, but merely a "building removal". 

I've been meeting with several neighborhood leaders and Supervisors of Districts 1 and 3 to try and come up with ideas on how to change the current system.  At our last general membership meeting in January, Mark Leno discussed rebuilding the two departments from scratch.

A very rare event is taking place this coming Thursday, April 12th, starting at 10AM in Room 400, City Hall.  It is a Joint Hearing of the City Planning Commission AND the Building Inspection Commission.  The reason this is happening is that there has been unprecedented public outrage and an enormous amount of press coverage about these demolitions.  Attend if you're able.  We should probably each get 2 minutes to speak.

Below are before and after photos of 17 Temple.  You may not feel that this is a very special home - despite its age.  But this is only a recent example of what is happening throughout the city to some breathtaking examples of homes that ordinarily make you feel proud to be a San Franciscan.

Gary Weiss
Corbett Heights Neighbors

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SB 827

How it would affect San Francisco



Scott Wiener, as supervisor, did several outstanding things that greatly benefited our neighborhood and our city.  As Senator his actions are coming from another place altogether.  

Opposition to SB 827 has grown dramatically since it was introduced in January. Opponents now include the City of Los Angeles, former SF Mayor Art Agnos, the Sierra Club, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (who voted to oppose it last week by 8 - 3). In addition, three out of the four of the main mayoral candidates - Mark Leno, Jane Kim and Angela Alioto - oppose the bill. Only London Breed views it favorably.

From a group effort by neighborhood associations across the city, including politically diverse groups such as Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Telegraph Hill, Tenants Rights Associations, Chinatown Community Development Center, the Coalition for SF Neighborhoods, the SF Sierra Club and a few dozen others, the following are excerpts from a letter drafted for and presented to the SF Board of Supervisors ahead of their vote last week on whether to support or oppose this bill:

We the undersigned residents and organizations represent communities across the city, rich and poor, tenant and homeowner, newcomers and oldtimers. We stand together with others across the state to urge defeat of SB 827 (Wiener) in any form. This bill unilaterally takes away the opportunity of residents in every part of this city to participate in basic decisions about the livability and sustainability of our communities. It is fundamentally and irreparably flawed.

SB 827 forces a top-down, one-size fits all strategy that will destabilize the character of many of our neighborhoods almost overnight, revoking power from our district supervisors and planning departments, and silencing the public input on new development -- input that can and has resulted in more affordability, more jobs, and stronger communities.

In the name of 'transit-friendly housing', SB 827 undermines the ability of the most transit-friendly city in the state to plan and support our publicly-financed transit system.  We have one of the morst intensive public transit system in the country, not because politicians in Sacramento mandated it, but because our residents voted to support and pay for it.

In the name of affordability, it rewards real estate speculators with enormous windfalls and weakens our city's ability to incentivize and create more affordable housing.  While it includes limited protections for tenants who are directly displaced by new market rate projects, it completely fails to address indirect displacement caused by rising real estate prices and higher rents.

Furthermore, SB 827 incentivizes the destruction of existing commercial buildings, and will contribute to the displacement of current neighborhood-serving businesses that are the cultural and economic core of our diverse neighborhoods, adding to the widespread cultural displacement many of our communities are already experiencing.


In addition to the direct and physical harm it would cause to our neighborhoods, SB 827 would more generally undermine our democratic processes and ability to protect the environment. By overriding local planning and environmental requirements, SB 827 would also override our city's efforts to be sustainable. If the bill is adopted, new growth would be imposed by developers at almost any city location of their choosing, increasing demands on existing water and sewer systems, roads, utilities, schools, parks, and other public services and infrastructure.

Such developments would be approved with minimal public review, without full disclosure or analysis of impacts, and without consideration of more sustainable and environmentally sound alternatives.

Following are 2 links to the text of the bill.  The first is the original bill submitted in January; the second is a later version after numerous amendments. 


SB 828

Lasting Impacts on San Francisco


SB 828 is the special interest's quiet revolution to make all home construction in San Francisco and California "by-right" *.  All California cities have quotas for new home construction called Regional Housing Needs Allocation or RHNA for short.  San Francisco currently meets and exceeds its RHNA quota for market-rate BUT NOT for below-market-rate housing.  In fact almost no city in California meets its quota for building below-market-rate housing.
But what's the consequence for not meeting RHNA goals?
Up until January, 2018, there was no price to pay and pretty much no consequences for not meeting RHNA goals BUT Senator Wiener's new law that took effect just this past January (SB 35) forces any city that doesn't meet its RHNA goals to let ALL construction become by-right.  If San Francisco doesn't meet its RHNA goals, ALL construction will become by-right in this City.
* What is by-right construction?
It's the right to build what you want and where you want it.  It deregulates the housing approval process and takes away public's right to weigh in on development projects.  This means:
·        NO CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act)
·        NO Environmental Impact Review
·        NO Residential Design Guidelines 
·        NO Neighborhood Specific Design Guidelines such as Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District...
·        NO Neighborhood Notification
·        NO Discretionary Review
·        NO Conditional Use Authorization
·        NO Board of Appeals
In this regard, SB828 is a Trojan Horse for by-right development.  Why? Because this legislation increases San Francisco's RHNA goals to new levels and forces Senator Wiener's new law that ushers by-right development to kick in.  This will result in carte blanche for speculators to build anything anywhere in the City while eliminating neighborhood's ability to weigh in.  In effect, this bill would silence the voice of neighborhoods.  

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fwd: [Test] Corbett Slope Community Park - Meeting

Begin forwarded message:

From: Corbett Heights Neighbors <>
Subject: [Test] Corbett Slope Community Park - Meeting
Date: April 3, 2018 at 7:42:33 PM PDT

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Community Meeting about the 

Corbett Slope Community Park


Please join Corbett Heights Neighbors and SF Public Works for an overview of planned sidewalk, utility and roadway infrastructure improvements at the Corbett Slope Community Park. 

Public Works will also provide updated plans for a new public stairway that will connect Market Street to Corbett Avenue.

The park entrance is located at 333 Corbett Avenue, between Mars and Clayton. 

The meeting will take place on Thursday, April 5th, 7 - 8PM at
the Randall Museum, Buckley-Redwood Room.

Join us!

- Corbett Heights Neighbors


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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!