Friday, December 20, 2013

Corbett Heights Updates

Hi Neighbors -
Sorry about the lack of outreach lately - I'll blame it on the holidays!
There are a number of things that have happened recently or are about to happen in the neighborhood.  Here's a partial list:

1.  Our next neighborhood meeting will be on Thursday, January 23rd.  Former mayor Art Agnos has promised to attend to discuss our waterfront, among other things.

2.  Traffic Calming on 17th St:  The latest idea by MTA, and approved by immediate neighbors is a "traffic pillow" on the downhill side of 17th at the intersection of Temple.  It will be a much more gradual hump than the ones at Costco, for example.  There will be grooves in them for wider vehicles like firetrucks.  
There will be a public hearing on 12/27 that will include this item.  Final approval will be granted unless there is significant opposition.  For more info, contact:  philip.louie@sfmta.com

3.  AT&T Boxes:  After our survey which showed resounding opposition to the giant boxes in Corbett Heights, AT&T is forbidden from discussing, promoting or requesting permits for any of these "surface-mounted facilities" (SMF) in Corbett Heights until October 1, 2015.  After that time, they will be able to start the process over again.  It's hard to believe that they will still be considering such antiquated technology 2 years from now.  But if they will, we will conduct another survey.  
There was a question about the box at the bottom of the Saturn Steps being part of Corbett Heights.  But it is clear on the map on our website that it is, and for those of you who have distributed meeting notices all along that street for many years, you know that it is.

4.  Corbett Slope:  You've probably noticed the crumbling rock outcropping on the Market Street side of the Slope.  I requested of DPW to construct a retaining wall along the sidewalk and they have agreed to do so.  They're in the process of awarding the contract to do this work, and it is expected that the project will begin during the first 1/2 of January.  They will also remove the makeshift wooden retaining walls midway up the Slope which were constructed during the 60s and 70s by residents who would garden there.
I've been talking with DPW and with the Park's Alliance about the possibility of partially removing the chain-link fence and constructing a new, smaller one inside the park to prevent any accidents.  I'll let you know how that goes.
And check out the sign I put up on the gate!

5.  History Project:  My apologies for getting the tax-deductible receipts to all of you who donated and wrote your checks payable to the SF Study Center.  If you still have not received it, please let me know.  
The great news is that the work is complete!  - except for a few tweaks and minor corrections.  The text itself is over 150 pages, and I can't even count how many old photos and maps will be included.  Michael Corbett, who has done this work, kept finding more pieces of history that led to other pieces of history and so forth.  This is why it's taken him so long.
When the final adjustments are made, it will need to be approved by the primary funder - the Historic Preservation Fund Committee (HPFC) and the Planning Dept.
We will then be looking for help to edit it down to book scale.  There is a lot of technical data that can be reduced.  Please let me know if you have experience in publishing or book editing.  The stories are really fascinating!

6.  3198 Market:  It appears that the most recent developer-hopeful of the site at the base of Al's Park has walked away.  Apparently there are other bites since it's virtually impossible to get a chunk of land in SF these days for under $300,000.  It's still listed at $299,000, but I believe it's "or best offer".

7.  Energy Survey:  The Budget and Legislative Analyst's Office has requested that I send out this survey which hopes to analyze the demand for a clean energy program.  Here is a description of what this program hopes to accomplish:

The Board of Supervisors is considering starting a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program in San Francisco.  The program would provide an up-front loan to residential property owners to make energy efficiency improvements, such as solar panel installations and building retrofits.  The loan would be repaid over a 15-20 year period through an addition to the building's property tax.  The benefit to property owners would include a reduction in energy bills that may be equivalent to the increase in the property tax payment.

Please take a moment to complete the survey:
Have a great holiday, and thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Auto Burglaries or attempts

Hi Neighbors
I'll have some neighborhood updates shortly, but I wanted to share this with you right away.  There have been a few others recently as well.  This was sent yesterday by a neighbor at Corbett and Mars.
- Gary

I wanted to let you know that I was in my front portico this morning around 5:15am having a smoke before leaving for work when I witnessed a couple of thugs crossing the street from Mars onto Corbett. The first individual walked up to a car parked across the street in front of I think 297 Corbett and peered into a car but turned around to see me standing in my doorway and quickly backed away from the car but still remained standing in the middle of the street. However, his partner in crime crossed the street a few seconds later very quickly and started peering into other cars (namely our neighbors white 5 series BMW) with the flashlight before his partner was able to alter him that I was standing there watching. He eventually clued in his partner who seemed un-phased that I was watching as they both started moving down Corbett rather hastily but still looking into cars as they went.
 
I did call SFPD who said they would send out a patrol unit right away but I didn't see any on my drive out of the neighborhood shortly thereafter. Both thugs are of unknown race, each about 5',9' to 6" tall, wearing heavy jackets over hooded sweat shirts that covered their heads. Each had a backpack and they both were toting along very long oversized skate boards.
 
Please feel free to share this information with our group as it appears the problem of vehicle break-ins and thefts still continues at all hours and days of the week.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Corbett Hts Meeting Notes Correction

In the meeting notes I sent out last night, one point regarding the election information was confusing - as was pointed out by a couple of people.

Under Prop B, it says "Prop B: 8 Washington initiative - Pro"  What I meant was that this was put on the ballot by the proponents of the project.  It was not meant to imply that I am a proponent.

If you are opposed to the development at 8 Washington, the "No Wall on the Waterfront" folks recommend a NO vote on both Prop B and C.

Sorry about any confusion.

- Gary

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes - October 24, 2013


There were about 30 people who showed up for last Thursday's meeting.


I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Larry Dresner, Ted Teipel, Janice Low, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Kazumi Matsuyama, Barbara Presta, Michaeline Kiss, Kathy & Hank Flanders and Leslie and John Koelsch. Greatly appreciated!!


Membership Dues: Earlier this year we started accepting membership dues via PayPal on our website (www.corbettheights.org). If you haven't paid for a while or would like to join, annual membership is $15 per year per household. Besides being used for flier printing and snacks for garden workdays, the money is used to purchase plants, any garden equipment and irrigation supplies we may need to take care of our various mini-parks.


IF YOU ARE A MEMBER - OR WOULD LIKE TO BE - AND WOULD LIKE TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, PLEASE CONTACT ME. THE VERY FEW OF US WHO ARE ACTIVELY INVOLVED WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR HELP!


Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, who attended our meeting earned a master's degree in public policy from UC Berkeley in 2003. She worked as a budget analyst in Mayor Gavin Newsom's Budget Office, eventually becoming deputy director. In 2007 she was appointed to replace Ed Jew as Supervisor of District 4. She ran and won election to that office on her own in 2008 and again in 2010.

She spoke about what her office does and what improvements have been implemented since she took office. The assessor determines the value of commercial and residential properties. While doing so, it generates a huge amount of revenue for the city - ~40% of the city's revenue originates from these taxes.


Supervisor Scott Wiener spoke to us about the many pieces of legislation that he's been sponsoring, and some of the happenings in District 8.

  • The Recycling Center next to Safeway on Market St is being evicted this coming week.

  • Legislation to legalize additional "in-law" units in District 8. Property owners would be able to add a single unit if the building has 10 units or fewer; 2 additional units if there are more than 10. This would hopefully add many more-affordable rental options.

  • He's been trying to increase funding for MUNI. An additional 50 new buses will be added to the fleet shortly.

  • Castro St. sidewalk widening project is set to begin right after New Years, and end before the Castro Street Fair in Oct. They will start work in the 400 block first.

And many others. He spoke with us for at least 1/2 hour - lots of questions and answers.


AT&T BOXES: In 2011 I asked Marc Blakeman, the representative from ATT, what would happen if a neighborhood opposed having ATT's giant utilty boxes on its sidewalks, and he answered - in person and in at least 2 emails, that the neighborhood would not get them. At the Board of Supervisors hearing that same year, Supervisor Wiener asked him the same question and received the same answer. When, earlier this year, I began receiving notices for permit applications by ATT for boxes in Corbett Heights, I questioned Mr. Blakeman about them and included a copy of one of the emails he had sent in 2011. His response was, effectively - "that was then".

Supervisor Wiener, despite having voted in 2011 to allow ATT to install its boxes without requiring an environmental review, was equally annoyed at ATT's disingenuineness. After corresponding with the Supervisor's office for a few months about what to do, I wrote what became the first version of a survey question that would be sent out to our whole neighborhood. This survey would ask everyone in our neighborhood (those whose contact info we have) whether they favored or opposed having the boxes on our sidewalks - knowing that without them we would most likely not be able to subscribe to the U-verse service.

The wording for the survey was altered several times, but I, Supervisor Wiener and ATT finally agreed on the wording. I sent it out to the 300 or so people on the CHN email list, and ATT sent it out to everyone on its list. Responses went to Supervisor Wiener's office. Only one vote per household was counted, and acceptable responses needed to come from people who lived within the boundaries of CHN.

There were over 330 accepted responses. 85% opposed to the boxes; 11% in favor.

There is now a moratorium on any boxes within our boundaries. I should hear soon how long the moratorium will last - several years, I'm expecting. And, at the end of that time, if ATT is still proposing using this antiquated technology it should be run out of town.


Lynn Oakley discussed and showed slides on her new book about Twin Peaks - including quite a few photos of Corbett Heights. Beautifully written! Besides being available on Amazon, it can be ordered directly from the publisher - highly recommended.

San Francisco's Twin Peaks

by Lynn Oakley

Images of America Series

128 pages/ softcover

http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/


History Project: The Corbett Heights historical context statement (History Project) is just about complete! Having seen a draft of the almost complete product, I was really impressed with the detail and depth of information.

When the project has been completed, submitted and approved we will begin the process of putting together the book which will be based on the Project. Anyone who has experience with publishing or who would like to participate in it - let me know.


Corbett Slope: During the next week or two, DPW will be constructing a new concrete short wall with catchment fence along the exposed rock area on the Market Street side of the Slope. Some of the vegetation and debris that has been an eyesore along Market will be removed.

I have a copy of the site topographic survey that was done by DPW engineers. Let me know if you'd like a copy.


(The following is a repeat from July's notes):

Corbett Heights' Parks/Parkettes: We are fortunate to have 9 green spaces in the neighborhood. The majority are in desperate need of maintenance. If you're interested in helping any of them out here are some options to consider:


- I have a good supply of tools, composting bags, gloves, etc. If you would like to spearhead a cleanup day of any of the parks, I can send out a notice.

- You can sign up as a caretaker (among others) of a particular site. This way, we can call for a work day on a day when you are available. There hopefully would be many others on the list.

- And as an option, if you live near a neglected area and aren't interested in working on it, you can consider paying a monthly/yearly fee so that we can hire someone to do the cleanup.


Let me know if you'd like to be a part of any or all groups, and/or want to consider one of the options above. Here's a list of the parks:


Ord Triangle Park (Ord/Corbett/17th St)

Corbin Stairs (connecting Corbett & 17th near 200 Corbett)

Merritt Park (Market/Danvers/Merritt)

Mars Park (soon to get a complete makeover - Mars/Corbett)

Sweetgum Corner (Mars/17th St)

Corbett Slope (Corbett on the 300 block, connecting with Market)

Al's Park (also in the 300 block of Corbett - public right-of-way AKA 19th St)

Clayton Green Space (Clayton betw Market and Corbett - the ivy desert)

Clayton/Corbett Park (Corner Clayton/Corbett)


ELECTION DAY - Tuesday, November 5th:

City Attorney - Dennis Herrera- unopposed

Treasurer - Jose Cisneros - unopposed

Assessor-Recorder - Carmen Chu - unopposed

(District 4 - Katy Tang) - virtually unopposed

Prop A: Retiree Health Care Trust Fund:

Prop B: 8 Washington Initiative - Pro

Prop C: 8 Washington Referendum against ordinance passed by BoS.

(The existing height limit for the site is 84'. The proposal is to build 134 luxury condos on the site, exceeding the legally allowable height by 52'.)

Prop D: Prescription Drug Purchasing - allows City to negotiate with drug manufacturers for cheaper prescription drug prices


3198 Market: This inaccessible lot remains for sale. Project is still on the table. I should know in a week or two if it's moving ahead.


Collingwood Park: A group of us is working to turn the mostly fenced-off block - behind Mollie Stones and Eureka Valley Rec Center - into an actual park. It's currenly extremely underutilized. More on this later.


Market Street Projects:


376 Castro (RC Station): Project on hold pending resolution of dispute between owner of the lot and the project sponsor. The plan (approved for the most part by several neighborhood groups) was to build a 65' tall structure (72' at the corner). There would be 19 2-bedroom and 5 1-bedroom units, and parking for 14 cars. Completion was to be in 2016 after environmental cleanup.


CVS - 2280 Market St. (formerly Tower Records): Work has begun replacing the facade with something slightly less horrific. Elevators will be moved forward to property line, eliminating the awkward recess. CVS will occupy the entire ground floor except for the Radio Shack space. The Planning Dept. approved this project despite the ban in place along upper Market that prevents formula retail (chain stores) from exceeding 20% of frontage.


2175 Market (76 Station): 88 units. 100% rental. Total 18,500 sf. at ground floor. 1/2 parking space per unit. 3 ground floor retail spaces planned: 3100, 1500, and 2500-3000 square feet. Likely coffee shop or restaurant. 65' height along Market. Entrance next to Walgreens.


2200 Market St (Leticia's/Thai House/Happy Boy): 22 units. 55' high - 5 stories above ground floor retail - most likely a restaurant. Should be complete in November.


2001 Market St (Whole Foods): 85' tall, 82 units. Half will be 2-bedroom, half 3-bedroom. Opens next week.


1844 Market Street (Sue Mills): 113 or 114 units, 85' high. Project well underway. 5600 square feet of ground floor retail.


76 Station: 1960 Mkt – by Buchanan/Mint. 118 units - condos – 85 feet tall. 8150 square feet of ground floor retail. 2014 completion.


8 Octavia Blvd.(at Market): 8 stories/49 units/ground floor retail. Building is well under way.


2198 Market (Shell Station/Xmas tree lot): The property has been leased for 99 years from the owners of the former gas station. the intent is to build 87 (52 1 bedroom, 35 2 bedroom) units above 4000 square feet of commercial space. The units will all be rentals. It will be 7 stories high - 81' at the corner if their plan is approved. 40' on Sanchez.

(The triple-wide trailer onsite actually belongs to the developer of the project at Market and Buchanan. He is leasing the space until a model apartment has been made available.)

Architect is Heller-Manus. Property manager would be Greystar (they manage 700 properties, with a total of over 200,000 units). Some issues have arisen with this project. First of all, the design is less than magnificent. It looks like something that could be south of Market, or Toledo. Besides the fact that it shows little respect for the wonderful, historic Swedish-American Hall, they've opted for a "non-inclusionary" housing policy. This means that they plan on putting the required affordable housing allotment offsite.

The other problem with the company is that, whereas they abide by San Francisco's required non-discrimination policy, they only do this where it's required. They do not have a policy that ensures non-discrimination of LGBT or other minority citizens in its home state of North Carolina or other states that do not require one.

More to come on this very important project!


Please consider having a greater involvement in our community. If you have an interest and a bit of time to help out, please let me know.


Thanks for your interest in our neighborhood!


- Gary

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Corbett Hts Meeting Reminder - This Thursday

Hi Neighbors
Just a reminder about our meeting this Thursday.  Hope you can make it.
Gary

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Corbett Hts Meeting Thurs 10/24

Hi Neighbors
Please try and make next week's meeting.  We've got a great line-up of speakers.
Gary

Monday, October 14, 2013

Corbett Heights Meeting! Oct. 24th.

Hi Neighbors - 
Our next neighborhood meeting will be on Thurs, Oct. 24th, 7-9PM.  
I'll send out a more official notice later this week.  

Our guests will be Supervisor Scott Wiener and Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu.

AND - I have great news about the results of the AT&T survey!  Including the same survey that AT&T sent out itself to it's subscribers and subscriber-hopefuls, there were 85% opposed, 11% in favor.  This is great news for Corbett Heights.  Until AT&T comes up with a less intrusive way of providing service, U-verse will not be coming to our neighborhood.  
By the way, there were over 330 responses!  Congratulations!!

In addition, we'll have updates on traffic calming, the retaining wall going up on the Market St. side of Corbett Slope, and the latest on the Upper Market developments.

So, please come!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Help STOP AT&T!

Hello!

I've started the change.org petition "The San Francisco Board of Supervisors: Prevent AT&T from installing new communication boxes where they are opposed by residents (or neighborhood associations)" and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-san-francisco-board-of-supervisors-prevent-at-t-from-installing-new-communication-boxes-where-they-are-opposed-by-residents-or-neighborhood-associations

Here's why it's important:


 
 

Due to the increasing number of companies providing internet service/cable in the Bay Area, AT&T - in order to regain lost market share, and upgrade part of its aging communications system - has proposed installing up to 726 giant communication boxes on public rights-of-way throughout San Francisco. These boxes measure an outrageous 59" in length, 48" in height and 26" in depth.

If approved, they would be placed within 300 feet of every existing AT&T box. So the new ones do not replace the old ones - they are IN ADDITION to the existing boxes. 

 

The communication boxes will be painted a pale green color - perfectly inviting for graffiti "artists" - and they emit a hum all day long - "similar to the sound of an electric toothbrush" according to Marc Blakeman, the AT&T representative.

 

Points in favor of installing the AT&T communication boxes:

  • Upgraded infrastructure, higher internet speeds to offer subscribers.
  • 6.25% of revenue generated would be required to be paid to the City for use of the sidewalks.
  • Without these boxes, AT&T would be unable to provide its new U-verse program as proposed - they would be forced to implement a more costly means of providing the service or sacrifice losing the San Francisco market altogether.
  • AT&T states that it is willing to work with neighbors to find alternate locations for the boxes - usually down the street or next door (next to another unsuspecting neighbor.)
  • The hum that would be emitted - similar to that of an electric toothbrush, according to AT&T - complies with the City's noise ordinance.
 

Points against the installation:

  • The communication boxes would mostly be installed on city sidewalks, taking over substantial space. The space lost would benefit AT&T - not the general public
  • The boxes measure 59" long by 48" high by 26" deep. With the massive steel bollards on either side to protect them from impact, they would measure almost 7' across
  • Including the old, existing boxes there would be well over 1500 boxes taking over sidewalks in San Francisco
  • GRAFFITI! With the pale color these are painted - murals or darker colors are unacceptable - the boxes are tagged constantly. AT&T does not employ an anti-graffiti team, and puts the onus on taxpayers to maintain the exterior
  • The 7 foot length of these boxes + bollards would be installed only 18" from the curb, according to DPW requirements. Because of this, baby strollers and people with disabilities would be unable to exit cars on the sidewalk side.
  • Sound pollution: Despite complying with the City's noise ordinance, these boxes are noisy! The sound the fans make, may get louder over time, and will run 24 hours a day.
  • There are many other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in San Francisco - all of whom receive customer reviews that are significantly better than AT&T's. (See reviews on Yelp.)
 

Just a little history of the system AT&T uses:

 

In the 1880s Alexander Graham Bell invented what's referred to as POTS - Plain Old Telephone Service. The system uses what's called "twisted pair". One wire goes from the caller, the other goes back.

Fiber optic is a superior option in that it can carry multiple times the data in a tiny thread. It can also carry the signal for huge distances with no degradation.

The problem with AT&T's U-verse plan is that rather than going with a fiber optic directly to the door, it would go to the new boxes and stop there. From there to the door, they would continue to rely on Alexander Graham Bell's twisted pair. Because of this, the maximum speed of the data being transferred would be about 1/5 of what other ISPs (like Comcast) already have in place. 

In 2011 AT&T stated on several occasions - including at a San Francisco Board of Supervisors hearing - that if a neighborhood opts to not allow AT&T to install these boxes they would not get them. Now they are ignoring those promises. When asked why, the response has been "things change."

From a Google employee: "Wireless technology is on the verge of surpassing (and for some aplications, has already surpassed) wired networks in terms of efficacy, and San Francisco should not have to 'bail out' AT&T by accepting this blight as a result of its inability to compete."

 

Contact your Supervisor and ask her/him to allow neighbors or neighborhood associations to prevent AT&T from installing those communication boxes:

District 1:  Eric Mar Eric.L.Mar@sfgov.org

District 2:  Mark Farrell  Mark.Farrell@sfgov.org

District 3:  David Chiu  David.Chiu@sfgov.org

District 4:  Katy Tang  Katy.Tang@sfgov.org

District 5:  London Breed  London.Breed@sfgov.org

District 6:  Jane Kim  Jane.Kim@sfgov.org

District 7:  Norman Yee  Norman.Yee@sfgov.org

District 8:  Scott Wiener  Scott.Wiener@sfgov.org

District 9:  David Campos  David.Campos@sfgov.org

District 10:  Malia Cohen  Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org

District 11:  John Avalos  John.Avalos@sfgov.org

 
 

You can sign my petition by clicking here.

Thanks! 
Gary Weiss



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Monday, September 30, 2013

Last Chance to vote on ATT Boxes in Corbett Hts

Please take a moment to vote on the ATT Boxes.  The survey will end this week.

Hi Neighbors -
As many of you know, for the last few years I have been battling AT&T over their desire to install 726 surface-mounted-facilities (SMF's) in San Francisco's public rights-of-way.  6 or 7 would go in Corbett Heights.  The fight has gone on since shortly after undergrounding in Corbett Heights was completed.  I have joined with SF Beautiful and about 15 other neighborhood organizations to combat the installation of these boxes.
2 years ago Corbett Heights Neighbors voted - practically unanimously - to oppose having the boxes installed in our neighborhood.  We were told that if we opposed them we would not get them.  That was then.  AT&T now feels it has a right to go against our wishes.  
I've been working with Supervisor Scott Wiener's office to come up with acceptable wording for a survey that would show indisputable proof of our support for or opposition to having these boxes take over our sidewalks.  The wording has been approved by Supervisor Wiener as well as by AT&T.  

Please forward this to others in the neighborhood.  Note:  you must live within Corbett Heights' boundaries (map below).  And only 1 vote per household or apartment will be accepted.
Your answers are safe and will only go to the Supervisor's office.  I will only receive the number of votes pro or con.  No other information will be distributed or available.

Thank you!!
- Gary

Here's the survey:



Friday, September 20, 2013

AT&T BOX SURVEY - PLEASE READ!!

Hi Neighbors -
As many of you know, for the last few years I have been battling AT&T over their desire to install 726 surface-mounted-facilities (SMF's) in San Francisco's public rights-of-way.  6 or 7 would go in Corbett Heights.  The fight has gone on since shortly after undergrounding in Corbett Heights was completed.  I have joined with SF Beautiful and about 15 other neighborhood organizations to combat the installation of these boxes.
2 years ago Corbett Heights Neighbors voted - practically unanimously - to oppose having the boxes installed in our neighborhood.  We were told that if we opposed them we would not get them.  That was then.  AT&T now feels it has a right to go against our wishes.  
I've been working with Supervisor Scott Wiener's office to come up with acceptable wording for a survey that would show indisputable proof of our support for or opposition to having these boxes take over our sidewalks.  The wording has been approved by Supervisor Wiener as well as by AT&T.  

Please forward this to others in the neighborhood.  Note:  you must live within Corbett Heights' boundaries (map below).  And only 1 vote per household or apartment will be accepted.
Your answers are safe and will only go to the Supervisor's office.  I will only receive the number of votes pro or con.  No other information will be distributed or available.

Thank you!!
- Gary

Here's the survey:


Thursday, August 29, 2013

3198 Market Construction Plan

Hi Everyone,
Back in April, a developer was interested in purchasing a piece of land behind the retaining wall with the mural on Market St.  This property is at the bottom of what is fondly referred to as Al's Park.  That developer wanted to pave a driveway through Al's Park to access the garage of the new building.  
This caused an incredible uproar - several dozen people showed up at the "pre-application" meeting to protest.  The group's size increased considerably over the next month.  
The very unhappy developer finally went away.

So now it's round 2.  
An architect named Stephen Antonaros is working with a couple interested in building on the site.  This time around there's a better feeling as they appear quite willing to work with the neighborhood to come up with something acceptable.
They have no intention of disturbing Al's Park.  Their hope is to be able to access the site from Market.  This would involve either cutting a garage into the wall, or removing a small section of the wall at the westernmost end.  The 2nd option would open up what is actually a city easement called 19th Street.  The easement is the base of Al's Park.  
The first 15' behind the retaining wall is not buildable and contains a sewer line.  The most likely plan would involve excavating the entire hill down to Market St.  The 2 proposed townhouses, built close to the rear of the lot, would be 3 stories above garage - approximately 40' above the street.  

Next Thursday, Sept 5, from 6 − 7PM there will be the official pre-application meeting.  If you're interested in seeing preliminary plans, and/or provide input, please come.  It will take place at Al's Park in the 300 block of Corbett.  They will have constructed "story poles" so that the actual height/size will be visible.

I'm attaching a map that shows the site.  It says on the bottom "New Stair to Al's Garden".  This would not necessarily happen as the immediate neighbors may prefer privacy.
Market St is to the right.  The green area is the proposed driveway from Market.  The white area above that is the unbuildable 15' easement.  The grey triangle is the buildable area.  The rectangular striped area is what would be the required rear yard.  If approved by the neighborhood and DPW, they would need to apply for a variance to build into this rear yard area.  They would maintain the required 45% open space - most likely in front along Market.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting - July 25

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting - July 25

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes - July 25, 2013


Between 25 - 30 people showed up for last Thursday's meeting.


I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Larry Dresner, Philip Byland, Janice Low, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Pat Hufford, Kathy & Hank Flanders and Leslie and John Koelsch. Greatly appreciated!!


Membership Dues: Earlier this year we started accepting membership dues via PayPal on our website (www.corbettheights.org). If you haven't paid for a while or would like to join, annual membership is $15 per year per household. Besides being used for flier printing and snacks for garden workdays, the money is used to purchase plants, any garden equipment and irrigation supplies we may need to take care of our various mini-parks.

We currently have ~96 members who have paid through 2012-2013. Our bank balance is just under $2,000.


IF YOU ARE A MEMBER - OR WOULD LIKE TO BE - AND WOULD LIKE TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD, PLEASE CONTACT ME. THE VERY FEW OF US WHO ARE ACTIVELY INVOLVED WOULD LOVE TO HAVE YOUR HELP!


AT&T BOXES: I put together a to-scale example of the AT&T utility boxes that are proposed for our sidewalks. It was enormous - 59" wide X 48" high X 26" deep. The proposal is to place them within 300 feet of almost every existing AT&T box on our sidewalks - previously 726 of them. I understand the number is now fewer. They are to be painted a very pale green - perfectly inviting for graffiti "artists" - and they buzz all day long - similar to the sound of an electric toothbrush, according to Marc Blakeman, the AT&T rep.


Just a little history of the system AT&T uses:


In the 1880s Alexander Graham Bell invented what's referred to as POTS - plain old telephone service. The system uses what's called "twisted pair". One wire goes from the caller, the other goes back.

Fiber optic is a superior option in that it can carry multiple times the data in a tiny thread. It can also carry the signal for huge distances with no degradation.

The problem with AT&T's Uverse plan is that rather than going directly to the door, it would go to the new boxes and stop there. From there to the door, they would continue to rely on Alexander Graham Bell's twisted pair. Because of this, the maximum speed of the data being transferred would be about 1/5 of what Comcast (which spent tens of billions on their infrastructure) already has in place.


Just as an aside - my partner/husband has an art studio. He had AT&T service for many years. AT&T required that he have a landline for his DSL connection. He just recently switched to Monkey Brains ISP. His download speed is now more than 36 times faster than AT&T, upload speed is more than 151 times faster. The landline is no longer necessary. The cost: a flat $35/month. And humans answer the phones!


This - from a member of Corbett Heights Neighbors who works for Google: "Wireless technology is on the verge of surpassing (and for some aplications, has already surpassed) wired networks in terms of efficacy, and San Francisco should not have to 'bail out' AT&T by accepting this blight as a result of its inability to compete."


And for those whose concern is that there is no competition, and that Comcast is the only game in town, here is a partial list of the competition that offers wireless or fiber optic internet service:

MonkeyBrains, WebPass, Astound, Sonic, Clearwire and Comcast. Check out "internet service providers" on Yelp and see where AT&T comes in.


Marc Blakeman of AT&T spoke about its program and plans. According to Ed Lee - our mayor - who at the time (2005) was the director of DPW, all utilities were instructed to make every effort to have their SMF's (surface-mounted facilities) go either underground or on private property. None of the Uverse boxes have been placed underground, and although Mr. Blakeman insisted that a few have gone on private property, he was unable to come up with locations.

Corbett Heights Neighbors members submitted dozens of letters in opposition to these boxes being placed in our neighborhood. We also voted twice - both times all but a couple of people voted the same way - to oppose.

We were told - in no uncertain terms - that if a neighborhood decides against having these boxes installed, it would not get them. The same message was stated in front of the Board of Supervisors during a hearing 2 years ago. Now AT&T is trying to put these boxes in Corbett Heights despite the promise. The reason given? "Things change."


Monkey Brains: The founder and another representative of Monkey Brains spoke next at our meeting. Rather than needing to install an enormous refrigerator-sized box on the sidewalk in order to provide service, they install a very small receptor on your roof, and a cable into your house. They can provide service to most parts of Corbett Heights. Check them out - call

415-974-1313. Marci will probably answer the phone on the first ring.


Kearstin Krehbiel, executive director of SF Beautiful: spoke next about their work - from fighting billboards to leading the fight against AT&T's giant utility boxes. Please check their website to get an idea of all that they do: www.sfbeautiful.org.


Mike Sallaberry of SFMTA's Livable Streets Division spoke to us about street calming. Regarding 17th Street, a number of neighbors were unhappy with the median at the top of Corbin Stairs. What the plan is for the future is to install a "traffic pillow" in a couple of places. These are humps in the street - rather than the more common bumps which cause vehicles to bounce - disturbing residents of the street. They would also possibly install a 2nd speed radar sign, improved crosswalks and a sign farther uphill warning of the "pillows" up ahead.


Tom Murphy has been speaking with MTA about doing a study of the Mars/Corbett and the Mars/17th intersections - hopefully to come up with a plan to add some safety feature(s). As it is it's extremely dangerous to cross the street in those places.




Jon Golinger, past president of Telegraph Hill Dwellers, and Manager of the "No Wall on the Waterfront" campaign spoke about the proposal to build on the site of 8 Washington St - near Levi Plaza on the Embarcadero. The current zoning allows for a maximum of 84' in height along the waterfront. The proposal, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors, and opposed by the Sierra Club and other neighborhood and environmental groups, would allow for this massive luxury condominium project to rise to 136'. Just for reference, the old Embarcadero freeway was 70' high.

Opponents have collected 31,000 signatures to get a proposition on this November's ballot. Because of this, the proponents went ahead and collected enough signatures to put a supporting proposition on the ballot. Please check out the website: www.nowallonthewaterfront.com.


History Project: The Corbett Heights historical context statement (History Project) should be complete by the end of September. We have a rich collection of photos, maps, and drawings -- more than we expected to find, but no doubt others will turn up throughout the rest of the project. The research is largely complete on the development of the neighborhood, its streets, alleys, stairways, blocks, and lots; its early settlers and developers; plans for development; its builders and building types; its transit and automobile history; its industries (quarries and brickworks); its links to the rest of the city (Twin Peaks Tunnel and the Auxiliary Water Supply System); its residents; its church (only one!); and more.

When the project has been completed, submitted and approved we will begin the process of putting together the book which will be based on the Project. Anyone who has experience with publishing or who would like to participate in it should let me know.

And - thank you all who contributed!!!!! We exceeded our goal by a couple hundred dollars.

(And apologies for the delay in cashing your checks, sending thank yous and issuing tax-deductible letters for those who made your check payable to the SF Study Center.)


Corbett Slope: In May we had a cleanup/planting day on the Slope. If you go by you'll notice a bunch on new plants - shrubs, flowering plants and vines. They're all visible from the street. AND - Chris McGuire installed an irrigation system that works on a timer.

If you'd like to be involved in any way with the Slope, please let me know. There are so many possibilities...

Also, a design plan by DPW for a new concrete short wall with catchment fence along the exposed rock area on Market Street is being developed. It is anticipated that construction can take place this fall. Additionally, "rock slope scaling and removal" will also be included in the work scope. Some of the vegetation and debris that has been an eyesore along Market will be removed.

I have a copy of the site topographic survey that was done by DPW engineers. Let me know if you'd like a copy.


Corbett Heights' Parks/Parkettes: We are fortunate to have 9 green spaces in the neighborhood. The majority are in desperate need of maintenance. If you're interested in helping any of them out here are some options to consider:





- I have a good supply of tools, composting bags, gloves, etc. If you would like to spearhead a cleanup day of any of the parks, I can send out a notice.

- You can sign up as a caretaker (among others) of a particular site. This way, we can call for a work day on a day when you are available. There hopefully would be many others on the list.

- And as an option, if you live near a neglected area and aren't interested in working on it, you can consider paying a monthly/yearly fee so that we can hire someone to do the cleanup.


Let me know if you'd like to be a part of any or all groups, and/or want to consider one of the options above. Here's a list of the parks:


Ord Triangle Park (Ord/Corbett/17th St)

Corbin Stairs (connecting Corbett & 17th near 200 Corbett)

Merritt Park (Market/Danvers/Merritt)

Mars Park (soon to get a complete makeover - Mars/Corbett)

Sweetgum Corner (Mars/17th St)

Corbett Slope (Corbett on the 300 block, connecting with Market)

Al's Park (also in the 300 block of Corbett - public right-of-way AKA 19th St)

Clayton Green Space (Clayton betw Market and Corbett - the ivy desert)

Clayton/Corbett Park (Corner Clayton/Corbett)


75 Mars: The new Mars Stairway connecting Mars and Corbett was approved by DPW. After an appeal by a neighbor on Mars St., the basis for the objection was rejected and the project was again approved.


3198 Market: After preparing to fight an extremely frightening project that would have all but eliminated Al's Park, we seem to be in the clear - for now. The almost-project sponsor appears to have backed out. The inaccessible lot remains for sale.


Castro Street Sidewalk Widening: Will begin in early 2014. The hope is for it to be finished by the Castro Street Fair in early October.


Market Street Projects:


400 Castro: With Diesel gone, and the proponents of the strip club - Randy Rooster - having given up, several other businesses have expressed interest. At this time, though, no taker has been identified.


376 Castro (RC Station): The plan (approved for the most part by several neighborhood groups) is to build a 65' tall structure (72' at the corner). There will be 19 2-bedroom and 5 1-bedroom units, and parking for 14 cars. Completion ~ 2016 after environmental cleanup.


2299 Market (Church Pit): Almost complete. 18 market rate homes: 8 1-bedroom, 9 2-bedroom, 1 3-bedroom. Anchor tenant will be Bank of the West. There will be 3 tiny storefronts on the Noe St. side. The building is being marketed as IconSF. Many beg to differ.



CVS - 2280 Market St. (formerly Tower Records): Approved by the Planning Commission. The Dept has recommended approval despite their recent plan to try and prevent any formula retail in the area that exceeds 20% within 300' of any other formula retail on this stretch of Market. Entrance and elevator will be moved to front and recessed area will be eliminated. New siding and windows will be installed. It will be 6900 square feet of retail space.

They will take the entire ground floor minus the Radio Shack. 2nd floor is still unspoken for. Many recommend that it be turned into offices.


2175 Market (76 Station): 88 rental units planned. 18,500 square feet of ground floor retail. This project is well underway. The height will be 65' along Market.


Starbucks/Chipotle: With tremendous opposition from residents and the business community, Starbucks' attempt to go into the current "Industrialists" store on Market at Sanchez, as well as Chipotle's attempt to occupy the old "Home" restaurant on Market/Church/14th were both defeated by the Planning Commission. Formula Retail (chain stores) businesses will have an increasingly difficult time trying to move into the Upper Market Commercial District.


2198 Market (Shell Station/Xmas tree lot): The property has been leased for 100 years to a developer that intends to build 87 (52 1 bedroom, 35 2 bedroom) units above 4000 square feet of commercial space. The units will all be rentals. It will be 7 stories high - 81' at the corner if their plan is approved. 40' on Sanchez.

(The triple-wide trailer onsite actually belongs to the developer of the project at Market and Buchanan. He is leasing the space until a model apartment has been made available.)


2200 Market St (Leticia's/Thai House/Happy Boy): 22 units. 55' high - 5 stories above ground floor retail - most likely a restaurant.



2001 Market St (Whole Foods) (formerly S&C Ford): 85' tall, 82 units. Half will be 2-bedroom, half 3-bedroom. Completion expected this fall.


1844 Market Street (Sue Mills): 113 or 114 units, 85' high. Project well underway. 5600 square feet of ground floor retail.


76 Station: 1960 Mkt – by Buchanan/Mint. 118 units - condos – 85 feet tall. 8150 square feet of ground floor retail. 2014 completion.


8 Octavia Blvd.(at Market): 8 stories/49 units/ground floor retail. Building is well under way.


Please consider having a greater involvement in our community. If you have an interest and a bit of time to help out, please let me know.


Thanks for your interest in our neighborhood!


- Gary