Wednesday, December 24, 2014

HAPPY SEASON - from and to Corbett Heights

Hi Everyone -
Happy Holidays and a great 2015!

Just a little treat - in case you haven't seen it.......  It shows the construction of the Twin Peaks tunnel - beginning in 1914, and its completion in 1917.

- Gary

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Some neighborhood info and Happy Thanksgiving!

Hi All,

You may have noticed that throughout the city, formerly quaint blocks are being converted to monster condo walls.  Front planted areas are replaced with concrete and garage doors.  Heights keep increasing and rear yards are being reduced to small concrete patches.  
Ord Street, north of 17th Street has been ground zero in Corbett Heights for small old homes being replaced with giant south-of-Market looking behemoths.  
The new owners of a 1500 square foot cottage at 53 States hope to replace it with a 7200 square foot "home".  22 and 24 Ord Court has new owners who want to build 2 gargantuan buildings on the back of the lot fronting States Street, leaving a tiny sliver of yard between the two.  Discretionary Reviews (DRs) have been requested for both projects.  If the Planning Commission accepts the request, the project may be delayed as long as a year, and most likely need to be seriously reduced in scale.
With the skyrocketing property values in SF, speculators with extra cash are cashing in and destroying some of our old, cherished neighborhoods.  When a property owner would like to apply for permits to build, he or she must send out a "pre-application notice", stating a time and place during which the plans can be viewed or described.  When neighboring residents receive these notices they usually think that these propositions are either a done deal, or that someone else will certainly be on it.  Unfortunately this is usually not the case.  

Sorry about going off about this, but it's sad to see that what started as one ugly new building on a block has spread to the whole block.

If this sort of thing upsets you also, you have a way to express it when it comes around to our neighborhood.  I'm referring to the SF Planning Commission hearings every Thursday at noon in Room 400 of City Hall.

On Thursday, December 4, it will be Castro/Upper Market Day at the Planning Commission.  After a few other non-local items, they will discuss:

Hamburger Mary's:  531 Castro, formerly the Patio Cafe.  HM is an international chain, and other than the name, bears no similarity to the original restaurant on Folsom Street.  The owner of the building, Les Natali, has kept that property and the neighboring storefront, as well as all of the apartments above empty for over 15 years.  The hearing is about whether or not to offer a "conditional use" permit to the restaurant.  The "CU" is necessary since the business will be formula retail (chain).

SoulCycle:  400 Castro (BofA Building, formerly Diesel).  SoulCycle is a very successful fitness business chain.  There is considerable support for this to move in there, partly due to the difficulty of finding a potentially successful business to operate in that difficult space.  They also require a CU due to their formula retail status.

Philz Coffee:  549 Castro.  Formerly David Chiu's campaign office, and de la Sole shoes before that.  Philz is a very popular, local business and hopes to move from its small space next to the laundromat on 18th between Hartford and Noe.  They also require a CU due to their formula retail status.

22 & 24 Ord Court:  There are a few discussions going on at this hearing: a request for a "variance" to build in the rear yard, and the discretionary review request for both.

Apologies for this not-terribly-appropriate Thanksgiving eve email.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

And please put our next meeting on your calendar: Thursday, January 22, 2015.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Financial Summary and Membership Status

CORBETT HEIGHTS NEIGHBORS

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS

SUMMARY 2014


DATE

BALANCE

WITHDRAWALS

DEPOSITS

31 Jan 2014

2,526.12

823.81


28 Feb 2014

1,702.31

100.00


31 Mar 2014

1,602.31

770.31


30 Apr 2014

832.00

1,500.00

1,500

208.50

1,000*

31 May 2014

2,040.50



30 Jun 2014

1,927.83

112.67


31 Jul 2014

1,641.50

286.33


31 Aug 2014

1,641.50



30 Sep 2014

2,473.95**



*transfer from PayPal Account

**$202.21 for use only by CHN History Project


PAYPAL ACCOUNT


DATE

AMOUNT TRANSFERRED

BALANCE PAYPAL

1 April 2014

*1000.00


22 Sep 2014

*472.45

0

9 Oct 2014


42.72


PARKS ALLIANCE FUNDS


DATE

BALANCE

DETAIL

27 Oct 2014

5,770

NPC C4237 transfer to SFPA.

$270 for general use.

$5500 for Slope.

$1,054.58 to be reimbursed to US Bank checking


FUNDS TRANSFERRED TO DPW FOR SLOPE IMPROVEMENTS


DATE

AMOUNT

COMMENT

TBA

10,000

Per Scott Wiener


SAN FRANCISCO STUDY CENTER PROJECT


DATE

BALANCE

EXPENDITURES

17 Sep 2014

1,847.70**


** Donations from neighbors totaled $2328.50, $2000 of which is on account at the Study Center, less 10% fee; remaining amount in CHN US Bank account: $202.21 for History Project Purposes in addition to $1,847.50





MEMBERSHIP REPORT

OCTOBER 23, 2014


Paid Household Memberships as of June 14, 2014: 55

Paid Members as of June 14, 2014 67


Paid Household Memberships as of July 15, 2014 82

Members as of July 15, 2014 104


Paid Household Memberships as of October 23, 2014 92

Members as of October 23, 2014 115





EXPENSES BY CATEGORY FOR 2014

US Bank Account


Meeting

100.00

7%

Printing

525.00

38%

Garden Plants

0


Equipment/Supplies

*312.84 (Slope Banner, Urban Farmer Irrig Slope)

*22%

Bank Fees

0


History Project Related

326.29 (Gaar & Printing)

23%

Food/Water

91.48

7%

Misc.

35.00 (platter)

3%

TOTAL

1390.61








Thursday, October 30, 2014

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes - October 23, 2014

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - October 23, 2014

Thanks to everyone who showed up for the meeting last Thursday - despite the continued Castro Street construction!

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Ted Teipel, Barbara Presta, Janice Low, Kevin Dunn, Rick Johnson, Nancy Peoples, Kazumi Matsuyama and Bill Prince. Greatly appreciated!!

History Project: Our History Project committee met last week with the consultant, Michael Corbett, to work out the last of the kinks in the final draft. He agreed to implement most of the suggestions we made. A few of the remaining concerns we agreed would be best addressed after the Planning Department views it and comments. Once any changes have been approved by our committee, CHN will submit the study to the Historic Preservation Fund Committee and the Planning Deptartment. Once reviewed, it will be brought to hearing.

Landmarked Tree!Thanks largely to the efforts of Leslie Koelsch, many neighbors and with the help of Supervisor Wiener, the tree behind 3066 Market has now been landmarked - the first in Corbett Heights, and the only giant sequoia to have ever been landmarked in SF.

Corbett/Ord Triangle: The park at the intersections of Corbett, Ord, 17th and Douglass could use a bit of help. Several of us met some months ago and came up with a plan to improve the park and do regular maintenance, but due to busy schedules by all, the effort has fallen by the wayside. If you have any interest in caring for the park in any capacity, or taking the lead, please let me know.

Merritt Park: Chris Stuart, who moved to Danvers earlier this year was concerned about the haggard state of that park. He organized a cleanup day back in August and the improvements are remarkable. If you care to be involved in any future cleanups or other improvements, please let me know.

Corbett Slope: The following includes a bit of recent history of the Slope. If you've heard it all before, just skip down to the current plans.

At the beginning of 2005, Supervisor Chris Daly sponsored legislation called the Surplus Properties Ordinance. The purpose was to inventory the land in the jurisdiction of each city department to see if any would be usable for building affordable housing. The idea was to build housing on as many lots as possible. Some of the lots would be determined to be buildable, but too costly for affordable housing. These would be sold off and the proceeds would go towards building affordable housing elsewhere in the city. Corbett Slope, being unused, weed-covered and completely fenced in was on DPW's list. After many months of hearings, almost none of the land subjects discussed ended up as housing. But the Corbett Slope was transferred to the Mayor's Office of Housing's Dept of Real Estate. The land was offered at $2.1 million. 4 monster homes were proposed.

During the hearings, and especially afterwards, Corbett Heights residents wrote dozens of letters in support of keeping the Slope as a park. I met with a writer for the Chronicle who did a cover page article about the battle. We even had a rush hour demonstration - with signs!

To the great dismay of some housing advocates, Supervisor Wiener arranged for a hearing before the city's land use committee with the hopes of transferring it back to DPW so it could continue as an open space. Because of the fury of the opposition to this, wording was inserted saying that if it were not maintained and improved, there would be another hearing in 5 years to determine its fate once again.

At that time, and over the years since, there has been overwhelming support for the park. And, until recently, no negative word spoken. Two neighbors who live immediately accross the street recently expressed their opposition - primarily due to safety issues. They feel they would be in danger if a stairway to Market St were developed. Supervisor Wiener responded to them. Here are a few excerpts from his email response:

I appreciate the feedback and information.  We've been working closely with the neighborhood association on this project for several years.  I'm not sure if you followed what happened a few years ago, but the alternative to this project was sale of the lot to a developer for what would likely be condos.  About a decade ago, the Corbett Slope, along with hundreds of other pieces of city-owned non-Rec & Park property, was transferred to the Mayor's Office of Housing, either for development as affordable housing, or sale to developers with proceeds dedicated to build affordable housing.  The latter likely would apply for this site, given the complexity of the slope.  I authored legislation in 2011 to transfer the site back to the Department of Public Works for the purpose of creating a usable neighborhood open space.  The legislation resulted in a huge fight with affordable housing advocates, who very much wanted the site sold for development in order to fund affordable housing elsewhere.  We prevailed in a 6-5 vote, but we were forced to accept an amendment indicating that the site would be transferred back to Mayor's Office of Housing if a transformation didn't occur.  In other words, keeping it as an unusable natural site isn't an option.  As I understand it, the staircase is a key part of making the site accessible and usable as a public space.

And now, to help complete the project Supervisor Wiener has accessed $10K for Corbett Slope from the Clean Green and Safe budget. That money has been added to DPW's funds for use in helping complete the stairway and other infrastructure. On the upper, Corbett side, half of the chain link fence will be replaced with a short, more attractive fence, and there will be fencing along any accessible downhills to prevent accidents. We are insured by our fiscal sponsor - the SF Parks Alliance. Gary Robertson and Jake Shogren continue to do a wonderful job maintaining the park. We had a work day in Sept where a bunch of neighbors helped to clean up more areas that are now accessible.

Also - We are working with Pacific Rim Sculptors, a Chapter of the International Sculpture Center, exploring the feasibility of a rotating series of sculpture and other art on the site!

Supervisor David Campos: We always attempt to have opposing views and/or positions when a campaign or a position is represented at our meetings. For our April meeting, Supervisor Chiu's office contacted me about being included. Supervisor Campos' office then got in touch with me and wanted to attend as well.

Not wanting to have a meeting devoted entirely to the Assembly race, I told them that he could attend the July meeting. Unfortunately he showed up at 8:30 when everyone had already left. I invited him to this last meeting but did not hear back from anyone.

Supervisor Scott Wiener was supposed to attend the meeting and give us updates on events and issues in District 8, as well as discuss his upcoming re-election campaign and Proposition B, but just as the meeting was about to begin he texted me and said he was feeling awfully sick and apologized profusely for not being able to make it.

I did my best with Proposition B - giving a brief description. It is being referred to as: City of San Francisco Adjusting Transportation Funding for Population Growth. It was sponsored by Supervisor Wiener, approved by a majority of the Board, opposed by the Mayor, the SF Republican Party and the Coalition of SF Neighborhoods. It's an attempt to allocate more funding for MUNI, basing funding by population growth in SF.

Proposition E: (The "Soda Tax") We had representation from both sides. Roscoe Mapps spoke for the opposition, saying that if successful, E would harm some small businesses and lower income families who would be paying more for soft drinks.

Todd David spoke in support detailing the increasing health issues in the same lower income families - partially attributed to poor diets.

The American Beverage Association has pumped close to $10 million into defeating E. Funding for the opposition and all of the staff is paid by the ABA as well.

Kevin Dunn gave us the real estate lowdown in Corbett Heights. Inventory has inched up and prices have remained steady.

Castro Sidewalk Widening: Tonight, starting at 6PM, Castro Street from Market to 18th Street will be closed off for a block party and ribbon-cutting celebration marking (almost) the end of the Castro Streetscape Improvement Project. 

According to Supervisor Wiener almost everything should be completed, excluding the Castro and Market Street intersection that is currently under construction and includes the reconfiguring and repaving of Jane Warner Plaza. It also includes bulb-outs at the north end of the intersection.

The celebration will start at the rainbow crosswalks at 18th and Castro. Beginning with an invocation from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the event will include remarks from Supervisor Wiener, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and project leads with the Department of Public Works, plus the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and other entertainment lined up by the Castro Community Benefit District. The eight-month project was initially set to wrap up before the Castro Street Fair at the beginning of the month, but material delays pushed the project's completion further into October.  Improvements focused on pedestrian safety, accessibility, and leisure with wider sidewalks, bulb-outs at crossing intersections, leaning posts and pedestrian lighting. The Castro is arguably more scenic as well, with the addition of the Rainbow HonorWalk and Castro History Walk embedded into the pavement, four rainbow crosswalks at 18th Street, new palm trees near the 18th Street intersection (in addition to new ginkgos throughout), and downwash LEDs on the street lamps to provide a little color year-round. 

To widen the Castro's sidewalks, DPW construction crews narrowed the street to one lane in either direction with a zero-net loss of parking spaces. According to Sup. Wiener: "It was long overdue, and we now have sidewalks that are wide enough for such a pedestrian-focused corridor. The project will benefit residents, merchants, and visitors for decades to come. I want to thank members of the community, both residents and merchants, for putting up with the significant disruption that's unavoidable with this type of project. I'm very grateful for people's patience." Crews are currently working on reconfiguring Jane Warner Plaza to make it easier for pedestrians crossing Market Street and Castro Street. A new gate styled after the Castro Theatre marquee will be going in on 17th Street, replacing the police barriers. And with all that, the myriad changes to the neighborhood are grinding to a close, so try and make the celebrations tonight!

Zephyr Real Estate will soon be closing both of their Upper Market locations (17th/Douglass, and Market/17th) and moving upstairs from CVS - formerly Tower Records.

No updates on 3198 Market at this time. And construction at 75 Mars continues to plod along.

UPPER MARKET/CASTRO UPDATES: 


2200 Market: (Formerly Happy Boy, Leticia's and Thai House) The new building now houses Hecho, a sit-down Mexican restaurant opened by the owners of High Tops bar across the street; and Brewcade, a bar specializing in beers and arcade games to be opened by the owners of Blackbird Bar just down the street.

376 Castro (RC Station): No news - still!

2175 Market (76 Station): Almost complete. 88 units. 100% rental. They have proposed a "market hall" concept with numerous food vendors.

2198 Market (Shell Station/Xmas tree lot): This development will be 87 rental units and be 7+ stories tall. The Market St. side will be 65' tall, the Sanchez St. side will be 40' tall and the very corner 81'. Groundbreaking should take place end of 2014 or early 2015.

2201 Market: (Formerly Glidden Paint, SF Stereo, the Industrialists, and almost a Starbuck's) if approved by city planners, will include a six-story, nine-unit apartment building with ground floor retail space and basement parking.

The proposed mixed use building will include about 4,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor, and the second through sixth floors will include a total of nine dwelling units. Being below the 10 unit threshhold they are not required to include any affordable housing units. The proposed name will be Linea Lite - after Linea, the ice cube tray bldg on Buchanan. Same architect.

2100 Market St: (Formerly Burke's, Church St. Station, Boston Market and Home) Purchased by Brian Spiers (of Buchanan (Linea) ice cube tray building). He's proposing a 7 story, 64 unit apt bldg, 4700 sf of retail.

Spiers also owns Lucky 13 and the huge lot adjacent. No plans for that yet.

Sullivan's Funeral Home: Sullivan's has been sold and will be developed by the Prado Group who were also responsible for Whole Foods on Market and Dolores. Sullivan's will not be torn down as it's a historic resource, but the adjacent lot which goes thru to 15th Street and potentially some of the air space above Sullivan's will be developed.

Cafe du Nord: The master lease was purchased by the owners of Woodhouse Fish Co. Here's the latest: A new street-level restaurant featuring Basque cuisine will be opening on Market Street above Cafe Du Nord. The restaurant will be called Aatxe, after "a mythological bull spirit creature in Basque folklore." It's being headed by Ryan Pollnow, the chef du cuisine at Central Kitchen in the Mission. Central Kitchen is part of the Ne Timeas group of restaurants (along with Flour + Water and Salumeria), and Ne Timeas is overseeing the food program at the revamped Cafe du Nord as well.

Aatxe will feature a 50-seat restaurant and bar separate from the Cafe du Nord space below. Aatxe should open some time "this winter."

400 Castro (formerly Diesel and BofA, and almost Randy Rooster!) SoulCycle hopes to open in the main space. They are a chain of fitness studios that originated in NYC. They have received support from many neighborhood groups.

Philz: Philz coffee intends to open in the space formerly occupied by de la Sole shoes, and currently occupied by the David Chiu for Assembly campaign.

* * * * *

Membership: 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. The easiest way to join is to go to our website: www.corbettheights.org, and click on the "Subscribe" button. That way, PayPal will automatically remind you next year. Or, you can send a check made out to CHN to 197 Corbett, 94114.

Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes - October 23, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Corbett Hts Meeting Thurs!

Hi Neighbors -
I hope to see you Thursday.  
Besides what's listed below, we'll have a bit of fun Corbett Heights history read to us by our new acting treasurer.
- Gary

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Corbett Heights Meeting next Thursday!

Hi Neighbors - 

The Corbett Heights Neighbors' quarterly meeting will be next Thursday, October 23rd.  We'll have several interesting speakers covering the election and the neighborhood.   The flier is attached.

Hope you can make it!

- Gary

(Anyone interested in helping distribute the fliers?  Please let me know!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

News from Corbett Heights

Hi Neighbors -
Just a few bits of news:

- MARS IS HAVING A GARAGE SALE - this coming Sunday, September 28, 9AM>>>>>

- The Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee voted 3 − 0 to landmark the Giant Sequoia behind 3066 Market St.  It goes before the full board next week where it is sure to pass.  This will be the first tree landmarked in Corbett Heights and the first Giant Sequoia to be landmarked in San Francisco.

- MARK YOUR CALENDARS!  Our next General Membership Meeting will be on Thursday, October 23rd, 7 − 8:30PM at the Castro Community Meeting Room - 501 Castro/18th above the BofA.  
Supervisor Scott Wiener will attend and discuss his campaign for re-election and Proposition B.  We will also have representatives from at least one other ballot initiative.  

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2 Important Corbett Heights Dates!

Hi Neighbors -
This coming Sunday, September 14th, from noon til 3PM we'll be having a work/cleanup day on the Corbett Slope.  We'll have snacks and drinks.
Please join us - or at least come have a look at all the progress that has been made.  - And bring a friend.
(The entrance to the Corbett Slope is between 315 and 341 Corbett)

Also - we've talked in the past about the landmarking of the beautiful giant Sequoia tree in the backyard between 3066 Market and 197 Corbett.  The final hearing for protecting this spectacular tree will take place this coming Monday, September 15th - at 1:30PM, at City Hall, Room 263.
It will be heard by the Board of Supervisors' Land Use Committee.  Supervisor Scott Wiener is chair.  
This case will be heard first, so if you're able to attend please come early!
The more people who show up, the more effective our case will be.  The hearing isn't about retaining or removing the tree; it's about the qualities of this tree that make it landmark-worthy.  These are:
Rarity, ecological benefits, historical significance, social or aesthetic contributions to the San Francisco landscape.
If you are able or willing to speak on behalf of the tree, please contact me, or Leslie at koelsch1886@comcast.net.

Thank you!!

- Gary

Friday, August 29, 2014

Corbett Slope Work & Visit Day

Hi Neighbors

We're having a work/cleanup day on the Slope on:

Sunday, September 14th, from noon til 3PM.

We'll have snacks and drinks.  Join in or just come see what we've done so far.

Stop by and bring a friend!

- Gary

(In case you're not sure where the Corbett Slope is, the entrance is between 315 and 341 Corbett.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes

Please check out our website for 5 pages of meeting notes and other neighborhood updates:




Also, here's the flier for this Saturday's Merritt Park cleanup.  Hope you can make it.

Happy Anniversary to Us!

I almost forgot - 

Corbett Heights Neighbors is now 10 Years Old!  Our July meeting began our 11th year.  

Notes from the Corbett Heights Neighbors meeting

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - July 24, 2014

There was a great turnout for last week's meeting - 37 people attended.

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Ted Teipel, Mark Ryser, Barbara Presta, Janice Low, Bill Prince, Kathy and Hank Flanders, Monique Passicot, Cindy Valdes, Desiree Roldan and Philip Byland. Greatly appreciated!!

Membership: One of our boardmembers, Leslie Koelsch, spent parts of several days organizing our membership lists, and our treasurer, Rick Johnson, updated our membership spreadsheet to reflect the new information. With results from our membership drive tallied, we now have 83 paid members (well over 100 if you include the 2nd person in each member household). 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. The easiest way to join is to go to our website: www.corbettheights.org, and click on the "Subscribe" button. That way, PayPal will automatically remind you next year.

History Project: The consultant we hired to prepare the Corbett Heights historical context statement (History Project) submitted a final draft to us a couple of months ago. With almost 150 pages of text and a huge number of maps and photographs, it's taken our committee this long to go over it and pool our comments. That should be done this week and they'll be sent off to the consultant, Michael Corbett. When the changes have been made we'll be discussing options for publishing a modified version of the document. A number of you contributed $75 or more and will be receiving free copies.

Landmark Tree Hearing:

In the rear yard of 3066 Market Street is an extremely prominant Giant Sequoia tree that, according to family members of the original owners of this 1880s cottage, was transplanted as a seedling from the Sierras to this yard in or around the early 1940s. The tree can be seen from as far away as Twin Peaks.

The new owner had hoped to cut down the tree and replace it with a square of lawn and some deck chairs. We realized that this tree needed to be protected. There was an inconclusive hearing by the Landmark Tree Committee. It will now be heard by the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on September 15, 1:30PM in City Hall. If you'd like to attend I can give you more information.

Corbett Slope: With the help of Gary Robertson and Jake Shogren, the Slope is looking fantastic! They've spent almost every Sunday planting, weeding and clearing - and it really shows! Dozens of mostly California native plants have been planted.

Extreme thanks to Supervisor Scott Wiener who has made $10,000 available for plants and infrastructure within the Slope!!

I've met several times with structural engineers from DPW regarding the enormous (overkill?) retaining wall project on the Market Street side of the Slope. The last and possibly best approach for securing the hillside now that it's been ravaged is to install mesh to keep it from continuing to erode. They may be able to create "shelves" from which we can plant groundcovers. DPW also intends to plant there. I gave them a list of appropriate native plants.

The ultimate goal is still to connect Market to Corbett. The pathway is mapped out, but DPW still needs a bit of convincing. They are in favor of the project, but require considerably more in terms of materials to build the stairs than we had planned. More to come on that....

We're also in the process of applying for a Community Challenge Grant for the Slope. We'd like to show how many of you have helped out in the past. Many of you have done work at the park in the past. If you'd care to have your name associated as an occasional volunteer, or if you would like to volunteer at some point in the future, please let me know and we will include your name in the application.

17th Street Traffic Calming: A few weeks ago MTA installed a barely-perceptible lump on 17th Street in the hopes that it will help slow down traffic. Other than the lines painted on the uphill and downhill approaches, I don't feel this has accomplished its goal. Representatives from MTA told me that they are "monitoring" it and will let me know the results sometime in the distant future.

Corbett/Ord Triangle: Several of us have met a number of times to discuss ideas to return the park to its former "glory". We've discussed putting a short stone retaining wall on the Corbett side, adding another path from opposite the bench to the Harvey Milk redwood tree off of 17th. We've even been promised financial assistance from Zephyr Real Estate across the street. The only thing missing is someone to take the lead. So if you live near this park or walk by it every day and would like to see it spiffed up, PLEASE let me know. In the meantime, a few neighbors have been cleaning up litter and doing an occasional sweep. If you'd like to help in that regard, your efforts will be greatly appreciated as well. Let me know if you are interested.

Merritt Park: This large triangle of a "park", bordered by Merritt, Market and Danvers, is finally going to get a facelift! This Saturday, August 2, from 9AM to noon, a number of neighbors, and volunteers from DPW and the Parks Alliance will be out there with clippers and shovels. This event has been organized by Chris Stuart and other neighbors who recently moved in across the street on Danvers. Please stop by and help out!

3198 Market Street: This is the address of the landlocked property behind the big retaining wall with the mural, on Market Street. Earlier this year 2 separate interested parties decided against developing this site. One would have paved Al's park to use as a driveway, the other would have blasted thru the retaining wall on Market St. and leveled the entire hillside behind it. But a few months ago the land was purchased by a couple who live in southern California. The good news is that they have no interest in creating a driveway or even a garage. And the project itself is substantially smaller than either of the other 2 earlier proposals. Their goal is to constuct a building with 2 units totaling 2100 square feet.

Everything was looking great, until the drawings of the proposed project were finally submitted. The facade was to be made entirely of stucco, with no detail anywhere. Basically a box with windows. There was a spiral fire exit stairway and one of the corners was to be on a stilt. In a south of Market alley this building would have blended in.

I spoke with the owners/architect about this and was told that elements of the design and the materials were the way they were to meet fire codes, since the building is landlocked. They seemed to agree that the design was uncomfortably basic. They will work to improve certain elements of the design.

75 Mars: Jonathan Deason, the new owner of this property, spoke with us about his project. The former owner had plans for the house redo and the adjoining park approved, and then decided to sell. Jonathan is building everything almost exactly as proposed - including the stairway that will connect Corbett with Mars.

There will be one additional level added. On the Corbett side there will be a 2-car garage with one curb cut, and a small stairway that will lead to a landing/entrance to a small lower level unit. The stairway will continue diagonally up to Mars from there. Jonathan will be paying for the stairway, new retaining walls, plants, lighting, irrigation and insurance. After it's all planted, Corbett Heights will maintain the plantings.

Kevin Dunn: spoke about property values in Corbett Heights as well as the general lack of housing inventory in San Francisco.

138-140 Ord Street, between Corbett and Market, sold last year for $1377. After a huge amount of work which included the very unfortunate gutting of all the 1880s Victorian interior detail, and the building out of the formerly tiny rear house, it is for sale for $2.8 million!

Also, the corner lot at Roosevelt and 17th Streets (which goes up to Upper Terrace) was recently sold for just under $3 million. It's acually 2 adjacent lots that can accommodate up to 8 homes! No plans have been submitted at this time.

Jerad Weiner, Community Liaison with DPW spoke with us about the many ways it has helped in the past with our projects and will continue to be available to help when asked in the future. For every garden cleanup/workday we've had in Corbett Heights, DPW has come to our aid. I've asked for mulch on numerous occasions as well as tools, gloves, leaf bags, wheel barrows - and even volunteers. For the cleanup at Merritt Park this Saturday, DPW has arranged for all of this and more.

Unfortunately, Supervisor David Campos, who was scheduled to speak about his campaign for Assembly, ran very late from a previous engagement and didn't show up until everyone was gone or ready to leave. I've arranged for him to return for our October meeting.

Our most robust part of the meeting was a discussion about Home Sharing/Short Term Rentals/AirBnB and their affects on housing in San Francisco.

On the Pro side was Andrei Ilica who moved to States Street from New York City a few years ago, and uses AirBnB often to help with finances. He does not want a full-time tenant since he has family/friends who visit often and likes to have a space for them to stay.

He feels that this supports the community because his visitors and renters patronize businesses in the neighborhood. He said that home sharing generated $100 million in spending in the city. The most popular neighborhood for home sharing in SF is the Mission; Castro is not far behind.

He disagrees that home sharing limits the long term rental supply. He feels that the majority of rentals are for portions of apartments rather than whole units. There are currently about 6500 home share listings in SF alone.

Around 30,000 people moved to SF last year, and Andrei feels that a restrictive building code is more the problem for the lack of housing inventory than home sharing.

On the Con side was Doug Engmann. He said that there are many thousands of listings on 60 websites supporting this industry. Everything from single rooms to entire apartments are listed. Over half are for entire apartments. One third of the people listing have between 10 and 30 units listed. This describes entrepreneurs who are doing more than just making ends meet.

In 94114 there are over 1,000 listings. He stated that it is already illegal to rent an apartment or room for fewer than 30 days. It's against the housing code and the planning code. No taxes are being collected either.

He feels that there is no question that taking 10,000 units off the market is putting pressure on the housing stock. And there is no consideration given to neighbors. Tenants are also renting out rooms or their entire apartments in violation of their leases. If a temporary renter starts a fire, and that renter is not allowed under the terms of the lease, it is unlikely that insurance for the fire would be covered.

Supervisor David Chiu has sponsored legislation that attempts to deal with the problems that have arisen out of home sharing.

If you're up for a really contentious hearing there is one before the Planning Commission on August 7th.

Castro Street Sidewalk Widening: The project is moving ahead rapidly. Between now and August 13th, the sidewalks will be finished, utility boxes moved and preparations will be made for the Rainbow Honor Walk. When this is complete, new streetlights, bike racks, "leaning racks" and the rainbow crosswalks will be installed, MUNI overhead wiring will be moved, historic facts etched into the sidewalks and 68 new street trees will be planted. Jane Warner Plaza improvements will follow. Work is scheduled to be completed by the Castro Street Fair on October 6. For more information and updates: www.castrostreet.org.

Castro Street has 2 hotdog places in the works as well as many more coffee houses. Besides Weavers on the corner of Market and Noe under FitnessSF, which has had permitting issues, Hearth Coffee hopes to move into the suntanning salon space next to Orphan Andy's on 17th Street, and Philz hopes to open on Castro in the space currently occupied by David Chiu's campaign headquarters. Worldwide, coffee is the second most traded commodity, after petroleum. But you already knew that!

The Pica Pica space, next to the Chevron Station on 17th Street is up for lease again.

Bandidos, on the NW corner of Market and 15th will open in early August. It will be a sit down Mexican restaurant and will be run by the owners of Hi-Tops sports bar across the street.

Project 22 Arcade, next door to Bandidos will be an arcade bar. They hope to open by the end of 2014 or early 2015.

376 Castro (RC Station): No news - still possibly for sale.

2175 Market (76 Station): 88 units. 100% rental. 65' tall on the Market side, shorter on 15th St. They are hoping to include a "market hall" concept with numerous food vendors. Looks as though the veil should come down soon to reveal... (I'll let you decide).

2198 Market (Shell Station/Xmas tree lot): This development will be 87 rental units and be 7+ stories tall. The Market St. side will be 65' tall, the Sanchez St. side will be 40' tall and the very corner 81'. Groundbreaking should take place soon.

2201 Market: (Formerly Glidden Paint, SF Stereo, the Industrialists, and almost a Starbuck's) A new project has been proposed that would be 63.5' tall with a roofdeck. It would be 6 stories including 2500 square feet of ground floor retail, and 9 condos.

2100 Market St: (Formerly Burke's, Church St. Station, Boston Market and Home) Purchased by Brian Spiers, the same architect who designed the giant glass ice cube tray building at the corner of Market and Buchanan that resembles the old Galaxy Theatre on Van Ness. He's proposing a 7 story, 64 unit building with 4700 square feet of ground floor retail. Spiers also owns the Lucky 13 and adjoining lot. No plans for that yet.

Sullivan's Funeral Home: Sullivan's will not be torn down as it's a historic resource (especially considering what would replace it), but the adjacent lot which goes thru to 15th Street and potentially some of the air space above Sullivan's (I'm guessing at that) will be developed by the Prado Group who were also responsible for Whole Foods on Market and Dolores.

* * * * *

And now, just for fun:

As printed in the San Francisco Call (these aren't my typos!)

San Francisco Call - 2 March, 1896

OBJECT TO CORBETT

RESIDENTS OF AN AVENUE RESIST ITS NAME CHANGED TO WESTERN BLVD.

The residents of Corbett Ave are desirous of having the name of that thoroughfare changed as the following petition which will be filed this morning, evidences:

To the Honorable the Bd of Supervisors, the city and county of SF:

The undersigned property owners and residents on the street known as Corbett Ave, in the city and county of SF, do hereby petition you honorable board to change the name of Corbett Ave to Western Blvd.

Our reason is that the general impression exists that Corbett Ave has been named in horror of prize-fighter, JJ Corbett, and as your petitioners are all law-abiding citizens opposed to prize-fighting, they feel greatly humiliated at the tthought of having to live on a street bearing the same name as the notorious prize-fighter.

It is signed by practically all the property owners on the street, and headed up the R. S. Daniel, who originated the agitation.


That's all for now.

Thanks for your interest in our neighborhood!


- Gary

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Corbett Heights Meeting Tonight!

Hi Neighbors -

As of tonight, Corbett Heights Neighbors is 10 years old!  Hope you can make it to our extremely packed meeting tonight.  It will officially go from 7 − 9PM.  
Here is what we'll be discussing:

Andrei Ilica will speak in favor of home sharers, i.e. AirBnB.
Doug Engmann will speak against.
A question and answer period will follow.

Supervisor David Campos will speak about his race against David Chiu to replace Tom Ammiano in the Assembly.

Jerad Weiner will discuss how DPW has helped Corbett Heights in the past, and how we can take advantage of its many services.

Kevin Dunn will discuss the crazy real estate situation in Corbett Heights - including 140 Ord and the recently sold lot at 17th and Roosevelt.

Leslie Koelsch will update us on the landmarking of the giant sequoia tree in a neighboring yard off of Market.

Jonathan Deason, new owner of 75 Mars, will discuss his project, currently under construction, as well as the stairway that will soon connect Corbett to Mars.

There will also be updates on:
3198 Market (below Al's Park);
Merritt Park upcoming cleanup on August 2;
The so-called (thanks Ted) "traffic pimple" on 17th St;
Tons happening on the Corbett Slope;
Corbett Heights History project update;
And, of course, updates on projects in Upper Market.

See you this evening!
 - Gary

(Meeting will be at 501 Castro/18th Streets - above BofA/Sunglass Hut.  Thru the main BofA doors, elevator and stairs to the right.)