Friday, April 25, 2014

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - April 24, 2014

There was a great turnout last night - about 40 people were there - despite the madness on Castro Street during construction.

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Ted Teipel, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Kazumi Matsuyama, Barbara Presta, Janice Low, Bill Prince, Jeanine Payer, Kathy and Hank Flanders, Monique Passicot and Leslie and John Koelsch. Greatly appreciated!!

Membership Dues: 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:, go to the "Welcome" page, and at the bottom of the page type in your name and address and click "Subscribe".

Crime in Corbett Heights: It comes in waves. Earlier this year there were several car break-ins and stolen cars and bicycles. And then it stopped. But in the last couple of weeks I've been told of 2 stolen cars on the block of Douglass north of 17th, one on the 200 block of Corbett and a break-in on the 100 block of Ord. Please never leave anything visible in your car. No bags, books, coins, phone charging cables, etc. When they see something the thieves think there is an increased possibility of more stuff out of sight.

David Chiu is currently the president of the SF Board of Supervisors and is running for the State Assembly, 17th District. He is running against David Campos, also on the Board of Supervisors, and shares the same initials. That's where the similarities end. David Campos will speak to us either at the July or October meeting.

David Chiu sponsored legislation recently that would grant amnesty to owners of the tens of thousands of in-law units in the city. In 2011 he voted to require AT&T to have an environmental review for each of its new U-verse boxes. Unfortunately this was voted down

6 - 5. He's passed more legislation than anyone currently on the Board. To learn more about him and his campaign go to:

Castro Street Sidewalk Widening: John Dennis of MTA, who is the project manager of the sidewalk widening project gave us some updates on the progress. They're on schedule as of now. They plan on completing the sidewalks by Pride at the end of June. Right now they are moving all of the utilities that are under the sidewalks, and eventually will move the overhead transit cables, as well as the street lights. The same number of parking places will be available when the project is complete.

The intention was to replace all of the trees with new ones that will be located near the new curbs. There will be 2 king palms at each corner (you can see an example of a young king palm across the street from Ike's sandwich shop on 16th and Sanchez) and all of the mid-block trees will be ginkgos - a variety that grows a bit faster and has a more columnar growth pattern than the one most often planted. When a tree is going to be removed or replaced a notice is taped around the trunk notifying anyone who objects how to register their objection. Just prior to the end of the alocated time to oppose the trees' removal, 2 people registered opposition. This opposition generated a hearing, which took place last week. The determination was that all trees - with the exception of the magnolia in front of Anchor Oyster Bar can be removed. An appeal of this order can still take place if it is registered within 15 days.

Completion is still scheduled to take place by the time of the Castro Street Fair - the first Sunday in October. For more information and updates:

Supervisor Scott Wiener arrived later in the meeting and spoke about many of his recent accomplishments in District 8. These include the Castro In-Law legislation which will allow property owners in the greater Castro to create an additional small unit out of currently unlived-in storage or garage space; legislation to improve the process of placement and permit notification of AT&T's awful utility boxes; calling a hearing on how SF can make up the difference in the $20 million in federal funding cuts for HIV services; and a number of others.

You can read more and sign up for his newsletter at:

3066 Market:

This is the yellowish 1880s cottage just east of where Merritt Street starts. It is currently being remodeled and, of course, enlarged. At the last meeting I mentioned that it was purchased several years ago by a developer who defaulted on several loans. After working out a number of issues with the surrounding neighbors and with the Planning Dept., plans were issued and approved. Part of the agreement, as shown on the plans that were submitted, was that the approximately 75 year old giant sequoia tree would remain. After the foreclosure, the property was purchased for just under $1 million. The new owner decided to follow the plans he inherited with the purchase. The only change was that he seemed intent on cutting down the tree. He felt it was his right - despite the fact that the tree is "shared" by all of the residents on that block and can be seen from as far away as Twin Peaks.

Very concerned about the possibility of losing this treasure, neighbors approached Supervisor Wiener about the possibility of landmarking the tree. The supervisor agreed.

CHN took a position to support the petition after receiving significant opposition to its removal.

At this point 96 neighbors have signed a petition to support landmarking the tree.

On Thursday, May 1, at 4:15PM the landmarking hearing will take place in Room 421 in City Hall.

Please attend if at all possible. Let me know if you have questions about this.

Corbett Slope: With amazing recent work by Chris McGuire, Gary Robertson and Jake Shogren, the Slope is looking fantastic! An irrigation line is installed, several paths lead to areas previously inaccessible and almost 100 - mostly California native - plants have gone in.

Preparations are being made for a future walkway and stairway connecting Corbett to Market St., and to remove much of the awful chain-link fence along Corbett. Along with the future walkways, protective railings will be placed on the downhill sides. Work on the new retaining wall along the Market St. side was supposed to have begun on April 8. DPW will not only be installing the wall but will also remove the makeshift scrappy-looking walls and trash that has blighted the view of the Slope from Market for decades.

Gary R. and Jake just submitted a grant application for some additonal funding for the Slope. We will undoubtedly need a lot more funding to do this work.

Since it still needs to remain locked for safety, few have seen it from the inside. We'll be planning a party - not a work day - and a tour, sometime in May or June. More on that to come....

History Project: The Corbett Heights historical context statement (History Project) is now complete - for the most part. Michael Corbett, whom we hired to produce it is doing some final work captioning photos and adding several more that were provided by Greg Gaar. There are about 150 pages of information, and dozens of wonderful old photos and maps. After we receive the final draft we'll review it and start discussing publishing options. A number of you contributed $75 or more and will be receiving free copies.

17th Street Traffic Calming: On April 11th, Mike Sallaberry of MTA said that our new "traffic cushion" will be installed on 17th St. near Temple within the next 4 weeks.

Green Spaces in Corbett Heights: In addition to the Corbett Slope, there are 8 other green spaces in our neighborhood. As mentioned earlier, Chris, Gary R. and Jake have been doing a huge amount to help beautify the Slope, Leslie and John Koelsch have taken care of the Corbin Stairs for years, a few new residents of Danvers St. who purchased adjoining homes are eager to get started on the Merritt Triangle, Bill Prince is taking the lead on the Corbett Ord Triangle, but more volunteers for these or the other spaces are greatly needed. Let me know if you can help.

Also, Chris Smith has been maintaining the garden site at the corner of Clayton and Corbett for years. It is almost entirely self-funded. If you are able to or interested in donating to this gift to the neighborhood, please let me know and I will give you his contact information.

3198 Market St:

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 about a month ago we discovered that the land had been sold to a couple who live in southern California. I contacted them to find out their plans and was pleasantly surprised that they had no interest in creating a driveway or even a garage. And the project itself is substantially smaller than either of the other 2. There will, if approved, be 2 units totaling 2100 square feet. Their son who does not own a car will be living in one of the units and parking his bike there.

There is a pre-application meeting open to all on Saturday, May 10th at 10AM. Please let me know if you're interested in attending. It will be held in a neighbor's home.

17 Temple St.: The new owner of this small cottage had initially proposed constructing a building that would have been extremely oversized for the lot. The very active neighbors met several times with and without the project sponsor who eventually reduced the scale of the building and made several adjustments that ended up satisfying everyone. Corbett Heights Neighbors, as well as the Eureka Valley Neighborhood Ass'n. wrote letters to the Planning Dept. in support of the revised project.

271 Upper Terr./4500 17th St.: This property is for sale for $2.9 million. The existing home on Upper Terr. is in very poor condition and will undoubtedly be demolished. It is on 2 lots that go all the way down to Roosevelt. In addition there is a pie-shaped adjacent lot that wraps around 17th St. You know this lot by the rock wall surrounded by chain-link at the corner of 17th and Roosevelt. The lots will hold as many as 8 homes. Be on the lookout.

Upper Market Street Projects:

376 Castro (RC Station): No news, but I believe it's for sale - again.

2175 Market (76 Station): 88 units. 100% rental. It will be 65' tall on the Market side, shorter on 15th St. They are planning a "market hall" concept with numerous food vendors. To accomplish this they would be combining 2 of the retail spaces.

2200 Market St (Leticia's/Thai House/Happy Boy): 22 units. 3000 square foot Mexican restaurant called Bandidos - not being run by Leticia - will be operated by the owners of High Tops sports bar. The other retail space, closer to Castro, will become Project 22, if approved, an arcade bar. They hope to have 27 machines including PacMan to play on. Scott Wiener is trying to eliminate an old law that currently prevents this.

Cafe du Nord/Swedish American Hall:

The owners of Woodhouse Fish Co. now own the master lease for the whole building. They will completely renovate the basement and it will continue to be used as an entertainment venue. The first floor will become a restaurant and the upper floors will be used for a variety of shows and performances.

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'.

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.

2100 Market St: (Formerly Burke's, Church St. Station, Boston Market and Home) Same architect as the giant glass block building at the corner of Market and Buchanan that resembles the old Galaxy Theatre on Van Ness. The preliminary drawing looks remarkably similar to - all of the others!

Thanks for your interest in our neighborhood!

- Gary