Friday, July 31, 2015

July Meeting Minutes

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - July 23, 2015

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Ted Teipel, Janice Low, Nancy Peoples, Dirk Aguilar, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Kathy and Hank Flanders, and Olga Mandrussow. AND - thanks to Bill Prince for taking notes during the meeting!

Greatly appreciated!

Leslie Koelsch gave the Treasurer's and Membership Report – we currently have 100 members (125 households), and $3112.38 in our checking account.

Aside from printing costs and snacks for our garden workdays, the money we collect is meant for Corbett Heights green space improvements. If you'd like to volunteer to do some work in any of these spaces we'd love to pay for plants, etc. Let us know what your plan is first and we'll start writing checks. We have access to tools, mulch and helpers!

CHN Board Elections:

Every July we elect - or re-elect - our officers. If you - or someone you would like to recommend - have been a member for at least 90 days - and would like to participate in your neighborhood organization, please let me know!

At this point, barring any write-in candidates, here are the people running:

  • President: Gary Weiss

  • Secretary: Bill Prince

  • Treasurer: Leslie Koelsch

  • Other Boardmembers: Mark Ryser, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn and Barbara Presta


City Attorney Dennis Herrera: First elected to the City Attorney's office in 2001. He filed the first ever government lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of state marriage laws that discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. He's been instrumental in every phase of the battle that has ultimately led to the recent Supreme Court decision effectively legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the U.S.

He discussed several ways he's led his office to make a difference in people's lives: (aside from same-sex marriage) shutting down a filthy power plant, obtaining gang injunctions that retain civil liberties and going after recalcitrant landlords, and many other examples.

The majority of the questions related to the homeless issues the city is or is not addressing.

As of now he's running unopposed for the office he now holds.

Brenda Meskin from the San Francisco Homeless Outreach team gave a talk about the Navigation Center on Mission between 15th and 16th. This is a shelter that homeless people actually want to come to, in part because families or groups are not separated, and because pets are allowed. SFHOT (Homeless Outreach Team) identifies encampments and invites them to move into the Center. Open since March, they hope to add (or maybe have already added) street medicine as well. Attendees asked questions about homelessness, and she pointed out that no one can force someone else to accept social services.

Interim Zoning Controls: These were sponsored by Supervisor Scott Wiener in an attempt to combat the ever-increasing conversions of small or average sized homes into oversized behemoths. So far the legislation has been successful in that only one (possibly two) developers has submitted plans for an oversized home in the area affected by the controls. If an applicant chooses this path, he or she will likely face a much longer, likely contested permit process. In all other neighborhoods, with a much easier path, developers are applying, at a dizzying rate, for permits to build homes 2 - 3 times the size of the original.

History Project: Years have passed since this project was initiated. It was originally supposed to take 8 months. It turned out to be much more complex than either we or the consultant preparing it had imagined.

As I mentioned recently, a final draft of the document was submitted to members of the Planning Dept., and although they were full of praise, they requested a considerable number of changes, additions or clarifications. From the city's perspective, and to serve the purpose it was designed to serve, the final product needs to read a certain way. Although Michael Corbett is an extremely well regarded architectural historian, and the content that is included is something that we will love to read about, there are points that need to be covered before it is approved and adopted by the city.

The work that has been done is so much more inclusive of historical data than was anticipated, and the original amount requested to complete this task was considerably less than necessary. So Michael Corbett approached us and the HPFC (Historic Preservation Fund Committee) with a list of what needed to be done and how much more money would be required to accomplish the necessary remaining tasks. In addition to the funds we still have left for the final payment of the initial draft, he requested ~ $13,000 to complete the project to the Planning Dept's specifications. We've requested this of the HPFC and feel confident that it will be forthcoming.

This time around, however, we've spelled out several conditions:

Must be completed in 90 days or financial penalties will be applied. After the final draft is submitted to the Plannnign Dept, and if additional changes are requested, he will complete those within 30 days with no additional pay.

This all means that we'd be guaranteed to have an approved copy before the end of the year. Cross your fingers. Sorry for all of the delays - especially to those who donated at the beginning!

Corbett/Ord Triangle: A number of neighbors over the years have spent time improving this park which is, in a sense, the gateway to Corbett Heights. Former Corbett Heights resident Rob Rynski received a grant from San Francisco Beautiful and did the most work of anyone building the paths, planting, installing boulders and the irrigation system. Since he moved away it hasn't looked quite as impressive. But recently, people like Fred Moyer, Bill Prince and a few others have stopped by frequently to sweep and pick up trash. One of the problems we have in the park is that, on the Corbett side, leaves and soil and trash seem to always slide down onto and obscure the Corbett sidewalk. The plan that everyone involved seems on board with is to install a very short stone retaining wall. It would stretch the whole length of the Corbett side.

Olga M. has done a lot of work researching this and also spoke with DPW about what would be necessary before we proceed.

The plan is to have the stones and sand and some smaller stones delivered by Broadmoor Building Supply on Thursday, Oct 22, and have a work day on that Saturday, the 24th. Olga has lined up the Clean and Green Team to come and help.

For the stones, sand and delivery fee, we expect it not to exceed $700. After that we'll be planting drought tolerant, mostly California native plants.

PLEASE LET ME KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU (AS A MEMBER) APPROVE OF THE PLAN. (For expenses greater than $150 membership approval is required.)

Corbett Slope: At the last meeting I mentioned that Supervisor Wiener was able to allocate $10,000 from the city's budget to replace the plantings that had been scraped off during the retaining wall building process. As Supervisor Wiener has mentioned, he appreciates the value of preserving green space in the city. He was instrumental in saving it from being sold off for development. And now his office is committed to getting it to the point where it's open for public use. In order for that to happen, some infrastructure and other improvements need to be made: improved pathways, stairs that will connect to Market, railings and possibly permeable pavers on the flat section along Corbett to make it ADA compliant - at least on the top.

DPW's structural engineers came up with a figure of $150,000 to do the work I just mentioned. The Supervisor was able to get $155,000 additional from this year's budget. Still waiting to hear back from DPW about when this project can begin. In the meantime, regular maintenance and planting has continued by Gary and Jake who live next door. We also just had a cleanup day a couple of weeks ago. Please let me know if you'd like a tour of the park!

3198 Market Street: This is the landlocked parcel behind the Market Street be-muraled retaining wall, down at the base of Al's Park, and just east of the Miller-Joost house. The owners of the property have received approval to build a new 2-unit, ~2,000 square foot (total) building - with no car access and no garage. There will be a new path down to the site accessible only by bicycles and pedestrians visiting the park.

The latest plan unquestionably surpasses the original. A lot of detail has been added.

The owners will need to install landscaping and pathways, and they've promised to work with the neighborhood on the plans. If you have an interest in being part of a planning committee for the park, we'll be meeting on Friday, August 28th. Let me know if you'd like to join us.

75 Mars: Believe it or not, the foundation is mostly finished. The house construction - I mean "remodel" - should begin in a week or two. The construction of the stairway that will connect Mars to Corbett, and the retaining walls/planters on the north end will begin at the same time.

Lot Merger Proposal: We were asked to give our support for a proposal made by members of Dolores Heights Improvement Club (DHIC).

They felt the need to address a dangerous precedent on Cumberland St. Someone purchased 2 adjacent lots - one is vacant, the other contains a moderately sized single family home. The new owner hopes to demolish the home, and build one 8,000 square foot home over both lots. The block is zoned for one residence per lot. After the proposed merger of these 2 lots, the new double-sized lot would still be zoned for one residence, effectively taking one housing unit away.

In June the Board of Supervisors voted to make it more difficult to merge dwelling units for the purpose of preventing loss of housing. A suggestion to include lot mergers never came up - until now. I conducted an email poll, and also asked membership at the meeting. We voted overwhelmingly to support DHIC's proposal.


2175 Market (76 Station): On the corner of this building will be a restaurant that is a spinoff of Mission Bay Cafe. The much larger, interior space will become "Myriad Marketplace". There will be spaces for ~ 10 - 15 businesses: butcher, pasta place, takeout food... Apparently over 30 businesses applied for a space.

The former Blockbuster on Church will become Cross Fit Flagship - an exercise facility.

MCC - 150 Eureka: The Metropolitan Community Church recently merged with another on Upper Polk St. The existing buildings on Eureka would have cost too much to retrofit. There is a proposal for 4-story, luxury apartment building on the former church site. The lot is 100' wide, so the homes would be side by side at 25'wide each. Most of the complaints so far are about the project being out of scale with the rest of the block.

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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:, 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