Friday, December 23, 2016

The other half of the Holiday update:

(Sorry the photo of the plans does not show up in the blog.  Please let me know if you'd like to see a copy - happy to send it to you.

The History Project:  It is complete, and has been submitted to the Planning Dept for review.  They're very slow readers (and, the document is around 250 pages, including maps and tons of photos) so we're told they will have completed their review by early to mid February in time to present it to the Historic Preservation Commission.
Unwilling to wait that long, we're already planning the cover design and printing options.  

75 Mars:  Thankfully, the project has been moving forward recently with crews working on it daily.  The stairway railings have been installed, but access to the stairs remains cut off.  Windows are in.  The sub-roof is on.  Still a major eyesore, but at least an end is in sight, however remotely.  And the storage bin along Corbett has had the graffiti painted over (a lot of you had mentioned that).  When it's all completed, and the new plantings are in, we'll finally see some benefit to all the waiting.

3198 Market St.:  As I've mentioned recently, the family that bought this undeveloped, landlocked parcel - adjacent to the historic Miller-Joost house - almost 3 years ago went through a painful process to get neighborhood approval, acceptance by the Fire Dept, and every other department that has ever existed.  After finally receiving entitlements, the son who was to live there while attending SF State decided to attend college on the east coast!  So it's back on the market.  They purchased it for $300K and have it listed for $995K.  - just because you're curious.  

Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street project:  We've had several meetings with the project sponsors.  With the exception of a requirement that they keep 2 rent-controlled units on site, nothing has really changed.  The rent-control requirement will mean that the smaller of the 2 existing buildings on Upper Terrace will be fixed up and probably expanded a bit to contain 2 dwellings.  
Also, a big sticking point has been the scale of the individual dwellings - average size remains in excess of 5300 square feet each for the new construction.
The original approval hearing before the Planning Commission was scheduled for November, then moved to January.  The January hearing has been continued to some time during the first half of 2017, maybe.  The Geotechnical Report was completed one year ago - but the department hasn't gotten around to reading it.  A bigger issue is an environmental review.  For a project this  size, an ER requirement would seem an obvious step, and we're praying that whoever will make that decision will see it that way.  
After all, with the relative blocking off of parts of Upper Terrace for long periods of time, the concern about the extreme instability of the hillside during construction, the dust, the drilling, the parking and lanes that will be eliminated along 17th and Roosevelt during construction, and the duration - despite the sponsors' estimate of 2+ years, you can bet that it will be a healthy 3 years from when they begin drilling out the hillside to when it's complete.

New D8 Supervisor:  No, I don't know who the Mayor will choose, but he or she will be invited to our next neighborhood meeting on January 26th.  
By the way, the incredible San Francisco historian - Joel Pomerantz - who teaches about local natural history through his website and tours:  will be talking with us at the January meeting as well.  He's written a book and  published a map about local water history - both will be available for sale.  We're requesting a small donation to cover his very reasonable fee.  The donation is entirely optional.


See you in the New Year!

- Gary

Happy Corbett Heights Holidays!

Hi Neighbors -

Thankfully, I have some positive updates on some of the issues within Corbett Heights that have been dragging on endlessly.  

Corbett/Ord Triangle Park:  We finally received our new ginkgo tree to replace one of the 2 Brazilian Pepper Trees that died a while back.  It was promised last February.  10 months ain't too bad!
Other improvements within and bordering the park are "slated" to be done at the beginning of the New Year (hopefully that means 2017?)

Corbett Slope:  Major improvements to the Slope are all approved!  The initial phase will be the upper, mostly level area near the entrance gate.  
The area will be leveled a bit and a permeable paving will be poured.  We'll have several long planters, improved irrigation and a new entrance moved slightly west.  The area will be accessible to people with disabilities.  
The second, larger phase will take place next year.  That phase entails building a new concrete stairway connecting Corbett to Market!  It will start just west of the bend in the fence, arch around to the southwest, and exit through a new opening in the retaining wall on Market.  Here's a screenshot of the latest plan.  Apologies for the quality of the photo.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - October 27, 2016

About 30 people showed up for the meeting - despite the rain!

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who helped distribut fliers: Ted Teipel, Kathy and Hank Flanders, Dirk Aguilar, Barbara Presta, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Janice Lowe, Kazumi Matsuyama, Grace Gellerman, Cindy Valdes and Bill Prince.

And thanks to Bill Prince for taking notes during the meeting!
Greatly appreciated!

Treasurer's Report: Our Treasurer, Leslie Koelsch, reported that our membership consists of 90 households. Our September bank balance was $3272.56.

Senator Mark Leno arrived shortly after 7, and proceeded to give us a rundown of ALL 17 State ballot initiatives. I'm color coding these based on the Senator's personal opinion - Green in favor; Red opposed.

51 – This puts out general obligation bonds for $9 billion for K-12 schools and modernization of existing facilities. The repayment for these bonds comes out of the general fund and requires no new taxes. Jerry Brown opposes this so as to not have to spend the interest money from the general fund. Leno supports it to keep supporting our schools.

52 – The Medicare hospital fee program: This measure extends an existing fee. There will be no impact on consumers or tax-payers. One great reason to pass this is that it qualifies us for $3 billion in federal match funds so this means it's really worth it. Supports.

53 – This was put forward by a multi-millionaire from central valley who opposes Jerry Brown's twin water tunnels (not the reason he opposes this measure). It requires a vote of the people of California for any lease-revenue bonds for any purpose over $2 billion. This means it would require a vote for the high-speed rail program also. Leno opposes this as it does not allow for an emergency situation, like an earthquake or natural disaster that really would require that funds be available fast.

54 – This was also put forward by one person, Republican billionaire Charles Munger. It requires that before any legislation can be taken up for a vote by the legislature, it would have to be provided in written form to the public for at least 72 hours. This would give corporate interests more time to mount opposition to legislative matters. Leno feels the legislature will cope if necessary. But still opposes.

55 – In the recession of the last decade, the voters of California raised taxes, increasing the sales tax by ½% and increasing the personal income tax rates for the wealthiest in the state. This does not extend the sales tax which is to its credit as a sales tax is regressive. This continues for twelve years of the income tax provisions. The proceeds go to schools and health care. The schools would feel a big pinch if this is not passed. Supports.

56 – This measure adds $2/pack tax on cigarettes. The money would go for health care. Tobacco is spending tens of millions of dollars to oppose it saying that this money would just go into the general fund although this actually is not true. Now smokers pay 87 cents per tax. We are 37th of fifty states in our taxing of cigarettes. E-cigarettes will be taxed under this measure for the first time. Supports.

57 – Prop 47, a couple of years ago, reduced drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor and was a real benefit for criminal justice reform. This measure reverses a previous vote of the people that gave local district attorneys the authority to decide whether a juvenile is tried in a juvenile court or an adult court. There were a lot of negative outcomes to indeterminate sentencing. This measure shifts the authority to the judge in the courtroom which Leno supports. For a variety of nonviolent nonserious crimes this measure allows for an inmate who has served the base sentence to make his/her case to the parole board for your parole. Our spending on corrections has been rising so that it's approaching the amount spent for higher education. The law enforcement universe opposes this. Gov. Brown spent millions to get this on the ballot. Decades ago he sponsored a measure for determinate sentencing which is fraught with racial disparities. Now there is a range of determinate sentences. DAs oppose this, sheriffs are neutral, police chiefs oppose it but it will probably pass.

58 – In the 1990s, citizens passed Prop. 219 which required that schools ensure English language proficiency. This measure allows school districts to establish dual-language programs which encourage the study of a second or third language. Prop 219 is not affected. Supports.

59 – Does not have the effect of law – but it puts California citizens on record as being opposed to Citizens United. Even 70% of Republicans polled oppose Citizens United.

60 – This was put on ballot by Michael Weinstein who also put Prop. 61 on the ballot. It requires all those in porn industry to wear condoms. Weinstein is the executive director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The measure gives a private right of action to any citizen if they see a clip of porn without a condom to take them to court and sue them and the citizen would get a portion of the suit's proceeds if they prevail, if OSHA does not respond within ninety days. It authorizes him (Weinstein) to be an AIDS Czar to be removed only by a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature. Every AIDS service organization is opposed to this.

61 – Michael Weinstein – The pharmaceutical industry spent $95 million to defeat this. It prohibits state government from paying any more for pharmaceuticals than the VA does at the federal government level. The industry is using ads with veterans saying that if passed the industry will raise their prices on VA meds to make up for the difference though there are federal rules make this not really true. Weinstein's put in $15 million of his own money to support this measure. Leno (and Bernie Sanders) supports.

62 – This measures ends the death penalty in California and replaces it with life without the possibility of parole. Those opposed to death penalty support this. This would save about $1 billion over five years to eliminate the high costs of defending the long long process of appealing death sentences. Without current system, we've condemned 1300 people to death since 1976 but only thirteen have been executed so we don't actually have a death penalty – 99% of those sentenced to this are not executed. We could spend this money in law enforcement. Supports.

63 – This was put on the ballot by Gavin Newsom. It requires background checks for ammunition, which is now easier to buy than pseudoephedrine. It also prohibits possession of large-capacity assault weapon magazines. 2nd Amendment folks are opposed. Leno supports.

64 – Legalizes all uses of marijuana. Put on ballot by Gavin Newsom. Senator Feinstein opposes. Generates a billion dollars a year. Allows cities to prohibit it within their boundaries. Supports.

65 – Plastic bags. In SF and in many regions statewide, plastic bags are banned. This was put on the ballot by the plastic bag industry. It would redirect the money collected by groceries to environmental projects (sounds better than it is). Every environmental group in California opposes this.

66 – Counters Prop 62. It Gets rid of a lot of safeguards in the appeals process that are there to prevent killing innocent people. This would cost the state a lot, speed up executions. He strongly opposes.

67 - Referendum on the legislature's bag of single use plastic bags. Vote YES on this referendum to sustain what the legislature did. This also put on by the plastic bag industry.

Next, Jeff Kositsky, new Director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing spoke about the homeless crises facing San Francisco and cities across the country. This program brings together six different programs in six different departments to create a single strategy and data base as opposed to the current thirteen different data base systems that don't speak to each other. We spend less than 2.5% of the City's budget on homelessness that would really beef up services. We have 6200 units of permanent housing for homeless people, twice as much as the next highest city but he hopes they can coordinate it all (coordinated entry) and prioritize who gets the housing.

He says to report problems by calling 311; it is not a perfect system, but citizens' reports to 311 do help identify "hot-spot" problem clusters on their maps, which can then be systematically addressed.

An Encampment Resolution Team has been started by the City. It will differ from previous programs that just pushed homeless people around. This program moves people into shelter, brings doctors, provides showers and restrooms. With this system, half resolve their homelessness and the other half does not end up back in the same place.

Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street Project: There was a Planning Commission hearing scheduled for November 3. It's been rescheduled - tentatively - for January.

The project now consists of 10 dwellings, 2 in each of 5 buildings: 4 units on Upper Terrace, 2 on 17th St, 2 on Roosevelt, and 2 straddling the corner. The total building square footage for the 10 units is 52,609 square feet. That translates into an astounding 5,261 sq. ft AVERAGE, per unit. The average dwelling in SF - including those in Pacific Heights - is 1600 sq. ft.

In addition, each building is shown as having its own lap pool.

The overall design, partially thanks to the Planning Department's Residential Design Team's requests has improved considerably. There are "view corridors" between each of the buildings. This helps to reduce the blockiness and "uni-building" look.

Dawson& Clinton are "working with" the Dept. of Public Works to discuss improvements to the existing Monument Way Stairs. The stairs have been derelict for many years. They will require a huge amount of work - rebuilding most of the stairs, re-doing all of the overhead lighting, completely replacing the landcaping and installing irrigation. Once DPW completes a review of the needs and costs, several of us on a committee will be discussing possible improvements with Dawson & Clinton.

Aside from the need for an overall reduction in size of the project, the ability of the hillside to sustain such an enormous project in an extremely unstable area has come into question. With a very notable landslide directly across the street on 17th Street, and another just west of 300 Corbett, this has become a great cause of concern. Several residents of Upper Terrace are particularly concerned about what the massive amount of excavation will do to their foundations.

And last, since Upper Terrace is too narrow for large trucks to navigate, all of the staging for the project will be on or around the corner of Roosevelt and 17th. This means that for 2 - 3 years, there will be parking disruption, traffic increases and noise and dust proliferation.


75 Mars: Preliminary roofing has been applied. Windows are going in. Interior work ongoing. Estimate by owner is that it will/may/could-if-all-the-stars-align be complete by February.

3198 Market: This is the land-locked parcel just east of the Miller-Joost house on Market. We were really happy with the 3rd interested party - who ended up purchasing the lot. The first two interested parties either wanted to break through the giant retaining wall on Market to build a driveway, or to pave Al's Park as a driveway. The new owners' plan was to build a relatively small 2 unit building below, with no auto access - only bicycle and foot access. It was meant for their son to live in while he was attending SF State. After over 2 years attempting to satisfy the Planning Dept., the Fire Dept. - among others, they finally received their entitlements. After all the delay, their son ended up enrolling in a college in NY. The lot - with the entitlements - is once again for sale.

Corbett Slope: DPW is now committed to building a stairway that will connect Corbett with Market. This is great news! It will start just west of where the bend in the chain-link fence is, make a wide "C" turn to the right, and make it down to Market where an opening in the new retaining wall will be created.

The relatively level area at the east end - near the entrance gate - will get a major facelift as well. There will be a leveled area with a base made of concrete or permeable material. And several planters. And - the fence, up to the bend will be removed!

Corbett/Ord Triangle: A ginkgo tree will soon be planted by DPW in the NW corner of the planted area near the bench. They also will repair the buckled sidewalk on both the Corbett and 17th Street sides. More decomposed granite will be dropped off for the path to be improved. In addition there will be some irrigation system improvements - with a lockable cage to cover the timer apparatus.

History Project: All 256 pages have been submitted to the Planning Dept. for approval. Then it will need approval from the Historic Preservation Commission. We're currently discussing printing options - although the actual printing needs to take place after it's received final approval.


2201 Market (Catarra Real Estate/Industrialists/Glidden Paint): A new building for this site will be 63.5' high. It will have 100% lot coverage. The plans that were submitted for approval had several elements that were not acceptable to many people in the neighborhood.

One was a corner with an exposed concrete support pillar in front of a recessed ground floor retail space. Since there was no entrance on the corner, the open space would likely be used as an "urban campground" and the exposed concrete pole would be a magnet for graffiti.

The intention was to have one large retail space. The problem with this was that up and down Market Street, almost all of the very large retail spaces remain empty. Almost all of the smaller ones have been rented.

There would have been 2 stairway "penthouses" on the roof. These are the enclosures you see all over that surround an exit door on the roof. They are frequently used to house rows of cell phone antennae.

And the 4th issue was that the sponsors of the project refused to include the 2 required BMR (below market-rate) units onsite. They opted for either offsite (a less desirable/expensive neighborhood) or to pay an "in-lieu" fee.

I filed to request a Discretioinary Review on behalf of DTNA (Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Ass'n.) During the review process, the approval hearing is postponed. We immediately heard from the project sponsors who were interested in talking.

The pole and the corner is now enclosed. The 2 stairway penthouses have been removed. They've agreed to include a 500 square foot retail space on the Sanchez side. And something is currently being worked out regarding the BMR units. All in all, a great success.

2198 Market: Xmas tree lot/Shell Station. Almost finished. It will have 87 rental units (52 1-bedroom, 35 2-bedroom). It will be 7 stories - 65' tall on the Market St. side, 81' tall on the corner and 40' on Sanchez. It will have 34 parking spaces, 2 carshare, 89 bike parking spaces, and 5115 square feet of ground floor retail.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): This project could break ground in early 2017. It's the same developer as the glass block building at Market and Buchanan. The approved plans show a mostly glass, 7 story building that includes 62 units and 2600 square feet of ground floor retail.

Sullivan's Funeral Home (2254 Market): By Prado Group (a real estate development, investment, and property management company). Approved LEED Platinum (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) plans. Also could break ground by mid 2017 55' along Market/40' along 15th St. 45 Dwelling units. 13,550sf ground floor retail. 22 Car pkg.

Super Duper will be expanding into the hideous Check Cashing place on the corner next door.

And last and least:

Les Natali:

Zapata's: This well-loved burrito establishment was give a last minute reprieve of an additional 10 months. Still no lease, and a very uncertain future.

The saga of Les' properties continues. Zapata's is still almost definitely out after October thanks to Les. Good news is that the Patio lost it's liquor license while he continues to search for an imaginary person/business to lease the space from him. It's been closed since 1999.

Patio Cafe: For the last 2 years, Les has been desperately searching for 2 people to fill "managerial" positions for the restaurant which would be Hamburger Mary's. And you know how difficult it is to find good help!

* * * * *

Membership: If you haven't paid for a while or would like to join, annual membership is $20 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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting Thursday

Hi Neighbors -
A reminder that our quarterly neighborhood meeting is this coming Thursday, October 27th.  

If you're still confused about the enormous number of measures on the State ballot, Senator Mark Leno will give us a rundown on most of them.  
And, if you're concerned about the current homeless situation, Jeff Kositsky, the Mayor's Homelessness and Supportive Housing Director is the most informed authority about the current crisis.  He'll also be speaking at the meeting.  

So please try and attend.

- Gary

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Homeless Encampments At Market St and Danvers

Hi Neighbors,
Over the last couple of weeks the situation at Merritt Park at the intersection of Market/Danvers/Merritt has gotten increasingly worse.  I've seen it myself and have contacted the police, sent photos and read about in on NextDoor.  
Please call the police non-emergency number: 415-553-0123 or the Park Station number: 415-242-3000.  Also, photos sent to the above email addresses would also help.

Begin forwarded message:

From: "Sung, Jeff (POL)" <>
Subject: Market St and Danvers
Date: October 3, 2016 at 4:28:09 PM PDT
Cc: "Crockett, Ryan (POL)" <>, "Sanford, John (POL)" <>

Mr. Weiss,

We immediately responded up there at 03:00 this morning and it looked bad.  We encourage you to call the non emergency dispatch number to have a police unit respond to clear out the homeless tents and undesirable activities.  We interviewed them and identified them to learn that the been there for a week.   We are arranging homeless outreach for one individual living in a tent, who request HOMEWARD BOUND to return to Oregon.  

We will continue to monitor the area but as you know we can't be there all the time, therefore, we rely on alert neighborhood associations and residents like yourselves to keep us informed.  Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Jeff Sung and Ryan Crockett

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Corbett Heights Updates and Reminders

Corbett Heights Notes and Reminders

Hi Neighbors,
Huge apologies for the silence coming from me and our board lately.  It's been an "interesting" last couple of months, but root canal and ill 97-year-old mother aside,  there is a lot of news to report.  

Next CHN General Meeting - Thursday, 10/27 - 7PM
At this time the agenda is not fully flushed out, but Senator Mark Leno will be there to discuss State ballot initiatives, among other things.  Please try and attend!

Last CHN Meeting Supervisor Scott Wiener attended (during Hillary's acceptance speech!), and spoke about his campaign for State Senator, what he's accomplished during his term as D8 Supervisor and what he hopes to accomplish as Senator.  He also spoke about Proposition E, which transfers responsibility of street tree care from the homeowner back to the City.  Please vote to support this!

Roosevelt/17th St/Upper Terrace project:  After dozens of emails, phone conversations and meetings, several parts of the plan for this site remain unclear.  The Planning Dept's Residential Design Team (RDT) came up with several requirements that have drastically improved the overall look of the project.   The buildings along 17th and Roosevelt are visually improved, with "view corridors" between each of the 3 duplexes.  
They are now working with DPW and a committee of neighbors (I'm included) to determine which improvements to the Monument Way stairs would be best for the community.  The most obvious is the structural rehabilitation of the stairs themselves.  Then there would be lighting, landscaping and irrigation.  
There are many lingering issues with this project: 
  • The overall size: The last drawings showed an overall square footage of over 51,000 square feet.  That's over 5,000 square feet average.  
  • Lap pools are still included in the plans. 
  • The geotechnical report supports the fact that there is great instability in the hill.  Since Corbett Heights has just experienced 2 landslides (17th St. above Uranus, and Corbett, just west of Mars) this issue is of great concern.  This doesn't mean the project can't or shouldn't move forward, but it would be good to clarify what the plan will be to counter the concern. 
  • There will be over 2 years of horrific dust, debris, trucks, noise and congestion.  We would like to know how they intend to mitigate this issue.
Several neighbors plan on continuing to meet to stay on top of this issue.  Let me know if you'd like to be included.

Corbett Slope!
I just met with 7 members of DPW staff, along with Andres Power from Scott Wiener's office and our wonderful caretaker of the Slope - Gary Robertson this afternoon in City Hall.  I'm really happy to announce that the stairway connecting Corbett to Market is back in the plan!  From Corbett, they will begin just west of the bend in the fence, in the western half, arch to the right, and then arch back to the left to reach Market St.  A portion of the wall will be eliminated in order to access the stairs from Market.  
There will also be a portion of the upper "level" area that will be covered with a permeable surface suitable for persons with disabilities.  
All in all, this will be a phenomenal bonus to our neighborhood!

Corbett/Ord Triangle Park:
Earlier this year a group of us constructed a short stone wall along the Corbett side of the park, for the purpose of retaining some of the detritus, and preventing it from covering the sidewalk as often.  We also had a huge amount of mulch delivered which we spread over the accessible area.  Since then Olga and Brad have been there spending hours cleaning up the park on the 3rd Saturday of every month.  
Our intention was to replant some of the now bare areas.  DPW promised to help out with this over a year ago.  Somehow our little project never remained a priority for very long.  But as of last week, it's been "confirmed" (although I hate to potentially jinx it) that the following will take place by the 3rd week in October:
  • Plant a new ginkgo tree in the NW corner to replace a dead pepper tree that was removed;
  • Replace the doggie bag post that their crew knocked down when removing the dead tree;
  • Replace uplifted sidewalks along both Corbett and 17th;
  • Supplement the path on the upper portion with new DG (decomposed granite) as it has sagged over the years;
  • Provide a lockable cage over the timer apparatus to prevent it from being vandalized.
I'm trying to see if they'll help with replacing the irrigation hoses also. After all this, replanting can begin!

The History Project
It was finally finished a few months ago, and submitted to all of the necessary recipients.  And, months later, we are still waiting for their review to be completed.  Everything moves so painfully slowly.  Once it's all approved, our next step is to figure out printing and/or publishing.

75 Mars:  
This most ridiculous project will have taken longer to build than the Golden Gate Bridge.  I've spoken with the owner - Jonathan Deason - many, many times about the delays, and the extra cost for these delays.  I do believe he would like this to be finished at least as much as we would, but the reasons for the perennial delays have never made sense to me. 

George Miley:  I think that over the years, I've received more emails and complaints and inquiries about our resident homeless person than anyone or anything else.  George can usually be found on or near the bench at the top of Merritt Park (at Danvers and Market) - with or without his pants on.  He grew up across the street on Danvers.  His nephew still lives there.  When it's raining he apparently is allowed to sleep on the doorway landing.  
The police apparently have asked him to move along several times, but he always returns. No one is permitted to sleep or store anything in a public space.   If you'd like to complain to the police, I have direct contact info for the officers who deal with this sort of thing.

And Last:
I'm currently acting chair of Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association's (EVNA) Land Use Committee. The Committee discusses residential and commercial projects within Eureka Valley in all stages of the permitting process.  It focuses on ensuring that these projects are compatible with and meet the needs of our residential and business communities.  
The committee meets the first Wednesday of every month from 7:00 to 8:30 at the Chase Bank at the corner of 15th, Sanchez and Market Streets. In addition to discussing plans and permits, the committee delves into issues such as affordable housing, historic preservation, protection of green spaces and more.  
We're looking for people knowledgeable in land use issues and the intricacies of the Planning process and those who have a serious interest in learning. Let me know if you have any interest in getting involved or checking us out!

Really last: Our (CHN) Board currently has 8 members. If you've been a member for at least 3 months, and would be interested in joining us, let me know. Maybe you wouldn't need to wait so long between updates!

- Gary

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting Reminder

Hi Neighbors -

One last reminder that our meeting will be this coming Thursday, July 28th.  
Here are some of the things we'll be discussing:

- Supervisor Wiener who is running for State Senate will discuss District 8 and citywide issues.  
- Joel Pomerantz will give a talk on San Francisco's historic waterscape and natural environment.  (Contributions towards Joel's talk are not compulsory, but gratefully accepted!)
- Due to all the recent break-ins, we are hoping to have a discussion on any security systems or cameras/lighting that people have found successful.
- If you haven't voted yet to approve or disapprove our slate of officers, and our changes to the bylaws you may do so at the meeting.
- SFMTA has just finished a study of traffic circulation in Upper Market.  The results have dismayed many neighbors and businesses.  I'll discuss all of the contentious parts.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 22, 2016


Hi Corbett Heights Folks -

Since 2011, property owners in San Francisco have been responsible for maintaining the street trees that are in front of or adjacent to their homes.  You've probably heard about all of the problems that have ensued due to this poor decision.

Supervisor Wiener has proposed a ballot measure for a small parcel tax.  Funds from this tax would enable the city to once again take responsibility for the care and maintenance of the trees.  The proposal had the support of voters and until recently seemed as though it would easily get the support of 6 Supervisors.

At this week's Supervisor's meeting, Supervisor Mar, who had been a co-sponsor of the proposal, withdrew his name saying he wasn't sure anymore whether the parcel tax was the right approach.  In the meantime, care of San Francisco's trees remain in limbo.  

Please send a quick note to Supervisor Mar, asking that he reconsider and vote next week to support Supervisor Wiener's proposal.

Your note can say something like:
Dear Supervisor Mar:
We are very concerned about the state of our street trees, and feel that 
Supervisor Wiener's proposal, that until this week you had been a co-sponsor,
is the best solution.  Please, for the sake of the trees, vote to support this 

Thank you,

Jane Doe
Main Street.

His email address is:

Thank you!!
- Gary

Thursday, July 21, 2016

CHN Meeting - July 28, 2016




7:00 PM



(Thru the BofA doors, take stairs or elevator on right)


  • Supervisor Scott Wiener will discuss District 8 issues

  • Joel Pomerantz - Presentation on SF's Historic Waterscape & Natural Environment

  • Discussion on Security Systems/Lighting

  • Corbett Heights History Project - finished!!

  • Reports on Corbett Heights' Parks

  • Successes Combatting Monster Homes in Corbett Heights

  • SFMTA's Upper Market Traffic Circulation Redo

  • Vote on CHN Board Officers/Approve Bylaws Changes

  • Castro & Upper Market Development Projects

  • and more...


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Membership is not required to attend meetings. Those who pay dues ($15/year)*

receive regular email updates, assist with printing costs, and contribute towards neighborhood improvement events.

*Please go to and pay using PayPal, OR

you may bring cash or check - made payable to CORBETT HEIGHTS NEIGHBORS or CHN -

to the meeting, OR mail to 197 Corbett, SF 94114.

Make sure you include your name, address, phone numbers, and your email address.

Contact us at:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Some Corbett Heights News

Hi Neighbors,
Here are a few bits of neighborhood news:

  • Our next meeting will be on Thursday, July 28th, and we have a tentative yes from Supervisor Wiener.  Also, Joel Pomerantz will be coming to speak to us.  He's the founder of Thinkwalks, and the creator of Seep City - a map and book showing San Francisco's historic waterscape.  He loves sharing his knowledge of the natural environment.  
  • The crime wave continues.  I received this email from a neighbor on 17th Street last week:  

My two neighbors one house down the hill were home around 9:30 Monday night when a tweeker started breaking down the front door. They called 911 and apparently there had been other reports of a suspicious person in the neighborhood because the cops showed up while the guy was still trying to get in. Two cops had to battle the guy down the stairs and it took two more cops to cuff him.

AND - Just last night, under the street lamp near the corner of Mars and Corbett - across from security motion sensor lights that go off when even a hummingbird flies by - our tenant had all 4 wheels stolen from his Subaru.  Here's a photo:

  • DPW is still "discussing" how best to spend the $165,000 that Supervisor Wiener was able to get from last year's budget to use to turn the Corbett Slope into an actual park.  
  • Believe it or not, the History Project is still moving forward.  According to our consultant, it will be submitted for approval in July!  Including the text, the maps and the photos it's about 250 pages.
  • For those short-term-rental folks, here's a informational notice from the city:

  • And last - please check out:  Sometime within the last year I received an email from a concerned resident of Noe Valley who was fighting demolition of a small cottage on Valley Street.  Mid-battle he discovered that the house was actually an intact "earthquake cottage".  While the Planning Department was looking into its history to determine whether it was a historic resource worthy of preserving, it was discovered that it was actually 2 earthquake cottages that were placed at right angles to form a "T".  The battle seemed to have been won as the Planning Department refused to authorize the demolition.  Marc Norton, who's been battling this for over a year, is continuing to collect signatures.  We supported his efforts last year.  If you haven't signed yet…. Here's the latest:

Real estate speculators never seem to quit, and John Shrader -- who bought the property on Valley Street -- is no exception. 

Shrader has now come back with a new proposal.  He wants to demolish one of the Earthquake Shacks, move the other shack to the front of the property, and put it up on a "one story pedestal."  He then wants to create two units on the property, both entered through the one relocated Earthquake Shack that would survive the wrecking ball.  One unit would have two bedrooms, the other "3 bedrooms and a roof deck."  Somehow this would fit into a "3 story over basement" [i.e., 4 stories] structure, plus a roof deck.

 Shrader has not submitted any drawings or plans, but wants the Planning Department to let him know "if you think this is going in the right direction."
 Shrader does not seem to have gotten the message from the Planning Department that "369 Valley Street stands as one of the better examples of a compilation of Earthquake Shacks that retains a high degree of integrity and conveys the distinctive characteristics of these unique property types."
 We hope that the Planning Department will reject this new proposal from Mr. Shrader, consistent with their previous findings.
Stay tuned.

That's all for now.
- Gary

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting Minutes

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - April 28, 2016

Great turnout for the meeting - 43 people showed up!

First, I'd like to thank all of the people who distributed the fliers: Ted Teipel, Kathy Flanders, Dirk Aguilar, Barbara Presta, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn, Monique Passicot, Grace Gellerman and Kazumi Matsuyama.

And thanks to Bill Prince for taking notes during the meeting!

Greatly appreciated!

Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street Project: Paul Dawson and Tim Clinton, architects with Dawson & Clinton, and the project sponsors presented several images of the latest version of this huge project. They've been working with the Planning Dept.'s Residential Design Team (RDT) and this latest version has been approved by the RDT.

There are currently 3 lots. The RDT requested that the 2 larger lots be split to co-ordinate with the lots along Roosevelt. This means there will be 5 lots, each having a 2-unit building. The average square footage for the 10 units is 3154 square feet. They range from 2500 - 3500 square feet per unit.

The stairway that would have gone from Roosevelt up to Upper Terrace is on hold for now. They've agreed to keep the space between the buildings open and green - in some cases as wide as 35'. They have promised instead to completely redo the Monument Way stairway - replacing or repairing most sections, and adding greening and irrigation. We'll see how that goes.

The width of the 3 homes along 17th and Roosevelt would be 40', 30' and 40'.

They have stated that the open space for the entire project would be a desirable 45%.

It was also recommended by the RDT to beautify the bamboo grove across Roosevelt from the site. This is DPW property and is currently maintained by a neighbor.

The project is estimated to take 2 years after receiving entitlements. A Conditional Use hearing will take place sometime in late summer or early fall. Depending on the extent of (expected) unforeseen delays, the project should start anytime between mid 2017 and mid 2018.

Sidewalks will be widened, and the corner of Roosevelt and 17th will be more squared off. This would supposedly increase safety. In addition, there will be bulbouts to shorten the crossing distance, one or two small medians and increased striping of crosswalks - all traffic calming and pedestrian safety measures.

There will be a very elaborate plan to deal with water run-off.

Each unit will have 2 parking spaces.

At a meeting I had with the project sponsors last month at their office, I requested that the project comply with intent of the interim zoning controls. This would mean that for all but the existing developed lots, they would need to restrict the square footage to 3,000 per lot. There plan is for more than double that.

I also requested that they make the buildings along Roosevelt and 17th more pedestrian friendly by including more green planting spaces in front of each building, rather than the original plan to have the building meet the sidewalk with no greenery. They have actually done a nice job of honoring this reques. And last, I requested that they eliminate the lap pools currently in the plan and being included as open space.

More on this as it develops. If you'd like a copy of the current drawings please let me know - but we'll try and have it up on the website - - shortly.

Assistant District Attorney Erica Corns spoke with us next. Their office prosecutes crimes throughout San Francisco, reviews police reports, decides which cases move forward on, which go to trial, which are negotiated. Erica is on the Neighborhood Prosecution Team. Her cases deal with two big issues: quality of life, and property crimes. Auto burglaries having been rampant in the city recently has seen a downturn. They've identified and prosecuted some specific auto burglars and prosecuted them. Erica works with Park Station's Capt. John Sanford to mobilize and empower citizens to address quality of life problems. The work they do is very much complaint-driven, so please report any quality of life issues - whether it's someone urinating in public, sleeping in a doorway. can be a helpful source to learn about what crimes are committed where. There's a Corbett Heights NextDoor page that I started years ago that now is approaching 250 members.

If you'd like to contact Erica:

Supervisor Jane Kim: On June 7th we'll be voting for whom we'd like to replace termed-out State Senator Mark Leno. At our last meeting in January, Supervisor Scott Wiener spoke to us about his accomplishments in District 8 and in the city as a whole, and what he hopes to accomplish if elected, for California. Supervisor Jane Kim who is running for the same position.

She represents the Tenderloin, South of Market, Mission Bay, and Treasure Island, areas with lots of activity and growth. Land use and homelessness are big issues there.

Kim wants to be in the state legislature because state legislatures are increasingly the most effective policy-making bodies in the country. Housing will be a big issue for her if elected. The shortage of housing is now a crisis throughout the state. Last year she worked to close a couple of deals that resulted in more than 40% affordable housing. 80% of these will be reserved for households of four making between $80,000 and $150,000 a year. There's been a decrease in spending on higher education while spending on prisons has increased from 3% to 9% of the state budget. Higher education went down 6%. In one recent period, we built 23 prisons and one state college. The cost of higher education has gone up. Today the state covers 37% of tuition unlike years ago when it was 87%.

Over 50% of the San Francisco homeless are in her district - District 6. Homelessness is a public health issue. She would like to bring nurses into the shelters.

Supervisor Kim is also working with Supervisor Campos to reignite the Surplus Property battle, by hopefull building affordable and low-income housing on many city-owned sites throughout the city. Many of the selected sites were resoundingly rejected by residents and merchants near those sites. And other selections were on public open spaces, including our Corbett Slope, the Glen Park Greenway and other gardened areas in Noe Valley.

Following are some comments - made repeatedly on different occasions - taken directly from a transcript of one of her speeches during a Board of Supervisors meeting:

"I just wanted to make some final comments. As long as we're talking about what supervisors may or may not be doing to build enough affordable housing here in the city, I'm very proud to represent a district that is building 66% of all of SF's affordable housing pipeline. And that involves negotiating with developers but also putting city resources in when we can build an extraordinary amount. And if we're going to talk about what we're not doing, let's talk about how in 2011 we had a surplus piece of property at 341 Corbett (Corbett Slope) that was transferred to the Mayor's Office of Housing to build housing for poor families and formally homeless families. But instead this board voted 6 - 5 to put a moratorium on that parcel and prevent the production of any housing, affordable or not, by zoning that parcel P. That was introduced by the Supervisor of that district (Wiener). So if we're going to start talking about accusing one another of not building enough affordable housing, then I certainly bring up a case where we had surplus property to build housing for the formerly homeless this board voted 6 - 5 to zone it a parcel that we could prevent the building affordable housing in a district that is not building enough affordable housing here in the city.

That wasn't exactly how it happened. The following is my question to her relevant to this issue:

When the Mayor's Office of Housing voted to sell off the Corbett Slope, our entire neighorhood came out en masse to fight the sale of the site to developers who would have built as many as 10 monster homes. We would have lost the only potential park space in Corbett Heights. When this was about to come before the Board of Supervisors, I met with Peter Cohen, co-director of the Council of Community Housing Orgs., and well-known housing activist Tommi Avicolli-Mecca, both of whom agreed to stand back and not fight for the transfer of green open space to monster homes, despite the potential financial windfall.

Since that time, we have raised money for the future opening of the Corbett Slope Community Park, we've had numerous work days to built paths, weed and plant hundreds of native plants, and have been working with DPW to build walkways, handrails and to remove the fence.

I've heard you mention numerous times that you feel that any space, even cherished green space is up for grabs in order to help solve the affordable housing crisis - more specifically the Corbett Slope.

Zahra Kelly – Park Measure B – Prop B would provide new, sustainable funding for parks for the next 30 years. Over the years, there have been many cuts in parks funding, and this lost funding is never restored. The proposition would raise around $3 million that would go exclusively towards the Parks and Recreation budget. Rec and Parks has $1 billion in deferred maintenance now. Every time there is a budget crisis, the Rec and Parks budget gets slashed. This would guarantee ongoing financial support.

Upper Market Safety Project: The MTA has had several neighborhood informational meetings on their plans to alter the traffic flow along the Market Street corridor. A few of the proposed changes are:

New left turn lane on eastbound Market Street traffic onto Castro;

No left turns will be allowed onto Market or Noe or 16th Streets when traveling east on 16th Street, north or south on Noe Street. Other changes are described in the latest version of the plan which I'm happy to email anyone interested.

75 Mars: I was told by the owner that it will realistically be another 5 months.....or so.

32 Ord Court: Adjacent neighbor updated us on the latest plans. The proposed project - "remodel" - would increase the size of the existing home to 4208 square feet. But the greater issue is that it would eliminate a considerable amount of sunlight from the rear of the neighboring home, and likely shade its solar panels. It is also out of compliance with the intent of the Interim Zoning Controls. The neighbors have requested modifications that were rejected by the project sponsor. There was a hearing recently during which the Planning Commission voted to approve the project as is. Corbett Heights Neighbors is currently the appellant in the appeal to the Board of Supervisors. We filed the appeal this morning.

Corbett/Ord Triangle: The two dead Brazilian Pepper trees have been removed by DPW who will be planting a ginkgo tree in the NW corner of the planted area near the bench. They also will repair the buckled sidewalk on the Corbett side.


Sullivan's Funeral Home (2254 Market): Project Sponsors are the Prado Group, who were also involved in the Whole Foods building at 2001 Market St. The building which was approved by the Planning Commission will have heights of 55' along Market/40' along 15th St. It will have 45 Dwelling units. 13,550sf ground floor retail. 22 Car parking spaces. Some neighborhood groups tried to get the project sponsors to increase the BMR (below market-rate) percentage from 12% to 20% but they refused.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): Project sponsor is Brian Spiers who also built the glass block collision building on Market and Buchanan. It would have 7 stories and 62 units plus a roof terrace and 2600square feet of ground floor retail. They will also add storefronts on the 14th Street side.

Volvo Centrum (opened in the 70s): Historic facade will be restored - it was built in 1915. Demolitin of the interior has begun. It will be a mix of small business offices and workshops. One market rate residential unit is also part of the plan. It was purchased by an architect who would like to have architectural offices move in. It had been listed for sale for $5.6M.

2029 Market St - Mecca/Shanghai: The Medical Cannabis Dispensary the Apothecarium, currently near the corner of Church, will move into the long-closed restaurant.

Catarra RE/ Industrialists/Glidden Paint - 2201 Market: A new building will be 63.5' high. It will have 100% lot coverage. Plans are still being discussed with the Planning Dept. and with neighbors and merchants.

2198 Market: Xmas tree lot/Shell Station. Almost finished. It will have87 rental units (52 1-bedroom, 35 2-bedroom). It will be 7 stories - 65' tall on the Market St. side, 81' tall on the corner and 40' on Sanchez. It will have 34 parking spaces, 2 carshare, 89 bike parking spaces, and 5115 square feet of ground floor retail.

Les Natali: The saga of Les' properties continues. Zapata's is still almost definitely out after October thanks to Les. Good news is that the Patio lost it's liquor license while he continues to search for an imaginary person/business to lease the space from him. It's been closed since 1999.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): This project is being presented by Brian Spiers of the big ice-cube tray building at Market and Buchanan fame. He would like to build a mostly glass, 7 story building that would include 62 units and 2600 square feet of ground floor retail. The overall design is a concern to many as is his refusal to provide more than 12% affordable housing.

* * * * *

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

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes

Monday, April 25, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting this Thursday

Hi Neighbors - 
One final reminder that our meeting will be this Thursday, April 28th, 7 - 8:30PM.

We'll have:
  • Jane Kim, who is running against Scott Wiener to replace Mark Leno as our State Senator.
  • Erica Corns, the Assistant District Attorney.  She can answer any questions you may have about how crimes and/or chronic homelessness are/are not addressed.
  • And the architects of one of the largest developments our neighborhood has seen in 1/2 century will discuss and show renderings of their project design. 

Please try and make it!

- Gary

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting - next Thurs, 4/28

Hi All,

Attached is a copy of the notice for next week's meeting.  Hope you can make it!

(If you're able to help distribute some of the notices for the meeting, please let me know!)

- Gary

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting Thurs, 4/28

Hi Neighbors,

We have a great meeting planned for next week: 

  • Dawson & Clinton will present their plans for the enormous project they hope to build on Roosevelt, 17th, connecting to Upper Terrace.
  • Supervisor Jane Kim will talk with us about her campaign for the State Senate to replace termed-out Sen. Mark Leno.  She is running against our Supervisor Scott Wiener.  At our last meeting Scott spoke with us about his campaign.  
  • Erica Corns, Assistant District Attorney who deals with issues in the Park Station District.  
  • Updates on all sorts of things…

Please try and make it!

Thursday, April 28th.  7 - 8:30PM.
501 Castro, 2nd Floor (Above BofA - stairs and elevator on the right)

- Gary

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Corbett Heights Meeting - April 28th

Hi Neighbors -

This June, in addition to voting in the Presidential primary we will have a chance to vote for our choice for a new State Senator to replace Mark Leno who is termed out.  The 2 likeliest candidates are Scott Wiener, Supervisor of our District - 8, and Jane Kim, Supervisor of District 6.  Scott spoke with us at our last meeting in January.  
Supervisor Kim will be speaking with us at our next meeting on April 28th.  
If you'd like for me to ask her specific questions about what she's done or hopes to accomplish, you can send them to me.  But you also will have an opportunity to ask any questions of her yourself.

In addition, the project sponsors of the Roosevelt/17th Street/Upper Terrace project will have a more flushed out plan for us to view and ask questions about. They've been working with the Planning Dept which has requested that several revisions be made.  
The plan still is still considerably larger than what is considered acceptable as specified in the Interim Zoning Controls.
The project is very likely the largest our neighborhood has experienced in many decades, so your input is very important.

Thanks!  And hope to see you on the 28th.  
(I'll send out notices later on, but in case you haven't been to one of our meetings, we meet above the BofA on Castro/18th Sts.  2nd floor - thru the glass doors next to the ATMs.  The meeting starts at 7 and goes thru at least 8:30.)

 - Gary