Sunday, January 3, 2016

Corbett Heights News

Happy New Year, Neighbors!

Apologies for the long silence - one of the problems with being in retail.Since our last communication a lot has transpired - good and bad.  I'll try and catch you up on the news.

22 - 24 Ord Court:  This past Spring, 2015, Supervisor Scott Wiener sponsored the "Interim Zoning Controls" (IZC) Legislation in response to overwhelming frustration with the pace by which smaller, older buildings - especially in the Corona Heights neighborhood - were being replaced by oversized homes that are out of character with the rest of the neighborhood.

The two primary parts of the legislation are: keep 45% of rear yard open space (the norm of late has been 25%); and, if no additional unit is being added, the square footage of the new or remodeled building could be increased by 75%. If a unit is being added, the square footage for the entire building could be increased by up to 100%.

The first project to be considered under the new controls was 22 - 24 Ord Court. These 2 older, modest-sized buildings are on "through lots", meaning their backyards face States Street while the front of the buildings face Ord Court, a very narrow cul-de-sac. Over two years ago, a group of developers purchased the two properties with aspirations to increase the size of one of the existing buildings while building two large homes on the back of both lots facing States Street.

They were going against the IZC in every way possible: very little rear yard would remain; and the square footage of all buildings in the plan would be considerably larger than is permissable without seeking special (conditional use) permits.

The neighbors suggested several modifications that would reduce the scale, but these were soundly rejected.

The project went before the Planning Commission on September 24th. The commissioners voted to allow the plans for 22 Ord Court to move forward as requested, but insisted that 24 Ord Court remain one building, adding a second unit if desired. No new structure could be built on the States Street side, and the existing structure needed to adhere to IZC specifications.

The neighbors decided to appeal - to the Board of Supervisors - the conditional use permits granted by the Planning Commission.

Suddenly, the project sponsors decided that it would be in their best interests to sit down with the neighbors, and make some modifications and concessions that would allow the project to move forward. The neighbors and the project sponsors, their consultants, architects and attorneys met shortly before Thanksgiving, discussed several modifications that all could live with, and it was done! The rear yard behind 24 Ord Court will be protected in perpetuity, the 2 large Monterey cypresses on the lot will be protected, an additional level was removed from the top of 22 Ord Court, and other modifications were made that will protect light and privacy for the surrounding residences.

At the December 1st hearing before the Board of Supervisors, the request for appeal was dropped, and practically everything that the neighbors had wanted from the beginning was then carved in stone.

This positive outcome is a testament to the benefits of the IZC. The hope is that other developers will take heed of this success.  

32 Ord Street:  This is a project that has been going on for over 2 years - same architect but different owners.  The proposal is to convert an existing 1,765 square foot single-family home into a 4,750 square foot single family home.  This would make it the 4th largest single family dwelling for blocks in every direction.  According to the Interim Zoning Controls they would be permitted to build just over 3000 square feet.  The negatives to this project are pretty compelling - especially considering that not even one person on the block or surrounding streets supports it.  

The Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for this coming Thursday, January 7th - City Hall, Room 400.  The hearings begin officially at noon. If you would like to attend, please check with me later in the week, or with the online calendar to see where this case falls on the agenda.

History Project:  Our board has begun discussing how to publish the project.  It's well over 250 pages - with loads of old maps and photos.  We'll hopefully have a better idea in the next month.

CRIME!  This was sent to me from a neighbor on 17th Street on New Years eve:

Hi Gary

Sadly thought you should know that our dear friend and her elderly parents were mugged Monday morning at 11 am on Tank Hill.

It was 2 angry, violent African American guys in their early to mid 20's. They grabbed our friend's good Canon camera, stole her mom's purse, and then violently shoved her elderly parents (late 70s early 80s) to the ground.

Her poor mother has a broken arm and her father had a slight concussion and some bleeding on the brain- had to spend a day and a half at SF General, and will be in a neck brace for 2 weeks.

Anyway, thought you would want to know...not sure if these guys wreaked other havoc in the neighborhood? So scary. Thank God they didn't have a knife or a gun.

Have a great New Year's Gary. May 2016 not require writing more e-mails like this one.

AND - from the same neighbor, later on in the day:

Just FYI, I just also called Park Police to report a guy walking down Mars and ducking into doorways and staircases ( I think he was trying doors to see if they were open) - about 10:40 this morning (across the street from you).

I drove by later and saw him sitting on the park bench at Hattie & Market and reported him to the cops. They were going to drive by and check him out...

Park Station - and especially Captain Sanford - has been extremely responsive.  If something appears to be a crime in action, call 911.  And then let me know so I can file it.  If there's something to report or has been reported to the non-emergency number (415-553-0123),  also let me know so that I can pass it on to the Captain and Lieutenant.



- Gary