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.

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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