Thursday, November 2, 2017

Notes from Corbett Heights Meeting

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - October 26, 2017

45 showed up for last week's meeting!

First - I must thank the folks who helped distribute the fliers: Kathy and Hank Flanders, Bill Prince, Janice Low, Paul Allen, Grace Gellerman, Phil Byland, Kevin Dunn, Nancy Peoples, Desiree Roldan, Bonnie Day and Dirk Aguilar. Thank you all!

(And thanks to Paul for taking notes!!)

Treasurer's Report: We have about $4700 in our bank account. We've been recouping some of the money we put out to get the History Project (Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement) going several years ago through donations for the book. More details below.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy:

Supervisor Sheehy reviewed several matters: (a) The passage of a bicycle chop shop ordinance that is designed to aid law enforcement in controlling the proliferation of such shops that block sidewalks and in some cases streets and parking areas. (b) Legislation that would require the disclosure, by merchants with more than 25 stores, of the use of antibiotics in meats, the goal being to reduce the sales of such meats. (c) His attempt to secure city water for the much improved Corbett/Ord Triangle Park, as well as Merritt Park. (d) Work on city cannabis legislation in anticipation of legalization next year. The Supervisor also thanked Captain Sanford for his service at Park Station and introduced the new Park Station chief, Capt. Una Bailey.

Capt. Una Bailey, Park Station: Newly appointed Park Station chief Capt. Bailey made a short presentation and answered several questions. Captain Bailey has been with the SFPD for 16 years, having worked variously at the special victims unit, several SFPD stations including in the Tenderloin and 7 years in the Mission, and at headquarters. She noted that the monthly Park Station community meetings will continue to be held at 5:00 pm the third Monday of every month. She urged the reporting of all crimes by residents of the district because such reports are essential to prevention measures as well as, of course, solutions. There was a discussion of the homeless problem, in which Supervisor Sheehy participated. Both acknowledged the complexity and magnitude of the problem although no new solutions were identified. Nonetheless, Capt. Bailey urged the reporting of issues to the relevant homeless outreach teams. It was noted that the police receive 5000-6000 calls per month on this issue.

Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement: After what seems like centuries, the book is complete. And it's as wonderful as we would have hoped. There was a complication due to owner's rights to some of the photographs (Bancroft Library, SF Public Library, to name 2 of about 5 sources), and therefore the books are available only with a donation to Corbett Heights Neighbors where the funds will be separated out. For those interested, (our website payment link for the History Project is not functioning) please mail or drop off $50 per book payable to CHN to 197 Corbett. Make sure you leave your address and contact info so that we can drop it off at your home.

SFMTA Upper Market Street Safety Project: Casey Hildreth and Patrick Golier made a presentation on the Upper Market Street Safety Project in support of Vision Zero SF whose goal is to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024. The goal is to enhance safety and comfort in the upper Market Street Corridor, defined as the area from Castro to Octavia. They noted that several improvements have already been completed; e.g. the addition of pedestrian bulb outs, better bicycle striping, and larger and better marked pedestrian crossings. Additional changes have been planned most notably at the Market/Noe/16th, Market/Sanchez/15th, and Market/Church/14th intersections. There was considerable discussion of a set of changes at all three intersections that would eliminate many left turns from side streets into Market. Hildreth and Golier noted that there will be a community meeting in January to obtain input.

Having personally attended several of the meetings during which SFMTA ostensibly sought input from neighborhood residents, as well as several presentations given at neighborhood organization meetings, it's become apparent that the latest version of this plan is oddly almost identical to the initial one of several years ago. I know of several suggestions that have been basically ignored. One obvious one is the proposed new left turn from eastbound Upper Market onto Castro going northbound. Among other problems with this proposal are the "Google buses" that stop several feet from the curb along side Pottery Barn. Even without this left turn in place, cars heading north on Castro need to wait until the G-bus is onloaded or offloaded as the northbound lane is shrunk in half by the bus.

Another issue with the plan is that with the removal of all left turns onto Market (with the exception of the existing one at 16th St. going west) is that all north-of-Market traffic hoping to head downtown on Market will need to travel through the small side streets in the Duboce Triangle. And last, all intersections are rated by the department by "level of service". "A" is best, and "D" is worst as it relates to pedestrian safety. Both the Castro/17th and the Noe/16th intersections will be demoted if this proposal passes.

Two links that provide more detailed information are at the bottom of the page.

Levi Conover, Rec. and Park.: Mr. Conover provided an update of the $6 million renovation of the Randall Museum, which receives over 90,000 visitors per year. The project includes new geology and zoology exhibits, a new science lab, renovation of the live animal exhibit, and new classrooms and restrooms. The museum is expected to reopen early in 2018 to be preceded by a welcome event for the neighborhood.

Corbett Slope: After waiting for years, the improvements to the Corbett Slope have finally begun to take shape. We now have a large central concrete platform surrounded by solid redwood planters, and new fencing. A new sidewallk was poured, although the western portion will be torn up again in a few months to install proper support piers.

Next year, the final stage will begin - a stairway connecting Corbett to Market Str. Garrett and Jake, our resident gardeners extraordinaire are anxious to plant dozens of additional native California plants. Please - we will need volunteers to help out after the work is complete. We hope to form the Friends of Corbett Slope.

Corbett/Ord Triangle & Merritt Park: A mysterious person dropped down from the sky with a formidable goal of beautifying parks in our neighborhood. He first tackled Corbett/Ord, after which time he organized an entire neighborhood event, catered for 125 people, and got permits to close off Ord St for the afternoon. He's now tackling Merritt Park - something that so many people over the years started to tackle but got disillusioned. He told me that there were enough syringes and excrement from several species - including quadrupeds and bipeds - to fill a wheelbarrow. He's not asked for a penny from anyone, and has done this all with no help from anyone else. Stop by if you see him and say hello - and thank you!

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District: I receive notices for develpment proposals that would take place over a big chunk of the city. The applications I receive for all other neighborhoods far exceed those in the area covered by the new SUD. With the new restrictions in place, the permitting process to build oversized homes is more costly and it's less likely developers will be granted the excesses they are requesting. It's working!

As I've mentioned, this came about due to both Supervisor Wiener's and Supervisor Sheehy's willingness to protect our neighborhood from over-development. The new boundaries go from Market and Clayton, up Clayton, across 17th St, Ashbury to Clifford, to Roosevelt, to Museum, down to include all of States to Castro, down Douglass to Market, and Market back to Clayton.

271, 301-303 Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th St. Mount Olympus project: - Due to the as yet unreleased environmental review, the Planning Dept. has decided to continue the project indefinitely. Apparently it is still nowhere near complete. Issues being dealt with in the review are:

- The instability of the hillside (several landslides and rock wall failure have taken place in the immediate area);

- Noise during construction would exceed allowable levels;

- Dust is said to contain toxic levels of silica - it would be blown around the neighborhood during construction;

- Danger to adjacent buildings.

There still hasn't been much discussion about reducing the square footage of the units which currently top out at 5300 square feet.

75 Mars: At this point, now that the dust has settled, the owner has moved in and the gardens are complete, the years of noise, construction mess and giant blue tarps are beginning to fade. The new stairs and the plants that surround them are pretty spectacular.

3198 Market: Work is taking place. Al's park isn't what you are used to seeing. A new paved path goes downhill to the building site. It was a requirement by the Fire Dept. to be 4' wide, with 1' shoulders on each side. This would enable fire officials and paramedics to navigate the steep hill. Most of the plants you may remember have been removed, but lots more will be planted. We'll be forming an Al's Park garden committee. Many of the quirky objects will be reinstalled. And last, we hope to plant a large tree to honor Al. He's in his mid-nineties, and still attached to his park.

1965 Market/FedEx: This project is still awaiting environmental review. UDAT (Urban Design Advisory Team) has reviewed it and are still a good distance away from giving its stamp of approval.

The current owners/project sponsors are Jeffrey Keller and Eric Grover of Keller Grover, LLP, a law firm. Their offices are in the building. The Mission Revival building is considered a historic resourse and must be retained.

UDAT and Historic Preservation staff have been working with the developers to improve the look, scale and overall feel of the buildings. The building on the parking lot site will be 85' tall. It's improved considerably - with brick now part of the facade. The building that will go over the existing FedEx store leaves a lot more to be desired. Sheet metal is still the architects' preferred cladding material. There's a desire by the Planning Dept. to have the building resemble a residential building rather than an office building.

It's an enormous project which will eventually be built. But in the meantime, we're still hoping for some improvements.

Sullivan's Funeral Home (2254 Market): We keep being told that ground-breaking is imminent. It will ultimately become a 55' tall building with 45 dwelling units and 13,550 square feet of ground floor retail.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): It's in progress. It will eventually become 7 stories, with 62 units, and two spaces for ground floor retail.

Barry's Boot Camp is hoping to move into the recently vacated CVS store, formerly Tower Records. They say they would activate the space with 50 workout bicycles. They would also install planters and cafe tables and chairs in front.

Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - July 27, 2017

We had quite a packed crowd last Thursday. 55 squeezed into the room.

First - I must thank the folks who helped distribute the fliers: Ted Teipel, Kathy and Hank Flanders, Bill Prince, Janice Low, Paul Allen, Grace Gellerman, Phil Byland, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn and Nancy Peoples, Desiree Roldan, Bonnie Day and Dirk Aguilar. Thank you all!

(And thanks to Grace for taking notes!!)

Treasurer's Report: As of last week we had about 115 paid household members. We have about $4000 in our bank account. Thanks to Leslie, our treasurer, for keeping track.

New CHN Board: We voted in our new board: President: Gary Weiss; VP: Maryann Dresner; (We'll have a rotating Secretary); Treasurer: Leslie Koelsch; Other officers: Kevin Dunn, Rick Johnson, Paul Allen, Grace Gellerman, Dirk Aguilar, Brad Lyman and Bill Holtzman.

Chairman of our Garden Committee: We also appointed Garret Robertson to this position. He and partner Jake Shogren have worked to transform the Corbett Slope by planting dozens of mostly native plants. If you are interested in participating in any type of public garden work in Corbett Heights, if you would like to help out during any upcoming garden cleanup days, if you may be interested in becoming a steward of one of our green spaces or if you would like to apply for funding for plants, tools etc., please let me know and I'll forward your contact information to Garret.

CHN Boundaries: We voted to approve the addition of Lower Terrace to Corbett Heights.

CHN Website: Please check out our website: We are finally making some much needed updates - including to our map of our boundaries. And Thanks to Ian Goldstein for helping with the website!

Senator Scott Wiener: This is the first CHN meeting Scott has attended since becoming our Senator. He noted that each time he attends there are more people - said it was the sign of a healthy neighborhood. He said that with a 2/3 Democratic majority in both the CA Senate and Assembly, they are working to defend CA values and inclusiveness.

Following is a listing of some of his accomplishments since taking office:

  • Passed Senate Bill 1 - largest investment in transportation in CA history. If successful we should have stable statewide funding to help fix the transportation infrastructure. 20% will go towards public transportation - BART, CalTrain, MUNI.

  • Helped pass the Cap and Trade extension.

  • Helped pass the budget which includes investiments in K-12 and early childhood education.

  • He's continuing to work to support LGBT issues, authoring a Bill of Rights for elderly LGBT people.

  • Worked on SB35 with a goal to ensure that all communities are addressing the housing shortage in California. This is perhaps the most contentious measure. Some feel it may be very successful in smaller, more spread out communities and less so in SF.

(Only read the following if you're interested in the AT&T box installation issue.)

I asked about AT&T boxes - still a simmering peeve of mine. There is a local issue involving legislation that Scott sponsored a few years ago requiring that AT&T and other companies installing SMFs (surface-mounted facilities) allow murals to be painted on the boxes and landscaping to be provided around them. AT&T threatened to sue SF. Malia Cohen suggested reducing the in-lieu of fee that AT&T would need to pay to get out of it.

My question was regarding the reason that AT&T and other companies are even allowed to install boxes in the public right of way. Telephone service used to be considered a utility. You couldn't live without your landline, and the only way to provide one to you was through this antiquated system. Well now, not only are there numerous other ways to provide this service, but fewer and fewer people even have landlines. These companies provide internet service and offer the ability to stream movies - and the competition is fierce. So why should any company be allowed to pollute our sidewalks in order to compete more cheaply with another company providing the same service?

Several years ago, when AT&T was installing 726 of these glorious boxes, the company representative said on numerous occasions that if a neighborhood does not want the boxes AT&T will not install them. We took them at their word and, after surveying the neighborhood, we proved that over 85% of us didn't want them. We became the only neighborhood in the city to have a moratorium on the boxes. They're now hoping to install 500 more! I'll let you know more as I find out.

Re: an environmental protection question :

Scott                 Scott said he's committed to moving CA to an increasingly greater percentage of clean energy. The goal is to get to 100% by 2050. He authored SB700 to require solar tiles on roofs in SF. Discussed better batteries that will store power when you aren't home and bring more stability to the system. The bill will be in the form of a rebate for home owners and business owners who will install equipment to store energy.

Re: the Water tunnels:

Scott do Scott does not support the tunnels that would allow water to move from the delta to SoCal. He is a big believer in water recycling, and CA is way behind Australia and Israel. We have a longterm structural shortage as a state. The technology is so good now that you can convert any type of water into drinking water.

Re: any impact of SB35 on our neighborhood?

Scott: it Scott: It does not touch local zoning. If a neighborhood is zoned RH-2, you can't build 3 units on it. The bill is about the process - saying to cities that if you zone for density, people need to be able to build for density of zoning. It applies to communities that are not meeting existing goals. SF is meeting its goals for market rate, but not for below market rate.

Re: the increase of the homeless and disabled in tents on our sidewalks.

Scott: th Scott: The voters passed Prop Q last November which was about getting people out of tents and requires 48 hours notice. There is now a process that is more complicated, but deals with tent dwellers in a more humane way. We have to do so much more to invest in ways to address mental health and drug abuse.

Re: his position of single payer bill 562:

Scott vo Scott voted for it. It passed the senate and is in the assembly.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy:

Re: Homelessness - one somewhat promising bit of news is that it hasn't increased, supposedly, since 2015, whereas Oakland is up 30% and Seattle 20%.He said he's been very focused on the homeless youth, half of whom are LGBT. He's worked to expand the hours at the LGBT Center so kids have a place to go to get off the streets and get linked to services, education, jobs and meals. Worked to expand Larkin Street Youth Center which has outreach workers specifically trained to work with the needs of homeless youth.The SFPD gets between 5-6,000 calls per month on homeless issues.Since taking office he has gotten funding for Harvey Milk Plaza gardens, worked to expand library hours district-wide, and chop-shop legislation.Would love to support any opportunity to prevent more AT&T boxes - and thinks a solution could be Supervisor Farrell's city broadband (fiber) network that will be on the ballot next year.In addition - he sponsored legislation to create a permanent Special Use District - called the Corona Heights Large Residence SUD - to try and combat the proliferation of oversized homes in the area.

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District: Supervisor Wiener had sponsored the Corona/Corbett Heights Interim Zoning Controls in 2015. It proved to be a very effective tool in our fight to prevent monster homes from replacing neighborhood cottages and more traditionally sized homes. It was set to expire this past March. We approached Supervisor Sheehy's office about the idea to create a permanent SUD to replace the Interim Zoning Controls. As it turned out, they were very eager to do this. After several versions, amendments and reviews, it went before and was supported by the Planning Commission recently, followed by two hearings before the Board of Supervisors where it was supported unanimously. On July 21, the Mayor signed it. We are now the only neighborhood in SF to be a SUD, created specifically to battle over-development.

Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement or as we have so fondly referred to it as - The History Project - is now finally complete! It will go before the Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, August 16th. The agenda for the hearing is not available yet, but it starts at 12:30 in Room 400 of City Hall. Please send letters of support to by August 4. Come in person if you can.

Corbett Slope: Very exciting! Work began a couple of months ago. A slab has been poured that will be ADA compliant. It will be surrounded by incredible redwood planters - made with 3"X12" redwood slabs. This whole area will be accessible to people with disabilities. DPW will complete the planters, irrigation system and a new sidewalk. Then they will fill the planters with soil and provide some of the plants. Garret and his partner Jake have provided close to 100 plants already for the hillside. Next year the work to build the stairway down to Market will ensue. Please - we will need volunteers to help out after the work is complete. We hope to form the Friends of Corbett Slope.

Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street project: At this point the hearing for this project has been continued indefinitely. Due to all of the instability of the hillside, there is an environmental review going on. Apparently it is nowhere near complete. It does not mean the hearing will never take place - it just means that until the review has been completed and submitted, they cannot plan a date for it to be heard.

At this point they do have some support from some residents on Upper Terrace, but they won't be nearly as impacted as the residents below. All of the residents who live either on 17th Street or on Roosevelt remain opposed for one reason or another. The plan is still to build 10 units - 5 buildings. And the average square footage remains around 5,000.

75 Mars: Almost finished! Really. The park portion has now been landscaped with quite a wonderful selection of trees and shrubs, and I assume the stairway will actually open shortly.

3198 Market: This is the landlocked parcel just east of the Miller-Joost house on Market, and just below what has been fondly known as Al's Park. The work has finally begun. In order to satisfy the Fire Department, and to allow for a pair of paramedics to move someone up that hill, it was required that the access path be 4' wide, with an addional foot on each side - making it a 6' wide path. In order to accomplish this, they removed all of the plants and "artifacts" that had been there for years. It's a little startling to see the area so denuded, but in the very near future, we'll be forming a garden committee specifically for the site. It will eventually look spectacular. Also suggested is the planting of a tree to honor Al. And - many of the "artifacts" will be returned.

1965 Market/FedEx: The current owners/project sponsors - Jeffrey Keller and Eric Grover of Keller Grover, LLP, a law firm are awaiting an environmental review. The UDAT (Urban Design Advisory Team) has apparently reviewed it, but their results are not publicly available. The Mission Revival building is considered a historic resource and must be retained.

Sullivan's Funeral Home (2254 Market): The mortuary has ceased operations, but Prado Group, the real estate development and investment company, and property managers are apparently waiting for something in order to break ground.

Home Restaurant 2100 Market): In progress. Will be seven stories with 62 units and two ground-floor retail spaces - including one on 14th Street.

Lucky 13 (2140 Market): After years of working on this, the owner has decided to sell. They had received most of their entitlements to build. 50' tall, 40' on the back.

Volvo Centrum (3512 16th Street: The owners - Martin Building Group decided to just fix up the existing building and lease the space. No additional stories to be added at this time.

Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary

Monday, July 10, 2017

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting

Hi Neighbors,

Our next quarterly meeting is coming up - Thursday, July 27th, 7 - 8:30PM above BofA on Castro/18th Streets.

Our guests will be Senator Scott Wiener and Supervisor Jeff Sheehy.

So please try and attend!  We'll be sending out a full agenda a little closer to the meeting.

- Gary

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Corona Hts Large Residence Special Use District!

Dear Neighbors -

Some great news - the legislation was passed unanimously by the Planning Commission!  We will now have even greater controls than we had under the Interim Zoning Controls - - - IF it gets passed by the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee Monday.  
The 3 members of that committee are Mark Farrell, Aaron Peskin and Katie Tang.  Aaron Peskin has told me that he is supportive, and I'm hopeful that Farrell and Tang will also go along, but it's critical that we have a decent showing at the meeting.  
It will take place this coming Monday, June 26th at City Hall, Room 250.  The meeting begins at 1:30, but we are pretty far down the agenda - Item 7 out of 10.  
If this passes Land Use, the full Board of Supervisors will almost definitely follow suit the following day.  Then it's just up to the Mayor to sign it, and since he appointed Supervisor Sheehy who sponsored the legislation, it's more than likely that he will sign it.  WHEN it passes, we will become what I believe is the only neighborhood in SF to have an ordinance that specifically targets oversized homes.
So - please show up if you can!  We had a nice showing of neighbors this afternoon at the Commission hearing.  I hope we can have even more on Monday.
Here's a link to the Agenda:

- Gary

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Corbett Heights Updates

Hi Neighbors,

There are several important dates are coming up:

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District:
In March of 2015 Supervisor Wiener sponsored the Interim Zoning Controls (IZC) legislation.  It included all of Corbett Heights while going as far north as Museum Way.  
The "monster home" proliferation in our neighborhood provided the impetus for the legislation.  What it intended to do was to rein in what many developers saw as open season for building oversized homes that began to seriously erode the look and feel of our neighborhoods.  
What the IZC could not do was to require that the Planning Department or the Planning Commissioners adhere to the intent of the legislation when making their determinations.  All that it required of Planning Staff or Commissioners is that they require project sponsors to seek Conditional Use Authorization (CU).  This just added a lengthy, more complex and more costly additional requirement.  The IZC had its greatest effect during the Appeals process.  Any development that was being appealed would be heard by the full Board of Supervisors.  This would have been the most effective tool for neighbors.  All of the cases that we threatened with appeal after being approved at Commission level were settled largely in our favor.

Interim Controls can only be in place for 2 years.  When they were about to expire I spoke with Supervisor Sheehy who agreed to sponsor permanent controls!  We should all be very grateful for his doing this.  I worked with Andres Power, formerly Supervisor Wiener's chief legislative aide, on any changes to the controls that could make them more effective.  The additional wording requires that Planning Staff and Commissioners respect both affordability and context (how well it fits into the greater neighborhood) to an existing neighborhood when deliberating support for a project.    

This is what you can do:
  • Attend the Planning Commission Hearing.  It is set for Thursday, June 22.  We won't know where it is on the Agenda until just before the hearing.  I'll let you know.  Hearings generally start at noon.  Please attend if you are able.  Any of you willing to speak may simply say that you either support or oppose the legislation.
  • More importantly - Email (or mail) a letter to the Planning Commission stating your view on this legislation.  A letter of support may look like the following:


Case No.: 2017-003880PCAMAP

Jonas P. Ionin, Commission Secretary
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dear Commissioners,
I live in Corbett Heights (or other neighborhood) and have benefitted greatly from the Interim Zoning Controls that had been in place since 2015.  The character and the physical and architectural beauty of our neighborhood is worth fighting to protect.  I offer my full support for the new Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District.  I would also like to thank Supervisor Jeff Sheehy for sponsoring it.

Your name:
Your address:

And copy the following commissioners:


Mt. Olympus Project: 271, 301-303 Upper Terrace
As many of you know, this project which will be built over 5 lots, covering the hillside connecting Upper Terrace to both Roosevelt Way and 17th Street - if it gets built as planned - would be the largest development our neighborhood has ever seen.  The average size for each of the 10 units is well over 5,000 square feet.  Almost everyone I've spoken with is not opposed to building housing on the site.  And no one is against adding housing.  But the size and ultimate selling price - based on square feet - for each of these units is so out of scale with the neighborhood, that we feel a need to fight the developers in hopes that they bring down the size to an acceptable level.  After all, they will build and move on.  

The hearing is scheduled for Thursday, July 27th.  I will be sending out updates to confirm the date and the time.  But in the meantime, it would be extremely helpful if you would write a letter to the Planning Staffer handling this case - Erika Jackson - to show either support or opposition to this aspect of the project.

A letter of opposition may look like the following:

(email or mail to:


271, 301-303 Upper Terrace, Block No. 2628, Lot Nos. 32A, 32B, 34, 35A and 35B.

Erika S. Jackson
San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dear Ms. Jackson,

I am a resident of Corbett Heights (or other).  I love that my neighborhood has a mixture of architectural styles.  What I also love is that this neighborhood has remained relatively middle class, and somewhat affordable when compared to many others throughout the city.  When garage and common space are included, these proposed homes are 2 - 3 times larger than the average home in our area.  
For these reasons we remain opposed to this development.

Your name:
Your address:


Merritt Park Cleanup Day:

The green space at the intersections of Market, Danvers and Merritt has seen better days.  Lately it's been the site of a giant homeless encampment.  Several neighbors have agreed to help start the process of cleaning up this potentially beautiful space.  Following are the details:

Here's the link to the NextDoor post with the background: Here is the schedule: 1) Saturday, June 24th, morning only (so that we have the rest of the day to do weekend!) 2) Meet at the park at Merritt and Danvers ~8:30 am. Please dress appropriately, bring water, and bring your favorite tools if you have any (just in case). 3) Focus on pruning, trimming, stacking, and humor for ~3 hours. 4) Assist the "DPW Guy" with loading the Waste @ ~11:30 am. (They send 1 person in the truck, and he/she will need assistance.) 5) Bug-Out by Noon!


Open Meeting of Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA)
The upcoming meeting will include something of interest to many people outside of its boundaries.  The guests will be Judges Teri L. Jackson and Garrett Wong of the San Francisco Superior Court.  The discussion will focus on lenient sentencing of those accused of quality-of-life crimes.  
In addition, Supervisor Jeff Sheehy will be there to speak and answer questions. 
The meeting is open to the public.
The location is the CPMC Davies Campus, Gazebo Room.  (When approaching the hospital from Duboce, across from Harvey Milk Rec Center, walk up the few steps to the hospital on the left.  Instead of entering, walk around to the right.  Continue on the Plaza.  You'll be walking directly towards the Gazebo Room.  Entrance door is to the right.)
Meet and greet begins at 7PM, meeting begins at 7:30.
Monday, June 12, 2017.


Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary

Friday, June 2, 2017

History Project Viewable on Planning Dept's Website

Hi All,
For a brief period the Planning Dept will have an electronic version of our History Project aka The Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement on its website. The primary goal it to get feedback from our community.
Please have a look!
- Gary

Friday, May 5, 2017

Notes From the Corbett Heights Meeting

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes -April 27, 2017

We had quite a good-sized group last Thursday. More than 45 people.

First - I must thank the folks who helped distribute the fliers: Ted Teipel, Kathy Flanders, Barbara Presta, Janice Low, Kazumi Matsuyama, Grace Gellerman, Cindy Valdes, Rick Johnson, Kevin Dunn and Nancy Peoples. Thank you all!

Treasurer's Report: As of last week we had 95 paid household members. We have $3897 in our bank account. Thanks to Leslie, our treasurer, for keeping track.

Shannon Ferguson, Tim Frye & Michael Corbett attended the meeting to provide public outreach about our Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement (History Project). Shannon and Tim are from the Planning Department's Historic Preservation section, and Michael Corbett is the consultant we hired and the author of the document. As you know, the project is now approaching 5 years since we started. But at over 250 pages of text, maps and old photos, we're sure you'll agree it was worth it.

After a few small additions such as page numbering and photo attributions, the Planning Department will complete its review process, during which time the document will be posted on the Department's website in order to solicit any input by CHN members.

After it completes its review and considers any comments made by our membership, the Planning Staff will recommend that it be approved. The final step is a hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission which we anticipate will adopt the document.

Tim Clinton & Paul Dawson of Dawson-Clinton: 271, 301-303 Upper Terrace.

The Dawson & Clinton team attended our meeting a year ago in April. Not much has changed during the last several months:

  • the total square footage for the 10 units is roughly 50,000 square feet.

  • the building at 301-303 Upper Terrace will be remodeled and kept as rent-controlled.

  • the 8 market-rate units will average 5327 square feet each.

  • the 2 rent-controlled units will average 3257 square feet each.

  • the lap pools, thankfully, have been scrapped.

Several of us who are keeping a keen eye on this project have countless fears about it. Will their insurance cover any damage caused by land movement? (As you have most likely seen, a huge chunk of the hill came crashing down on a car parked on Roosevelt a few months ago. And the entire hill across 17th Street from the project is currently undergoing a huge reinforcement due to the entire rock face sliding down onto 17th Street a year ago.)

Another fear is that since at least half of the projects in our area that have received their entitlements have ended up being "flipped" or sold after receiving these entitlements will this project follow that same pattern. The new owner would be able to make numerous changes to the project without going through the whole review process over again. Since Dawson & Clinton is a small firm, and since they have been working on a very similar project on Kansas Street in Potrero Hill, we feel there is a great likelihood that they also will opt to flip the project. It's difficult to imagine how such a small firm could handle two simultaneous, huge projects.

They estimate constuction time to be 2.5 years from start to completion, but we feel this is ridiculously optimistic. But even at 2.5 years, imagine the dust (silica dust is toxic to humans), noise, traffic and parking disruption and general elimination of peaceful livability in the area.

In addition, by basically tripling the size of the average home size, they are also setting a precedent for out of scale, less affordable housing that is out of context with our neighborhood.


Ozzie Rohm of Noe Neighborhood Council attended to explain and seek our support for amendments we are recommending to the Planning Department regarding its new Urban Design Guidelines. Most neighborhoods are affected by Residential Design Guidelines that have been worked out between neighborhood leaders and the Planning Department over many years. The new guidelines were initially created as a sort of umbrella guideline, but after review, representatives from neighborhood organizations across the city discovered several issues that would or could ultimately be damaging to existing guidelines.

There were 3 small but critical issues that we are hoping the Planning Department will acknowledge. The members present voted unanimously to add Corbett Heights Neighbors to the list of associations that supports these changes. Please let me know if you're interested in knowing more about this.

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District: In May of 2015, Supervisor Scott Wiener sponsored the Interim Zoning Controls (IZC) for Corbett and Corona Heights. The intent of this legislation was to limit the size of new or "remodeled" homes in our area, after dozens of our wonderful small, older homes were being converted into enormous, characterless behemoths. It also sought to preserve rear-yard open space. The legislation required that any developer wanting to exceed the dimensions described needed to apply for a Conditional Use permit (CU). Attaining a CU is a much more difficult and cumbersome process than the previously required Variance.

The problem we had was that every single project went the CU route, and ignored the intent of the legislation. And the Planning Department and the Commission saw nothing in the legislation that forced them to abide by this intent.

Now that the IZC has expired, a new Special Use District is being established in our neighborhood that will take over where the IZC left off. It will also retroactively affect any project from when the time when the IZC were first approved.

In addition, 3 key elements are included that will require the Department and the Commission to heed the legislation's goal. It requires that any proposed project increase the housing supply (rather than creating one single-family dwelling); maintain affordability (tripling the size of the average home in an area does not preserve affordability); is compatible with existing development.

Supervisor Sheehy has sponsored this legislation. This is an enormous bonus to our neighborhood. Please thank the supervisor for doing this! In addition to the existing boundaries of the IZC, States Street, in its entirety has been added.


Corbett Slope: It's been years, but work has finally begun!! Thanks to then Supervisor Wiener, funding was set aside to create a wonderful neighborhood park. The fence is down, and work to create a level, disabled-accessible platform in in process. It will have planter boxes of both wood and concrete. An entirely new irrigation system will be installed.

After this phase is complete we will begin discussion on the stairway that will connect Corbett to Market. Slowly but surely!

Corbett/Ord Triangle Park: Many thanks to Olga and Brad, and some neighbors on Douglass Street who have been responsible for keeping the park clean of trash, needles and other undesirables. They are there the 3rd Saturday of each month, from 10AM until around 1PM. Please stop by to lend a hand!

75 Mars: The owner is anticipating a move-in before the end of the month. The garden will start happening after the house is completed.

3198 Market: This is the property east and adjacent to the Miller-Joost house, and immediately below Al's Park. The owners of this land-locked parcel (they purchased it over 3 years ago) completed the whole permitting process over a year ago. They were building it for their son who was to be attending SF State. After everything he decided to go to school on the east coast instead. But now, the plan is back to the original. They should begin work on that as soon as the construction crew is assembled.

Hattie Street Fire: Last October there was a devasting fire on the NE corner of Hattie and Market. 3 homes were affected, 2 of which were determined to be a danger and were demolished. The 3rd (yellow) one from the corner was damaged. The upper unit in the yellow house is almost complete, and the lower one should be finished cometime in June. Both demolished homes will be rebuilt by the owners.

86 Ord: After "remodeling" this home a couple of years ago it was listed and sold for $4.5 million. Last month it was put on the market again for $3.875 million, and sold 2 weeks later for $4.85 million. This is why we need the new Special Use District legislation!

1965 Market/FedEx: The project sponsors are proposing two separate buildings: the Market Street facing structure would sit above a remodeled FedEx building. It would be set back about 35' from Market Street and bring the total height to 75'. The rear building, where the parking lot is now, would stand 85' above the street. More to come shortly.

2201 Market: (Catarra RE/Industrialists/Glidden Paint)(Built in 1956) The project will be 63.5' high and have 100% lot coverage. Permitted. Unsure as to the ground-breaking date.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): In the works. The project will contain 7 stories, 62 units, a roof terrace, 2 ground floor retail spaces and a restaurant. There will also be a storefront along 14th Street.

Lucky 13 (2140 Market Street): This is another, unfortunately bland, unexciting addition to Upper Market. Unsure as to the start date.

Super Duper currently expanding into the former Check Cashing corner.

Volvo Centrum (3512 16th Street): The owner is proposing remodeling and preserving the existing garage - which is considered a historic resource. She hopes to have a large restaurant and their architectural offices on the ground floor. They also plan on adding 2 set-back floors above, providing 8 units of housing. More to come...

Interested in helping out your community?

  • We are fortunate to have several green spaces in the neighborhood. If you would be interested in helping out on any or becoming a steward please let me know.

  • Land Use: if you have knowledge in land use, or are interested in learning - either about some of the projects listed above or just in general, let me know as well.

  • Participate in some capacity in the running of Corbett Heights Neighbors.

  • Helping organize a neighborhood block party or other social event.

  • Helping distribute fliers prior to our quarterly meetings.

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Corbett Heights Meeting Notes

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes - January 26, 2017

We had a packed meeting last Thursday - just under 50 people were there. A few people needed to stand since we ran out of chairs!

First - I must thank the folks who helped distribute the fliers: Ted Teipel, Kathy Flanders, Dirk Aguilar, Barbara Presta, Janice Low, Kazumi Matsuyama, Grace Gellerman, Cindy Valdes and Bill Prince.

And Thanks, Bill, for taking minutes!!

Treasurer's Report by Leslie: As of last week we had 105 paid household members. We have $3684 in our bank account. Thanks, Leslie for keeping track!

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy was present to introduce himself to the neighborhood. He has replaced Scott Wiener (now representing us as our State Senator) as our District 8 Supervisor.

He is San Francisco's first HIV Positive supervisor, and much of his past was spent fighting for and helping protect the rights of that community. His priorities as our representative include fighting to prevent what our new President is attempting to accomplish in terms of his targeting of the immigrant population, elimination of our health care safety net, removal of women's rights, etc. As a father living in Glen Park, he's also concerned about general quality of life issues - there and in all other communities in the city.

Showing his support for something very important to our neighborhood, Jeff is committed to making our Interim Zoning Controls permanent! More on that at a later date.

I'm hoping to have him back for a longer chat in April.

Joel Pomerantz has been obsessed with learning about San Francisco's waterscape for about 30 years. He's the founder of Thinkwalks, and usually leads dozens of walks per year, teaching about the hidden natural history of San Francisco.

There are currently no underground creeks in San Francisco. There had been some during certain periods in SF history when, for example, in the 1850s through the 1860s there was a series of giant storms. Between December 1861 and into 1862, a series of "atmospheric rivers" dumped large quantities of rain. One early measurer found 36" in one month and 24" in another, compared to about 19 or 20 inches average rainfall yearly. Now, with less rainfall - partly due to urbanization - these creeks have dried up or are minimal in quantity.

Many springs were covered over with concrete by citizens and the water diverted to the sewers, so these are now gone.

Joel spoke for about 1/2 hour and not a peep was uttered until we had a Q & A period. He had some books and maps for sale. If you're interested in acquiring any, check out or

Dave Guerra and a co-worker spoke with us about the spate of mailbox break-ins throughout San Francisco. Guerra is the supervisor of the Mail Theft Program from San Mateo up to the Oregon border. Mail theft is a federal crime, and reporting it is critical to the investigations. It is important to report not just the theft when it occurs but also later when you get information about how your mail has been misused – without evidence of financial losses, it is very difficult to prosecute. Please call 877-876-2455 at any time to report.

Some hints from Dave: Cameras can really help to provide video footage of the theft; there are locking mailboxes that are approved by the Post Office; be aware when you are expecting something of value to arrive; collect your mail as soon as you get home rather than leaving it in the box a long time; there is some protection if you require a signature when a package is delivered, or if you insure such packages; if you find trashed mail, pick it up and call the number so that they can contact the addressees and check to see if there is an ongoing investigation.

Corbett/Ord Triangle Park: Many thanks to Olga and Brad who for at least the last year have been responsible for keeping the park clean. They are there the 3rd Saturday of each month, from 10AM until around 1PM. Please stop by to lend a hand!

After waiting almost a year, DPW finally replaced a dead tree in the northwest corner with a new, young ginkgo tree. Currently it looks like a stick, but pretty soon it will leaf out and make us proud. DPW also finally replaced the sidewalk along the Corbett and Ord side of the Park.

75 Mars: The owner is hoping for an April completion!

History Project: It's been out of our hands for the last several months, while the Planning Department reviews it - and they read very slowly.

The good news is that it's spectacular! 256 pages, loads of old photos and maps. It will have been worth the wait.

Corbett Slope: We met with members of DPW and all approved a plan for the "park" space near the current gate. It will have planters, and a paved open area that will be accessible to people with disabilities. Sometime later in the year, hopefully, we will work more on the plan to have a stairway that will connect Corbett to Market.

Hattie Street Fire: Last October there was a devasting fire on the NE corner of Hattie and Market. 3 homes were affected, 2 of which were determined to be a danger and were demolished a couple of weeks ago. The 3rd one from the corner was damaged - serious burns on the south wall are visible, but thankfully, it will be repaired. The residents have had to find an apartment to live in temporarily in the neighborhood. Both demolished homes will be rebuilt by the owners - from what I hear.

Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th Street Project: We've been watching this project for two years now. Tim Clinton and Paul Dawson of Dawson-Clinton General Contractors had planned on demolishing 2 existing homes on Upper Terrace, and constructing 10 homes on the hillside. They were recently advised to keep 2 rent-controlled units on Upper Terrace, so the smaller of the 2 existing homes will be kept but extensively enlarged and remodeled.

The rock hillside has always been extremely unstable. Neighbors on 3 sides are very concerned about what could happen to their property and foundations during the likely 3 year construction process, and afterwards as well. No one has been given believable insurance of their protection other than the Trumpian "it'll be fine".

In addition, the average home size remains almost 5,300 square feet PER unit. And, the lap pools are still in the plan as rear yard open space.

We are still anxiously waiting for the environmental Planner, Michael Li, to get around to reviewing the project. If this review has occurred, please be aware that the

PLANNING COMMISSION HEARING IS TENTATIVELY SET FOR MARCH 16th. Depending on the outcome of the environmental review, and depending on whether Dawson & Clinton has agreed to some protections and overall size reductions, I will be asking you to write letters, or, even better, to show up at the Planning Commission hearing in March.

1965 Market/FedEx: If this project is allowed to proceed it would be 2nd largest of all of the new buildings along the Market Street corridor. Since it's on the corner of Duboce, it's a very high visibility site.

The current owners/project sponsors are Jeffrey Keller and Eric Grover of Keller Grover, LLP, a law firm. The Mission Revival building is considered a historic resourse and must be retained.

According to the Market/Octavia Plan, a building on that corner can stand as high as 85'. The parking lot behind the former mortuary, now FedEx, is on a site on Duboce that can hold a 55' tall building.

According to the State Density Bonus Law passed last year, the project sponsors can add 2 addtional floors to the Duboce building making the new structure 75' tall. In doing this they are not required to add any additional BMR (below market rate) housing. This does not sit well with those of us who have been fighting for increased BMR units in all of the new buildings. Some of our attempts have been successful, others not so.

The proposal would have given them 96 units, (16 of these 96 are attributable to the density bonus - 80 before figuring the bonus into the mix). There would be parking for 47 cars.

The current inclusionary requirement only applies to the 80 base units. The requirement is 14.5%, or 12 units. They "voluntarily" agreed to add 2 additional BMR units, totaling 14.

The proposed building towers over the existing FedEx building. But it's the lack of respect for the classic building that some of us feel is a larger issue. As it turns out, the Historic Preservation Commission, as well as John Rahaim, director of San Francisco Planning, both feel the Market Street building is too tall for the building it would sit on top of. They're even considering allowing increased height along Duboce at this point and chopping all but 2 floors off the corner building. By the end of the month the sponsors will have gotten back to the Department with a plan showing revised massing and design.

Of several issues that were brought up at EVNA's and DTNA's Land Use meetings, one important one was a request by us to include at least one additional, smaller ground floor retail space. Since FedEx will have moved out, and the parking lot will be gone for good, there is uncertainty about whether it would return. If it doesn't, we would prefer seeing an option for a smaller retail space, as all of the small ones that have been built along Market Street recently have been rented, whereas most of the larger ones still sit empty.

2201 Market: (Catarra RE/Industrialists/Glidden Paint)(Built in 1956) The project will be 63.5' high and have 100% lot coverage. I applied for Discretioinary Review of the project on behalf of DTNA. There were several unacceptable things about the project that fortunately were eliminated immediately prior to the DR hearing. None was a big deal in terms of cost to the developers, but as a result we will have a better project for the neighborhood.

Home Restaurant (2100 Market): Demolition of the old structure should take place very soon. The project will contain 7 stories/62 units/a roof terrace/2 ground floor retail spaces and a restaurant. There will also be storefronts along 14th Street.

Lucky 13: The project sponsors will begin presenting to neighborhood groups soon. They will be at the DTNA Land Use meeting on February 6th.

Harvey Milk Plaza will be getting a complete makeover in the near future. SFMTA has been holding community meetings to discuss ideas and listen to input from residents. One thing that's certain is that there will be an additional elevator installed on the south side of Market Street in the Plaza area.

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.

Please participate! If you're a member, and if you can spare a very small amount of time each month, please let me know! We can definitely use some more help!

Thanks for your interest in the neighborhood!

- Gary