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