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