Thursday, February 1, 2018

Corbett Heights Neighbors Meeting Notes: January 25, 2018


The meeting was called to order at 7:05.

Almost every seat in the room was taken, with several people standing off to the side.

Huge thanks for the folks who helped distribute the fliers for the meeting: Ted Teipel, Kathy & Hank Flanders, Kazumi Matsuyama, Bill Prince, Janice Low, Paul Allen, Grace Gellerman, Phil Byland, Nancy Peoples, Desiree Roldan, Bonnie Day, Tom Murphy and Dash and Dirk Aguilar.

First we thanked Chad Beecher for his incredible work in restoring three neighborhood parks: Corbett/Ord Triangle, Merritt Park at the intersection of Danvers and Market, and most recently Mars Park at the corner of Corbett and Mars. Merritt Park especially, was one that until a few months ago, people would have almost preferred for it to be cemented over. Truckloads of ivy, blackberry brambles, syringes and feces representing several species were cleared away by Chad. We presented him with a thank you note from the Board, a bouquet of flowers as well as complementary one-year membership in the association.

Board member Brad Lyman completed work to improve the email distribution system to members using Mailchimp.

(For our April meeting we have invited Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, running to retain his position as Supervisor of our district. In addition, we decided that we would invite the two mayoral frontrunners to address us in January and in April. Senator Mark Leno spoke with us last week. We will invite the other to address us at the April meeting.)

Rafael Mandelman, running Supervisor of our district is currently President of the Board of Trustees of City College as well as Deputy City Attorney for Oakland.  He listed about a dozen reasons he is deeply qualified to be our Supervisor and took quite a few questions from the audience.  He graduated from Yale, the Kennedy School at Harvard, and UC Berkeley Law School. He is an urban development attorney and serves on the board of the LGBT Center. As President of City College's Board of Trustees he worked to restore CCSF's accreditation.

- Regarding homelessness, his priorities would be to increase affordable housing, improve public health services and coordination among relevant agencies.

- Public transportation must be improved and to some extent re-imagined.

- The city needs to work with landlords to address the substantial increase in empty retail store fronts.

Mark Leno, formerly our District 8 Supervisor, formerly our 13th District Assemblyman, formerly our 11th District CA State Senator and currently running for San Francisco Mayor.  He specifically addressed the issues of affordable housing, homelessness, transit, and the general quality of life in the City. Regarding homelessness, issues that need to be addressed include possible Ellis Act reforms, mental health services, and inter-agency coordination. He also discussed an interest - or a need to reform the Planning Department, the need for infrastructure investment, and the large number of vacant retail spaces citywide.

Our board put together a list of questions to ask him. They included: What does he plan to do to preserve the character and beauty of our San Francisco neighborhoods?; What ideas does he have to improve the Planning Dept and DBI?  Both budgets are financed exclusely by permit fees paid by developers. Does this create a sense of conflict of interest?; How would he reduce rampant demolitions that are performed under the guise of remodels?; Does he feel there should be a saturation point in the number of residents we are willing to accommodate in our 49 square mile city, or will developers dictate a never-ending increase in density, potentially negatively impacting our quality of life?; And how might he reconfigure our existing $10 billion budget? He also answered numerous questions asked bythe audience.

Corbett Heights Historic Context Statement: Hoping to not upset people who paid more early on, we've decided to reduce our donation request for the history project book, "Corbett Heights San Francisco: An Historic Context Statement" to $40 for members and $50 for non-members.

Garrett Robertson, who is coordinating much of the improvement work on the neighborhood street parks, is looking for volunteers to help with park clean up efforts once per month on the 2nd Saturday. If you're interested in helping out, please let me know! We'll be sending out a notice each month letting you know which park we'll be addressing.  In the coming months we'll be using CHN funds to plant quite a few native plants in several of our street parks.

Corbett Slope: It's been more than half a year since they completed the concete slab and the redwood planters. What happens next and when that may be is not being revealed.  Giving up on trying to find this out from DPW I'm now working with someone in the Mayor's office to try and get answers.

Corona Heights Large Residence Special Use District: I mentioned last time that of the dozens of notices for construction proposals that I receive each month, only a tiny fraction of those are for property sites within our SUD. So it's still working! This is not the case elsewhere like Noe Valley where most of the expansion and virtual demolition of older homes has become chronic.

Mount Olympus Project: (271, 301-303 Upper Terrace/Roosevelt/17th St): At this time there is still no hearing date scheduled.

The instability of the hillside is likely the primary reason that the environmental review is still going on. As I mentioned last meeting, the other issues being dealt with in the review are:

- Noise during construction would exceed allowable levels;

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

- Danger to adjacent buildings.

But recently there have been efforts to try and make nice with different groups of opponents. I've scheduled a meeting with them for Wednestday afternoon. They promise that they're able and willing to finally reduce the individual unit square footage. They're trying to figure out how anyone could possibly live in a unit that's smaller than 5300 square feet. More to come soon.

3198 Market: This is the home being built below Al's Park on Corbett. I just heard from the owner/architect that the foundation work is almost complete. Framing of the house should start sometime in February. Once it's complete we'll be meeting to come up with a redesign of Al's Park. A lot of wonderful, funky stuff that used to be there has been saved and hopefully will return. Al, creator of Al's Park turns 97 next week!!

1965 Market/FedEx: Last Thursday the Planning Commission approved plans for this 96 unit set of buildings. Taking advantage of the recently passed State Density Bonus which is allowing them to add an entire two floors to the building, the Market-Octavia plan that allows an 85' building on that corner, as well as using the phrase of the decade - increased density - they were able to get this project approved.  The only concessions made, of those requested by several groups, was to use a light colored brick instead of sheet metal for the facade, and to include some windows and improved cladding on the previously blank wall facing west. There will be 14 BMR (below market rate) units in the mix.

SFMTA Safety Plan: Two representatives from MTA spoke at last October's meeting.  Recently, sending a curveball to residents, local merchants and neighborhood groups, they will be removing 4 blocks of parking just west of Octavia Blvd. The reason for this is that in order to install the desired bike lanes, fire trucks would not be able to get close enough to a burning building if a parking lane were to remain. Meetings to discuss this are ongoing.

D8LUC (District 8 Land Use Coalition): A few of us, coming from several different neighborhood organizations in our district are creating a new group that will be called D8LUC. It will focus primarily on four areas: preserving neighborhood character, trying to find ways to retain affordability, preventing rampant demolitions and hopefully, finding ways to reform the Planning Dept. If you're interested, and if you feel you have some level of understanding or interest in Land Use in San Francisco, let me know.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45.

Thank you for your interest in the neighborhood!!