RUSSIAN HILL NEIGHBORS
DESIGN ZONING AND LAND USE COMMITTEE
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
REPORT TO EBLAST FEBRUARY 2016
The DZLU Committee met on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
The following is a summary of some of the issues discussed:
1600 JACKSON (POLK) PROPOSED WHOLE FOODS 365 (FORMER LOMBARDI’S LOCATION)
The in-depth discussion of the proposed WF (Whole Foods) 365 grocery store at the corner of
Jackson and Polk Streets took most of the meeting time. Several DZLU members had attended
the on-site presentation by WF 365, in addition to gathering much information from various
sources including attending the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association (MPNA) meeting.
Most of the neighbors we spoke to are in favor of a grocery in the neighborhood. However,
there is major concern about traffic congestion caused by entering and exiting the parking
garage (Polk Street) as well as the many deliveries (Jackson Street) to the store. We were also
sensitive to the strong opposition to the WF 365 by the MPNA and Polk District merchants,
several of whom were asked about their opinions.
The suggestion to replace the existing building with new housing over retail was considered,
but there was concern that WF 365 would not want to wait for a long construction project and
the site would remain empty during the long design and approval process. Also, it was
mentioned that just calling for “retail” space is too vague; specific types and sizes of
neighborhood serving retail should be defined so any potential development would know what
the neighborhood would support.
After its meeting, DZLU continued to gather more information and correspondence which were
reported to the RHN Board. The Board approved the sending of a survey to learn the opinions
and concerns of the residents of Russian Hill, which will help determine is the WF 365 would be
considered a positive neighborhood serving business or have a negative impact on our
1023 Vallejo Street: At the Planning Department Pre-Application meeting, many neighbors and
RHN Board and DZLU members attended; all expressed deep concern about the owners’ plans
to change this Julia Morgan home. No RHN action necessary at present. DZLU has contacted
the project sponsors’ attorney to schedule an on-site meeting to review the proposed changes,
especially related to the historic considerations
60 Russell Street: A concerned neighbor brought this proposed project to RHN/DZLU’s
attention. The Pre-Application meeting was held a year ago. The neighbor is concerned about
the increase in height (which seems to be within code height limits) and we understand has
filed for a Discretionary Review hearing with the Planning Commission. At the present time,
this project does not seem to meet our criteria to involve DZLU. However, the neighbor is
welcomed to keep us informed and raise issues, which would have impacts on Russian Hill as a
AFFORDABLE HOUSING BONUS PROGRAM: In response to the State’s mandate that every
municipality must add 13-20% more affordable housing, The San Francisco Planning
Department initiated this program, trying to increase affordable housing by allowing adding
floors as an incentive to developers to provide more affordable units. Although, no existing
rent-controlled units would be impacted, the map provided for District 3 seems to indicate all
lots are potential sites for this program, and this concern must be addressed.
RHN has long fought to maintain strict height limits and although the goal of more affordable
housing is very laudable, the potential significant impacts must be studied. We must also
consider the effects of greater density on traffic, parking, open space, public transit, etc. etc.
It was proposed that we submit a letter to the RHN Board for approval to be sent to the
Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and to Planning expressing our
Filbert Cottages: DZLU still anticipates making a site visit to see the cottages.
1281-1283 Greenwich Driveway/Landscaping: Our understanding it that this property is being
offered for sale with entitlements, including a street encroachment permit. DZLU will continue
to monitor this project, to insure that any subsequent owner who pursues adding a driveway on
the public right of way honor the commitment made to install and maintain the landscaping
along the driveway.
The next DZLU meeting scheduled for Tuesday, February 23, 2016