All ages hard at work on our volunteer morning in Sterling Park, while enjoying a beautiful October day.
DZLU MEETING DATE: September 18, 2018
1. ONGOING PROJECT UPDATES:
a. WHOLE FOODS 365 AT 1600 JACKSON — The Planning Commission’s Conditional Use hearing has been continued from 7/26 to 10/4. The meeting starts at 1:00 in Rm 400, City Hall. RHN has sent another letter to the Commission expressing its strongest support for the project. Though public testimony has been closed, RHN has issued an eblast with a call to action to attend the hearing to show support by our presence and to send new letters to the Commission.
PLEASE SEE ELSEWHERE IN THE RHN WEBSITE FOR THE FULL CALL TO ACTION REGARDING THE WHOLE FOODS 365 PROPOSAL
2. ONGOING POLICY UPDATES:
a. HISTORIC DESIGN GUIDELINES — SF Planning is in the initial stages of developing Historic Design Guidelines (HDG) that will apply to historic resources in San Francisco and public outreach has begun. Planning has invited interested neighborhood associations to meet to receive input and DZLU has offered its availability over the next three months. DZLU has established a subcommittee of five to focus on this issue.
Subsequent to our meeting, DZLU has scheduled its meeting with Planning for 11/20.
b. DEMOLITION CONTROLS — A DZLU representative had attended a meeting on 8/23/18 convened by Lee Hepner, Legislative Aide to Supervisor Peskin, regarding his office’s work drafting proposed legislation on “Demolition Controls”. This was an outgrowth of the Planning Department’s earlier work on development of a “Residential Expansion Threshold”, an effort that has not advanced.
Original efforts focused on creating a clearer definition of demolition, especially alterations so extensive as to be considered “tantamount to demolition.” In addition, an original aim was to address large home expansions that conflicted with the scale of their neighborhoods.
The current legislative effort aims to address these issues, as well as to govern residential unit mergers, and to significantly broaden the definition of “major alteration” such that it would fall under the new proposed demolition control framework. Requirements for Conditional Use (CU) approval, and required findings would be expanded.
While recognizing the need to improve demolition definitions, prevent abuses and protect historic resources, several questions were raised, warranting ongoing discussion:
– Has outreach represented a diverse range of viewpoints, including planning, design and real estate organizations, and housing advocates?
– Does bundling multiple issues into one legislative package make full analysis more challenging vs. a more incremental effort?
– Has there been discussion of the tradeoff between accommodating families with children in larger units vs. placing additional controls on unit mergers or on expansion of unit size over 10%?
– The percentage expansion that would trigger the proposed controls has not been defined. Addition of one floor appears to fall under the new expanded definition of demolition, regardless of context or current zoning and guidelines. What is appropriate?
– What are the tradeoffs between expanded CU requirements and a desire by many to streamline the process, and a recognition of the impacts on housing costs?
c. VAN NESS CORRIDOR NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL — The American Buddhist Center made a presentation to the VNCNC of its proposed new temple at 1750 Van Ness. The design was favorably received as architecturally attractive and sensitive to the adjacent St. Luke’s Church and the adjacent residential building at 1776 Sacramento.
d. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO PLANNING CODE ON OVERHANGS AND BAY WINDOWS — A DZLU representative attended Planning’s 9/5 presentation on architectural features that provide sun shading or certain configurations of bay windows which project over streets or alleys and that are not covered in the current code. Dimensional limits have been restored in the proposal, which had been a primary concern and it is now scheduled to go to the Historic Preservation Commission on 9/19 and to the Planning Commission on 10/4.
e. SF BEAUTIFUL AWARDS PROGRAM — SF Beautiful is inviting nominations of projects, groups or initiatives for awards in various categories. Nomination deadline is 10/8/18.
Kick off meeting for Central Subway Extension to be held on Thursday, September 27, 6-8 PM at the Joe DiMaggio Playground Community Building (651 Lombard Street). This is an important opportunity to provide input, ideas, concerns, etc. as well as to learn more about the current data and plans.
Looking for a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon with your neighbors?
Think golf….Miniature golf that is. Yep, we now have a mini golf course in Ghirardelli Square. Join Russian Hill Neighbors for a round of golf on November 4, 2018 at 2:00. In addition to golf, you can purchase beer, wine or food to keep your strength up for hitting those holes in one. Afterwards, you might want to join others at the San Francisco Brewing Company which is also at Ghirardelli Square.
RSVPs are needed to help us reserve space. If you are interested in joining us, please RSVP by Oct 29 via email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space.
On Sept. 17, 2018 graduation ceremonies were held for our NEIGHBORS. These 65 dedicated folks have completed 12 full hours of training to help ensure our neighborhood can manage in any potential disaster. That is, besides the “BIG ONE,” there are threats of fire, terror attacks and other hazardous conditions covered in the curriculum.
We thank all of those who undertook this significant endeavor.
To our graduates: By now you may have received an email inviting you to sign up for NERT bulletins. Our next step is to organize a community team to help prepare BEFORE a disaster.
RHN is looking for individuals to actively work to secure our neighborhood. There is an important role for the neighborhood coordinators and many chores to do. Details are on the NERT web page, https://sf-fire.org/neighborhood-teams
An effective team will get to know the trained responders in our area, identify the hazards and resources nearby, locate our designated staging and command areas and learn NERT communication skills. There is more information on the NERT web site about these teams. see https://sf-fire.org/nert-continuing-education-training-opportunities.
Please consider becoming a part in this vital task. Email Carol Ann Rogers at president to sign up.
DZLU MEETING DATE: August 21, 2018
1. ONGOING PROJECT UPDATES:
a. WHOLE FOODS 365 AT 1600 JACKSON – The Planning Commission’s Conditional Use hearing has been continued from 7/26 to 9/27/18. Whole Foods management has explored including a residential component to the project as desired by the Commission. It has found this infeasible for reasons that include structural constraints as well as negative impacts on the layout of the grocery level. We are awaiting additional updates from Whole Foods. RHN will shortly continue outreach to membership in preparation for the hearing, likely including another call for additional support letters from the Board and from neighbors. DZLU will research the number of new housing units within a ¼ mile radius of the site to augment the argument for a full-service grocery.
b. 915 NORTH POINT – Planning’s Urban Design review team has reviewed the CU application and issued comments in a Notice of Planning Department Requirements (NOPDR). Comments include seeking larger setbacks at the rear west wall of the part of the complex on Larkin Street. At the part of the complex on North Point comments include deletion of the roof deck, a request for brick or stone cladding and a more compatible architectural vocabulary on the upper floor. Planning will await Jamestown’s revised submittal. In the fall, pending review of the next iteration of the plan, concerned neighbors abutting the project may attend a DZLU meeting.
2. ONGOING POLICY UPDATES:
a. UNION STREET REPLACEMENT STREET LIGHTS – In response to DZLU and neighbor input at a 7/19 site meeting, PG&E explored modifying the order for the fixtures to incorporate a solid top more akin to the new fixtures at Washington Square Park. PG&E has relayed that this would not be feasible at this stage. We had expressed our sense that the process warrants improvement going forward and that full outreach should have been completed prior to ordering fixtures. Despite frustration with the process, the fixtures that will be installed have been successfully utilized in other jurisdictions, are architecturally respectable and we believe are suitable for Union Street. PG&E has agreed to work with us and PUC after installation if adjustments to the light intensity are warranted.
Streetwork to install underground electrical cable for the lights is planned to start on 9/4 on the section of the project between Leavenworth and Larkin Streets. Anticipated work hours are Monday through Friday between 9:00 – 5:00.
b. PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO PLANNING CODE ON OVERHANGS AND BAY WINDOWS – There will be an informational meeting on 9/5 at Planning. Planning has explained that some architectural projecting features that provide sun shading or an improved bay window configuration now require a variance process, as they do not strictly align with current codes but are deemed desirable. A Zoning Administrative Waiver is proposed in lieu of a variance. All existing applicable staff design review processes apply. DZLU’s primary concern was the elimination of any dimensional constraint on the projections and we will either attend the meeting or relay our concern in writing.
Subsequent to our meeting, a DZLU representative attended Planning’s 9/5 presentation. Dimensional limits have been restored and the code improvements appear non-controversial.
c. SF PROPOSED ROOF DECK POLICY – DZLU representatives met with Planning on 8/3 and sought clarification on area thresholds, beyond which greater review is triggered by the Residential Design Advisory Team (RDAT). DZLU also suggested that guidelines on setbacks and guardrail materials should respond to context and impacts, such as visibility or massiveness from the street, or privacy concerns, rather than apply overly rigid “one-size-fits-all” rules. As the draft is refined, we’d seek additional opportunity for input.
Subsequent to our meeting, a new draft was distributed in anticipation of the 8/30 informational presentation to the Planning Commission. These now include an improved description of the threshold process that triggers broader review, such as limiting deck area to one-third of roof area without fuller RDAT review, requires minimum 5-ft setbacks except at the rear of a property, and is less prescriptive on materials. They appear to be positive changes.
San Francisco Needs You!
Join your neighbors on Saturday September 8, as we get swept up with civic pride and all do our part to keep our city clean.
The task is simple: LOVE OUR CITY!
Grab a broom and dustpan, sweep the sidewalk in front of your home or business and pick up litter in your neighborhood.
Together, we can make a meaningful, positive impact.
If you don’t have the tools you need to get the job done, Public Works does! You can get supplies the morning of September 8 during a LOVE OUR CITY event at Sherman School schoolyard (Green @Franklin Street) or Joe DiMaggio Playground.
San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and it takes teamwork to keep it looking good. On September 8, we’ll make a community-wide push to improve our neighborhoods – with a goal of keeping the momentum going. Every day.
Join the team. Keep SF clean. LOVE OUR CITY!
“Do you see any “dead trees” or “empty tree wells” on the sidewalks? Would you like to see more trees or small gardens planted in your neighborhood? Tree Planting on Russian Hill is coordinated in cooperation with Friends of The Urban Forest. Trees and gardens are planted at no cost to homeowners.
Homeowners and/or “renters” can apply for new trees, replacement trees, and even small sidewalk gardens to be installed at no cost to homeowners. Applicants are asked to commit to arranging weekly watering of the new plantings until they are established.
37 new trees were planted on Russian Hill in 2018.
It is hoped that there will be another new tree planting in 2019. For questions regarding trees, contact Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) https://www.fuf.net/ or the SFDPW Urban Forestry division https://www.sfpublicworks.org/trees.