The Sierra Club and the luxury-housing developer

By Zelda Bronstein : 48hills – excerpt

Northern Alameda chapter backs San Leandro project in a sign that the pro-growth forces are trying to take over the environmental group.

Are you a Sierra Club member who lives in Berkeley, Albany, Emeryville, Alameda, Piedmont or San Leandro? If so, you fall under the aegis of the club’s Northern Alameda County Group, which is nested within the larger Bay Chapter.

Be aware, then, that the NAC Executive Committee is currently dominated by a pro-growth coterie that’s exploiting the Sierra Club’s cachet to push a pro-development agenda that violates the club’s commitments to affordable housing, neighborhood integrity, and democratic governance.

If you’re a Sierra Club member who lives elsewhere in the Bay Area, you should also be concerned. The growth boosters on the NAC Ex Com include two men who wield considerable influence in the Bay Chapter, Igor Tregub and Andy Katz. Tregub also chairs the chapter Executive Committee. Both he and Katz sit on the Bay Chapter’s Political Committee, which makes the Sierra Club’s endorsements of political candidates and ballot measures. In the Bay Area, where the club claims nearly 60,000 members, and environmental values are widely embraced, Sierra Club endorsements carry a lot of weight. (UPDATE: Tregub tells me he has stepped down from the Political Committee, which only makes advisory recommendations on endorsements.)

This is an alarming trend for the club; already in San Francisco, Yimbys have tried to take over the local chapter (and so far failed). But the pro-development forces know that placing people on the boards of all-volunteer organizations is not that difficult. There’s little doubt that “smart growth” advocates are trying to shift the influential Sierra Club in their direction, locally and nationally(more)

URBAN DESIGN GUIDELINES

New Details on this most complex plan to change the process and priorities within the Planning Department concerning who is notified and when a project goes before the Planning Commission and when it is pushed through by the Planning Department without public review or notice. The final Draft of the Urban Design Guidelines can be found here:

If this concerns you, send  letter to the Planning Commissioners and Jeff Joslin and John Rahaim requesting a postponement of approval until after the holidays to give people time to review the final draft.

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UPDATE ON UDGs:

Already our letters requesting a postponement have resulted in a postponement of the approval. A new email went out yesterday laying out a new schedule of community meetings and a new date for an informational meeting in January. Keep writing letters and comments in response to the latest final Draft above See the attached page for a sample letter: https://discoveryink.wordpress.com/urban-design-guidelines/

The Department staff will hold two public meetings to discuss the final draft of the Urban Design Guidelines:

The project is scheduled as an informational presentation to the Planning Commission on Thursday, January 11, 2018. KEEP THOSE LETTER COMING.

 

Homeless housing proposal near AT&T Park in San Francisco worries homeowners

kron4 – excerpt (includes video)

New buildings going up on Third Street near Giants Stadium photo by Zrants

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — A homeless housing proposal in San Francisco just blocks away from AT&T park has fired up homeowners in the area.

On Thursday night, residents held a meeting to tell city officials they do not want the complex up in their neighborhood.

Mission Bay homeowners are upset, saying they paid high prices to live there and shouldn’t have to worry about their safety if homeless people with mental health issues move into the area. They planned Thursday’s meeting that went on until 8:30 p.m.

It is a full house. Many people showed up to share their concerns about the proposed complex that would go up in a lot behind the police headquarters on China Basin Street…

OCII presenters also pointed out there are several projects just like this proposal already working well throughout the city.

They offer tours for people to see for themselves…(more)

This project must have been the best kept secret at City Hall. We personally checked with various city agencies using the information available to the public on the planning web site and spoke to people in the supervisor’s office, the Mayor’s office and non-profits working with the homeless, and no one claimed knowledge about this project. When we used the block number and asked specifically about this project. The only way we could access the plans was through the information the neighbors dug up. The “new” address is not listed by block number on the Planning Department property map. The only way you could find it was to type in the address. This 197 page RFP is what the neighbors had to go by. The address, 410 China Basin Street, brings up different information each time I try to access it.

Bay-Map.jpg

At some point I found a map that shows with Blocks 9 and 9A listed as 166 Affordable Units, under the OCII. This looks like an old map as Pierpoint Lane is no longer exists.

We have a real problem of communication at City Hall between departments and within the planning department.It is hard to believe that the people who are running the navigation centers don’t know about a project of this magnitude being planned for one of the hottest real estate markets in town, between two sports arenas, next to the newest public service centers with both police and fire departments on Third Street. There has been a lot of talk and discussion about the Navigation Centers and how there is no where for the homeless to go after their 30 day stay at the navigation centers. Here is a planned development project that may solve some of those issues that no one knew about until the neighbors demanded a hearing, or so it seems.

 

San Francisco cannot be run like this.

We need a much more robust communication system that requires more public debate and more involvement in the running of our city. Let’s start with a map of the projects they claim are working well throughout the city. Must we wait for a tour date? Where are they so we can examine them for ourselves?

 

City Hall needs to work on a new notification process.

Probably half of all complaints would be avoided if the citizens trusted the government to share their plans before millions of dollars are spent on projects residents don’t want or don’t want to pay for. Almost all complaints start with claims that there was no notification or proper notification regarding the project that is being opposed. We need to figure out a new notification process.

 

The reason people are upset with the Mayor and City Hall is not based on the facts, it is largely based on the lack of information and transparency. If we trusted City Hall to keep us informed, we might be more inclined to support what they are doing. Being lied to and kept in the dark is most irritating.

 

If anyone has any more information on this project, or knows what the process may be to move it forward, please let us know.