San Francisco RE-ZONED!

SB 50 explained.

The good folks in Sacramento are back at it. They propose replacing our Planning Dept. by virtually eliminating local zoning!

SB 50 would allow buildings up to 8 or 9 stories, anywhere in SF! And virtually no backyard requirement, as well. It’s the return of SB 827 & 828. And developers can then add on the state density bonus for more height and less affordable inclusionary housing.

Yes, there is a housing & jobs crisis. Do you think Sacramento will fix the housing problem by legislation that frees developers without providing money for affordable housing and transportation?

And what about the CASA program and proposed massive regional enterprise?
Speakers Michael Barnes, economist, CASA critic, Albany city council member, and Ozzie Rohm, local housing advocate, will answer your questions and discuss what can be done.

Thursday, Feb 14, 7 to 9 pm
1833 Page Street/Cole Park Branch Library
Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council
Panel to Discuss CASA and SB 50
There will be a panel discussion on CASA and SB 50 at Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council this Thursday, Feb 14th starting at 7:00 pm.  Thanks to Tes, I’ve been asked to be on this panel. I will be sharing this with a knowledgeable activist from the East Bay, Michael Barnes.  He will cover CASA while I’ll go over SB 50.  The meeting is open to public.

Tuesday, Feb 19, 6:45 to 7:30 pm
1125 Fillmore Street Northern Police Station
Panel to Discuss CASA and SB 50
There will also be a panel discussion on the same topic at the next CSFN monthly meeting on Feb 19 starting from 6:45 pm.  The CSFN panel will be hosting Dennis Richards, Rick Hall, and Carlos Bocanegra from La Raza.  This meeting is also open to public… (more)

SF to developer who tore down landmark house: Rebuild it exactly as it was

By : sfchronicle – excerpt

A property owner who illegally demolished a 1936 Twin Peaks house designed by a renowned modernist must rebuild an exact replica of the home rather than the much larger structure the property owner had proposed replacing it with, the City Planning Commission ruled this week.

In a unanimous 5-0 vote late Thursday night, the commission also ordered that the property owner — Ross Johnston, through his 49 Hopkins LLC — include a sidewalk plaque telling the story of the original house designed by architect Richard Neutra, the demolition and the replica…

The case attracted attention because Neutra is considered one of the most important modern architects and because it highlighted the trend of speculators illegally razing modest homes with the intention of replacing them with mega-homes…

The decision comes a few days after Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced legislation designed to crack down on illegal demolitions. That bill, the Housing Preservation and Expansion Reform Act, increases fines for illegal demolitions and requires a conditional use authorization for any home expansion that increases the square footage by more than 10 percent.

Peskin said that he was “very impressed” by the Planning Commission’s vote.

“The fact that it was a unanimous vote should send a message to everyone that is playing fast and loose that the game is over,” said Peskin… (more)

Man Who Demolished Landmark House Ordered to Build Replica (with images)

Former Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson launches District 6 supervisor campaign

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexmainer – excerpt

The District 6 supervisor seat is up for grabs, and another major candidate has entered the ring: Former Planning Commissioner Christine Johnson took her first public step to represent the Tenderloin, South of Market and Treasure Island neighborhoods on Friday.

Johnson pulled the required papers from Department of Elections to fill out and return to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. Her lone major candidate in the race is Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney, who is aligned with The City’s progressives.

In light of her leap into the race, I wanted to get Johnson’s stance on the issues facing District 6 today: Crime, homelessness and everything in between…(more)

It’s a perfect storm’: homeless spike in rural California linked to Silicon Valley

by Lauren Hepler : theguardian – excerpt

The heartland best known for supplying nearly 25% of America’s food is experiencing a rise in homelessness that can be traced in part to the tech boom

t first glance, the rusted metal pens in the central California town of Patterson look like an open-air prison block. But for Devani Riggs, “the cages”, abandoned since the days they were used to store the bounty of the self-proclaimed apricot capital of the world, play a very different role.

“This one was mine. That one was Patty and Pete,” said Riggs, a 3o-year-old homeless woman, adding that dozens of people had slept in the cramped enclosures.

California’s Central Valley is best known for supplying nearly 25% of the country’s food, including 40% of the fruit and nuts consumed each year. Yet today, backcountry places such as Patterson, population 22,000, are experiencing an increase in homelessness that can be traced, in part, to an unlikely sounding source: Silicon Valley… (more)

Looks like we have to repeal Costa Hawkins for the sake of everyone in the state. The real estate bubble is destroying the lives of people all over, not just in Silicon Valley and the big cities. This is a marketing scheme and it needs to be exposed for what it is. Re-instating rent control should remove the tensions caused by real estate speculation that is tearing us apart.

The Eastern Neighborhoods Plan is a bust

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Too much office space, too little affordable housing, industrial space destroyed – the report card is bleak.

The Planning Commission heard a report on the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, which has guided development in a huge swath of the city, and from the public comment and the response of some commissioners, it’s pretty clear that this massive 20-year planning process isn’t turning out the way it was supposed to.

As Commissioner Dennis Richards pointed out, the plan was adopted in 2008 – before the Google buses, before the massive tech-boom displacement, before the Twitter tax break, before Uber, before Peninsula cities fully outsourced their housing problems to SF. It’s a different city today, and what made sense back then isn’t working any more.

In fact, some of what seemed to make sense back then has been, as land-use lawyer Sue Hestor pointed out, “a farce.” The transit improvements that were supposed to serve the massive explosion in market-rate housing developments simply haven’t happened.

Neighborhood activist Marc Salomon noted that people who moved into what were supposed to be transit-oriented developments have ignored transit and instead use private cars, Uber and Lyft (which have crowded the streets with many, many more cars) and the tech shuttles.

Pedro Peterson presented the summary report, starting off with the Department’s position that the plan was created to preserve Production, Distribution, and Repair spaces in the neighborhoods and to encourage housing development.

Reality: In the past five years, nearly a million square feet of PDR has been lost, and another 1.3 million will be lost of all of the proposed projects in the pipeline move forward…

Time, it appears, to reboot. In fact, the call by Sup. David Campos a couple of years ago for a temporary halt to all development while the city reviews this plan might need to be revived – before more damage is done… (more)

Terrible housing bill slowed down — for now

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

California came within days of adopting a law that would have taken away the right of the public to have a hearing about major real estate developments.

The measure would have not only threatened neighborhoods suffering from displacement linked to luxury housing; it would also have prevented planners and community activists to negotiate and demand higher level of affordable housing.

Those negotiations are common in SF, and have often convinced developers to add more affordability and change their plans.

Initially, objections by environmental, labor organizations, and local governments were disregarded by Governor Brown and the legislators. But last night the proposal was stopped (at least temporarily) by a last minute mobilization of grassroots activists from across the state.

The proposal, known as “by right” development, was introduced less than a month ago by Brown. It was on a fast track for approval because it was attached to the state budget, which must be approved by June 15.

Governor Brown described the proposal as an “affordable housing” plan because it required qualifying projects to offer some inclusionary housing – but as little as five to ten percent for sites within a half mile of a transit stop (housing further away from transit would be need to provide ten to 20 percent inclusionary housing – steering more luxury housing nearest to transit).

The proposal was called “by right” development because if a projects includes the minimum affordable housing requirements, developers would have the “right” to build whatever the zoning allowed. No environmental impact analysis. No public hearings. No opportunity to publicly raise concerns about demolitions of housing, lost jobs, or impacts on small businesses… (more)

This year is not business as usual for politicians and their supporters.

Neighbors spar over proposal to ban chain stores on Polk Street

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

The fate over whether Whole Foods can open a location of its new line of robot-enhanced stores on Polk Street hangs in the balance as a proposed chain store ban along the corridor is up for a key vote this week.

More than 100 letters have poured into the Planning Commission ahead of its scheduled vote Thursday on legislation introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin to ban chain stores, also called formula retail, along a one-mile stretch of the Polk Street corridor between Post and Filbert streets, as well as a portion of Larkin Street between Post and California streets.

The proposal would impact Whole Foods’ plan to open a 365 by Whole Foods, a new brand of stores emphasizing quicker service and lower prices, at the former Lombardi Sports site at 1600 Jackson St.

There are 336 retailers along the corridor, of which 22 — 7 percent — are chain stores, including banks and pharmacies.

Whole Foods opened its first 365 store location May 25 in Los Angeles, where “shoppers can order hot dogs, bowls made with quinoa, rice and veggies and pizza from self-serve kiosks.” There’s also a robot to blend teas…

San Francisco’s efforts to restrict chain stores began in 2004 with an outright ban in Hayes Valley and residential notification requirements for other areas. Restrictions have since increased to include bans in North Beach and Chinatown, and require special permits that can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors for other areas. Whole Foods has applied for such a permit for the Polk Street location.

The commission report by city planner Diego Sanchez said Peskin’s proposal was “too blunt of a control,” noting that “certain formula retail uses bring value to a neighborhood.”

The memo instead recommends amending the legislation to “not permit Formula Retail uses over 5,000 square feet unless the ratio of residential uses on the same lotto the formula retail use is at least 3:1.” That amendment, the memo said, will “carefully manage” chain stores and “incentivize the use of remaining larger corridor sites for housing.”

The recommendation, however, supports the position of those opposing the “365” store, such as the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, which instead has favored a 62-unit housing project with ground floor retail for that site.

The association’s president Moe Jamil told the San Francisco Examiner on Monday that he will continue to call for a blanket ban at the commission meeting Thursday. He has argued chain stores inflate rents, squeezing out independent neighborhood stores.

“This is much more than about one project,” Jamil said. “We are like North Beach. We are like Chinatown. We are like Hayes Valley,” he said, pointing to those neighborhood commercial corridors that already have such protections.

Emphasizing Polk Street’s uniqueness, Jamil said the chain store ban is needed “to make sure we stay that way.”… (more)