tv [untitled] April 3, 2012 7:30am-8:00am PDT
construction trades council. i will ask those in the building trades to have stuck it out with the negative comments to please stand so you can see who is here. a basic premise. that is that the waterfront and the port, and thereby this property which includes a sliver of port land, is not the province of the telegraph hill dollars or of the friends of golden gateway, but of all of san francisco. under that premise, in the early 1990's, when the embarcadero center for weekend on, the port instituted a process that brought in a broad swath of the city and included the northeast. i remember there was a representative of the telegraph hill dwellers on that body, to consider what to do with the waterfront in the future. a report was published in 1994 and 2003, and it is exactly what you're seeing here, and mixed residential and commercial
development. that body rejected what the design is proposing for the site, a hotel. so the broad swath of san francisco as the said bill what you'll be seeing built by pacific waterfront partners. you have heard some say there should be an rfp for this site. there was an rfp for this site. [bell rings] i have not been talking that long. it said there was one respondent, pacific waterfront partners. those who tell you there was other work waiting for us out there, if there were other developers who came to the floor, if only this project or out of the way, were proven wrong. this is the project for that site. additionally, supervisor david chiu asked that the commission undertake a process to look at the any waterfront yet again, after an had been looked at many years repeatedly. and the planning department did
and there were multiple hearings. the height limits are what were arrived at through that process. process after prices after process, hearing after hearing, over many years. what you have before you, the project is the project that belongs there. unless you think that we, as the building trades represent just a narrow constituency here ourselves, as the friends of golden gate we do, as telegraph hill dwellers do, the council has endorsed this project. thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is tony rodriguez. the business agent for local 483, also a native san franciscan. i have spent my whole life here. currently live in bernal heights with my family. you know, i have witnessed, as you all have come a change in san francisco your whole lives.
at least i have for my whole life. some good, some that. but my opinion, this is a good project. san francisco beyonce to leverage. -- everybody. not just a small group -- san francisco belongs to everybody. not just a small group. look at what has been presented here. you know, a project that is going to create jobs for people who have not worked in years, a project that will create tax revenue for san francisco, it is a beautiful project. i ask you not to be swayed by a small group and to do what is best for san francisco. the city belongs to everybody, not just to a small group. people can get up here and say anything. it is your job to ascertain what is true and what is not. i hope that after you go through all this that you approve the eir. thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is dave, a business
representative for the union of operating engineers, local 3. if it generation san franciscan. i support the project for many reasons. much-needed jobs for construction. i am proud to be a part of the construction group that worked on pier 5 and the ferry building. i was most proud to work on city hall. the integrity of the san francisco waterfront partners preserving the interest of the city's community. the plan shows details of a pretty open space. of course, jackson, and so it's very impressive once they get it done. listening to the committee, waterfront partners has added amenities which include an addition of the 4500 sq. ft. children's park, which is pretty much needed down there, too. ground level dedicatee 77% of the land. the public and neighbor of use. lawn areas, benches, trees, and more. so everybody can use them when they go walking around the waterfront. how many residential housing
projects have bicycle facilities with showers and a locker rooms? kudos to the person who came up with that idea. the time and energy producing a project of this nature deserves its due. again, i support the approval of this project. thank you. >> tim, allen, jay. >> good afternoon. my name is lilly. i am an artist. the golden gateway development was once used to demonstrate accident -- excellent planning in art today which i studied in college. you open it up to excellent urban planning and there are three pages on the golden gate development of the 1970's. in 1960, nine architectural
firms designed the golden gateway project. it had the foresight to plan for every one of the apartments to have a view unobstructed by other buildings in development. it allowed for space around and in front of each building, maintaining the shed. this plant should not be made obsolete. the project being reviewed today will block the view of almost every single one of those structures from the 12th story down. it will be right up against the golden way apartments, offering if your the neighbors' living room or bathroom, and a wall between the golden gateway and the bay. the narrow space was meant -- was not meant to crowd 145 condominiums, 400 parking spaces, and 20,000 square feet of commercial space.
it is too small. i am listening to all of the talk about the green spaces, and i am all for that. and the walkways and more. but the plan is commercially way to much for the small space. if this is a necessity, consider the aesthetic height of said from washington, three buildings crammed into a small area. the surrounding urban plan includes an open space, uses a variety of spaces in relationship to people. this creates a wall between the current neighborhood and the waterfront. it does not consider the impact on the neighborhood and its poor urban planning. thank you. >> hello, i am christine. i have been living and working in san francisco for five years.
so here to support the 8 washington project your i am speaking on behalf of daniel solomon today, who was not able to stay for the remainder of the hearing. he is a professor of marriage is in architecture at berkeley and principal at daniel solomon design partners. i have been the architect for a number of the city's affordable housing projects including one build and one proposed, immediate neighbors to 8 washington. i believe 8 washington wash -- the city and in this neighborhood in particular needs to be home to affluent people, poor people, old, young, families, singles. the broader the mix, the richer the city. the embarcadero should be one of the world's greatest urban waterfronts, and it is far from achieving that goal. stockholm, vancouver will not
tolerate underused land, cyclone's around tennis courts. i do not think that this site is an appropriate occasion for affordable housing, as others have suggested. the cost of new piles and de watering would be the wrong way to spend precious affordable housing dollars. the design is beautiful, restrained, and appropriate. exquisitely detailed enriched at the streets. if it has a weakness, i think it is in sufficiently dense and has too much open space. its street frontage on the embarcadero may err on the side immodesty. finally, it should not simply be so difficult to build something of such excellence in our city. this project should be a cause of rejoicing and celebration, not controversy and obstruction. most respectively, daniel solomon. thank you. >> thank you, commissioners.
i am president of the mark company. a key focus of our business is doing research in the residential real-estate market, is this ability -- specifically in san francisco. we have a standard research report each month, quarterly recaps, and annual recaps. i want to talk about the dire need for housing and why do support 8 washington. in the year 2008, which was a peak, there were 34 projects that were actively selling and had 10 units or more. 34 in 2008. today, the first quarter 2012, there are only nine projects in san francisco with 10 units or more that actively selling. that is a decrease of over 70% in terms of the number of projects. if we look at the number of units, the peak was 2007 with 3000 units where you could
purchase and move in or that were being pre-sold, 3000. today, during the first quarter, there are 800 units. 600 of them you can move in tomorrow. another 200 available that you can move in later this year. 800. also a drop of over 70%. again, there is a dire need for housing. 8 washington is a market rate project. as a mixture of unit sizes, units, and prices that is commensurate with the market. $9 million will be earmarked for over 30 affordable housing units. so this project will bring in first-time buyers, which is gen y, all the way to last-time buyers. i strongly support the project, and i think it is the right project at the right place. and >> mark, marvin, jim. >> good afternoon. tim on behalf of the san
francisco housing action coalition. two things, dock the cir. i want to commend the terrific work of the planning and support staff. this project has been studied to death. not a single feature has not been analyzed or discussed for years. in spite of the heated language and rhetoric, the issue is simple. should valuable public land owned by the people of san francisco remain in a use that benefits a small, privileged minority or should it be put to a use that benefits the whole city? it is very simple. what happens to seawall lot 351? the good folks at telegraph hill oppose building anything on seawell lots 351 and maintain that using a for mixed use development is such a poor policy choice that should instead remain a surface parking lot. these poor souls are grieved and oppressed because new housing has been proposed in their neighborhood, one of the most
privileged in the city. they are not opposed to change so long as the change happens summer else. the a.n.d. plan, there is no other viable use of seawell lot 3 fedor 51. it is clear they insist this public land be noted -- be donated by the city to remain a surface parking lot because they cannot tolerate any change to a private swimming and tennis club. how is that not a giveaway of public land? we're learning that they're also very large powerful commercial entities that have a strong interest in preserving this parking lot. why, for the convenience of its tenants. the other, to protect the is from class a office space. we believe that there is harm done to the city, not because they prefer a surface parking lot, because they are saying we reject $83 million in revenue to the port of san francisco. we reject $30 million in
infrastructure funding to the port. we reject $1 million in annual taxes to the city. we must certainly reject a $9 million to fund affordable housing. the point is this, the folks opposing the 8 washington project have never explained how preserving public land as a surface parking lot is a good deal for the city of san francisco as opposed to a privileged few. on behalf of the 70 plus members of the san francisco housing action coalition, i am asking you to pick an alternative that uses this public land to the benefit of the whole city. thank you. [bell rings] >> good afternoon, commissioners. i am jay turnbull. we are architects whose practices center on historic preservation. i am speaking in support of this project. in comments to the cultural resources section of the eir,
much has been made of vistas and views across the country, to and from the ferry building, a telegraph hill, and so on. some suggest that since certain views exist now, they must remain how they have been. i believe that vistas can and should change overtime and won it experience becomes more interesting when some of your sites move in and out of view. speaking of vistas, views through the project at pacific and jackson streets are worth seeing proposed construction through to completion. the waterfront is no longer dominated by the moving of freight, and what we think of as maritime use has long since change. therefore, reopening the embarcadero to a pedestrian approaches a good thing. public and recreational uses are being recognized in the proposed project and are well- considered.
architecturally, the stepping up heights between this project, a golden gateway center, maritime plaza, embarcadero center, and the taller buildings of downtown is logical. at long last, the golden gateway center is placed more securely into the fabric of the city and is given scale relationships to other buildings that it has not had since its construction 50 years ago. again, i urge support of this project. i believe that the lengthy public discourse has more than vetted any possible concern. thank you very much. >> good afternoon. my name is marvin, board of directors of the group called renew sf, a group of folks who have been working to support what we consider to be viable
and appropriate developments in the northeast, particularly north beach and on the embarcadero. we sought and received a grant from caltrans to study redevelopment for columbus avenue, which was completed and we're now seeking funding through the sfcta. we are responsible for the language of the piazza at the corner of broadway and columbus. the project on columbus and the completion of the lighting of washington square park. i would like to read a letter from wells whitney and ann halstead. dear commissioners, my husband and i are long-term residents, 42 years of a 24 years of telegraph hill. we both of participated in many
community organizations and in community improvement projects. we are swimmers and tennis players to belong to the club affected by the project. unfortunately we will be out of town for your meeting. we're familiar with the project. we have written letters in support and testified previously on its behalf. we have studied the plans in detail and that over the past few years with the developers and other neighborhood people and groups. we ask the support this project. we know there are concerns about the project, but we believe that the height and height progressions are consistent with the years of planning efforts in the waterfront land use plan and any embarcadero study. we believe the benefits to the city and neighborhood will vastly outweigh any losses perceived now in the immediate neighborhood. there are many community -- you have already heard all of the spirit we urge you to support this project. speaking on my own behalf, i am a resident of telegraph hill. i am a former board member of
thd, as are they. there are other members of telegraph hill here. i want to try and alleviate a misperception. all the people that i speak to on a regular basis daily your residence and neighbors of telegraph hill, friends and the people in my neighborhood, fall into two categories. [bell rings] one is that they do not know enough about the project to take a position. those who do are all uniformly in favor of this. any group that purports to say that the residents of telegraph hill are uniformly opposed to this project are misleading at best. thank you. >> gail, kathy, terry. sue, matthew. >> good afternoon.
my name is katie, and i have been living in the rincon hill neighborhood for 17 years. i have been very involved in the city and neighborhood issues. as a founding member and current president of the local neighborhood association. i really care about the waterfront. i love seeing the improvements. i am currently watching pier 36 come down to make way for the brandon street wharf. i am here to support the 8 washington project because it, too, will improve our waterfront. i am also an avid walker and pedestrian safety advocates. no one uses this area to the full capacity. 8 washington will widen the sidewalks, welcoming more walkers, runners, bikers, and families to the waterfront. as someone who lives near the
waterfront, i also know how important it is that we have more public open space and parks to enjoy, which is exactly what 8 washington provides. years of community input and hundreds of meetings are what have gotten us to this point today. we do not want to lose this opportunity to improve the waterfront. i strongly urge you to allow this great project to move forward to the benefit of not only those of us who live here, but for san francisco itself and for those who visit us. thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. terry, san francisco resident. thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of the project. i would like to read into the record a letter from dee macros, who could not be here today. through the years i have resisted writing about pending
projects, but i hope you would agree that your consideration of the proposed project at 8 washington is an exceptional moment -- exceptional moment and deserves, and from many sources, even from a former planning director. it is hard to imagine a more prominent building site. it sits adjacent to the city's largest building complex off the flood of market street and at a point where the city's street grid and buildings have historically met the waterfront. the planning challenge, it would seem to me, is to enhance this site by creating a project designed at a scale and quality commensurate with its premier location at the embarcadero. i believe that the project sponsor's proposal for 8 washington has it right. it is essential here, as this proposal does, for the building designed to step down in scale to offset the dominance of the adjacent hours while creating a more modest presence near the
waterfront. the project's step down to 136 feet from the existing 240-foot towers to the west, offering a further reduction to 70 feet east to the embarcadero is very much in keeping with city height policies established for the waterfront. equally, if the project were to be built at a lesser height along the embarcadero north of washington street, assuming this would be economically possible, it would run the risk of appearing dwarfed by nearby high rises. be on the appropriate skill of development, it is commendable that the sponsors include a recreation and health facility to maintain this neighborhood amenity and planned a public park west of pacific avenue to enhance the neighborhood. for years, the site has been used in part as a surface parking lot and as a private
recreation facility whose members, understandably, are displeased with change. while the concerns of the immediate neighbors always require attention, deciding the best use of this site is the city wide significance, if not even a broader matter. [bell rings] this is a critical waterfront location manned to help define the city's appearance to citizens and visitors. the project presents an opportunity to restore san francisco's historic pattern of buildings meeting the waterfront. at this stage of the cities live, contending with the surface parking lot and private tennis courts protected by cyclone fencing as the face of the city would be a highly disappointing planning decision. [bell rings] the urban designers i have spoken to commonly agree that a well-design structure add 8 washington strengthens the cityscape facing the embarcadero. as with all great cities, -- >> thank you. thank you very much. >> let me just finish.
>> your three minutes is up. >> ok, thank you. >> paul, justin, lydia, eric. >> whoever is ready -- >> hi, my name is nina, 23 years old, a resident of the city. i just graduated from university a year ago. i studied geography and had courses in urban planning. i support the 8 washington project, mainly because i think that, although the tennis club sounds like it was a great place, a city in a prime neighbor midget care for the needs of everybody, not just the
people like to play tennis -- i believe the city should care for everybody. we need to reach out to people including interesting sports facilities and we should have restaurants to make use of the space. having this mixed private-public land with a great park for everybody to use is a perfect example of smart planning that does that. and, yes, i mean, it is not poor low-income housing, but realistically that is not the best use of this land. this is prime real estate right next to downtown where there are jobs. and having a new development that enabled everybody to use this land and also to make money off of it is wise planning. last, it is smart planning to create more density in a dense area of the city. it does not make sense to me to
have an area that is not being used very well when right next to all of these high rises, we could continue to work on the city so that in the future as population grows and as people live to san francisco, there is housing available to them so that they do not have to build big houses on the outskirts of the city and commute in every day. i support this project. i think it is a wise use of the land. i urge you to do so as well. thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, i am going to interrupt us here and take a couple-minute break for our court reporter. so we will recess here and come >> we are back in session. commissioners, i believe for -- we are in the midst of public comment. >> if i call your name, please
come and speak. >> thank you. i am the founder of waterfront for all. we are a grass-roots investors -- a grass-roots organization. this provides a wonderful opportunity to update land uses. we strongly support 8 washington and recommend the commission approve it. we ask that 8 washington you consider 8 will provide. -- we ask that you consider what 8 washington will provide. i received virtually zero benefits from the site. it has an out of date jim. it cost $200 per month. this is not the ymca. this is a private club that i cannot afford. there are two parking lots and
the infamous blocking of our view and prevents it public access to the waterfront. contrast that to what 8 washington provides. i think the 99% will benefit from this project. we will take down that horrible greenwald, which is necessary, by the way, for it tennis players to play in the background. it will provide new housing in the number of other benefits that you of offered. >> i think it fits perfectly in character of the neighborhood. i realize it is concerning to many of you, but this project site would be distinguished from any future development down the waterfront because of some of the proximity. the slippery slope argument is not a strong argument. in addition, the fact