tv [untitled] April 22, 2011 9:30pm-10:00pm PDT
>> i'm an architectural historian in san francisco. and i was also trained for a while in architecture and i'm really shocked that this plan could go forward, that the response is so inadequate as well as the e.i.r. i would like you to flash on to the images here. of course, showing the same wall over and over and over again is like looking at this building and presenting this facade as the city hall. that's the kind of non-depth that we've seen through this whole period. now, the responses and the e.i.r. find that this is less than a significant impact. a haircut is a less than significant impact. 28% is a decapitation. this shows the width of the view corridor, the color shows the
impact. now, the e.i.r. falsifies these figures over and over again. they are not shown -- you can see -- we'll get into that a minute. as far as the playground. you know, i was a little leaguer. i was three outs once in one inning. my father was horrified, he was the captain. but even with my reluctance to be enthusiastic about baseball, i would not destroy the joe dimaggio field. people who are designers i find really hard to believe, anyone sensitive to the environment would do this to our urban landscape. now, the designer said the e.i.r. had discovered the new crookedest street in the world is mason. it goes four feet over to the west and then it swings way to the right, to the east on the block just north of brenridge. and you can see it in the model, too. why is this done?
to minimize the visual impact of how deep this proposed building is penetrating into the view corridor. now, our public plans say that the presence of the historic city fabric is not to be interrupted if possible. new york, the library there is celebrating the bicentennial of the city plan. here are libraries participating in destroying the plan. what's with that? here's a line that shows how the crooked street -- how do they deal with -- there's nothing about the corridor. talk about orwell, goodness, here he is. here's a going, going, gone. on the sidewalk, the view of angel island will be gone. there it is, it's blocked out. you move back a little bit, from the west side of mason street,
there, it's gone. people that love this city will not stand for this. president olague: thank you. >> and we will see a new planning commission that represents -- because you are working class issues. president olague: we're going to call for a recess at this point. >> i am now done. thank you very much. president olague: we're going to have to have a -- we're calling for a recess at this time, ms. commissioner moore: i hope that we have a button to do the same. president olague: i don't. i don't personally. >> there's no way that i can keep them from broadcasting. i can turn the mic off, which is what i did. and i pressed the panic button.
it's time for the sheriff's department to get here. president olague: thank you. ed hardy was another name i called. i'm not sure if you heard or not. >> hello, my name is ed hardy. i'm a business owner. my business is at 700 lombard street. i have been in that location for 12 years. i've owned businesses in the city and been a property here for 34 years. my wife and i have both been dismayed to see the progress of this. can primary issue i would like to address, i do not know if it's been brought up, is the impact on the traffic flow and the safety by altering that street. because we're on a corner location, we're very aware of the flow of traffic that goes through there because that's a particular channel for everything that -- the primary points of fame in the city, which are chinatown, fisherman's wharf, the crooked street,
lombard street up at coit tower. there's a tremendous flow of traffic through there. during tourist season, the buses are really a big presence. during the closing of that street, it was a complete mess for the two or three months that that went on when they closed off that section of mason. also, i think the safety issues of both children and seniors that are utilizing these things, the playground and all that, it's bad enough now trying to cross the street. i think if the access is curtailed with these current plans, it's going to make that worse. lastly, from what i could tell, the articles for the chronicle's architecture critic who was slamming the present building, i think that this should extend beyond aesthetics. i've heard what other people had to say about the historic importance of the structure. aesthetics should not trump the workability of it as a major,
major interception of the city, something that everybody can use. i think it's obscene that they're going to do away with the dimaggio playground or compromise that. overall, i think it's a terrible idea. we live in north beach. i've had a business there for a long time. i have a studio down on francisco street. i'm an artist and went to the art institute in the 1960's. i've seen north beach change a great deal. and i would respectfully submit that you tank this proposal. it's doing nothing good to enhance the city besides the views and all the other stuff. i'll get off now, make time for president olague: i called a few speaker cards, but if there's any additional public comment on the e.i.r. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i'm actually a landscape architect with the city for the last eight years. but you'll here today as a neighborhood activist of 20 years in north beach and have been very active in a lot of
the community projects. i just want to let you know, this has been a very long process, extremely long. i personally have been involved for over 10 years in this project. and we have studied every iteration possible. and i'm really -- i know you've gone through a lot. the e.i.r.'s this thick. everything has really been studied and change is hard, but i think this is potentially the most beneficial project to our neighborhood and for our families. so i wanted to give you an indication, because this is in the middle of the day and most working families and people with kids can't be here. this is really just the beginning of an indication of who really supports this project. the super majority really supports this project and has been waiting for this project to happen. i can't believe it hasn't happened yet. so i encourage you to endorse this e.i.r. it's a lot of work involved and a lot of consideration. please support it. thank you.
president olague: good afternoon, president olague and commissioners. i turned in a speaker card but you didn't call my name. i'm joan wood and i've lived in north beach since 1962. i emailed you yesterday my main objections to the master plan, and i typed out -- it's a little easier to read. of the e.i.r.'s really very bad. but i wanted to point out to you that the comments -- our comments were sent in months ago about the last e.i.r., the one that you're being asked to vote on, and responses came to us on april 7, that's 14 days ago. we've never had a chance to make a public comment on that.
and i think there's something wrong with the process because of that. i want to read you -- many of us particularly object to the legal aspects of using 701 lombard street, the lot that the city desires to put a new library on at a cost of approximately $9 million. people like me want to renovate the old library. we like it a lot. it would cost about $4.5 million. although everybody is very cagey about what costs where. many of our letters are in the responses and comments. i just want to read something to you, so you get an idea of what the responses are like. just see what you make of this, please. as stated on deir page 32, ceqa guidelines section state that an e.i.r. must include the environmental conditions in the vicinity of the project as they exist at the time of the notice of preparation, n.o.p., is published. from both the local and
regional perspective, this environmental setting will normally constitute baseline physical conditions by which a lead agency determines whether an impact is significant, emphasis added. recent case law confirms that the actual physical conditions on the ground at the time of the issuance of the notice of preparation are used for baseline conditions. then there's a reference to a note 2. therefore, regardless of the intent of the acquisition of the lombard street partel, it must be analyzed as a surface parking lot under baseline conditions." are you getting the point of what the responses are like? this is not an exceptional paragraph. this is typical of this whole thing. we haven't had a chance to publicly respond to it. that isn't right. this is supposed to be an answer to the eminent domain taking of this lot for open space. i've already cited you emails, which i know you probably have
so many of them, which you probalt don't read. so i printed it for you. there's several legal documents that make it abundantly clear that this lot is only to be used for open space. and many of us in north beach hopefully live long enough to get the park that was promised to us. president olague: i do have teresa, merle and julie christianson. commissioner moore: you have carrie first. >> my name was called earlier. president olague: that's fine. just come up if your name was called at any time. >> good afternoon, president, commissioners. my name is terri byles and i live and work here in the city of f.c.c. i am an architect with 25 years of experience, although i want to point out i have no connection to this project and will not benefit from any ongoing business. i have reviewed the e.i.r. and i have found it to be complete, that i am generally here to just support the project.
the proposed new design for the north beach library, i think, will take much better use of this precious piece of real estate by creating much greater community gathering spaces both on the inside and on the exterior of the property. and as our city grows, we need to be very careful about how we develop the city and optimize every last piece of land. i also think the sustainability aspects of the project are very important if san francisco is going to achieve their long-term goals for reduction in carbon footprint. as an architect i have to say i think the design is quite elegant. i think the scale is appropriate. i think there has been a lot of work done to preserve views and open space, and, of course, it's always a balance. but i want to applaud the previous speaker that brought the poster with pictures of families and that i think oftentimes it's the families here in san francisco that are left out of this process, because they can't come to
these hearings. i think the city at this point has maybe 17% of our population that is families, and i aplaud the fact that this project is going to be a much greater community asset for people of all ages, and particularly i'm pleased to see that the playground was relocated to have a better adjacency with the child care center. and there's been so much thought given to the safety and the functionality of this development. so i hope you consider all the community members that would benefit from this project and approve it. so thank you. president olague: thank you. >> my name was not called, although i just turned in a speaker card. >> i'm not sure. those are the only cards i have. >> my name is lisa. i'm a resident of north beach, a park and library patron, a teacher, and i speak on behalf of the parent-teacher organization at my school. i urge you to certify the final
e.i.r. it is complete and thorough and objective. i urge you to approve the closing of the strip of mason street and the rezoning of the parking triangle. we in the community who want this project to go forward represent the diversity of the neighborhood. we are people with children and without children, people with disabilities and without disabilities, renters and owners. we have young people, older people and people in the middle. we are people from many different backgrounds and who speak many different languages. but in one strong voice we say, please, allow this project to move forward. the e.i.r. is exhaustive. it studies everything we loved but the temporary closure and we're sad to see it stop. the master plan is ready and we are excited that our long-held dream for a new library and a better and bigger park might finally come true. thank you. president olague: thank you. and please limit your comments to the certification of the
final e.i.r. that's the item that we're currently hearing. >> good afternoon. my name is teresa del santos. i would request that the commission please certify the north beach library and joe dimaggio playgrounds. please approve closure of mason street and the rezoning of the parking lot as a public lands to allow the master plan to be implemented and the project to proceed. i have lived in the neighborhood for almost 25 years. i'm an active community advocate for children in the community through my service to various p.t.o. boards. the e.i.r. is thorough, complete and accurate and is documentation of the key issues in moving forward with this plan. it shows that by building a new library on a parking lot, tearing down the old library and closing a half-block section of mace than street, over 12,000 square feet of access will be gained. more open space is critical in
north beach because it is the densest neighborhood in the city. finally, the plan documents how much better a new library would be for the community, rather than renovating the existing one. finally, the plan finds that there is no significant impacts to traffic, public transportation or emergency vehicle access in north beach if we remove the parking lot and close a portion of mason street for a new library. the plan for the new library and bigger park, as recommended in the e.i.r., will provide numerous benefits to our neighborhood that far outway any other considerations. thank you. president olague: thank you. >> well, commissioners, my name is merle easton. i'm also an architect. and i am asking you not to certify the e.i.r. today, and the reasons why is because i believe that the new library doesn't fit on the triangular
lot. it hangs over at least 19 feet into the right-of-way. it was also obstructing views in all directions, and it requires three magnificent ficus trees to be removed that would be perfect for an open-space park. when you get done with awful the legal issues that have to be, i believe it will cost more and the timeline will be much longer, and that the historic appleton and library that's on the site now is a beautiful building. it was -- it has been not maintained, and so it doesn't look as well as it could be, but it definitely can be expanded and would be able to be used during the time, because i know the librarians prefer to have it closed and be able to open. but you could build a new part, move into that and renovate the other part. and the e.i.r. indicates that this is an existing resource,
but it just says that it's not able to do anything about it. i don't think that you do need to close mason street, but i really would appreciate your considering all of the other items that have been discussed today. thank you. president olague: thank you. >> hi, my name is jim and i was sort of surprised when the telegraph hill association made a presentation to us about the library and alternative plans. it really changed my mind. i was really before in favor of rip it down, it's just a 1950's building, who cares? and, you know, in its current condition it's very easy to see it as a resource that doesn't need protection. i heard the presentation that they made and while closing mason street and incorporating
the trike l is important to any -- triangle is important to any eventual use, i think the building has a lot of merit. after hearing about the expandability of the building that was put into it initially, i revisited it and i looked at it again much more seriously, and i really do now understand why this building has so much merit. just as an aside, about a week ago for the grand opening of terminal two at s.f.o., my wife and i helped put together a presentation on all the ecology that was built into rehabbing an old building and how magnificent it can be. one of the learning points was the best ecology really is using resources and having them grow and adapt. i think this is one example where this building has a great deal of merit. it is cited in such a way that
the park can expands around it and incorporate the triangle successfully and we'll have something that really is an historic building adapted for a completely new life. so i really do ask you to move forward with the closing of mason street, the rezoning of the triangle, but really have consideration. this building really shouldn't be lost. thank you very much. >> good afternoon, my name is dawn and i live two blocks from the proposed site. i'm also researching an independent artistic project about the history of the american public library. so i spend a lot of time in libraries around the country and in san francisco. and the most important thing that i've learned, i think, is that these are buildings that are designed to serve their
communities, and that the one at north beach is woefully inadequate for that purpose. it's always overcrowded. i personally cannot see any way that that current building could serve our community as well as a new building. i consider myself a lifelong preservationist, but i support a new building at that location. i know that it has a very murky history and an imperfect history, but i'm urging you all to look to the future and consider what an asset a new building would be and what an improved playground would exist if mason street were closed off. i want to just point out a couple what i feel are corrections to some previous statements. there is no plan to do away with the joe dimaggio playground, from what i can see in the plans. it's going to be altered and reconfigured. i think it's a better configuration to serve the children in the neighborhood. i also walk past that site at least three times every day, because i don't drive a car,
and i never saw a traffic problem during the two month-long test when they closed off mason street. so i would urge you to certify. e.i.r. president olague: thank you. any additional comment on the e.i.r.? >> i submitted a card, but my name -- president olague: not sure where the cards went. >> my name is andrew sullivan. i'm a landscape architect. i live and work in the city. i've been involved in various components of this project dating back years, and i just wanted to urge the commission to support and approve the e.i.r. from a professional point of view i wanted to say that i've been continually impressed by the architects that the team has assembled and the impressive depth of knowledge that they've brought, and i think they've really shown that they've looked at every aspect
and component of this over the years. and i also applaud the public agencies that have been involved in the process and the project and the cooperation that i've been -- i've participated in with the libraries, the parks department and their commitment to what i think is really serving the public's best interest. and then just from a personal point of view, having lived in the neighborhood, the neighborhood desperately needs more open space, preferably some green open space, and the library needs some -- is in desperate need of more space and renovation. so i urge you to approve the e.i.r. thank you. president olague: thank you. >> hi, my name is robert. i'd like to speak against the library going up on the triangle. not against libraries per se. i think it would be great if we built a new library. i feel pretty strongly the library should be built on the
existing footprint, extended down to the bocce ball court, which is never used. i say this because i've lived across the street for 24 years, and the way this is laid out, you're going to have tennis courts right where people live, playing from early in the morning till late at night. also, there's a tremendous problem with homeless people in that playground. and the playground, as created, creates a nice dark space in the middle of the night, when it's not patrolled now and it's a constant problem for over 20 years. and i've got a long record with the police department, with our supervisors. so when you create this space for children to play in the middle, you also take away space for teenagers, kids from 6 to 8, kids that don't need nannies. that hardscape there is very important as far as open space goes, and that's being closed down. and it's also closed off from the street, where we have a lot of tourists going by with children. they won't know that's there. and that building on the -- at least on the street side -- has
no win dolls. so it's like creating a wall -- windows, and so it's like creating a wall there. we don't use the bocce ball court. nobody's ever there. we have other bocce ball courts that haven't been used. it's a triangle, a rectangle is a much more efficient use of space. i'm not an architect. it's a lovely plan. but as a kid that grew up in the city on playgrounds, i can tell you that hardscapes are more important. my kid grew up there. a lost other kids have grown up there. so i'm not anti-library. the old library don't work. this new one i understand from librarians isn't going to be any better. 50 years from now we're going to be back with the same argument. it's just not -- it's not as good a plan as we can do with the money we're spending. thank you. president olague: thank you. so we're still on public comment on agenda items with the public hearing has been closed, and that includes the e.i.r. only. we're still taking comments on the e.i.r. >> i'll try to be very brief.
my name is karen. i was at one time president of north beach neighbors and chairman of the universal forum. i love the plan for -- the master plan for the library. it is expansive, it is artistic. i just can't believe all of the objections i hear. it will protect children to have them in there. as far as mason street is concerned, i've been working hard to get the buses off of mason street, because this is a residential area and it is becoming more and more residential. we are -- i would say our whole area is becoming more and more juvenile. we are having more and more children. we need desperately a wonderful community center and everything this library would represent. we've had over 1,000 signatures approving this library, begging that it get done. the open space issue, we will have so much more open space than if we were to do a little bear park there, as has been
suggested on that little triangle. i just am totally in favor. i hope that e.i.r. will be certified and approved and let's have a library. thank you. president olague: thank you. any additional public comment on this item? >> commissioners, my name is julie christensen and i'm asking you to certify the e.i.r. and to rule positively on the street vacation and the rezoning of the triangle. i'm taking up your time only to underscore the importance of your decision today, to my neighbors and friends in the neighborhood, to chinatown, north beach, telegraph and russian hill also. we started this project in 1999. we were all word about the y2k bug. there was no 9/11 yet, there was no 2008 crash. those are a lot of years when you're measuring them in the lives of children. the kids whose parents started this project in the last sentry are in high school now, and we hope that library will be built before they get out of college. the needs that we had 10 years
ago that made us work so hard for this have only gotten worse. the library is more crowded, more decrepit , less safe, less sound than it was a decade ago. the playground is more cracked, more rusted, more in trouble than it was a decade ago. and we have waited for this day, to stand in front of you and ask for your approval, so that this project can move forward. we have waited for this day for 10 years. so we're hoping that today you will let the project move forward. it would be an enormous gift to these neighborhoods and to the future of north beach. north beach is at a crossroads and right now honestly, i cannot tell you where it's going to be 10 years from now, for better or worse. but your decision today would be a big step in sending it to the positive direction, and we hope you'll help us do that. and i have -- if i can beg your indulgence, i know there are supporters in the audience who will not take their time to speak.
but if you could please raise your hand, if you're supporting and not talking, that's multiplied by hundreds in the neighborhood, and we hope you'll let us have our park and our library. thank you. >> after that remark, i'm going to keep it really quick. now i feel selfish taking your time. my name is tina moyland, the current president of russian hill neighbors and i speak for 800 of our members. and north beach is our library. russian hill is kind of sandwiched between the pope corridor and the north beach corridor. but make no mistake -- it is our library, the north beach. and i feel with a passion so strongly about this e.i.r. going through. i mean, as i was crossing the street i thought, gosh, i had turkey the past two years. i was thinking of it in terms