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tv   [untitled]    April 23, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT

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public comments. with two weeks to respond to their responses, we've attempted to provide some information. but one must understand that that ability to respond in two weeks to a six-month effort is very short. one of the issues that i would like to bring up is that many of the citizens of the city and north beach have had a history with the joe dimaggio playground and north beach library for many decades. and what pertains to this particular e.i.r., since 1988, from 1988 to august of 2008, there have been other public processes which led to certain perceptions and expectations about the ufse the library and the use of the playground. we had an interest primarily initially with the library itself.
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it is a recognize the historic resource eligible for the state and national registers. as you know, the e.i.r. expects that if there is a design that does not adversely impact that historic resource, that would be considered the best environmental solution. and having talked to many architects, myself being an architect and a native of san francisco and north beach, who grew up with the library and the playground, we've looked at that project and offered some very good design solutions. unfortunately, in the six-month response period, there was much considerable effort to diminish alternatives that were offered. in fact, the lower level expansion of the library and the addition which was recommended by several historic preservation organizations and other architects, several
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actual drawing designs were offered, was dismissed with great energy by the response because it was deemed impossible or difficult, when in reality, that contradicts our own professional perception and what we see for -- throughout san francisco, which is a hilly city, where many buildings routinely are developed with lower level expansions. and that, of course, is true not only here in san francisco, but nationally and internationally. consider the louver. so please consider not certifying. thank you. president olague: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners, i appreciate the opportunity to speak briefly to you. my name is bob. i live about a block and a half
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away. i am neutral on this project, and i think it's very interesting to hear the community. both sides make very, very good points. i mean, i think all we can ask as a community is you make your best call that you can. the issue -- the one issue, i think, is worthy of focus on again. it's on the e.i.r. and i don't take the position one way or another on it but to say as the comments were made about the traffic and dealing with parking and things like that. so regardless of what you decide, we're going to get an improvement out of this, and i think that's really appreciated. and i think if we think of north beach as a community and then that area right around there as you go up russian hill and a little bit up telegraph hill, you have sort of another community within there. and the reason i thought to speak about one issue, which was the traffic and the e.i.r., was just as going forward if we
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could consider the importance of, you know, of looking at that and studying. again, not taking the position one way or another. but as you look at additional projects for expansion, for example, i think it would be worth over a certain size, and i'm sure you've considered that already. but people who are expanding over a certain amount and adding particularly groups or individual members of a significant number to the process in the community, that you look at it in terms of, gee, maybe it is worth studying traffic additionally or studying the impacts on the community. so that's all i wanted to say. and i really do appreciate you giving us a fair shake. again, a lot of great comments back here, and i'm sure we'll hear more from you on it that will also be helpful. i think i speak for everyone when i say thanks for looking at this for us. president olague: thank you. any additional public comment? >> phil ginsberg, the general
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manager of the parks department and will you herrera wanted to address on the project. he'll be here in a minute. president olague: i wanted to make sure with the city attorney that when it's appropriate for them to speak more than three minutes on -- >> i don't think they need to speak more than three minutes. president olague: i don't think the city attorney can give us an opinion on that. i thought they were going to speak during the e.i.r. hearing, not during the public comment hearing. >> if that's possible, they would just like to briefly address the commission. >> john from the city attorney's office. i think the intent is to just have a short presentation and there would be fine at this point to be subject to the same limitation as members of the public, even though they are city representatives. president olague: in that case, then, yeah. and there will be other opportunities for them to speak as well. but i guess during this item it would be the three minutes.
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i just wants to make sure that it's ok. so, yeah, that's fine. sorry about that. it got confusing up here. >> we have three minutes. >> hi, commissioners. phil ginsberg. i'm with the park and recreation department. it's a pleasure to be here. i want to thank you for allowing luis and i to speak on behalf of the north beach library master plan and the joe dimaggio playgrounds. we appreciate the hard work of the planning department and the staff in preparing the draft e.i.r., ensuring a complete and public process. and we're very satisfied with the completeness. we're overall here today to support the actions before you that will enable rec and park and the library to move forward on this important project. the project will bring 12,000 square feet of new open space to a commune thee -- community that is one of the densest in the country. i want to thank the many groups
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that were part of this project, including the chinatown community development corp, garfield elementary p.t.o., francisco middle school p.t.o. and many, many, many more. we're proud of our collaboration between many departments. this is a unique opportunity to create a truly spectacular new civic gathering spot. and we very much appreciate your support and i'm going to turn it over to our fantastic librarian, luis. >> thank you, fantastic general manager of the rec and park department. [laughter] and i do appreciate the opportunity, president olague and members of the planning department. it's been a long time coming before you on this project. i want to echo a couple of things phil mentioned. rarely do we have an opportunity in urban settings to really focus on an amazing civic project that has tremendous public good. and this one does that. i do want to speak very briefly
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on the issue of the merits of the environmental impact report and to say that this one has been a complicated one that require time and due diligence, and we feel very confident that it has done that. this is an important project as part of the overall branch library improvement program. in fact, you're aware that the san franciscans have tremendous confidence. they relish and love their libraries, and they wanted us to make sure that all libraries were safe, a.d.a. accessible and 21st century libraries. we believe we've done that, and we've had great momentum. the north beach project is in fact the last one of the 24. it is an issue of service equity. you've heard speakers talk about the density, the diversity of the north beach area that serves a broader constituency. so it's really important that we move the project forward and
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it's very consistent with not only the general plan, but also, the requirements to carry this project forward are extremely important. and to echo what mr. ginsberg talked about, this is a model program of collaboration amongst city departments to benefit the public. we've also worked with the department of public works and others to make it happen. president olague: thank you for adhering to the rules of this item. >> thank you very much. president olague: it's an awkward item. is there any additional public comment on this item, the e.i.r.? seeing none, public comment is closed. >> thank you, madam president. we now call the item that is closed. considerations of findings and final action category. the public hearing is closed. the item would be number four that is before you, the north beach public library and joe dimaggio playgrounds master plan at 701 lombard street and 2000 mason street.
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before you for consideration is certification of the final e.i.r. >> afternoon, president olague, i am michael jacinto from the environmental planning division. the item before you is the certification of a final environmental impact report or e.i.r. for the proposed north beach library and joe dimaggio master plan, case number 2008-0896 e which entails vacation of a linear foot portion between lombard street and mason avenue, demolition of the library at 2000 mason street, construction of an 8 500 square-foot branch building at lombard street, common leap referred to as the triangle parcel, landscaping on the mason street right-of-way and reorganization and upgrades to the playground features. a copy of the draft certification motion is before you for your consideration. the draft e.i.r. was published
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on august 25, 2010. the public hearing on the draft was held on october 7, 2010. public comment closed. the document was published and distributed to you and the public april 7, 2011. during the public comment portion of this meeting we heard speakers who azed issues concerning the project. some of the comments did not address environmental issues but rather were expressions of rather support for or opposition to the project. public opinion regarding the merits of the project is not a topic of concern for the certification of the e.i.r. although you may wish to take such comments into account during your consideration of the items following on today's calendar, which include the adoption of environmental and plan consistency findings as well as recommendations on the rezonning of the 701 parcel to a public use district. some of the comments raised here today in an email received today did address environmental
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issues. these included an email that was submitted by architectural heritage of a variant on the e.i.r.'s northern expansion alternative. planning staff appreciates time and effort that s.f. heritage spent to provide new rendering and a describe of the northern expansion alternative that was reviewed and discussed. we also appreciate the fact that they sent it to us this morning, the day of the e.i.r. certification hearing, but that we had at least a few hours to review it. based upon staff's review, this alternative is not materially different than those already analyzed in the e.i.r., which included numerous alternatives that would partially preserve the existing library. nevertheless, as previously stated, the e.i.r. considered a reasonable range of alternatives, including this one, which was considered and rejected. staff have also received additional emails over the past two weeks, both in support of and in opposition to the project as well as issues addressed in the e.i.r. with respect to the speaker
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comments today, issues raised include the adequacy of comments and responses that were provided in the c and r. compatibility with plans and policies, land use issues, traffic, corridor issues and issues that surround the changes to the recreational program. these are all discussed in the e.i.r. and in the comments and responses. having addressed these other matters, i'd like to conclude the presentation regarding the certification of this e.i.r. the evaluation of the environmental topics contained in the e.i.r. found that implementation of the project would result in significant unavoidable environmental impacts that could not be mitigated to a less than significant level. these are related to the demolition of the existing branch building, which, for purposes of environmental review, is considered historical resource and part of the potential multiple property listing comprised of other appleton and wohlford design buildings of the same era. the e.i.r. studies a reasonable range of alternatives to the
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project that would avoid this adverse impact. they evaluate four alternatives in detail and six other alternatives in both the draft e.i.r. and the response to comments that include preservation schemes within the context of the overall master plan. as indicated in the final e.i.r., many of these alternatives are found to either not meet most of the project objectives or result in consequences to the adjacent playground. due to the unavoidable impact, this commission would need to adopt a statement of overriding considerationings pursuant to the current environmental quality act, should the commission choose to approve the project. at this time staff recommends that this commission adopt the motion that certifies the contents of the e.i.r. are adequate and complete and that the procedures to which the final e.i.r. was prepared comply with the provision of ceqa, the ceqa guidelines, chapter 31 of the administrative code. this concludes my trenttation on the matter, unless the --
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presentation on the matter, unless the commission members have any questions. thank you. president olague: thank you. commissioner miguel. commissioner miguel: yes, i will probably have some comments on item five. however, at this point i have actually read the e.i.r. and the responses. to me they're adequate, they are accurate, they are complete and i move to certify. >> second. president olague: commissioner antonini. commissioner antonini: i agree with commissioner miguel. certainly there are things we can discuss when we talk about the project itself and the different distributionings of the space in the playgrounds. but i think that all of these alternatives were very thoroughly analyzed in the e.i.r. and i agree, we should certify it. president olague: commissioner fong, did you have anything to add? ok. commissioner moore. commissioner moore: i just wanted to respond to the public's comment on the e.i.r.
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sounding more like a marketing issue or sounding more promotional. that is, i think, a pretty common phenomenon we have observed on many others. and it might be kinds of sad if we look back at the way it was. but we have many e.i.r.'s in front of us which are continually being criticized for the same thing. and again, we all find ourselves feeling responded to or bundled in a generalized comments. i myself have not seen anything which really rises to the level of where i would be really concerned about an incompleteness. the one thing which i have thought about, but i have not heard any input from the city attorney as well, is the draft e.i.r. in previous hearings is the issue about the triangle parcel being disallowed for other use, other than open space, and that the -- the use
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of bond funds would not allow for demolition. i have not heard anything to this. i have never seen this even being an issue in the e.i.r. and while the public spoke to that and i'd like to acknowledge it, i could ask the city attorney to give us some guidance, but i have not really been able to view that as an argument against this particular project. so if perhaps the city attorney would be able to speak to that, then we'd have this out of the way. >> john from the city attorney's office. the eminent domain question and the questions about the bond issues are really not part of the discussion. they're not part of the analysis, so to speak in, the e.i.r., because they don't lead to physical environmental consequences. however, both of those issues
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were addressed in the e.i.r. or the comments and responses. i've actually marked a section of the comments and responses. it's on page 36. where we respond specifically to the eminent domain issue and the land use compatibility. i'd have to search through here to see where we've discussed the bond issue, but at this point there are no bond monies being used towards the demolition of the library at this point. so it's an issue that is something in the future. it's not now. and i'm sure the library is well aware of that issue. commissioner moore: i appreciate your comment. at least for the public record. it opens a question which has been posed by a number of people, and i take your answer as the answer people need to have. having said that, i would support the motion on the e.i.r. as it stands.
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>> commissioners, the motion on the floor is for certification of the final e.i.r. on that motion, commissioner antonini? aye. aye. aye. aye. aye. aye. thank you, commissioners. the e.i.r. has been certified. [applause] commissioners, you are now on your regular calendar with item 5 a, b, c. the north beach library -- public library and joe dimaggio playgrounds master plan at 701 lombard street and 2000 mason street. consideration of adoption of findings under california environmental quality act, 5-b is consideration of a motion making general plan consistency findings, and 5-c is a request for a zoning map amendment. president olague: commissioner moore, you had a comment?
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commissioner moore: yes, for public disclosure, the architect and i sat together on the porch design review. however, she has never approached me discussing the project, has never slit ted any feedback from me formally or informally and i'd like to disclose this to the public as not constituting any bias on my point. >> good afternoon, president olague, commissioners and the planning staff. before you are three actions related to the north beach public library and joe dimaggio playground master plan project. the proposed project, sponsored by the san francisco public library and san francisco recreation and park departments, would involve a full street vacation of mason street between lombard street and columbus avenue, interdepartmental transfer of the former street area to the recreation and park department, landscaping improvements to the former mason street right-of-way, construction of an 8,000 square-foot branch
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library on the 701 lombard street parcel and a portion of the former right-of-way. demolition of the existing branch library at 2000 mason street. excavation, renovation, reorganization of the playground features and rezoning of 701 lombard street. the project would result in a total net increase of approximately 3200 square feet of library floor area and approximately 12000 10 square feet of new public open space. the site comprises two parcels and a portion of the right-of-way on a site bounded by lombard street, columbus avenue in the north beach neighborhood. 701 lombard street is a triangular lot owned by the city and county of san francisco under the jurisdiction of the san francisco recreation and park department. and currently used as a surface parking lot. 701 lombard street is located within the north beach
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neighborhood commercial district. telegraph hill north beach residential special use district and north beach special use district, with a 40 height bulk limit. 2000 mason street is an irregularly-shaped block owned by the city and county of san francisco, also under the jurisdiction of the recreation and park department and occupied bip the joe dimaggio playground facilities. 2000 mason street is located within a p zoning district, public zoning district, and the telegraph hill north beach special use district with an open space height and bulk limit. since packets were distributed last week, staff has received 23 emails regarding the proposed project. 16 of these communications expressed support for the project, as well as support for the e.i.r., and six expressed opposition. i have copies, if you'd like to review these. in order for the project to proceed, the commission must, one, adopt findings under the california environmental quality act, including the
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mitigation monitoring and reporting program. two, adopt general plan and priority poll sills of section 101.1 findings for the proposed street vacation and rezoning, and, three, make recommendation to the board of supervisors on zoning and height reclassifications of 701 lombard street from the north beach neighborhood commercial district to a p, public district, and from the 40 x to the open space height and bulk district and removal of this property from the telegraph hill north beach residential special use district on the north beach special use district. on the three actions before the commission, the department makes the following recommendations -- the department recommends adoption of the ceqa findings, including the statement of overriding considerations, mitigation, monitoring and reporting program and recommended improvement measures. the department recommends adoption of the general plan findings and that the project is consistent with the objectives and policies of the general plan and meets the criteria set forth in section
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101.1 of the planning code. accordingly, the department recommends that planning commission find the project to be in conformity on balance with the general plan, along with the proposed conditions. and finally, the department recommends that the commission recommends approval with modification to the proposed re-zoning ordinance. the requested modification is to amend the ordinance to remove the 2000 mason street property, the currents joe dimaggio playground, from the telegraph hill-north beach residential special use district so that the zoning across all of the parcels would be consistent. they would all be p and open space, height and bulk. the library and recreation and park departments and the project architect have a brief presentation. this concludes my presentation, unless there are questions. thank you. president olague: thank you. project sponsor. >> good afternoon, commissioners. jill bourne, deputy city librarian on behalf of the
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sponsors. we have a brief presentation regarding the library and joe dimaggio master plan project. we're very happy to answer any questions you have as well. the north beach library is one of 24 branch libraries to be renovated or built new through the improvement program. the branch built in 1959 is no longer effective in meeting the needs of the dense and diverse neighborhood that it serves. the library needed to expand, become updated and meet current accessibility and seismic safety standards. the north beach library is on the joe dimaggio playgrounds, a heavily utilized park in a densely populated area of the city. the park is currently constricted by the numerous park elements, by buildings on the site, by sensing throughout a grade change and the streets bordering it. this slide shows the park before the library was installed on what appeared to be one of the tennis courts. recognizing that both sets of
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amenities are essential to the north beach neighborhood, the department entered into a master planning process in 2008 to achieve goals that would improve the site. our goals were to expands the north beach library, provide enough space to accommodate shelving and materials, public computers and seating, separate, distinct areas for adults, teens and children, a program room for the library and community use, and ergonomic effective staff work spaces for materials handling. tone sure that key library service elements are on one floor, so that the building is cost effective to operate. to ensure that both the library and the park are safe and accessible, meeting the seismic safety and a.d.a. requirements, that the park provide a safer and more protected space for the children's playground and that the library is safe and welcoming through natural lighting, ventilation and visibility throughout. and also, to improve the joe dimaggio north beach playgrounds, to increase recreational open space and green space, while maintaining
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all currently existing park elements, including the bochy ball courts, softball fields, four-square courts, basketball courts, tennis courts and the children's play area and the north beach pool and clubhouse. to unify the park and the new library, enhancing productivity between the amenities and creating a memorable civic hub for the community. and finally, to minimize disruption of services to the community, the library and park operations. the principal architect of the firm was engaged by the departments for our master planning efforts. she's going to walk you through the master plan. president olague: thank you very much. >> as jill said, we began the master plan process in 2008 and we conducted three public neighborhood meetings. in addition, we had two commission hearings, and we also had numerous meetings with a full range of stakeholders and organizations in the neighborhood. and the result -- oops, maybe get the image back on.
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the result is this master plan. it is in your pact. over the course of the master planning process we looked at numerous alternative locations for the library in various corners of the site, and we ended up with the selection of the master plan that you see before you with the library at the 701 lombard site and a re-designed library with a children's playground located at the heart of the playground and an improved and extended park space, creating a new park block with a new and expanded library at the 701 lombard site that meets the needs of the north beach neighborhood. this is a diagram which shows the existing site conditions with the existing library and
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location of the children's playground at the busy intersection of greenwich and columbus, and the tennis courts located at the center of the site at a distance of about eight feet below the children's playground. this shows the proposed phase one, which would include the construction of the new library, the closing of one block of mason street and the completion of the new park block. phase two would include future park improvements, including the new children's playgrounds, to be relocated at the center and heart of the site and also, the relocation of the tennis courts, so that the whole park block becomes connected and the library is now integrated into this new full park block. the 701 lombard site actually offers greatop