tv [untitled] May 10, 2011 10:30pm-11:00pm PDT
the certification by the planning commission of the 2004, 2009 housing elements and item 15 is a motion directing the preparation of findings reversing the certification by the planning commission. president chiu: colleagues, we have in front of us an appeal for the final environmental impact report for the 2004 and 2009 housing elements. for this hearing, we will hear and consider the adequacy, accuracy, sufficiency and completeness of the final e.i.r. of which we all have copies. today's procedure will be as follows. we'll first hear from the appellant who will have up to 10 minutes to describe the grounds for the appeal. we'll then take public comment from individuals that wish to speak on behalf of the appellant. each speaker shall have up to two minutes. we'll then hear from the planning department who will have up to 10 minutes to describe the grounds for the certification of the final e.i.r. and then we'll hear from individuals that want to speak in support of the e.i.r., each speaker shall have up to two minutes to present. finally, the appellant shall have up to three minutes for
rebuttal. colleagues, unless is objection to proceeding in this way, why don't we open up the hearing. let me ask if there's a representative from the appellant who wants to start the presentation. >> thank you, president chiu and members of the board. i'm kathryn devincenzi, attorney representing the 13 neighborhood organizations who are members of san franciscans for livable neighborhoods. the city was ordered to prepare this e.i.r. by the court of appeal. when the city approved the first increased density reduced parking amendments to the housing elements of the general plan without full environmental review in 2004. the court enjoined the city from implementing the changes in policies and until the city fully complied with ceqa, permitted the city to rely on the unchanged policies that were carried forward from the 1990 residence element into the 2004 element. the enjoined changes included max miization of densities, reduced or eliminated parking requirements, creatively
addressing open space requirements, floor-to-area ratio exemptions and concentration of housing in neighborhood commercial areas. an adequate e.i.r. must describe a reasonable range of alternatives which can lessen or avoid impacts. in this e.i.r. fails to do so. it considers a no project alternative which is continued reliance on the 1990 element. alternative b is the 2004 element without the changes in policies that were struck down by court. thus, the policies that are left in b are those that are carried forward unchanged from the 1990. so b is substantially the same as a, carrying forward 1990 policies. alternative c is an intensified version of the 2009 element that would make the effects worse by requiring development to full allowable building envelope and grand administrative exemptions over the counter for required parking spaces in rh2 districts or greater.
since c would aggressively promote more growth and increase density, it would not lessen effects. under ceqa, an e.i.r. should consider a reduced growth alternative if it would meet most of the objectives of the project and avoid or lessen any effects. residents proposed three variants of reduced growth which the board refused to rexinize. the 11 area plans approved provide capacity for 39,600 units and the newly proposed ones for an additional 18,200 for a total of 57,800. appellants propose that the city consider the alternative of no additional area plans in rezoning since the e.i.r. admits that the units already in the pipeline anticipated to be developed total 25,000 units more than the city's chair of the 31,000 new unit regional housing needs allocation for
this planning period 2007 to 2014 so they're already in excess without more area plans. the proposed increased capacity for the period up to 2014 is accepted and reducing it would reduce the impact of transit services needed to serve the residents of the new units, an impact which the e.i.r. admits is significant. another alternative suggested is that the city seek to achieve a number and distribution of units that would meet but not exceed the housing allocation by income category. the city has fallen shortest in its production of middle class housing, producing only 12% of its goal for that from 1999 to 2009 but producing 156% of the market rate goal, 80% of the very low and 52% of the low. the city refused to consider an alternative to reduce the excessive market rate housing being produced and produce more middle class housing. the planning commission unlawfully approved the project because it failed to make a finding that there's no feasible
alternative that would reduce the significant impact on transit and ceqa prohibits approval of projects with adverse environmental impacts if there are viable alternatives, then substantial changes were made to the element after the public period to the e.i.r. closing august 2010. policy encouraged new housing that relies on transit in areas well served by transportation infrastructure including b.a.r.t. trains and muni light rail trains and said changes would occur through a neighborhood supported community planning process. language referring to community bus lines was removed from that version. after environmental review, the february 2011 draft greatly broadened the areas where housing would be encouraged to include the areas along the muni bus lines not just infrastructure and these run throughout city neighborhoods in
policy 1.10. this expansion is unnecessary because the element admits that the plan areas learned have significantly more capacity than needed to satisfy the allocation for this period. the areas served by these major bus lines outside the plan areas have not had any planning proxies or been notified in the e.i.r. that their areas might be at risk. the addition of these areas would make the project significant impact on transit services substantially more severe because transit services would have to be enhanced and increased in many more areas of the city and eliminating this change is an alternative that would reduce the severity of the effect on transit. also the policy for neighborhood supported zoning changes was changessed to community based planning process making the changes more likely. the language subjected to environmental review also stated that in rh1 and two areas, density limits should be maintained to protect neighborhood character but this was changed to say that only existing height and bulk patterns should be maintained in these areas.
this change provides policy basis for eliminating the objective 1 and 2 density limits for rh1 and 2 districts and would substantially degrade the quality of hr1 and 2 districts. it is irrelevant that the zoning hasn't been changed to meet this policy because consistency in the individual projects and the zoning with the general plan must be determined based on this new language and the city recently tolds abag it could accommodate 17,000 units of small scale in fill outside the plan areas through secondary units or a house turned into a duplex. the e.i.r. used erroneous standards to minimize effects. iterates as insignificant the population growth asserting that impacts would only occur if new housing would generate more residents than planned for by abag projections. you don't get a free pass on the first 31,000 units. e.i.r. improrm uses the abag
target as a bale against which environmental effects are assessed rather than existing population and these claims are contradicted by the city's water supply which states that under abag's growth principles, higher density growth will be focused in san francisco and its population is expected to increase by 17% by 2030 and these effects cause vehicle miles traveled to go up because people still have cars which increases particulate emissions from autos so there are localized effects from this policy. further, an objective of the 2009 housing element is to support sustainable regional housing and environmental goals and the 2009 element contains a new policy 13.1 supporting smart regional growth, 13.3 that promotes sustainable land use patterns in order to increase transit and limit the need for a private car. however, the e.i.r. fails to analyze the effects of implementing these new policies
which are clearly intended to support the sustainable community policy promulgated by abag to aggressively encourage new housing development in priority development areas and even though this planning process is currently in effect the city already applied to abag in 2007 to designate many areas as priority development areas and that designation was approved so regardless of whether you support concentration of population in san francisco, a 17% or greater population increase here is concomitant significant impact on traffic congestion, particulate emission and noise, you have to agree that providing the controlling general plan policy basis for this kind and amount of increased density construction is a huge step and you should not blithely approve the policy basis for this experiment without complete environmental review of the can consequences. the e.i.r. inadquattles analyzed and minimized impacts and failed
to consider reasonable alternatives that would reduce it is significant transit impact, population impact and other impacts. you have a choice to correct these fatal deficiencies now and urge you on behalf of our beautiful and unique city neighborhoods to reverse certification of the e.i.r. so that the 2009 element may be reconsidered by the planning commission after complete and accurate information required by ceqa is provided to the decision maker. also, according to a march san francisco p.u.c. memo, the system has a newly projected shortfall of available water supply of 7.4 million gallons a day due to new requirements of reducing more water into streams to protect fish habitat and new water treatment facilities will probably be needed to address the shortage. this is a new significant impact not discussed in the e.i.r. in addition, the e.i.r. also rates as insignificant the impact on existing character of the vicinity repeating as before that the 2000 element would not
itself change allowable land uses or increase allow believe building height or bulk. the court of appeal clearly stated that although it may be technically true that the element is not linked to any rezoning, it's not a vague policy document, it identifies areas for potential development and development strategies to incentivize development. thank you very much. [bell] president chiu: thank you. colleagues, any questions to the appellant? o.k. seeing none at this time why don't -- supervisor wiener? commissioner wiener: thank you. thank you for your presentation today. i guess my question to you is, given what we know about what's happening in our region, that we do have a growing population, that we have had a major, major problem for decades with sprawl, people just moving further and further and further out and covering up green space with cement and having to drive and
having no access to any kind of public transportation, and so we create more and more greenhouse gases and it's just a bad spiral and we see it all over the u.s. but we do see it in the bay area and given that san francisco, among other jurisdictions, is an urban area, that does compare to other places have good access to public transportation, and a lot of us do believe that it can be appropriate for san francisco, not just san francisco, for other parts of the bay area that we think it's important to plan for future population growth and we know that there will be population growth here and elsewhere and we need to plan for it by anticipating housing production. so, are you suggesting that there should not be housing growth?
in san francisco to accommodate the increasing population that we know is going to come? >> first of all, if you look at the peninsula, which is served by b.a.r.t. and cal train, they are resisting this strategy and they could take quite a bit more density and also a lot of this new housing here is serving the reverse commute to silicon valley because we're not the only job center so the question is, is this policy right to concentrate all this population in san francisco and not the suburbs? we think that it's flawed and that in fact people are driving to silicon valley for jobs and that about 50% of this growth is going to serve that and it won't, in fact, decrease the greenhouse gas emissions. but in any event, even if you reduce greenhouse gas, you increase localized particulate matter, traffic, noise and congestion in the urban core so these are environmental impacts and under ceqa, you have no right to approve a plan if there's a way to mitigate or
avoid an impact and this e.i.r. downplayed and minimized and inaccurately did that and san francisco deserves full environmental review, full alternative analysis and full mitigation because there may be ways to minimize this, in fact. commissioner wiener: and i agree that the peninsula should absorb more population and these fights happen everywhere and if at some point the people have to go somewhere and if the peninsula is resisting it and the east bay is resisting it and san francisco is resisting it, the question is where would people go and that's my fundamental question in reading all of the appellant's submissions. the other question i have is, in terms of what's been referred to as density equity in san francisco, we have certain parts of the city including my district that are slated under for example the market octavia plan to absorb a significant amount of population. there are other parts of the
city where that's not the case and i'm curious to know if you have any views on the concept of density equity within san francisco in terms of some parts of the city accepting density while other parts maybe don't and how that play into this whole question. >> well, supervisor, first answer your question about the suburbs, the abag policy is now to concentrate population in the three urban centers of san francisco, oakland and san jose, rather than have an equitable distribution along, you know, the transit that serves the suburbs so we do disagree with that and we think that, in fact, especially the silicon valley areas which have seen job growth should take more density. another thing, these plans are all based on projections. they're projecting a 30% increase in employment in san francisco. we think the projections that are at the basis of this are inflated and we do dispute them and as to density equity, all the areas that had area plans
had planning proxies and people got some notice of what was coming and they got to state their views on it and here, this other part of the city, it's not even notified in the e.i.r. that they're going to densify along bus lines, essentially has the rug pulled out from under it in the last-minute changes and they're told they're going to densify in these areas and it turns out the city has identified these areas as priority development areas and all priority development areas will achieve densification along bus lines and the abag strategy, even if it's just a growth opportunity area along a bus line, there may be an opportunity for some funding. so i think that the first equity has to come in a planning process. you shouldn't have people surprised like this. you know, the lack of notice is one of the greatest defects in this e.i.r. and, also, there are different areas of the city. the downtown is slated for a lot of density and each area is different. the residential parts of town in
the west are not blighted. essentially, i'm sure the appellants don't oppose density in an area where you can plan for density, in an area that's vacant or undeveloped, you can design a neighborhood from the ground up to accommodate increased density. but when you take increased density and try to impose it on a neighborhood that already has an acquired character such as a one-level feel, a lot of gardens, instead you have, you want to start putting in in-fill with taller buildings, you're going to create a lot of adverse effects that are visual and mar the quality of the area and it's not necessary to do it. it's different between a residential and a downtown area or a transitional area and every area has to be weighed, is the answer. commissioner wiener: thank you. president chiu: colleagues, any other questions? o.k.
seeing none at this time, why don't i ask if there are members of the public that wish to speak in support of the appellant. if you could line up in the center aisle and every member of the public shall have two minutes and i'll ask our clerk if we have any speaker cards. first speaker, please. >> my name is dave bisho, for the last 14 years i've been president of westwood highlands homeowner's association and served as president of the west of twin peeks central council for five terms. before that, i was vice president and president of the mar loma park improvement club. the 2009 housing element is the latest developer created policy document, huge document, lots of words, clever language, that does the same thing as always, increases congestion, removes parking and will result in chasing even more families in the middle class out of the city.
fewer kids and fewer families is death to a city. the e.i.r. that covers the housing element offers one scenario which is manhattannization and no alternatives. bad enough, but what is absolutely unacceptable is that after this e.i.r. was completed, so-called draft three revisions were inserted. i'll mention two of the revisions. one revision desiginateses the main stakeholder in the neighborhood planning division to some so-called broad term community, whatever that is, and there by diminishes the disirs of the neighbors and the actual neighborhood being discussed. another revision throws out 100 years of time honored planning commission designation such as rh1 and rh2 and redefines neighborhood character by height and bulk and no longer by density. no more single family zoning protection in san francisco, no more protection of legally binding arrangements or ccnr's between homeowners and their
homeowner associations. the significance of just thesetwo third draft revisions are huge and the effects haven't been addressed in the e.i.r. because the planning commission dropped them in three weeks ago after the e.i.r. was complete. this is deception and fraudulent. and i can't believe the planning commission approved it even after it was repeatedly brought to their attention. the housing element is not good for san francisco or any city unless it's manhattan and the e.i.r. is inadequate for a number of reasons. please return the housing element to the planning commission with instructions to at least -- [bell] president chiu: thank you very much. thank you, next speaker. >> patricia voy, marina holland neighbors and merchants. supervisor wiener, the superior to this is that we live in the united states and they're denying the public the right of process. that's number one. number two, this housing element
does not take in tourism. it just does not take in the value of tourism. people can look across from sas leto and see the waterfront and the bay. we're going to lose this beautiful city without proper planning. it is the plan, the housing element, also does not take into consideration middle income people. it was planned by the previous mayoral office for high-end. it was put together by developers. the advisory committee almost made me sick. i really think that this thing should be sent back. i think it should be reworked and i think it should have a across-the-board committee and not just predominantly builders.
this particular plan was tried to be put through in 1976, just under another auspices and that's how we got prop m. the citizens are going to speak up and they're going to speak up loud and clearly that they're being left out and this is why i am so much on my bandwagon because right now people are being denied their rights of the codes as it is with this planning department. they're being denied the rights of light and air and what they say, build wall to wall. we're not there yet. this plan is bad. it's bad for the economics of the city, the quality of life of the citizens and it's -- i think it's targeting -- [bell] president chiu: thank you very much. next speaker? >> thank you. president chiu and members of the board of supervisors, my
name is jeff wood. i'm a board member of the cal hollow association and i'm here against the housing element that was passed by the planning commission. the new housing element which establishes really policy, important policy for the city, it's not something that -- it's something that's very important and i ask all of you to really think hard about this because, for example, the city has just passed -- or is talking about passing tax laws to attract young tech companies with employees who want to live and work in san francisco, and then when they get older and start to form families, and they want neighborhoods, they want yard space, they want lower density
and good schools, we're going to have policies in place that have destroyed these very features that they're looking for. i maintain that these policies that throw an overlay of higher density buildings on single family and duplex neighborhoods is really a mistake. i'm hoping that the board will reconsider what the planning commission has done. i know there are ways to get the kind of wording so that planning is happy and the single-family neighborhoods are happy. i just think that you can't -- you have to do it properly, though. you have to give the public --
[bell] thank you. president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> my name is ann harvey. i live. president chiu: pull your microphone closer. >> i live in cal hollow near union street by the 45 bus line. my husband and i have owned a home there for 23 years. i'm there in his behalf. he's a tenured professor for 40 years at the university of san francisco. i've always talked to my sons. one son's a fourth year medical student at university of california, spent his time today talking about this, as well as my other son who lives with us and is right now overseas on a federally sponsored graduate fellowship from morocco. we've lived in san francisco since 1978. we've lived in two-unit buildings, we lived for 10 years in the western division in a
highrise. i know the city well. we loved our place in the western edition. it was a 60-unit complex, i was on the board. we moved, i brought my father out, a disabled veteran, not enough room there. that time, our sons were born here, we had a choice of moving. we looked outside the city. we were thinking of moving up to marin county to have more space and we discovered cal hollow. we bought our home there because it gave us the choice, that's what the beauty of cal hollow is, we have a choice in the city of different neighborhoods. for a time period, that was western edition highrise was perfect for us but then with a family you have another choice and what's the beauty of san francisco is we have a real neighborhood, a real neighborhood in cal hollow. san francisco, to my mind, is like a series of little villages and no village is better than the other. i don't think calbetter than ths
or better than any other place. [bell] president chiu: thank you very much. next speaker. >> my name is susan land, and i am speaking in favor of the appeal. i also sincerely hope that the board of supervisors will agree to the need to return those areas to mostly single-family homes to the original rh-1, rh-2 plan. i have lived here for years. it is difficult.
there were always owners who wanted to have variance is to increase heights, bill dix, use open space, and affect the sidewalks, even though it impacted on the quality of lives of people on the street. there are a sad stories, but time does not permit. will happen to my neighborhood with the new plan? how many mega mansions, like the one on the corner of broadway and divisidero? the high wall areas and jut out from the set back line of the adjacent houses. down the divisidero side of the property, they have built planter boxes 8 feet with the property line. it is 4 feet high.
there is a sign on one planter box reading, "private property. do not sit." how inviting, neighbor. with the current rh-1 and rh-2 plan in place. [bell] thank you. president chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> good afternoon. i would like to ask for your request -- i started on a point in case i do not get to it, so i urge you to please reverse the eir of the draft of the 2009 housing element. please send it back to housing because it was in adequately analyzed with in fact and fail to go a reasonable alternatives korea