tv [untitled] June 17, 2013 1:30pm-2:01pm PDT
>> we're just waiting for sfgtv to start broadcasting. welcome back to the land use and economic development committee of the san francisco board of supervisors. we heard item number 1 at 9:00 a.m. this morning and then went into recess when we completed that item. so, we are now reconvening. i am squalor the chairman of the committee. to my right is supervisor jane kim, the committee vice-chair. to my left is supervisor david chiu, a member of the committee. our clerk is alisa miller. so, madam clerk, can you please call item number 2, 3, and 4 together?
>> item number 2, ordinance amending administrative code, chapter 31, to reflect revisions in the california environmental quality act and to update and clarify certain procedures provided for in chapter 31, including without limitation: codifying procedures for appeals of exemptions and negative declarations; revising noticing procedures for environmental impact reports and negative declarations for plan area projects exceeding 20 acres; expanding noticing requirements for certain exempt projects; clarifying existing noticing requirements for exempt projects; and making environmental findings. >> thank you very much, madam clerk. i'm the author of item number 2. supervisor kim is the lead author of items 3 and 4. ~ back in november last year i introduced legislation to establish for the first time clear statutory procedures, including a clear deadline for appeals to the board of supervisors under the california environmental quality act, ceqa, relating to categorical exemptions and negative declarations. approximately 10 years ago the legislature amended ceqa to require that ceqa appeals be heard by an elected body. in san francisco's case that would be the board of
supervisors. we were never able to actually codify procedures to create such a process for categorical exemption and negative declaration appeals, which tend to be appeals of small to midsize projects. i am the fourth supervisor who has introduced legislation to establish these deadlines and so that we can move away from our very informal process that does not have clear deadlines in place. right now, if you are a proponent of a project, a home remodel, or a park project or affordable housing project, you really don't know what the deadline is to appeal to the board. if you're an opponent of the project, you don't know what the deadline is to appeal to the board. this is the opposite of good government. so, this is now the fourth
attempt, and i think we've made some good progress. as i indicated, i introduced the legislation last november. since then we have gone through an extraordinary amount of public process to try to make this legislation as good as it can be. this is -- we went and conferred before the hearing. this is the 11th public hearing on my legislation. the sixth hearing at the land use and economic committee, plus three hearings at the historic preservation commission, plus two hearings at the planning commission. both the historic preservation commission and the planning commission have recommended that the board of supervisors adopt my legislation. in addition to these formal hearings, we have engaged -- i've engaged in extraordinary community outreach. and i want to really thank my legislative aid andres power for spending an inordinary at amount of time to make sure we are doing good outreach.
we have conducted three large round table meetings with both supporters and opponents of the legislation to talk through different issues, answer questions, and try to come to consensus whenever possible. we've also conducted a number of smaller meetings with individual groups or groups of stakeholders with specific concerns. through that process, i myself have offered and we have incorporated dozens of amendments to clarify items to make some positive changes. and i think the legislation is the better for it. in addition, over the course of the previous five hearings, president chiu has offered a number of amendments which i have accepted and i think they've been positive amendments. this has been a very collaborative process. and, so, here we are today. and i will also note that nearly 30 transit neighborhood
parka fordable housing, labor, and good government organizations ~ diverse as mercy housing and the housing action coalition and spur and san francisco bicycle coalition and walk san francisco and the san francisco parks alliance, and the building and construction trades council, et cetera, have endorsed my legislation. so, with that, colleagues, we'll be hearing the item again today along with supervisor kim's legislation and i ask for your support. supervisor kim. >> thank you. so excited to have another discussion and hearing on this item. and i think that it goes to show just how important how we legislate processes just from the level engagement that we have had the past couple of months. and of course do want to recognize supervisor wiener and his office for the incredible amount of work that went into beginning this process. just want to reiterate some of
the main points. you know, both pieces of legislation have been moving closer to each other and are looking much more identical than when they started. and clearly they were two different perspectives of how we wanted to actually legislate a process for how we do ceqa appeals, particularly for exemptions and negative declarations as supervisor wiener had mentioned. i think there are still a couple of key points that i and many folks are supporting our piece of legislation, continue to hope that we'll ~ will stay in the final piece that comes out. actually, the most popular piece of our ordinance, and this is through attending many neighborhood association meetings, what i hear strongly over and owe again is the electronic notification piece. ~ over this is something that residents overwhelmingly like the concept of and would like planning department to institute. i've heard this from greater west portal. we heard this from south beach, rincon hill, mission bay. people want to know when projects are coming forward in
their neighborhoods and they'd like to pre-subscribe to a system so they can get an automatic e-mail when there are projects in their neighborhood or by type of project. so, this continues to be a key piece. we will work closely with members that are able to give this type of technical expertise to the planning department so they can institute a system like this, but it is something that continues to come up over and over again. second, and i believe that this is largely -- we've had so many iterations now of what happened with supervisor wiener's piece. but we do want to give historic preservation commission the ability to officially opine on e-i-rs [speaker not understood] historical resources. i know we had a number -- through discussion with planning we created a list of triggers by which they would mandate that hearing. i believe we are continuing to work with -- on that with supervisor wiener's legislation, but i know that that continues to be an important piece. we've also heard directly from hpc that they would like to officially be part of the process since we di ~ a process for them since they
created as a charter commission after the process was put in place. the last piece -- i'm sorry. the third piece which is important, although i believe it is largely now in both pieces of legislation, is an ability to, on the front end, assign planners and give a specific timeline for projects that are of public interest, 100% affordable housing projects and of course pedestrian safety projects and goes towards figuring out a way that on the front end we can help expedite that process because they are of great importance to the city. we've heard over and over again that process can slow down these very, very important projects. we wanted the ability to be able to assign a planner and create some deadlines for us to give decision on whether they are exempt or a negative declaration or full-blown e-i-r projects. the last piece, and i think this is one where we will be engaging the most in between now and when we finally go to the full board, is of course
how we handle modified projects that are categorically exempt. so, if there is a modification to that project, what is the process for us to determine whether that is a modification, either whether we enumerate what modifications are which i know can be challenging, but maybe can be generally done. so members of the public understand what a modification is and when we would determine there is a modification. and, of course, an opportunity for members of the public to be able to opine on whether that is a modification or not to our environmental review officer or the planning commission. so, i imagine that will be a piece of discussion point that we'll continue to have. but i also do want to thank -- we have been working with a wide variety of folks on this piece of legislation. so, i just want to recognize the neighborhood coalition which represent the number of neighborhood associations throughout san francisco that have been working on this with our office.
local 2, the sierra club, choo choo and others for giving so much guidance and of course also endorsing our legislation. i would be remiss not to recognize our co-intoctiontionvers on this legislation, supervisor campos, avalos, mar, and yee. great to have their endorsement of this legislation as well. ~ co-sponsors even though he is no longer here with our office, danny [speaker not understood] spent a great time on this legislation, with the planning department and our city attorney elaine warren who deserves a lot of recognition for the time she spent now on three difficult redthctionv types of ordinances. so, want to recognize those folks as well. >> thank you. president chiu. >> thank you, mr. chair. thank you, colleagues. and i want to thank everyone in this room who has been traveling on this very long and hard road on ceqa reform which i think reflects the challenges that our city faces around land use and our very deep civic engagement as a city to these issues. i want to take a moment and
appreciate supervisor wiener's leadership on this issue and your patience and to your point about it being the 11th hearing. i think we are finally in the 11th hour and it is my hope that very shortly we'll be able to resolve these matters. i also want to take a moment and thank all the members of the community who have worked with each of our three individual offices in trying to move this to a better place. obviously we have two competing ordinances in front of us, and what i have been trying to do in recent weeks and months is to pull what i think are some of the best ideas from supervisor kim's and the so-called community coalition's perspectives and offer them potentially as amendments to supervisor wiener's ordinance. what i'd like to do right now, given the work that's happened over the last couple weeks, i'd like to summarize potential future amendments to supervisor wiener's legislation that i think do reflect these ideas
because these conversations have been ongoing and because our poor deputy city attorney elaine warren has been drafting so much, we actually don't have the language ready for us here today. but what i would like to propose, colleagues, is i think we're pretty much there and i'm prepared at this time, once i go through those [speaker not understood] and we have a little bit of chance to talk about it, to hopefully pass both of these versions of the legislation out to the full board. my intention is to offer a set of amendments at the full board. it's likely that one of these issues will require a trailing piece of legislation that hpc and planning still need to weigh in on having to do with the review of potential modifications. but at this point given how many meetings we've had from my per spective, i think we have finally doth ento a place where we're ready to move forward. ~ so what i'd like to do is first take a moment and summarize the potential ceqa amendments that i support in concept at this time and obviously they still need to be drafted. let me just go through these areas, and there are a number
of them. the first has to do with the issue of the appeals trigger for negative declarations and e-i-rs, the versions both supervisors wiener and kim would change that. from my perspective, i think we need to maintain the current practice and allow for the appeals trigger to be the approval of these negative declarations or certifications for e-i-rs. second issue which has been a substantial issue i know raised by many has to do with the review or possible review of whether project changes constitute a modification. again, the understanding is if we're going to move from so-called last approval, first approval. if there are changes to the project, what would constitute a modification. i'm prepared to draft language that specifies this, specifies that language or modifications as agreed to by the planning department and to also stip that these modifications would trigger new environmental review and hence the possibility of a new appeal.
and in addition to that, we are drafting language that would allow ifer a public hearing with the environmental review officer on the day of a regularly scheduled planning commission meeting by a party that wants to object to a decision that a project change is not a modification. as part of this public hearing process, we want to have a very, very short time frame, potentially modeled on our discretionary review timelines. and then also to have at least in the first few years any reporting by planning on how many modifications have occurred in a particular year so we can modify whether there are a pattern of modifications that we need to address. third set of issues that supervisor kim had alluded to have to do with electronic posting and notification. i'm working on amendments that would continue to tie the operative date of the legislation to searchable geo coding posting of ceqa determinations. and then also to require that within three months of the
operative date of the legislation, the creation of a subscription based e-mail system would be required with categories that match the geo coded information in planning's existing database. fourth set of amendments would clarify the required content of exemption determinations to include project descriptions and approval actions and to not require a written determination that's separate from the exemption determination. fifth set of amendments address the priority many of us have around affordable housing and bike and pedestrian safety activities, and there is language that has been worked in -- worked out with the planning department and with community advocates in how we can prioritize these projects and describe that within the ceqa legislation. sixth set of amendments would deal with document submittals or late document submittals. it would maintain the deadline for appellant documents as 11 days before the hearing and
would allow the deadline of eight days from the response from planning. but it would also allow or add an allowance for a re-rebuttal by the appellant only on new issues up to three days in advance of the hearing. another set of amendments have to do with the timeline for scheduling appeals with the board of supervisors and stip the hearings before the board will be held a minimum of 21 daze subsequent to the appeal. there have been a lot of issues raised around the standard of fair argument. and we are looking into legally appropriate places where we can identify additional locations within the ordinance to add fair argument language. ~ and then the last set of amendments would be around hpc and planning timelines on draft e-i-r hearings to require 7 days between the hearing at the historic preservation commission and planning commission on draft e-i-rs except where this requirement would lengthen the draft e-i-r comment period.
now, there have been other issues that have been raised, other issues -- i want to clarify. there are a number of things at this time it i do not support. so, for example, there has been a suggestion that we add the modifications of buildings that are 50 years and older to mailed notifications of exemptions. from my perspective, i think this captures too many over the counter permits and i think that mail notice is not warranted and overly burdensome for these types of permits, especially given that we're increasing the exemption posting and notifications as laid out in the ordinance. there has also been the suggestion that we allow for the appealability of addenda, and i just don't agree that these need to be appealable because they're not new ceqa determinations and if we were to allow that, that would bring in the opportunity for projects that have already undergone appeals to be brought back to the board for nonsubstantive changes. and this has been particularly relevant when it comes to addendum to our bike plan. there has budget the suggestion that the length of the final e-i-r circulation should stay
at the ceqa requirement. the required publication of the final e-i-r should not be 14 days before certification. ceqa requires 10 days and i don't think we need to codify a longer time. there has been a suggestion that we need mailed notices for park cad x's. this ordinance also provides for substantial increase in notification about ceqa and other approvals on rec and park activities. and we all know that rec and park projects are subject to a very lengthy community process, unlike many privately sponsored projects. and then the last thing i would just mention is there was a suggestion that while we are suspending other project approvals, somehow historic landmarking approvals should be allowed while the appeal is pending. and i just think we need to be consistent as we suspend project approvals across the line. so, to summarize what i'd like to do, these are amendments that i plan to offer when this is next at the board which will
be in about a week plus. but from my perspective, i think we have reached, hopefully the end of the road here at land use, obviously we'd like to hear public comment, but i hoev that we might be able to move both of these items out and i do hope in a week or so we will be at a place where we'll be able to bring all parties together. and i want to thank everyone for your incredible patience, the amazing amount of work that's gone into this and advocacy, and hope that we are truly at the 11th hour and soon will be able to reach the end of the road on ceqa reform. >> thank you, president chiu. i just have a couple of questions. in terms of one of the -- in terms of specifying language around modifications, in terms of stiping the modification can trigger new environmental review, can you just clarify what you mean by that? >> sure thing. and, in fact,
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