tv [untitled] July 18, 2013 2:00pm-2:31pm PDT
this is what we did about individual resources. [speaker not understood] implementation of the j chess and similar processes elsewhere in the city and beyond. so, the community first developed a list of important resources, 279 resource he they came to us with. and working with the community [speaker not understood] we rounded out that list by reviewing all available literature. ~ we now have a list of 318 resources that are considered important. that list has been on our website for sometime. just want to show you the mapping that we did. these maps come out of the j chess. compendium list of all the related -- so this one, the building structures. i don't want to show you the list of the final b tiny, but this is a list of what's in the j chess. organizations and institutions have been mapped in the neighborhood. the businesses obviously clustered around the mall, buchanan mall. and the cultural resource he and activities are focused on the malls themselves.
so, not only did we look at what resources there were, we developed a methodology for assessing their significance. to our knowledge this was the first time this had been done for cultural resources. our methodology was developed emulating the [speaker not understood]. we at the community, applied this methodology to the list. came up with about 100 resources that were considered significant. we developed compendium social heritage inventory form to document this information similar to what's done for buildings. all this information is available on our website. we shared this with you back in october. and because a lot of this work is precedent setting and technical, i don't want to go into much more detail now, but we would like to bring this back to you also to the hpc in the near future to talk about this work we've done around individual resources because we know a larger conversation of how this can be applied beyond japantown and the other neighborhoods. so, in addition to looking at what the resources were, we of course spent a lot of time thinking about what tools we could use to support those
resources. we hired [speaker not understood] consulting who organized and analyzed a list of potential tools that were known. we reviewed this list with the community and oewd to make sure it was thorough and accurate. all that information is on our website. most of the tools went up into j chess, others did not. impact fees which are common in other neighborhoods, there is no up zoning proposed in this neighborhood. so, it is impractical to impose impact fees here which could be used elsewhere. so, what went into the j chess is a list of 19 recommendations that we think we can address all of the areas of concern and fulfill all the goals and objectives of the strategy. this includes a lot of recommendations that are things that we're already doing and want to keep doing and a bunch of new things that will be done to the neighborhood. each recommendation in the j chess comes with a description, assessment of how it can again fit japantown, a look at the challenges to implementing the recommendation and who the [speaker not understood] recommending the next steps.
~ key leaders in recommending the next steps. let's go quickly through the recommendations. a list of strategies, utilize tools preserving [speaker not understood]. implement streetscape and pedestrian improvements for better streets plan, can do a lot of public realm improvements we want to see. transportation improvements, we have the geary brt bus transit, muni effectiveness, and sf park in the neighborhood or coming to the neighborhood that can help with connectivity. and marketable neighborhood through s.f. travel. we think s.f. travel could benefit from [speaker not understood] or j chess could be featured in. the next set of recommendations, japantown [speaker not understood].
some of you i know are pretty familiar with these. cdcs exist already in little tokyo in los angeles and chinatown in san francisco among other places. they can provide a wide range of services like owning real estate, technical support, social services, advocacy for the neighborhood. address a wide range of concerns and i think of all of the recommendations the j chess creating a community development corporation stands out as being the most efficacious in japantown. of course, this is not something that the city can do. the community has to do this for itself and [speaker not understood] a lot of blood sweat and money to fulfill. the next recommendation can create a land trust which is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to acquire or [speaker not understood] the target of properties. community land trust can own the spaces that important businesses or institutions can be in.
implement invest in neighborhoods. the purpose is to foster job creation, economic development and neighborhood commercial districts by strategically coordinating and deploying existing city program from the cost of much needed departments. i know you're getting a presentation on this next week so i'm not going to go into too much detail. dee anna will speak about investing in neighborhoods. the timing for japantown is perfect just as invest in neighborhoods is ramping up to do implementation just exactly when we know exactly what we want them to do. next we'll negotiate [speaker not understood] agreements with major new developments. this one is pretty straightforward. we can do community benefits agreements with the city or development agreements between the community and the developer and the city. community benefits districts are widely used tool that can public private partnership that can help support maintenance and safety, streetscape improvements, et cetera. everyone at japantown mello-roos [speaker not understood].
the final batch is to look at one of the utilized funds for [speaker not understood] the arts. we have the hotel tax and that money spent to support arts groups throughout san francisco. small amount of money to go to cherry blossom festival, but this is something the community can better capture for their arts programs. the garage gets in a lot of money from parking and a lot of money goes back into capital improvements in the garage but there is opportunity for the lease to be renegotiated such that that money can be spent to increase what people going to the garage, and that way that money can be spent on improving the neighborhood or more marketing. create japantown neighborhood commercial districts. this is something we would like to come back to in september to propose. [speaker not understood] already done in fillmore and divisadero, give the ability to fine tune the use these go on in the neighborhood. right now it's nct and nc3. it's very generic in japantown.
we've met with [speaker not understood] and have initial support. that's one of the initial implementation actions the planning department is in charge of and we'd like to take that up in separate. ~ september city design guidelines is good, but there is something about unique opportunities in japantown and we want to create special guidelines for this neighborhood. improvements to peace plaza. this is already the cultural heart of the neighborhood. we think we can work with rec/park and the community to make improvements. similar to buchanan mall, but we'll be working with public works. and finally develop a strategic plan for the japantown center mall. this is the heart of the neighborhood and yet we have a property owner who we have had difficulty engaging with and we want to make a serious commitment between the city and the community and with the property owner to think about how we can create a win/win scenario where we can increase business by opening it up onto geary, by opening up at the plaza, by signage, lighting, et
cetera, whatever we can do to help them and help the businesses they're in. the final thing we did with all these recommendations and there is a concern was layer the two together and look to see systematically, okay, how can we address one. it's in the j chess. he you don't need to read the details. ~ more conceptually, the roads, concerns, columns we have in implementation tools, let's look and see how these two match up. at the end of the day the take away was if we implement all these tools, we'll be doing really well for japantown. we will address all the areas of concern. we'll be able to address all the goals and objectives. but there's no single one implementation action that can address everything. or the community development corporation gets close. , and so, that's kind of our guide to implementing this. and each implementation action has -- its own course. i don't know if we can prioritize them start thinking
individually about what can happen [speaker not understood]. [speaker not understood] a lot of them are only implemented by the community, community development corporation, community development land trust. [speaker not understood], that direct the city to do stuff. this is a collaborative effort and this is collaborative recommendations. i'd like to, speaking of the community, [speaker not understood], come to you and speak about the community's perspective on this [speaker not understood]. thank you. >> thank you, steve. contrary to popular belief and recent e-mails, i'm here and not in manila. [laughter] >> president fong, commissioners, director ram, good afternoon. i am bob hamaguchi member of the japantown organizing committee. let me begin by saying this strategy document could not have been possible without the commit and had generous support of this commission. ~ committed and
and the patience and diligence of director ram and his planning staff. we are grateful and appreciate the hard work of the several senior planners that have worked with us over the years, including ken rich, paul lord, and shelly [speaker not understood]. and special thanks to our most recent senior planner who has obviously done a great job, steve wertheim. on behalf of the community, thank you all. i am here to give you a brief rundown on the community participation and outreach efforts of the organizing committee. as you know, we have been planning in japantown for over 13 years. this is the third version of a plan to save the culture heritage and identity of this neighborhood. still, we do not have a document adopted or endorsed by the city. the bnp started in 2007, as steve mentioned and in 2009 was sent back to the community to
work with the planning department for further refinement. since then we have completed this jches. over the years we have conducted way too many community meetings, focus groups and outreach to stakeholders. since february alone we have conducted one community meeting and outreached to 30 community organizations, property owner, merchant, and resident groups. during march, april and may, we gathered recommendations for changes which have been incorporated in the document before you today. in the coming weeks we will give the community time to review and digest the final document. if all goes well, we'll be back here in september for various endorsement actions of jches. over such a long period of time, there are going to be a change in people involved and differing opinions about the
recommendations are expected. however, it is good to hear from all these meetings over 13 years of division and goals, have largely been unchanged and the support for such a document such as jches is needed to sustain and perpetuate japantown. jches is a synthesis of the feedback we've received from the community and we look forward to its implementation. thank you. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is dee anna ponce de leon and from [speaker not understood] and i'm here to [speaker not understood]. you'll receive a more thorough presentation next week, but i want to provide an overview of the initiative and how it relates to the jches and
japantown. so, invest in neighborhoods is part of mayor lee's 17 points job plan for -- and economic opportunity plan. it's focused on providing custom wide services to neighborhood commercial districts and recognizes the commercial -- neighborhood commercial districts are key to the economic prosperity of the city and of the well-being of neighborhoods. the first phase is focusing on piloting in 25 neighborhoods, of which japantown is one of them. they are located all over san francisco in different districts. and part of the initiative's goals are to produce quantifiable economic outcome, improve the quality of life and the environment of the neighborhoods, and increase social capital. and it really provides a framework for the deployment of already existing resource he and services while bringing some new ones to the table.
and it's also meant to facilitate across departmental as well as community relationships on the ground and it's really meant to be a neighborhood-led process. that's where we would begin from. so, the vision invest in neighborhoods is that san francisco's neighborhood commercial district will be economically thriving, safe, resilient, sustainable and meet the need of local residents. this falls in line very well with what the goals of the jches are, that japantown will thrive as culturally rich authentic and [speaker not understood] neighborhood which will serve as the heart of japanese and japanese american communities for generations to come. so, that merges sort of the neighborhood's vision with the vision of economic development and prosperity and vibrancy.
so, the program, the initiative has three program elements of which i will cover briefly. the first one that our neighborhoods will receive are baseline services that includes a point of contact when the mayor's office, in this case for japantown it is myself. it also has a designated job squad team person. the job squad team person is to work in coordination with the neighborhood to outreach to businesses and be on the ground to collect input and engage what their needs are. in addition, with the initiative we've created vacancies are a very big concern in these neighborhoods and occupying those vacancies is a top priority. so, there is a website we developed call store front sf where all the vacancies that are tracked by our job squad members and community members are listed on there free of
charge and anybody is free to look at what [speaker not understood] are available. if a business wants to start up, it can look all around san francisco in our neighborhoods and look to potentially relocate in those areas. we also have available grants for local projects that come out of the process that communities prioritize as well as community capacity building is a big part of this program where we want the priorities to come from the neighborhood and we want to engage in the process of implementing these projects. in addition, we are, in coordination with the planning department and with our partners [speaker not understood] and other agencies, we've come up with neighborhood profiles for each of these neighborhoods which includes commercial data, demographic data, and also [speaker not understood] opportunities for each of these neighborhoods. and i will show you an example of what that looks like on the next slide.
so, once we have -- we have baseline services that we provide immediately to all of these neighborhoods, then we have a profile that will help us in approaching the neighborhood and providing some data and guidance. then we work with the neighborhood to develop a customized service plan of projects or priorities of things that they want to move forward in working on and creating an economically vibrant corridor. some of those may be physical improvements. some of them might include public space activation, targeted business attraction and direct services to businesses as well as looking at other major concerns such as public safety. japantown will provide complete -- we are in the process of updating the map for it to be posted online. but what we have found, these are just some high level highlights that of course the
high-level community engagement in jches is demonstration of that. there is no [speaker not understood] vacancy, 2% is very low. i think it's probably one of the lowest in any of our corridors. 30% of the japantown store fronts are eating and drinking establishments. and the [speaker not understood] captured in the district from 2006 to 2012 was 20%. for the city, that was 17%. so, it was actually higher in japantown than the city's overall. so, where does this merge with the j chess? one of the recommended strategies steve pointed out it was the implementation of investing neighborhoods. it's really interesting because actually our goal is to then take the data that implements some of those strategies. so, really invest in neighborhoods is meant to be seen as an implementation tool for the j chess because that's a huge community process and that is one of the goals of our program, that the prioritizing
comes from the neighborhood. so, in a sense the timing has been perfect for us because we're seeing that process take place and it has taken place. so, now we're ready to work with the community alongside of them and look at their areas of concern and work on projects and taking them through those projects and working together, looking at partnerships that can be formed, available funding, [speaker not understood] that can be brought together to support the j chess. and the next slide just briefly, i'm going to show an example of what a potential project might look like based on the j chess and it will focus on attractiveness of the shopping district as being a priority in our economic development strategy. ~ and in the public realm. so, for example, one of the recommendations and one of the top areas of concern was the peace plaza buchanan mall as steve mentioned, [speaker not understood] are not working. we would take a project like
that and then again to dissect it and make sure one of the community that is the priority project look at funds, look at long-term, medium term, and short-term type projects and interventions. look at the challenges and really seek what the opportunities are. so, that's what we would be doing with each of these areas of concern and prioritizing projects in collaboration with the community to really come up with a plan to implement each of these individual projects. and thank you. that's it for my presentation. >> thank you. we might have questions later. are there any other staff presentations? >> i have one speaker card, is that right, for this item? ~ all right, i'll call the one i have. hiroshi fakuda.
good afternoon. my name is hiroshi fakuda and i am the job representative to the j chess program, [speaker not understood] japanese merge [speaker not understood] federation. first i want to thank the planning commission because it was with your comments that returned the program, the original bnp back to the community. so, that, i'm really grateful for that. and secondly, thank director ram who has been very understanding, for this very long process. he said he wanted to start in 18 months or [speaker not understood] this dragged on as always. also i want to thank, most of all, paul lord because he changed the direction of our plan. for that we're grateful and also to steve wirtheim who took
over and also to shelly [speaker not understood]. and there is no bnp development plan which was very -- to us, to many people in the community, we thought it was going to be the end of japantown because it involved demolition of japantown center garage which would have shut down the center garage for many, many years, which would have cut business or [speaker not understood] out of business. and japantown would have been probably -- evolved into an international town. as you know, japantown san francisco is only one of three in the whole country. historically -- i was born in japantown and i spent most of my life in japantown except when i traveled, not by choice.
we were sent to topaz camp, concentration camp and crystal city department of justice camp 1987. when we started school, i skipped kindergarten. [speaker not understood]. but now -- so, after that, it was redevelopment. and that was really disastrous. not only the japantown community, but the african-american community. the historic two communities that now after all these years we do see a future. so, i think the future for us looks brighter. so, for that i'm thankful to the commission and to the planning department. thank you. >> thank you. let me call a few more names. arnold townsend. robert sakai. greg [speaker not understood]. paul warmer.
alex [speaker not understood]. karen kai. and rose hillson. thank you, president, commissioners. arnold townsend. i just want to call to one support the effort that is occurring in japantown, to thank dave hamaguchi to thank the community and staff. i'm really impressed at how staff actually took a lot of direction from the community. i haven't seen that happen a lot over the years. so, i was really impressed. i think that has a lot to do with this particular committee. i was a member -- i wasn't able to attend as often as i'd like because it just so happened the meetings occurred on the same night that my commission meetings occurred on which i was a member of 12 years. but i was involved, mr. hamaguchi kept me very much informed.
got a chance to respond to e-mails and there were a lot of e-mails and continues to be a lot of e-mails. i will be able to be a little more active in the meetings now, but i was pretty active in that. and one of the things i want to thank this committee for is they immediately recognized and honored the long-term relationship between japantown and the african-american community, which has been a long, healthy partnership. and i think people -- most of you younger folk don't realize that these two communities are more segregated since redevelopment than they ever were before and in actuality. you know, all my friends who grew up in japantown, when you ask them where they were from, they said fillmore. now, they were from japantown, too. everybody -- but everybody from japantown was it from fillmore
and not everybody from fillmore was from japantown. everybody recognized that. businesses were next to each ooh african-american businesses, for you young people we actually used to have them in san francisco. they were next door to japanese businesses. and, so, it wasn't this delineation that you see now. and they recognized that and recognized that there was a long-standing and healthy relationship and they continued to. final thing i want to tell you, as you prepare to think about this -- not going to make the arguments now. we'll make them more so in september. be very careful of formula retail. i want to tell you real quick. formula retail stores hire plaque people. our neighborhood wonderful boutiques that you go in, think about the ones you go in the neighborhood coffee shops that are not chains, and think about how many black people you see in them. and why that doesn't bother people in this town, i don't know. but think about it. i was in itsibankan because they have stuff i like. there was a young black woman
working in there. i just went to starbucks, two young women working at fox plaza. you don't see it in other places in those neighborhood shops. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. good afternoon, commissioners. thank you. my name is robert sakai and my family has lived, worked, and run a business in -- the current japantown since it started forming itself in 1906. and up until couple years ago i ran the family market which, when i closed, it had run about 105 years. i am still a property owner in japantown and as such i've been involved in a lot of things. i'm on the board of directors for the new hamachi parking corporation which obviously is a parking lot in japantown. i'm also on the board of directors [speaker not understood] for northern california which is one of the neighborhood organizations. and, so, i'm involved in japantown. i got involved with the
japantown organizing committee, which i joined, because i am concerned about the future of japantown. and i think that this document which is being presented to you i think is a good tool for us in the community to help control our destiny and help make japantown a strong place that will exist for a while. i'd like to thank you for your consideration and hopefully you will see a way to endorsing this plan. thank you. >> thank you. good afternoon, commissioners. i'm grateful for addressing you today. my name is greg gloria. i work for the japantown task force. i'm a community aide. i am currently working on the outreach plan of the j chess, reaching out to the communities, planning the meetings and doing actually informational displays at cherry blossom festival as well
as the national japanese american historical society which is running right now. so, as you know, cultural heritage preservation and economic sustainability is very difficult, but i think the j chess has the elements we need to implement to make that happen at japantown. and i hope that, you know, with all the comments that we got back, we logged them diligently and they have been all very positive and supportive. so, like to urge you guys -- the panel here to read through this and support our initiative as we come back in september. thank you very much. >> thank you. good afternoon, commissioners. my name is paul warmer and i must say as a neighborhood busy body, i find it always
difficult to come in and actually have to support something wholeheartedly. and i think this plan is absolutely worth supporting wholeheartedly. when the bnp plan was drafted and proposed, with the proposal to tear down the japantown japan center and renovate it, renovate the area, they completely missed the fact that by the demolishing of the japan center and the disruption in traffic and parking, it would have destroyed japantown. that was one of the real core concerns of the community. what i find very valuable is that the vision, the objectives and the goals have remained constant from what was planned at the beginning of the bnp to how the j chess rolled out. and it makes