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tv   [untitled]    May 7, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PDT

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on a discussion of how the city could streamline the overall ceqa process. supervisor weiner: we are on the same page on that one. chairperson mar: i know we have a number of department representatives. supervisor weiner: we have several other departments. we give planning quite a bit of time because that is sort of the heart of our preservation process. i would ask the remaining departments, if possible, to make your remarks in more of the 325 minute range. that would be terrific. mr. schumacher from the mayor's office of housing. >> i am perfectly suited for three to five minutes. that is the limit of my knowledge on all topics. i guess i want to just jump off where this started. i think the challenge and are
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facing is a complex process that is ceqa. in the case of federally funded affordable housing, what i came to talk about is how we need to understand our local decision making, whether it is in the creation of district or review, in light of how it interacts with those other processes. i think there are lots of things we could say about how effective inappropriate landmarking, surveying, and historic district creation is. but we also need to be cognizant of how it interacts with other systems, especially one that is clearly a very broken tool. one of the things i've heard coming up to this that i think will happen after this hearing is that we need to be cognizant and thoughtful -- if we know we are acting with a broken tool, how do we work together to fix the tool?
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that is the real culprit, and not just this aspect. that would be my request as we get through this. wherever we go, i think we have a very broken tool in ceqa and we need a lot of us to help fix that. these other processes interact with it in a way that is highly and healthy. -- on healthy -- unhealthy. ceqa has metastasized to the point that it no longer accomplishes its purpose in any meaningful way. it works counter-productive lee in a significant number of cases. in some cases, it works as it should. but there are incredible forces pulling it apart. how does this relate to historic preservation? the planning department has done a great job of explaining how it
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works broadly. i want to talk a little bit about affordable housing. i think most people would say there has been a long history of impressive preservation of historic resources that have been accomplished by and for affordable housing purposes. i see leon here from swords to plowshares, and one of the project i worked on was one of the oldest cottages in the city at 214 delores. if you don't like how it turned out, please don't tell me. tremendous work in the tenderloin and the mission with a single room occupancy hotels. there is a long list, i think, of obvious and impressive accomplishments of these two goals are working together. it is clear we do not have, in my mind, a conceptual problem with the concepts, but rather how does it work as it relates to cynically to different issues.
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. -- we have a clear and reasonable process in terms of how things unfold. the best example is that we struggle to try to figure out ways to meet historic preservation standards as relates to window replacement when we are forced to look at hand-milling windows to match the standards of the day. we wish we could replace windows in a more energy-efficient way in places like the tenderloin and places where we have beautiful tesoro -- sro's that do not reflect efficiency standards and that are leaking. that is a relatively circumscribed issue. the one i think is worthy of getting our heads around now is the issue of districts. not all affordable housing has
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federal funds in it. when it does, we have a programmatic agreement with the state preservation office. we are responsible under the environmental protection act to consult with them on any project within an area of potential effect. when it is a district, that district becomes the area of potential effect. it raises the standard significantly in terms of our review. if we are attaching an historic resource, that is an appropriate standard. but with ceqa, we have to be incredibly judicious about the number, size, and shape of districts. once we start landmarking or districting large swathes of land -- a look at an area under survey right now. that would have a very profound effect on the ability to move affordable housing forward if those were really to be the ships of future districts. i know there will not include
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all those properties, but it is important we get the balance right, because it does have an effect in the way the supervisor laid out. it introduces a level of uncertainty and time into the process, whether it is ceqa or nipa, that may not be handled here, but often goes into the court. that doesn't mean these are inappropriate standards. i think it's very good to see there are 149 examples and only 8 tribbered by stark resources. i would just say, i think we would do well to think about its impact on affordable housing as we think about size and shape to the districts. again, i think there is a path forward here. i think if we're smart and don't allow ourselves to go beyond the bourppedries of what's really
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laid out in terms of ordinance and statue and regulation, we have a chance. what always troubles me or troubles my colleagues is when i hear people asking for things to be brought into the process that clearly have not been legislated as much by the board or voters. that's what scares me about the survey conversation and other stuff because i think people's understanding is not as clear as it is expressed by the planning department today. >> thank you. are there any questions? thank you. we will next hear from the library. >> thank you, supervisors. the library department takes the stewardship of our public library building seriously and we have worked diligently to ensure our libraries are a.d.a. accessible and technologically
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quipped to provided services in our neighborhoods and communities expect. this has been particularly evident with the branch celebrity improvement program, which has been the largest capital program in the history of the library. that includes 24 branches, 16 renovations and 8 new buildings. our branch library equipment building made a concerted effort to strike a balance the historic significances of our land mark building to ensure survival for the future. we're very proud of our architectural legacy of our branch libraries that range from centuries old ne-yo class ig buildings until carney's w.p.a. era and mid-century old buildings. our efforts resulted in the restoration of a number of our historic libraries and they received recognition for architecture perfection from
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numerous bodies. to give you an example, we got a special achievement award for the branch library improvement program. governor's historic preservation award and california preservation foundation designer award were given to the valley branch library restoration and historic restoration award from the american publics worse association was also given to both -- to all three richmond senator milton marx branch, library and valley library. the library has invested in historic preservation, consultant studies related to many of our buildings. these services range in cost from $20,000 to $75,000 per project. additional design services associated with historic preservation also added to project costs. let me speak a little bit to the issue of our engagement with the historic preservation commission. when the historic preservation commission formed in 2009, the library was in the busiest space
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of the branch library improvement program. eight projects were completing design and moving for the bid and award phase into construction and two final projects were in design. they related to the projects in nine separate meetings in 2009 and 2010. each meeting required additional staff time from the library department of public works and often the project architects to teaped the meeting. thrults in an average 12 to 15 hours of staff time conservatively for each meeting. on at least two occasions, the item was continued after the public and staff waited considerable time for public testimony. the library had followed every legal requirement for each project and worked closely with planning and the department of public works and it had been the practice of the branch improvement program to initiate landmark designation after the completion of a given branch renovation.
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the h.p.c. discussed reversing this practice so they could weigh in on the approval of each respective project. however, because all approvals and permits had been acquired and these projects were either construction or beginning construction, the library was concerned any delay or changes to the project would incur additional cost and potentially jeopardize a program. while h.p.c. did not have legal authority to approve the project, the library nonetheless engaged with h.p.c. to address their concerns of several key projects and there are key projects we had dialogue with the h.p.c. we also engaged support from consultant turnbull and made some changes we could do without compromising the project. we are also pleased the h.p.c. agreed to put off their vote on designating these and other buildings as potential landmarks until renovations were completed. additional engagement around historic preservation issues
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incurred additional library d.p.w. and architectural and staffing cost. and these did in fact result in delays to the park, ortega and merced branch capital projects. with regard to the north beach library project, the library commission was not in agreement with h.p.c.'s recommendation to landmark that library and it was compleezed the board of supervisors ultimately rejected the recommendation. the historic resource review was fully examined as part of the comprehensive environmental impact report for the north beach library joan dimaggio playground project. which was recently approved unanimously by the planning commission. i do appreciate the efforts of the historic preservation commission but as the administrator of the largest capital improvement program in san francisco's library history, i feel i also have the responsibility and obligation to deliver library buildings on time and on budget to the
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public. another layer of reviews that require more meetings, costly presentations that delay the opening of our branch library is not a good use of taxpayer dollars. thank you. >> thank you very much. any questions? thank you. next we will hear from mr. ginsburg of the recreation and parks department. >> good afternoon, supervisors. i'm going to jump in where my colleagues left off and suggest that, that the launching point for the conversation really, truly is about balance. the san francisco recreation and park department oversees 220 parks and playgrounds in the city, including two properties outside the city, park sharp and pacifica and camp up in the see
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auras. we oversee several iconic park destinations such as the palace of fine arts and golden gate park. we imagine smaller neighborhoods parks and plazas in the city including portsmouth square, herman plaza, lincoln park, and upper douglas ca dog park. overall we have over 4,000 acres of recreation and open space we manage. we have an arena. i mentioned our 220 specific neighborhood parks but they include 179 playgrounds and play areas, 150 tennis courts and 82 recreation centers and clubhouses. soccer fields, ball fields, 35 community gardens, 27 off-leash dog areas, nine swimming pools, civil golf courses and three stadiums, vast inventory of open spaces and recreational assets. so as the steward of all of these various type of properties, it's our job to balance the many and often competing uses of our open
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space, from picnicers to ball players, from stolers to skateboarders, from naturalists to concert and entertainment lovers, our parks have been described as both the lungs and playgrounds of the city. they served everyone. we take our responsibility to steward, our historic assets and the character of the city's parks very seriously. we understand the importance of protecting these historic assets. our park system is over 150 years old and it truly reflects our past, our present and our future. our current landmarks include point tower, the palace of fine arts, sunnyside conservatory, washington square park and numerous individual landmarks specifically such as mcclaire lodge, conservatory of flowers, the lawn mowing club, share of arts studio and music concourse. so we actually appreciate with landmarks already.
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the recreation parks department and historic preservation commission actually do collaborate quite well together and their staff and we work well together when preservation is, frankly, the most obvious or important priority. we have a number of project that's are under way or have been recently completed that -- that required extreme sensitivity to the historic character of the asset and it did require a certificate of appropriateness. those recent projects include renovating the music concourse fountains. our complete renovation of sunnyside conservatory. the south murray wind mill is a project currently under way which required healthy collaboration with historic preservation demigs and his staff. our park aid application. in these occasions the park was the beneficiary of the experience and expertise of preserving the integrity of these particular assets. however, where the concept of parks and historic preservation gets more challenging is when preservation is one of
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completing park management priorities that requires conversations about balancing competing uses, interests and tradeoffs. land marking a building is very different than landmarking a park. you can change what happens inside the four walls of the building without changing its historic integrity. parks, however, are living organisms which grow, they breathe, they evolve and they adapt. we must have the ability and flexibility to meet evolving recreational needs within the park. for example, adding picnic tables in a meadow. a new trail for mountain bikers and evolving sports, or a new soccer field for young kids. indeed, golden gate park was originally created 140 years ago in part because in the words of park historians, adult men deserved a playground to refresh and relieve themselves from all
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of the pressures of their business. early 19th century golden gate park included a casino and a bar. and it offered archery and croquet as the primarily male-dominated forms of recreation. we've come a long way since then and all of our prarks, particularly golden gate park, must be given thing room to continue to involve to meet the modern day era of those who use it. some of those needs are quite similar to what they were 140 years ago. we still picnic, we still stroll, we still need and appreciate nature. however today golden gate park is much more diverse than it once was and it must meet the needs of over 15 million visitors a year, tourists and families for whom the ability to play in golden gate park is sometimes the difference, literally, between visiting and living in the city or going elsewhere.
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thus in the context of preserving golden gate park as historic district, we would have serious concerns with any form of landmarking in this park or others that restricts us from adapting to evolving recreation al needs or hampers our ability to maintain parks. we have some concerns about government under such a scenario. currently we have a commission responsible for overseeing the work of our department with a broad mandate to balance many and often competing interests. h.p.c. is a commission with a single mandate and while it plays an important and effective role in protecting our city's heritage, it is not necessarily charged with reconciling the complex policy priorities in our urban park system. it's worth noting the rec and park system has already adopted and guided by the golden gate park master plan, which has a very detailed and thoughtful road map on how best to
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preserve, maintain and enhance golden gate park as the class urban park it is. golden gate park is currently on the national registrar of historic places. this means it is already identified as a historic resource and treated as such during the environmental review process, which you are previously discussing. so we understand the importance of treating golden gate park and all of our park system as a historic as s.e.t. and protecting its integrity. but from our perspective, we think the conversation needs to shift from one that is focused on preservation as the highest and most important goal, to how we balance historic character with the ever-changing recreational needs of our citizens. >> thank you. any questions for my colleagues? great. thank you, mr. ginsburg. much appreciate it. if i can also just remind those who have not been here before
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that our board rules do not permit hissing, booing, applauding, cheering or anything like that so i would just ask people to respect that policy. there are a lot of strong opinions in this room going in different directions and that's actually terrific but i would just encourage people to really respect that rule. we're now going to hear from adam gutzer from the munitional transportation agency. >> good afternoon, supervisors, chairman and supervisor cohen and wiener. the m.t.a. sinetted on a different level than the previous agencys, is interested in being part of the dialogue to find the balance between the type of projects we review and/or work with in terms of dealing with the h.p.c. our goal is find an appropriate balance between historic
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preservation and delivery of agency service, whether it's multimodal or access to transit or pedestrian safety, finding a balance to make sure we're able to deliver the key important features as well as provide our maintenance or our service and operations. many of the projects that we have are coming obviously different scales. we have large-scale capital improvement projects and also smaller scale spot improvement projects like pedestrian safety and track and intersection safety. a lot of our concern is how it relates to the public right away and what it potentially could do to our projects in terms of project delivery schedule, funding, and some of our projects are competitive based, grant applications and when discussing the effects of historic preservation, we want to make sure you're cognizant of any effects they may have on our ability to deliver those items. that's pretty much it. we would like it make sure m.t.a. is part of the discussion
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going forward in terms of finding that balance, but -- obviously we have many historical features, not only cable cars or f line but as well as other stuff that works well, so we're happy to be part of this discussion. any questions? >> yes. i -- in talking to planning before we talked about transit shelters and i want to ask you about the muni transit shelter at 21st and chattanooga. are you familiar with that? >> yes, yes. >> do you have a picture of that? >> i don't have a picture on me actually. might be one. so this is a photo -- is that up on the screen? there we go. transit shelter at 21 and chattanooga in my district.
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and it's currently boarded up. it was a thorn in the side of the neighborhood for a long time in terms of the on-and-off homeless encampment, syringes, it was just a real problem for a long time. i know muni eventually as a quote/unquote solution sealed it up so people riding the j church inbound at that location no longer have a transit shelter. has m.t.a. considered replacing shelter with one of those more modern standards? >> primarily, as you know, shelters are there to support the operation and delivery of our service. having them be functional and be at appropriate locations is the key to mandate. when it comes to features like this location, fwates more challenging because providing maintenance and keeping them up
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is a funding issue as well as if they were to be made accessible, some of our challenges are do we spend the money to make them a.d.a. accessible if we're changing the route or ones that are high-activity areas. this location, the -- the shelters have been boarded up because of some of the concerns that were raised. but i think ultimately the desire for the agency in general in these sets of locations is to make them as accessible and as uner friendly as possible. with this example, it's a little bit more challenging because of the future, remote location as well as a number of other maintenance. >> muni's informed me it's historic resource. >> yes. i'm not sure what exactly the correct definition is but it has been -- it's a list of a number -- it's one of the number of
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shelters that were taken out of our current shelter contract that m.t.a. is spom for main -- is responsible for maintaining. there's about nine or ten of them. some are in continuous use. some are on the active routes or in kind of lesser used areas. >> muni's indicated to me one of the reasons it has not been replaced by one of the current versions, the accessible shementers is because of the cost that could be involved in terms of historic resource evaluation? >> yes, our current budget shortfalls and tightened environment for funding, this is just one of the projects that isn't one that can be funded to take on what it would need to do that at this location. >> i hope that muni will work with the planning department to be able to give this neighborhood a useable bus shelter. thank you. >> ok. >> any other questions?
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ok. with that, before we get to public comment, i've invited mike bueller, executive director of san francisco architectural heritage. mr. bueller's been kind enough to sit down with me several times and we talked about a lot of these issues and i found this conversation to be very helpful. mr. bueller and we will -- if you could limit your comments to three to five minutes, that would be terrific. and then we will proceed with public comments directly after that. >> good afternoon, supervisor wiener and members of the committee on behalf of san francisco architectal heritage, threw are for this opportunity to discuss important role of historic preservation not only in the past but going forward. as heritage celebrates its 40th anniversary in the context of this hearing, i thought it would be helpful to briefly reflect on the origins of local preservation movement, its progress and setbacks over the
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past four decades over the challenges that still lie ahead. i would like to start by noting the preservation community is not monolithic. to be sure you will hear from a variety of perspectives today, each with their own opinion. this range of opinion serves to underscore the diversity of the preservation community today. like many other cities across the country, san francisco's preservation movement emerged largely because of the building frenzy of the 1960's. entire neighborhoods were being leveled in the name of urban renewal. advocacy efforts were closely linked to other efforts of civic pride in san francisco such as the freeway revault. formed in 1971, san francisco heritage's first large-scale project was to rescue a dozen victorian slated for demolition.
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the mass relocation effort remains the largest building moving project in the history of san francisco. i have a number of slides that are on an automatic slide show, which was not my intent so i will let them run while i go through my remarks. apologize for that. the first historic survey that was undertaken in san francisco was actually by the junior league of san francisco, who conducted the first survey of san francisco county roughly 200 buildings published in the book here today. that survey became first historic survey to be adopted by the board of supervisors in 1968. i note that because of the current scrutiny of ongoing regarding the city's ongoing survey work, just to show it's been a cornerstone, an integral part of the city's preservation program since the very outset. in the mid-1970's, san francisco was entering what would become the greatest downtown building