Monday, July 24, 2006

Citizens Advisory Committee for UC Extension Site


The University of California is trying to re-zone the historic San Francisco campus at 55 Laguna St. where they used to operate its continuing education programs. This re-zone application will go before the SF Board of Supervisors in 2008, and between now and then it's important that the city know that people have an opinion and care about what UC is proposing.

UC has since stopped using the center and is proposing the zone change so it can build market-rate housing. They were given the campus back in the early 60s in a building swap with San Francisco State University and by an act of California Legislature. In other words they paid nothing for the almost 6 acres and are now viewing the campus as an opportunity to cash in on this valuable real estate.

The campus is currently zoned for public/educational use and has served as such since California became a state more than 150 years ago. The campus is rich in SF history, most notably as the original San Francisco State University campus, as well as in California educational and architectural history in general. It's also an amazing space that could be creatively used again for all types of community and educational programs. Losing this valuable and historical parcel to just another housing development would really be a shame.


Feel free to pass this email on to folks you think may be interested in this issue.

To: San Francisco Board of Supervisors

Petition to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to require the Planning Department to convene a CITIZENS ADVISORY COMMITTEE to evaluate the proposed PRIVATIZATION of the UC BERKELEY EXTENSION LAGUNA STREET CAMPUS WHEREAS, the 5.8 acre tract of property at 55 Laguna Street, known as the UC Berkeley Extension Laguna Street Campus Property (Property), has a history of continuous public use exceeding 150 years; and, WHEREAS, in the early 1850s, The City of San Francisco gave $30,000 to the Protestant Orphan Asylum Society to initially purchase the land and to construct a building housing an orphanage which was completed in 1854; and, WHEREAS, in 1921, The City of San Francisco abandoned Waller Street where it formerly ran through the Property, so as to assist further in the continued public use of the Property which was then owned by the San Francisco State Normal School (later becoming San Francisco State Teachers College, and eventually San Francisco State University); and, WHEREAS, in the mid-1950s the Property was transferred via a public real property disposition process to the Regents of the University of California, who continued using the Property for educational purposes through 2003; and, WHEREAS, the Property, with its buildings, constitute a resource of historic merit which is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and should be preserved to the greatest extent possible; and, WHEREAS, according to the environmental documents of the Better Neighborhoods Market-Octavia Plan, there will be 19,555 new households within the entire Market-Octavia area by the year 2025, thus increasing dramatically the public's need for additional property zoned for public use; and, WHEREAS, according to the Better Neighborhoods Market-Octavia Plan proposed revisions dated May 22, 2006 which state, "Any subsequent change in the zoning of the UC Berkeley Laguna Campus should occur in the context of a focused community planning process that involves residents and other stakeholders." WHEREAS, according to the Better Neighborhoods Market-Octavia Plan proposed revisions dated May 22, 2006 which state, "Any future reuse of the UC Berkeley Laguna Campus should balance the need to reintegrate the site with the neighborhood and to provide housing, especially affordable housing, with the provision of land for public uses such as education, community facilities, and open space." WHEREAS, the current owner of the Property, The Regents of The University of California, submitted a proposal for environmental review to the City Planning Department Environmental Review Division, seeking to permanently end the public use zoning for this entire Property, and to convert the entire Property to a high-density private residential housing development; NOW, THEREFORE, we, the undersigned, hereby urge the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to direct the Planning Department to convene a Citizens Advisory Committee representing interested established neighborhood groups within the Market-Octavia Plan Area to determine the highest and best use of the Property, to make recommendations regarding zoning and redevelopment guidelines for the Property, and to evaluate the requested change to the existing Public Use Zoning for the Property under the current UC Berkeley/A.F. Evans/openhouse proposal within the context of the Market-Octavia Plan.

The Undersigned