Thursday, February 21, 2008

Market/Octavia Plan: A letter to the editor

SF City Planning
Feb. 21‚ 2008

To the Editor (BeyondChron):

Randy Shaw is quite right to point out that the city's Planning Department is pro-development. The Market/Octavia Plan, which originated in the Planning Department, is a good example, as it proposes rezoning thousands of properties in the heart of San Francisco to make housing projects even more profitable for developers.

* The Plan eliminates setbacks, height and density limits on many of those properties, while discouraging developers from providing adequate parking for 6000 new housing units in an already densely-populated area.

* The traffic studies in the M/O EIR are inadequate to non-existent, as Planning claims that the 10,000 new residents encouraged by the Plan will have little impact on an already crowded Muni or traffic in an area now struggling with 45,000 cars a day on the new, unimproved Octavia Blvd.

* The Plan encourages a number of 40-story highrises in the Market/Van Ness area that will literally cast shadows on our Civic Center.

* The EIR on the M/O Plan is a shambles, with Planning continuing to add to it long after the public comment period ended, which means that the public hasn't had an opportunity to comment on the whole Plan.

* Even though Planning has been working on the M/O Plan since 2002, it put it before the Planning Commission without the landmark study required by CEQA in an area with many Victorian buildings.

The deal brokered by Supervisor Mirkarimi ratifying UC's land-grab of the old extension property embodies the same aggressively pro-development principles as the M/O Plan---change height and density regulations, discourage adequate parking, and ignore the traffic impacts from 450 new housing units and 1000 more residents in that part of town. Mirkarimi merely covered the whole misguided deal with the politically correct LBGT figleaf---80 units will be set aside for gay seniors, which in itself is probably illegal---and leveraged more "affordable" housing units in the deal and declared victory.

Mirkarimi's deal ratifies UC's lie about why it abandoned its extension classes for working people at that location, claiming that it could no longer afford to maintain the site as a school, even though it's now paying more than $2 million a year to house the same programs in downtown San Francisco. Mirkarimi's deal allows UC to cash in on property it has had tax-free from the city for 50 years because of its public education "mission," thus turning property zoned for 150 years for "public use" into a cash cow for poor little UC, a system that has an $8 billion endowment.

In fact there has been very little dissent on the Market/Octavia Plan on the Board of Supervisors, even though it will have a huge negative impact on the heart of our city.

Rob Anderson
San Francisco

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At 10:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah Rob Anachronism Anderson..On Rob's planet - San Francisco is pro development and the 38 bus is a fast efficient way of getting around...

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And, on the other hand, we have an a oh so with-it comment from someone who is evidently incapable of addressing the horrific specifics of the Market/Octavia Plan, some of which I noted in the letter. And he/she of course has to be anonymous. Typically gutless, mindless, lemming-like SF political activism!

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that we are out of room to expand the auto transport system in this part of town. Expanding roads means acquiring more right-of-way which can be extremely expensive in a dense city.

Transit on the other hand requires significantly smaller ROW requirements compared to cars. You can move a lot more people on buses and trolleys than in cars given limited space.

Increasing transit capacity is often just an issue of buying more rolling stock and running with tighter headways. That's way cheaper than widening a street.

Parking is also very expensive. A transit centric transportation plan requires a lot less parking.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Your comment doesn't address any of my concerns about the Market/Octavia Plan, especially its blithe dismissal of the impact on Muni and traffic that 10,000 more residents in that area will surely have. The M/O Plan doesn't include any funding to buy more "rolling stock" for the already-crowded Muni lines that serve that part of town. No one is talking about "widening" any streets in the area. The concern is about adding a lot more traffic to streets that are already at capacity.

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your entire rant is silly, but just answer me this... How would setbacks help anything? wtf is so cool about setbacks? Really... Are you insane? How do setbacks improve life. are you awaret that this is a city?

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Setbacks are just one way the M/O Plan encourages population density in an already densely-populated area. It doesn't have great significance in itself. The M/O Plan will make this city a lot less liveable than it now is. You can witlessly call me "silly" and "insane", but your comment is lacking substance. How about the 40-story highrises, the lack of a landmark study, the lack of transportation studies on the impact of 10,000 more people in that area?

At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you want to know what the point is? Your argument against the MO plan is weak! And you're padding your argument with bogus statements like set backs are evil. We'll I'm not talking about landmark studies, I'm talking about setbacks. If you can't back that up, that simple little fact, it just goes towards what I just said... Your argument, your entire blog, is just a paper tiger. nothing more. nothing.

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

No one says that setbacks are "evil," just that they are one small part of the M/O Plan, the main thrust of which is to encourage population density in that part of town---10,000 more residents in 6,000 new housing units. The Plan has no landmark study, which is required under CEQA, and it encourages an unspecified number of 40-story highrises in the Market/Van Ness area. The Plan includes no serious traffic studies of the impact on the traffic on our streets or Muni that 10,000 more people living in that part of town will have.

My blog is about a number of issues, which, like the M/O Plan, you are evidently unequipped to discuss.

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

way to avoid answering a simple question... weak.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I've answered your silly question. Why don't you address the serious objections I've raised---and there are more---about the M/O Plan? It's available online through the Planning Dept.'s website if you really want to inform yourself.


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