Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SF Board of Permit Appeals: Our Hearing Date is Rescheduled to Dec. 14th, 2011

Our hearing for tomorrow, September 21st, has been rescheduled to December 14th, 2011, 5:00 PM, City Hall, Room 416.  This continuance now gives us until December 8th to submit additional letters of opposition and petition signatures.  

For those who share our concern, please help us spread the word throughout the community.  Email us at albion.neighbors@gmail.com if you're interested in attending our meetings or becoming more involved in the effort.  We intend to continue a sustained and vigorous outreach.  

SHOOTING: Valencia Gardens

Last night around 7pm there was a shooting on Guerrero St. between 14th & 15th, directly in front of Valencia Gardens.  Read about it at the link below:

Mission Loc@l: September 19, 2011

And more in depth coverage which touches on the history of violence at Valencia Gardens:

Mission Loc@l: September 20, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

New York Times: Living at the Intersection of Public Need and Housing Pride

New York Times article by SF writer Scott James.  While describing neighborhood issues around the proposed 1731 15th Street "group housing" development, the article also provides insight into the effects of the State of California's Criminal Justice Realignment which will send around 700 felons into the city's criminal justice system.  Link to it below.

New York Times, September 16, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sign our Petition: SF Board of Permit Appeals

Below is a petition we will be delivering to The San Francisco Board of Appeals prior to our Hearing on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 December 14th @ 5:00pm in City Hall, Room 416.  It outlines issues we will be bringing before the Board.  (Please note: It is recommended that only people living or working within an approximate 5 block radius sign the petition. Thank you.)

We urge the Board of Permit Appeals to rescind the building permit (BPA #2010-0928-1752) awarded to the owner on August 8, 2011, which allows the development of 1731 15th St. into “Group Housing”. The Building Permit was issued by circumventing a more extensive Planning Department review, which would have closely examined issues of appropriate use, density and environmental impact.

(1) We rightfully request that a focused Environmental Impact Report be completed for the proposed project. The owner’s development plan nearly doubles the density from 27 to 52 rooms to create a SRO style “group housing” facility for the warehousing of parolees, adult foster children or others in social services. This is a significant change in building use and density, and will have an enormous impact on a surrounding neighborhood already over burdened with such housing.

(2) We rightfully request a hearing before the Planning Commission.

(3) We rightfully request a hearing before the Historic Preservation Commission since the Inner Mission Historic Survey Map lists the property as a Historic Resource and the project’s sponsor plans to alter the exterior. 1731 15th St. is located in the historic Mission Dolores neighborhood as well as the Inner Mission.  The proper building permit notification process for a project of this magnitude (as required by section 311/312 of the Planning Code) NEVER happened. As a result, neighboring residents and businesses were denied the opportunity to voice concerns regarding the impact this project would have on the neighborhood. 

In addition:

(4) The Building Permit was not properly analyzed for compliance with Planning Code Requirements relevant to “Group Housing” use.

(5) The Building Permit was not properly analyzed for compliance with Planning Code Requirements relevant to non-complying structures.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

SF Planning Commission Hearing: Sept 08, 2011

This past Thursday September 8th, four members of the neighborhood (Kathleen Johnstone, Mark Kapka, Channing Moore, & Jean-Pierre Berthy) spoke during the Public Comment portion of the San Francisco Planning Commission Hearing at City Hall. This was the first time we spoke on record about issues related to 1731 15th Street.  Below is a link to the archived video at SFGovTV. (The Public Comment starts at approximately 29 minutes into the hearing.)

This coming Thursday September 15th (12pm @ City Hall, Room 400) there is another Planning Commission Hearing and we are expecting four other neighbors to speak.  It would be great to have as much support as possible.  If anyone is interested in speaking please let us know.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

1731 15th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

Profit, pure & simple.  The owner of this property has been issued a Building Permit to develop a high density (52 room) SRO style "Group Housing" facility.  This more than doubles the density of a previous use which ended 25 years ago.  (Between 1973 and 1986 this building was a Buddhist Monastery which contained "21 monastic rooms".)  This project is designed to simply maximize room density for the warehousing of parolees, adult foster children or people from other social services.  This is not about a progressive approach to rehabilitation.  This is a failed and retrograde method that virtually insures matching the state's high rate of recidivism. It has been dumped on the neighboring community without broad notification (two property owners were notified) and no community involvement. The owner failed to engage the community despite having owned the property for over a year, showing total disregard for both residents and businesses in this fragile but emerging neighborhood.  This is compounded by the complicity of the Building and Planning Department which have enabled the owner, via political connections, to circumvent a proper Planning Department review.  A review normally required for projects of this scope (density intensification, vertical extension, changes to a building considered a historic resource).  Is this the back door method by which the city plans to deliver these social services?  Services we will no doubt be seeing more of.  Not a good precedent!  This project is not about community, it's about owner profit and self interest in a city that has failed to create transparent policy around this issue. 

Wrong project, Wrong location.  This building sits directly adjacent to the recently rebuilt Valencia Gardens, a once notorious crime ridden and drug infested housing project.  Though greatly improved, these elements are still in clear view on a daily basis.  It is also located two and a half blocks from 16th & Mission, a still thriving marketplace for hardcore drugs and rampant crime.  The notion of housing a transitioning population of largely drug offenders in this location is cynical at best.  Unequivocally, this is a recipe for a downward spiral that will ultimately unravel any progress made over the last decade.  The city has invested huge sums of taxpayer dollars to redevelop both Valencia Gardens and the Valencia Street Corridor. This virtually ensures its waste.

This is Home!  This building sits on the corner of 15th & Albion Streets. Albion dead ends into both 15th St. (Valencia Gardens) and 16th St. (densely populated with bars and restaurants).  Though it would otherwise be a quiet narrow street, it has always suffered the consequence of location. From hardcore junkies to hard drinking/pot smoking hipsters, the street has always dealt with a spillover of neighboring recreation and self medication.  This is a constant reality, day and night, and residents of this street have seen it all (flame engulfed mobile meth lab included).  

Despite this, many on the street have made this home for more than a decade.  Numerous multigenerational families have lived here for over 50 years, raising children then grandchildren. Though the surrounding area is awash in transience, there exists here a surprising constancy and commitment to the neighborhood.  We are an ethnically, socially, and economically diverse community and this is our HOME!  It should be noted, we are not activists nor NIMBY's, we are simply residents forced to defend our homes and fragile community from this misguided development.  We have endured endless years of crime and social ills but have remained steadfast in improving this neighborhood.  This project needs to be STOPPED!

We are appealing this permit.  Appeal Nos. 11-091 1731 15th Street.  September 21, 2011, 5pm, City Hall Room 416, One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place.  We will be appearing before the San Francisco Board of Permit Appeals.  We encourage concerned citizens to come and have their voices heard. 

Get Involved!  We are reaching out to both residents and businesses in the surrounding area who will also feel the negative repercussions of this.  We welcome your support and ideas.  Please contact us at albion.neighbors@gmail.com and we will inform you of community meetings and developments.  Thank you.