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04.21 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

*RESCHEDULED MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Monday, April 21, 2008, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

*The Monday, April 14, 2008, 5:00 p.m. Regular Meeting has been rescheduled to Monday, April 21, 2008, at 5:00 p.m.

 

COMMITTEE MEMBERS:  Commissioners Johanna Wald (Chair), Ruth Gravanis (Vice-Chair), Jane MarieFrancis Martin

ORDER OF BUSINESS

Public comment will be taken before the Committee takes action on any item.

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Policy Committee meeting convened at 5:09 p.m.  Present:  Chair Wald, Commissioners Gravanis and Martin.

 

2.Approval of Minutes of the March 17, 2008 Policy Committee Rescheduled Meeting (Discussion and Action).  Upon Motion by Commissioner Gravanis and second by Commissioner Martin, the meeting minutes were approved without objection (Explanatory Document:  Approved Minutes of the March 17, 2008 Policy Committee Meeting).

 

3.Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

 

  1. Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Sustainability Plan (Informational Presentation and Discussion).

SPONSORS:  Commissioner Johanna Wald and Director Jared Blumenfeld

SPEAKERS:  Ms. Jean Rogers, Principal, ARUP;

Ms. Tiffany Bohee, Project Manager, Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development

 

Ms. Tiffany Bohee reported that the presentation to the Policy Committee in February on the Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Sustainability Plan was an introduction to the approach.  Since February Lennar and ARUP have conducted additional analysis on the approach, and ARUP has focused on waste, water, and energy, and Mr. Bill Burton, DMJM Harris, has focused on the transportation section of the Plan.  It was explained that four workshops were held in the Bayview community to discuss the Land Use Plan and ongoing discussions are being held with the PAC, CAC and neighborhood groups.

 

Ms. Jean Rogers distributed a copy of the draft “Bayview Waterfront Project Sustainability at-a-Glance” that includes key strategies for the Sustainability Plan and requested feedback from the Commissioners as the plan is continuing to be developed.  It was explained that the intention is to have a draft plan published in June, a month for public comment, and a final plan to be issued in July. 

Ms. Rogers discussed the tailored sustainability approach that includes incorporating perspectives from various sustainability frameworks, input from key stakeholders, and other considerations that include community issues and concerns, meeting AB32 and AB 857 specifications, SustainLane City rankings, and specific characteristics of the site.  The vision is to develop a place that is serving the needs of the residents to live, recreate, earn a living wage and raise a family in a safe, affordable, and healthy environment that is a model of urban sustainable design addressing local issues and global challenges such as climate change. 

 

Ms. Rogers reported that the Plan will address seven focus areas, and that a new area is being addressed--advanced information communication technology.  It was explained that advanced information communication technology includes smart grids, how to use technology to address impacts of transportation congestion, building information systems to bring about behavioral changes on utility use, and bringing that information to residents who need to understand real time monitoring of utilities use.  The focus areas discussed for this presentation include resource efficiency and transportation.  Explanatory Document: (Presentation) Topic areas discussed included:

 

·        Resource Efficiency: Energy—Strategies being analyzed are to reduce building energy demand, centralize energy systems to maximize efficiency and reliability, maximize on-site energy generation from renewable sources, and reduce the energy cost burden in affordable housing units.  The goal is to create a self-sufficient community with a clean reliable source of power.  It was stated that since the last Policy meeting in February, site conditions were reviewed to optimize the use of PV (photovoltaics), wind turbines, and creating a central plant to produce power, heat and chilled water.  

 

Energy Reduction Strategies: a discussion was held on energy reduction strategies that would include the use of natural ventilation, energy star equipment, reflective paving, high performance glazing, and other high performance techniques. It was stated that through good design and good building efficiency measures, demand could be reduced by about 24%, which leaves a lot less energy that has to be supplied. Ms. Rogers explained that solar technologies would be incorporated into the buildings such as solar hot water heating and photovoltaics.  One of the challenges is to balance renewables with the demand. 

 

Ms. Rogers reported that wind is an excellent resource that would be incorporated into the renewables portfolio.  Research is being done to find where the strongest winds are directionally and creating a more detailed mapping to the land use plan to identify which buildings might be appropriate for wind technology.  The strategy is to utilize small vertical access turbines that are integrated into the buildings rather than installing a wind farm on site. 

 

Sustainable energy supply would be coming from two centralized utility plants, one serving Hunters Point and one serving Candlestick Point. Sources of energy would be from rooftop photovoltaics, solar hot water heating, and building integrated wind turbines.  The mix of what amount would come from which resource is now being reviewed.

 

District Energy: Central Plant:  Tri-generation concept of combined heat, power and cooling would bring many benefits that are explained in the presentation.  It was stated that there would be a natural gas or bio gas run turbine producing power.  The waste-heat from that process would go to heating water which would be part of a district wide hot-water route and through absorption chillers, could be part of a chilled water supply.  The possibility of using bay water for a district wide chilled water route that could be used to offset chilling modes would be reviewed. However, there is not a huge demand for chilling so it would be used more for the commercial district.  There is a strong demand for heating and there would be excess waste heat from this process. Residents would benefit in that they would receive cheaper utilities for both heat and power.  

 

Mapping the megawatt demand from commercial and residential types of applications over time of day and determining the source of power is being reviewed at this time.  Commissioner Martin indicated that the mapping diagram excludes the stadium and asked whether examples would be done to include the stadium.  Ms. Rogers stated that they are primarily focused on the stadium alternative and are right now figuring out the best way to supply energy to the stadium.

 

Public Comment:  Mr. Angelo King asked if the project’s infrastructure would be paid for by tax increment dollars or by another method. Ms. Jean Rogers stated that ARUP is currently working on the economics and reviewing financing options.  Ms. Audrey Tendell, Lennar reported that the sustainability section costs would depend on whether the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) or a third party would be hired to operate the central plant.

 

·        Water Strategies:  Strategies include reducing demand, using alternative water sources, treating all wastewater efficiently, providing a source of recycled water for the Bayview community, and implementing a low impact stormwater management system.  It is believed that this project could stay within the natural water budget.

 

Recycled Water Options include (1) taking the wastewater (blackwater) from Hunters Point and Candlestick and sending it to the Public Utilities Commission Southeast Water Treatment Control plant.  All of the stormwater would be diverted from the plant; (2) providing a source of greywater recycled water either through a SFPUC recycled water plant or an on-site plant at Hunters Point. It would be the first community in San Francisco to have a source of recycled water.  Details are being reviewed of what it would involve and costs to do both options.    

 

Low Impact Design Stormwater Opportunities:  All neighborhood streets were mapped and studied for their potential for infiltrating stormwater, accepting stormwater, and treating it on site with low energy, low impact methods. It was explained that 100% of the stormwater can be diverted simply through integrating low impact stormwater management best practices.

 

Resource Efficiency Waste:  A review had been completed on how to maximize diversion rates from landfill from planning, design, construction and operations through an innovative system “Envac” that uses vacuum technology for waste processing.  The Department of the Environment is reviewing Envac as well and it could be a fantastic pilot project.  Using Envac would provide a high efficiency of collection and diversion and would fit in with the City’s goal of 100% diversion. Construction and Demolition Waste:  The hazardous waste component is being reviewed in order to achieve 100% diversion.

 

Environment and Climate Change:  A review is being done in order to minimize the carbon footprint, promote healthy air quality, restore ecosystems, accommodate the effects of climate change, and to protect and enhance biodiversity. It was stated that a biologist has been hired and additional information would be provided in the future.  It was reported that the final plan would have a detailed breakdown of the carbon sources from transportation and energy, would be analyzed on a per capita basis, and compared to national averages and San Francisco’s goals under AB 32.  Strategies would be developed to meet AB 32 goals.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Howard Strassner inquired why San Francisco offices would need cooling and asked whether ground source heat pumps had been considered. Ms. Rogers stated that geothermal applications would be reviewed.  It was stated that because the demand is being reduced so much, it makes the economics difficult for both heating and cooling strategies. It was stated that because a minimal demand is being considered for cooling, it may not make sense. Director Blumenfeld indicated that the Department of the Environment has been discussing presenting a proposal to the state on ground source heat pumps. Mr. Strassner suggested that solar be used as the only source of electrical power.

 

Mr. King discussed the idea of reducing the carbon footprint by attaching LEED certification to incorporate and support local workforce regulations. The concept would be to support local neighborhood objectives in employment in order to reduce the carbon footprint.  Mr. King asked Ms. Rogers to consider an analysis of how the carbon footprint would be reduced based on the number of miles people are commuting to work.

 

·        Accessibility and Transportation.  Mr. Bill Burton, DMJM Harris, reported that a Draft Transportation Plan is being developed and time has been spent meeting with MUNI, Sam Trans and all other interested stakeholders in transportation.  A discussion was held on shifting modes of transportation from auto to alternative modes and using ICT systems to promote sustainable transit; e.g., walking, bicycling, car share and smart transit, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes. Project goals and principles were discussed, such as creating a self-sufficient community designed to emphasize biking and walking, implementing a rigorous Transportation Demand (TDM) program, providing robust transit service and options, extending seven MUNI lines and increasing frequency of service, introducing four new services, and additional goals were identified as described in the presentation handout. 

 

Graphics were shown on existing travel behavior by total person trips taken by auto, transit, walk and bike and a comparison was made with other San Francisco neighborhoods.  The majority of total person trips by auto had been calculated to be 66%.  The project goal is to reduce the auto trip figure by 26% that would be accomplished through increasing the transit trip figure by 19% and biking and walking by 7%.  TDM goals from the modal shift would help to reduce auto trips by 26% with elements that include carpool/vanpool, on-site car sharing, biking and walking, free shuttle service, transit, internal trip capture and site design, unbundled residential parking spaces, shared parking for efficiency, preferred parking for carpool and vanpool, online transit maps, schedules, and real-time arrival information, transit centers with staffed kiosks, and additional strategies as described in the presentation handout. 

 

Additional TDM elements include creating bicycle routes and signage, maps of bicycle routes, showers and locker facilities, and safe and secure bicycle parking. Internal Trip Capture and Site Design would be implemented so that people would not want to drive and leave the site.  All support services/amenities that are intrinsic and inherent in daily life would be provided on site, e.g., banking, post office, grocery etc. and residents would be able to reach these services via shuttle, walking, BRT, or biking.

 

Proposed Transportation Plan--Transit Improvements: The project goal is to shift 3700 trips to transit for a total of 6700 trips through transit improvements that are being discussed with MUNI.  Proposed strategies include extending existing MUNI routes into the site, making them a part of the fabric of the community, instituting a new express bus service, increasing service frequencies, and introducing four new services with high quality connections to downtown, BART, and Cal Train.  Ms. Bohee reported that the Transportation Plan does involve a bridge over Yosemite Slough.  Mr. Burton stated that the idea behind the bridge is that it would be used by transit, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, and on game night by automobiles.  It was explained that BRT is when a bus is in its own lane (express bus) and has priority at signals.

 

Roadway Improvements: Mr. Burton reported that the Transportation Plan can’t be just mindful of the project itself and has to consider transit and roadway improvements to serve other development projects in the area, such as Executive Park, Brisbane Baylands Projects and others. It was explained that the Transportation Plan would construct the recommended alternative from the Bayview Transportation Improvement Plan Study, do major access improvements, as well as other roadway improvements.

 

Game Day Transit Service: Palou Street would be a transit only street and automobiles will not be allowed on the street during pre- and post-game conditions so this will be the primary way to get charter and MUNI buses in and out of the site.  The BRT system will be operational on Game Day in its own exclusive lane.  There will be four exclusive dedicated transit only lanes on Game Day--two more than there are today.  Private automobiles would arrive on many of the current routes existing today.  Some neighborhood streets would be restricted to traffic. Commissioner Martin asked that the transit route diagram include what streets would not be available to autos.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. King stated that he does not approve of always finding methods to charge people to prevent them from doing something that they are going to do anyway so that quality of life would be more expensive in an already expensive city. Mr. King opposed the idea of charging people for parking spaces and always trying to figure out how to make things work by making it cost more.  It was suggested that alternatives to these methods should always be considered.  Mr. King stated that environmentalism should not be so expensive that ordinary people would not be able to participate.  Car sharing was recommended as a viable idea.  Mr. King also felt that the transportation plan is not integrated enough to allow people from outside the new enclave to participate.  It was suggested that additional transportation routes be established so that people who live on top of the hill could access the shipyard to do their shopping and other activities.  Mr. King requested more input into the non-stadium alternative and reported that the Bayview community has not bought into the stadium alternative.

 

Mr. Strassner recommended that the Safeway convenience retail site be located within walking distance to the maximum number of people. It was stated that if the Safeway were right next to a bus stop, you would have a lot more people walking there and you would not need the parking. Mr. Strassner indicated that the development may have more parking allocated than is necessary and discussed legal requirements. Ms. Bohee explained that convenience retail in the neighborhoods is the next layer of the land planning exercise.  Mr. Strassner also expressed his support for charging people for parking as much as possible.

 

Mr. Saul Bloom stated that he is (1) confused about what the aggregate total of the project is and what the impacts might be; (2) concerned that there are not enough alternatives offered; e.g., the bridge alternative has been offered, but there are no other alternatives; and (3) concerned that Palou has been chosen as a major transit route because it is a largely residential street with a lot of traffic, and there are largely industrial streets that could better serve this purpose.  It was stated ARC Ecology is hiring a transportation person to look at issues surrounding the transportation plan.   Mr. Bloom stated that as a Bayview resident and from discussions with the community, there is overall concern about how the City is presenting this information to the public and sustainability of the plan.  It was suggested that people should understand how you got from A to B looking at the different alternatives. It was reported that the public dialogue around the EIR process is going to be fairly heated, and it would be better to look at alternatives at this point to get some of the issues out of the way before the EIR process begins.

 

Mr. Howard Wong indicated that the way the project is presented using color to emphasize the new development does not give him a sense that this is integrating into the entire City.  He understands the extension of the street grid system and integration of transit, but there does not seem to be a graphic representation that this project is a catalyst for the entire region of that part of the city as a true neighborhood with tiers of activity.  There are small convenience stores, there are other groupings of other retails and services, but there is also a feeder system that feeds into mid size commercial corridors and larger commercial districts.  He doesn’t see this hierarchy as a true reality of a neighborhood.  It was stated that the development has a sense of a suburban isolated enclave that doesn’t revive the Third Street Business corridor and may weaken other commercial districts in the area.  It was recommended that a color graphic be created when you see this kind of interlocking, and an emphasis be put on what business areas would be strengthened through transit, art, and the type of retail that would help existing retail than destroy it.  Mr. Wong suggested a better urban design and city planning approach to the presentation and graphics.

 

Commissioner Martin indicated that consideration should be given to a commitment to the number of trees and number of square feet of landscaping that would intersect into what is currently there.  Mr. Wong stated that it is important to show or identify in color the existing commercial hubs and that there needs to be a better pictorial image of how it would be stitched together.  Commissioner Martin recommended perspective sketches and specific views to help visualize.   

 

Mr. Steven Chapman, Sierra Club, stated that there is a very good community based plan for the Hunters Point Shipyard that has been worked on for five years.  It was explained that ARC Ecology and other community groups have been actively involved in creation of this plan.  Mr. Chapman recommended more dialogue about alternatives and stated that there should be more openness about the whole process and more community involvement.  It was explained that the Sierra Club is opposed to the transfer of park land for these proposed new parking spaces when there is a specific charter amendment (Prop C 2000) prohibition for transferring park land for non-recreational uses.  Ms. Bohee discussed Prop G which allows open space for development based on specific open space replacement considerations.  Mr. Wong stated that Prop C of 2000 is a Charter Amendment that would trump Prop G which is not a Charter amendment.  Ms. Bohee stated that the charter amendment says that any proposed changes have to be brought to the voters.

 

Commissioner Martin spoke in favor of unbundling parking from residential units and questioned the format of the large-scale retail at the south end of the project, recommending that the project not include a conventional destination shopping mall.  It was stated that lighting is a big concern and should be a consideration of the biologist. Commissioner Gravanis asked to hear more about transportation, biological diversity, and water treatment in future presentations.  Commissioner Martin asked for a schedule of the biologist’s activities.  Commissioner Gravanis raised the following points:

 

·        Suggested that alternatives to the bridge be discussed more and indicated that the EIR would be late for meaningful public comment and examination of alternatives.  It was suggested that this issue be addressed at the next meeting.

 

·        Supports the commitment for unbundled parking and for the development not having free parking and inquired whether a charge for shoreline access parking would be approved and offered her support in this effort. It was stated that it is important to explain unbundling more effectively to the community to make people understand that if you pay for your parking place and dwelling unit separately, the total cost won’t be greater. 

 

·        Did not support the projected modal split for game goers and suggested offering people who take public transit a place for a tailgate party or picnic. 

 

·        Does not see the need for one-to-one parking in the residential development.

 

·        Inquired what the projected car ownership per household or per adult/person is.  Suggested stating goals for reducing car ownership per capita.

 

·        Requested a visual on how the retail is going to appear in the plan and recommendations on how the concept would be implemented; that if you want a transit-oriented development you have to cluster your neighborhood development around transit and retail hubs so people can easily go grocery shopping, for example, without a car. Clustering housing around a retail hub should be shown in the diagram. 

 

·        Requested that the no stadium alternative be fleshed out better and a serious examination be done on the alternatives to the bridge. 

 

·        Requested that there be less emphasis on connecting the two neighborhoods to each other. Is it necessary for people to get across this water feature or can we provide a way to get around it that may take a few minutes more?

 

·        Additional discussion on different diagrams that were shown of the bridge cutting across the narrowest part of the slough as opposed to this one here where it would be a more major engineering project.

 

·        Discussion on how the habitat loss would be mitigated for the burrowing owl, other raptors, and how biodiversity is going to be carried out. 

 

  1. Announcements (Discussion).  Mr. Saul Bloom announced that on May 8, 6:00 p.m., at the Community Window on the Shipyard, there would be a workshop on the proposed plan, Parcel B, and a discussion would be held on early transfer. 

 

  1. New Business/Future Agenda Items (Discussion). Commissioner Martin inquired about whether there would be a follow up to her statement regarding a future framework to work on in addition to the Urban Environmental Accords.  Report on status of Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan.

 

7.  Public Comments:  Members of the public may address the Committee on matters that are within the Committee’s jurisdiction and are not on today’s agenda.  There was no public comment at this time.

  

8.  Adjournment:  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

 

Monica Fish, Commission Secretary

TEL:  (415) 355-3709; FAX: (415) 554-6393

 

** Copies of explanatory documents are available at (1) the Commission’s office, 11 Grove Street, San Francisco, California between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., (2) on the Committee meeting website https://sites.google.com/a/sfenvironment.org/commission/policy-committee with each agenda or meeting minutes, or (3) upon request to the Commission Secretary, at telephone number 415-355-3709 or via e-mail at Monica.Fish@sfgov.org.

 

Approved:  May 12, 2008

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