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08.18 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

*RESCHEDULED MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

 
Monday, August 18, 2008, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

One Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

*The Monday, August 11, 2008, 5:00 p.m. Regular Meeting of the Policy Committee was rescheduled to Monday, August 18, 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 5:05 p.m.  Present:  Chair Wald, Vice-Chair Gravanis and Commissioner Martin.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes of the July 21, 2008 Policy Committee Rescheduled Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin and second by Vice-President Gravanis, the July 21, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved as amended (AYES:  Chair Wald, Vice-Chair Gravanis and Commissioner Martin) (Explanatory Document: July 21, 2008 Draft and Approved Minutes).

 

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.

 

4.   Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Project & Sustainability Plan Update: Project Status & Environmental Impact Report (EIR) Update and Informational Presentation on Draft Sustainability Plan. (Informational Presentation and Discussion) Speakers: Tiffany Bohee, Mayor's Office of Economic & Workforce Development; Jean Rogers, Principal ARUP

 

Ms. Bohee reported on the Mixed Use Development Project Candlestick Point Hunters Point Shipyard Proposition G ballot measure that was approved by the voters in the June 2008 election.  It was explained that in terms of long-term processes, various aspects of the plan are under development, and the thinking has changed on interim targets, but the long-term target and the goal has not changed. Ms. Bohee stated that the long-term target is to have all approvals and entitlements from all agencies by December 2009, which includes the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR).  It is anticipated that the Draft would be published in March 2009 with certification hearings held in the fall.  In terms of the EIR, alternatives are being reviewed, and the EIR team has indicated it is necessary to look at the results of the analysis on all of these disciplines and push the alternative analysis in that way.  This effort is led by the Planning Department’s Major Environmental Review section and also the Redevelopment Agency.  Planning stated that they need to wait to see what the analysis looks like before they can fully look at other alternatives.  It was reported that the term sheet, which is a non-binding approval of the various local entities that would cover land planning and affordable housing has changed significantly.  It was explained that a broad-based term sheet would have to be worked on in the future.   
 

Ms. Bohee reported that by November and December of this year, a financial transaction structure would be the focus, as Proposition G did not give a direct acknowledgement of what the transaction structure would be.  It was explained that it is important to be transparent about what the contribution would be to the San Francisco 49’ers.  Lennar is contributing $100,000,000 to the stadium construction, and the City is providing the infrastructure, so all decisions that have to be made will be transparent.  There are land-planning implications and sustainability choices to be made depending on waste water and other considerations that do have cost implications.  Presentations have been made and additional presentations will be scheduled to the Bayview PAC and Shipyard Citizens Advisory Committee particularly to discuss housing considerations.

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis inquired whether the EIR notice of preparation made reference to studying alternatives.  Ms. Bohee reported that there were two general alternatives, one with the stadium component, and one without.  Each alternative has implications for intensity of development.  The non-stadium alternative is a more intense development because in lieu of a stadium, a stadium is only 25 acres and is surrounding by parkland and other uses. A proposal has been made to site an additional 3 million square feet of research and development (clean tech, bio-tech, or other emerging technologies) in that same area.  There would roughly be the same amount of park space, but because the non-stadium alternative includes a total of 5 million square feet of research and development, there would be implications such as habitat, air quality, transportation, etc.  Commissioner Martin asked to confirm that this was due to the non-stadium alternative being used on a daily basis as opposed to the stadium alternative.  The response was ‘yes’.

 

Chair Wald stated that the major issues are known and outlining what kinds of alternatives that would be responsive to those can be started.  Chair Wald stated that she understands the relationships between the impacts of the proposed action and those alternatives, but recommended not waiting so long that what people are concerned about is forgotten.  Commissioner Martin asked if it is the preference of the project to have a bridge or not.  Commissioner Martin stated that her concern with waiting to do that investigation is that you would not see what the benefits would be or what the alternative transportation might look like until the study is done.  It is the project’s preference to have the plans as they are being proposed, but in light of the comments made by Commissioners and others in terms of alternatives, it might warrant not doing a full CEQA preparation for those things, but to know them internally to validate the concerns about initial impulses or to open up opportunities.  Chair Wald inquired what would be in the development plan for that area that wouldn’t involve the bridge and would advance desired goals.  Commissioner Martin stated that it might yield something that would offer an alternative that may not be better but could be compelling. 

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis asked if the only transportation planning that is going on now is the transportation planning that is part of the EIR process that is not yet available to the public, or if there is some other transportation study or analysis going on that involves weighing the pros and cons of having a bridge or not.  Ms. Bohee stated that they are looking at a range of options, and the bridge is an integral component of that.  Other components now being reviewed in the transportation plan include ferry service, downtown express service, shuttle service between sites, and interim bus service before the two sites are fully built out.  Ms. Bohee stated that they will determine what the impacts will be, and an evaluation will be made once a technical analysis has been completed.  Vice-Chair Gravanis asked if this is being done as part of the EIR.  Ms. Bohee confirmed that was correct.  Ms. Bohee explained that there is a separate Department of Public Works (DPW) project for the Bayview Transportation Improvement Project that is for truck routing purposes that has been underway for about eight years, and an EIS/EIR is being worked on.  It was explained that the two processes are informing each other from a planning point of view, and there have been approximately 600 public meetings that have been held to date.  Ms. Bohee explained that information is being gathered from other public processes, but it is still necessary to go through the full vetting of the analysis.  Chair Wald recommended that the two projects stay in synch with each other.       

 

Ms. Rogers discussed activities since the April Policy Committee meeting and presented on topics that would be included in the Draft Sustainability Plan. Presentation topics included:

 

·         Current activities that include holding meetings with relevant City agencies, presenting ideas to and receiving feedback from community groups and key stakeholders; conducting technical and economic analyses of strategies, and making recommendations to Lennar.

 

·         Sustainability Process: review of best practices, strategy development, baseline assessment, interviewing key stakeholders, cost benefit analysis, prioritization process, and incorporating public comment into the Draft Sustainability Plan.

 

·         Sustainability Plan Timeline: After years of developing a framework and doing a baseline assessment, currently codifying recommendations into the Draft Sustainability Plan and making sure the Green Building Ordinance is incorporated into the Plan.

 

·         Vision for a Sustainable Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard and Seven Focus Areas for the Sustainability Vision that include economic vitality, resource efficiency, community identity and cohesion, the environment, public wellbeing and quality of life, accessibility and transportation and advanced information communication technology.

 

·         Resource Efficiency: Summary of Goals for energy, water and waste. Ms. Rogers discussed the recommendations in the plan in these areas and the approach being taken. 

 

·         Proposed Energy, Water and Waste Strategies.  Energy—benefits and targets for initiatives that include energy-efficiency measures, district energy system, cogeneration, and renewables--solar thermal and photovoltaics.  Water--benefits and targets for initiatives that include water efficiency, sending all wastewater to the Southeast Wastewater Central Plant; Low Impact Development Stormwater Management, and recycled water.  Waste--benefits and targets for initiatives that include separating construction and demolition materials on site--reuse and recycle and applicable materials; and implement an automated waste-collection system (Transvac).

 

·         The Environment Summary of goals that address environmental justice, climate change, and habitats and biodiversity concerns.  Benefits and targets for environmental justice initiatives that include (1) low-emission transit and other clean transportation initiatives; avoidance of pesticides and toxic chemicals; LID Stormwater Management, and increased access to open space and waterfront.  Benefits and targets for addressing climate change initiatives that include energy- efficient buildings and infrastructure, on-site renewable energy supply, improved transit provision, use of clean fuel technologies, and transportation demand management.  A report was given on proposed strategies for enhancing biodiversity and protecting existing habitats.

 

·         Sustainability Achievements:  LEED ND Platinum target, LEED NC Gold equivalent, One Planet Living goals, Urban Environmental Accords and Architecture 2030; and Green Building Guidelines.

 

·         Next Steps—finalize Sustainability Plan, continue working on system design for LID stormwater management and district energy/cogeneration and incorporate into infrastructure plan; continue discussions with City, utilities and other third parties regarding development, ownership and operation of energy system; continue discussions with SFPUC on recycled water; continue discussions with the City regarding new transportation infrastructure and services.

 

Detailed information on presentation topics can be referenced by accessing “A Sustainable Future for Candlestick Point & Hunters Point Shipyard” presentation.

 

Commissioner Martin suggested considering implementing distributed pre-heat. Chair Wald stated that she would be surprised if the solar thermal were to be economically viable in San Francisco. Commissioner Martin stated that preheating domestic hot water could be effective. Chair Wald asked whether thermal storage would be required because there would be plenty of days where there would not be any sun and days when the heat that is generated is wasted.  Commissioner Martin asked about the lighting plan and dark skies concerns.  Ms. Rogers a plan has not been done, but recommendations about lighting have been made that would be incorporated into the Draft Plan.  Commissioner Martin inquired about the biodiversity element.  Ms. Rogers explained that biodiversity strategies would be addressed in the EIR.

 

Commissioner Martin left the meeting at 5:45 p.m.

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis made the following recommendations:

 

·         Not to use the term “water efficiency” as a synonym for “water conservation” because there is a difference.  Efficiency is more about fixtures, reducing time for sprinkler systems, etc.  Conservation includes reducing the need for water.

 

·         Xeriscape for landscaping implies not needing any water at all.  Recommended putting more emphasis on use of climate-appropriate plants that have adapted to our climate.

 

·         Hydraulic offset: regardless of where the sewage is treated, there should be no stormwater runoff going into the combined system. Those two concepts should be kept separate.  A separate decision should be made about what to do with the wastewater.

 

·         Consider the pros and cons of various ways to spend money to make the Southeast Treatment Plant a more neighborhood-friendly facility.  Discussions should be held about helping move the digesters to another site such as the backlands--Piers 94 and 96.  Ms. Rogers stated that helping whatever the problems are at the existing plant is appropriate for discussion and needs to happen. It was explained that the dialogue has begun with Mr. Jon Loaicano, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), and he had requested numbers and facts to support future actions.  It was explained that they would like to support upgrading the digesters.

 

·         When estimating the capacity of the sewage treatment plant, it is important to estimate the additional load of all of the other developments that are underway on the eastern side of the city.  Environmental justice issues should be considered--in addition to considering new methodologies to completely control the odor, the idea for being the outhouse for 85% of the city’s sewage is a psychological burden.

 

·         Energy and water conservation: There should be separate metering for each residential unit to provide real incentives for conservation.  Installing efficient fixtures, for example, is inadequate, as residents can remove low-flow showerheads that are given to them and leave the water on for long periods of time.

 

·         Dual plumbing systems should be considered for residential as well as commercial units.

 

·         Plans for roof runoff.  Ms. Rogers reported that green roofs would be appropriate for rainwater collection, and other methods, including cisterns, would be reviewed as part of modeling.

 

·         Biodiversity. Requested a separate presentation on the biodiversity element.  The diagram of enhancing biodiversity has this large area for nesting and foraging habitats, and then when you review the Land Use Plan, you see lawns and picnic areas, etc.  Hummingbirds would not be nesting on a green roof—some things shown in the habitat section are unrealistic.  Additionally, (1) there are “red-tailed” hawks in this area, not “red” hawks, (2) more attention to spelling, e.g. peregrine; (3) not necessary to improve habitat for ground squirrels because there are so many already, but it is important to preserve some habitat for them; (4) create tidal marshlands as part of restoration, but as a general principle to preserve what we have as opposed to creating new ones. It is good to create new marsh habitats, but not at the expense of existing ones; (5) creating new wildlife corridors requires that thought be given to the individual species’ needs--their destination, seasonal routes, for what reason, etc. (6) more diligence on the section for maintaining foraging areas for peregrine falcons and other raptors, habitat for gophers, etc.; and (7) inquire whether peregrine falcons actually nest in the area.  Deputy Director Assmann reported that Golden Gate Audubon has information on birds that are located in that area.

 

·         Carbon footprint: one of the issues discussed in April was reducing the carbon footprint by providing for walkability between residential and retail areas.  Are there any changes in the proposed land use plans that distribute the neighborhood-serving retail better so that it is more within walking distance of the residents?   Ms. Bohee stated that this discussion was heard in the public land planning workshops and that the process is being worked through.  Discussions have been held with the Planning Department and Lennar on neighborhood convenience retail centers.  Chair Wald recommended including corner grocery stores.  Ms. Bohee stated that opportunities for both larger and smaller operators are being reviewed, and a future presentation would be made to the Committee.  Vice-Chair Gravanis requested a sketch of where the smaller retail areas are that shows walkability to transit and retail modes and hubs.

 

Chair Wald referenced the carbon footprint slide of the presentation and asked what the transportation assumptions are that are built into the reduction that is shown on the slide.  Ms. Rogers explained that all detailed data is in the Draft Plan, energy use per year, miles traveled per year and assumptions around population. Chair Wald inquired about the number of bus lines that would serve the area in addition to the Third Street rail.  Ms. Bohee reported that a follow-up presentation would be made to the Committee at a future date, as a range of options is being reviewed; e.g., extending ferry service into the site.   Chair Wald suggested that other alternatives be studied in addition to the stadium/no stadium options.  Vice-Chair Gravanis suggested not presenting the Plan as if there was already a preferred alternative. 

 

Chair Wald asked if there were consideration given to providing protection against rising sea levels.  Chair Wald recommended that a citywide discussion be set up to determine what number to use for sea level rise so everyone would be using the same number and think of ways to plan for it.  Deputy Director Assmann stated that a range could be established.

 

Deputy Director Assmann stated that the C&D Waste Diversion slide data is inaccurate and would provide current information on diversion rates as they change every year.
 

Public Comment:  Mr. Sudeep Rao stated that he was happy that there are meetings being held with the PAC and CAC, but requested that the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) to the Shipyard also be included in discussions as they are actively dealing with the shipyard.  Mr. Rao reported that there is another effort or approach to dealing with transportation at the shipyard and asked to see additional data on the transportation plan.  Mr. Rao recommended considering a ferry terminal to bring people into the stadium to address traffic concerns.  Ms. Bohee reported that they are working with the City on establishing a robust transportation plan and it does include a ferry terminal for every day, not just game day. Ms. Bohee discussed plans for extending MUNI bus service into the site, the Bus Rapid Transit, establishing Cal Train and Balboa Bart connections, as well as additional plans that would be brought back to the Committee for discussion at a future date.  Ms. Bohee stated that there are a lot of members on the PAC and CAC that are members of the RAB, but would make an effort to be more inclusive of the RAB in the future.

     

5.   Announcements. (Discussion)  Chair Wald announced that the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) is signing up to be a City green business and as part of the sign-up, an emergency ride home service is required.  Chair Wald commended the emergency ride home program and stated that more people should be made aware of it even if they aren’t green businesses.  Vice-Chair Gravanis reported that the San Francisco Tomorrow annual picnic is on Saturday, August 23 at El Polin Springs, the Presidio, and the focus would be on ecology of Tennessee Hollow.

 

6.   New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion).  Vice-Chair Gravanis discussed future agenda items that include (1) a report on the Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan--Ms. Fish reported that Ms. Kass has scheduled this item for the September 23 Commission Meeting; (2) continuing updates on the Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point project; and (3) discussion on the Better Streets Plan.  Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that Commissioner Martin indicated an interest in commenting on the lighting portion in relationship to protecting dark skies, and other aspects would be appropriate for comment, e.g. stormwater management.  Ms. Bohee requested guidance or direction from the Department on the Better Streets Plan as it relates to light pollution and stormwater management in order to incorporate them into the Hunters Point Shipyard Candlestick Point Plan.

 

Chair Wald requested an update on the Urban Forestry Council.  Vice-Chair Gravanis recommended that this topic focus on Mr. Grossman’s concern on the lack of care for street trees.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested that an update be given on the Urban Forestry Council’s Annual Report that is currently being worked on.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested that the Committee discuss the AB32 process when a final scoping plan is issued.  It was explained that the state has issued a Draft Scoping Plan, and the comment period has just ended.  A final scoping plan is scheduled for issuance in the fall, but the date may change.  It was reported that the Department has submitted comments on the draft scoping plan as a department and as part of Green Cities in conjunction with all of the other large cities in the state.  Chair Wald recommended that a representative from the Air Resources Board be asked to comment at the meeting.  Deputy Director Assmann suggested inviting a Green Cities representative to speak.  Ms. Fish reported that the Marine Protected Area item is scheduled for the September meeting.  Ms. Bohee reported that another presentation would be given to the Committee in October, if not in September.

 

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 7:03 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:  September 8, 2008

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