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01.13 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

*RESCHEDULED MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

Tuesday, January 13, 2009, 5:00 P.M.

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, City Hall, Room 421

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 

*The Monday, January 12, 2009, 5:00 p.m. Policy Committee’s Regularly Scheduled Meeting at City Hall, Room 421, was RESCHEDULED to Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 5:00 p.m.

 

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

ORDER OF BUSINESS

 

1.      Call to Order and Roll Call.  The Commission on the Environment Policy Committee Meeting convened at 5:00 p.m.  Present:  Chair Wald, Vice-Chair Gravanis and Commissioner Martin.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes of the December 9, 2008 Policy Committee Rescheduled Meeting. (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Vice-Chair Gravanis and second by Commissioner Martin, the December 9, 2008 Meeting Minutes were approved without objection (AYES:  Chair Wald, Vice-Chair Gravanis, and Commissioner Martin) (Explanatory Document: December 9, 2008 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.

 

Mr. Jake Sigg reported that limited garbage service (e.g., pickups twice a year), is not available for people who produce very little garbage.  It was explained that in the past there had been a “lifeline rate” for pickup once a month, but it is no longer available.  Mr. Sigg stated that he pays $55.20 every three months for service he often times does not use and thinks it is unfair that he is paying the same rates as others who produce much more garbage.  Mr. Westlund, Program Outreach Manager, Department of the Environment, reported that smaller garbage cans are available at a lower rate.  Mr. Sigg reported that he does have a smaller garbage can, but does not require that much use.  Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that in this day when more people are composting and are purchasing only recyclable or reusable material, there is no excuse to impose the same charges on people who use the service less. Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that stronger incentives should be offered for people to produce as little garbage as possible and would like to pursue this issue in the future.

 

Mr. James Hanusa announced that an event series is starting January 28th called “Change SF” and its goal is to drive civic engagement and cross-sector collaboration around green projects in San Francisco.  The first event, which would include a presentation by Mr. Jared Blumenfeld on SF Solar Map and a networking event where people can suggest and collaborate on different projects, would be held at the Temple Nightclub, one of the top three sustainable clubs in the world.     

 

4.   Overview on the Department’s and Commission’s Current and Future Efforts to Conduct Public Education and Outreach to the Community on Environmental Issues.  Speaker:  Mr. Mark Westlund, Department of the Environment Program Outreach Manager. (Informational Report and Discussion)

 

Mr. Westlund distributed samples of Department outreach efforts (flyers, brochures, fact sheets) and reported on Department of the Environment outreach and public education efforts that include: 

 

·        Toxic product disposal for residents “Wonder what to do with this stuff” campaign,” a flyer listing free drop-off and pick-up locations for household batteries, fluorescent lights, latex paint, and electronics that was mailed to all San Francisco residents in three different languages and advertised on cable television. The informational handouts direct people to go to the Department’s EcoFinder website or to call for additional information. Cards and individual fact sheets were also produced and given out at events.  

 

·        Urban Forestry: effort is in process to educate the public on the value of the urban forest.  Calls were received by various City agencies (Department of Public Works, Public Utilities Commission) requesting guidelines for proper tree trimming, so the Department produced an official tree pruning standards brochure for San Francisco that also describes how to recycle green waste.

 

·        Clean Air program:  An ordinance was recently passed that will be in effect next Monday that requires all businesses with ten or more employees to offer commuter benefits to employees.  Fact sheets were distributed, a series of workshops were held, and more than 200 employers attended a transit fair at City Hall to learn about the program.  Presentations were given to BC3, the Chamber of Commerce, Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and others.  The Bay Area Air Quality Management District awarded a grant to hire staffers to educate people about the requirements of the Ordinance and when it would take effect.  Informational flyers were also produced on clean air and transportation programs that include emergency ride home programs, what San Franciscans can do to help clean the air; etc.

 

·        Energy Watch, a multi-million dollar energy efficiency program: there was a door to door outreach and marketing campaign to businesses to take advantage of the program.  Flyers were also distributed.

 

·        Zero Waste: A citywide mailing was sent on how to use the different carts with a special emphasis on increasing food-scrap composting.  Volunteers went door to door with Norcal distributing new buckets for compostables at people’s houses and a brochure on how to use the bucket and compostable liners.  Businesses were also targeted, e.g. restaurants, hospitality and office composting.  Violation notices in different languages are left on green or blue carts if contamination is seen as well as general education flyers on how to properly use the carts.   Languages are tailored to Bay Area demographic. Legislation to ban Styrofoam: Styrobusters reached 2500 San Francisco restaurants to educate them on requirements of San Francisco’s Food Service Ware Ordinance--ongoing process.

 

·        Partnership efforts: The Department is partnering with other organizations and City agencies to leverage outreach efforts, e.g. the Department helped print and distribute the brochure for Build it Green on “New Home Construction Green Building Guidelines” and cooperated with Food and Water Watch on a program to convince restaurants to stop using bottled water.  School Education: Food to Flowers lunchroom composting program that include classroom presentations, assemblies to deliver a message to compost, as well as a broader environmental message on litter, water conservation, and pollution prevention.  The Department prepared a curriculum for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to deliver on water conservation as part of the School Education program. 

·        Environmental Justice:  Student Fact Sheet on “What is Environmental Justice.”

 

·        Media events:  Media events are held to educate the public on legislation that the Department sponsors.  More than 350 stories are produced a year across all media. 

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis inquired about efforts being made to label compostable containers.  Mr. Westlund reported that an effort is in process to work with vendors and producers, but it is a slow process. It was explained that legislation would make this effort more effective, in areas where San Francisco has jurisdiction, such as requiring labeling on grocery bags.  Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that she was pleased with the Farmers Market composting program at the Embarcadero but stated that the San Francisco Airport has no recycling available. Mr. Westlund reported that the airport separates recyclables behind the scene, but he would talk to the Recycling team about Vice Chair Gravanis’ idea that the airport should use a visible three cart system, similar to the program used in-city. Chair Wald explained that different airlines have different practices and some do have recycling; however, it is important that San Francisco serve as an example for people visiting so they can bring back best practices to their communities.

 

Commissioner Martin discussed the Commission mandate to conduct public education and outreach and asked if the Department could offer assistance in this effort.  Mr. Westlund stated that the Commission has opportunities to adopt resolutions urging a particular action of the Board of Supervisors or making a policy statement similar to the plastic bag policy recommendation that is an effective outreach tool.  Mr. Westlund recommended that the Commission find issues that they would want to publicize and promote.  Chair Wald asked Mr. Westlund for outreach assistance for neighborhood meetings as previous meetings did not produce enough public participation.  It was explained that it is the consensus of the Committee that before additional neighborhood meetings are scheduled off-site, that consideration be given on outreach efforts to the different communities in San Francisco.  Mr. Westlund stated that it is important that the agenda responds to community needs and could be advertised through newspapers, flyers in the neighborhoods, and other targeted efforts. Commissioner Martin stated that discussion on this issue would be held at a full Commission meeting in the future.  Mr. Westlund stated that he would be happy to discuss how to target outreach in a particular area and how to structure the agenda.

 

Commissioner Martin asked whether there are particular agencies that the Department partners with to do outreach.  Mr. Westlund reported that the Department frequently works with the Department of Public Works and the Public Utilities Commission on a programmatic level when there is common territory.   

 

5.   Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Integrated Development Project—Status Update.  Speaker: Ms. Tiffany Bohee, Project Manager, Office of Economic and Workforce Development.  (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

 

Ms. Tiffany Bohee reported that the Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Integrated Development Project is on target with all final entitlements scheduled for November and December of 2009.  It was explained that the Environmental Impact Draft Report is scheduled for publication in late spring, that there would be a 45-day public comment period during the summer that consultants would respond to, and the EIR certification scheduled for November.  All other related documents, e.g., the Development Agreement with Lennar, Redevelopment Plan, Design Control Document, etc. are scheduled for completion in December 2009.  Ms. Bohee explained that the Transportation Plan that the Policy Committee heard a presentation on at their December meeting has since been published. Extensive meetings on the Transportation Plan have been held with the Bayview Project Area Committee and their subcommittees, the Hunters Point Shipyard Citizens Advisory Committee and their subcommittees, and additional joint meetings are scheduled for February.  A joint meeting is also scheduled with the Project Area Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee on January 15th to discuss the Urban Design Plan that was released in September of 2008 that was a product of 150+ public meetings. 

 

Ms. Bohee reported that the next stage would be to move forward with the more detailed plans and documents, e.g., planning, design control, streetscape documents, open space and infrastructure plans, and redevelopment plan amendments, and to request feedback from the Bayview Community and the Commission’s Policy Committee.  It was explained that the Draft EIR would incorporate a no-bridge alternative as requested by the Policy Committee and from public input.

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis inquired about the timeframe for receiving comments on components of the various plans.  Ms. Bohee stated that endorsement of the Transportation and Urban Design Plans is required by this spring and by the Redevelopment Commission in May. Commissioners were asked to provide their comments by the next Policy Committee meeting at which time comments could be discussed.

 

Mr. Steven Chapman, Sierra Club, encouraged the consideration of alternatives within the EIR stating that construction of the bridge is very problematic for the entire environmental community in San Francisco.   It was explained that the bridge alternative has previously been through an environmental review process and was judged to have too many impacts so other alternatives were chosen.  Given that history, it is hard to argue that construction of a bridge that would probably be used only nine times a year for traffic should be approved for this sensitive ecological area.  Mr. Chapman also requested that a more viable non-stadium alternative be presented than what is now available so the proposal could go forward whether the 49ers choose to stay in San Francisco or not.

 

Mr. Jake Sigg, California Native Plant Society, reported that he has been associated with the state parks off and on since 1978 and involved in ecological restoration throughout the City.  Mr. Sigg stated that he feels this project poses a potential threat to the state park and to the tidal wetlands at Yosemite Slough. 

 

Mr. Arthur Feinstein, San Francisco Tomorrow, stated that he was the Executive Director and Conservation Director of Golden Gate Audubon when in 2003 and 2004 a Candlestick State Park wildlife survey was produced to see how that entire area could be improved upon for the Bayview environmental justice community.  Mr. Feinstein reported that between the two years Golden Gate Audubon spent producing the survey and Mr. Hopkins’ 20 years of time identifying birds in the area, 180+ species of birds, butterflies, snakes, and lizards were located in the park. The Commissioners were asked to disapprove the current proposal to trim the state park to a narrow pathway along the shoreline as it would result in the disappearance of the biodiversity in the area.  It was explained that there are alternatives that Arc Ecology would be discussing in their presentation that would provide solutions to providing housing and jobs and would preserve and improve the existing diversity.

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis explained that Ms. Bohee reported that there would be a non-bridge alternative studied as part of the EIR process; however, it has been heard from Mr. Chapman and others that it is too late in the process, that the time to have a non-bridge alternative is right now so that there are transportation, land use, and infrastructure plans that would accommodate the option of not having a bridge. 

  

6.   Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Alternative Visions—Arc Ecology. Speaker: Mr. Saul Bloom, Executive Director, Arc Ecology (Informational Presentation and Discussion)

 

Mr. Bloom presented on Arc Ecology’s alternative visions to Lennar’s development proposal for the Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point Plan. It was explained that Arc Ecology’s objective is to craft a plan that reflects the diversity of the City’s views, culture, and ecology, and that a process is being sought by which these discussions can yield a plan that will reflect all viewpoints in a reflective responsible fashion.   Mr. Bloom provided background on Arc Ecology stating that it has invested 25+ years of preparation for the redevelopment plan, has been involved in the Shipyard activities longer than most entities, and has raised $4 million in city, non-city, state, and other funds for research and studies.  Mr. Bloom stated that he had been a member of the Hunters Point Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the past fourteen years, and reported that Arc Ecology is assisting and supporting the CAC and Bayview Project Area Committee (PAC) in recommending a development plan to the City that has broad support, minimizes environmental impacts, and maximizes return to the community on public and private resources.

 

Mr. Bloom discussed the current Lennar proposal and questioned whether it would meet the goals of the community as it relates to new jobs, affordable housing, environmental sustainability, bay access, recreational opportunities, and preservation of natural habitat.  It was explained that comparing Lennar’s proposal to other design alternatives would determine whether Lennar’s proposal would be effective in achieving these goals.  The proposal described in the “Draft Alternative Support Study” (study available on www.arcecology.org) bases its concepts on a development program similar to Lennar’s while exploring changes in land use arrangements, specifying additional programs, and avoiding environmental impacts.

 

Mr. Bloom reported that the Lennar proposal has received some opposition from the community and offered ways to improve upon the project in the areas of ecological objectives, economic opportunities, location of the stadium, land use on the shipyard, open space type and proportion, health, cultural identity, state park lands, Yosemite Slough and Creek, and transportation. Mr. Bloom presented an alternative planning approach that included removing the Parcel E2 landfill; expansion of Yosemite Slough open space and incorporation into the urban design connectivity, transportation, programming and ecological planning; transportation to utilize streets instead of building a bridge over Yosemite Creek; stadium design; water systems alternatives, and land-use scenarios.  A description was given of four possible stadium location alternatives off the shipyard; five stadium shipyard scenarios; Candlestick alternatives; Alice Griffith housing alternatives; jobs and economic development scenarios; arts and culture; sports field locations; and concepts on linking the bay to Third Street.

 

Mr. Bloom stated that he hopes to see an integrative process that will review all opportunities for developing the best plan for the City, Lennar, and the community.  Arc Ecology will be holding community meetings and charettes and has created a workbook on their website at www.arcecology.org that will be used for collecting public information for creation of a document that will be submitted as commentary to the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).    After community input into the EIR, another document will be produced on what the EIR document plans and what still needs to be addressed in the future. 

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis requested more detail on the no stadium alternative at the Hunters Point Shipyard.  Mr. Bloom discussed the idea of creating an industrial/green tech campus combining low and high-tech opportunities so there would be diversity of jobs and discussed the possibility of an arena with a festival area, an African marketplace, senior services center and housing opportunities. Mr. Bloom stated that the idea is conceptual in nature and that he would like to engage in dialogue with the City.  Vice-Chair Gravanis inquired whether any of the findings from the Bayview Transportation Improvement Project were incorporated into the Alternatives Study.  Mr. Bloom reported that the no-bridge alternative was studied, and the conclusion was that the cost of building the bridge does not justify its intended use.

 

Commissioner Martin stated that she is eager to see how the plan will be received and encouraged consideration of the valuable ideas in the plan.  Chair Wald stated that the plan should be helpful in helping to identify real alternatives and commended the ideas that she hopes will be incorporated into future processes.  Mr. Bloom stated that this plan represents best practices that the environmental community is bringing into its planning, and if done properly, can be a new way of working together with city government.  Mr. Bloom stated that the Redevelopment Commission and Health Commission have the benefit of looking at this information and judging.  It is hoped that the two plans would be blended together in order to present a tremendous opportunity for San Francisco.  Ms. Bohee stated that the team takes the ideas that were presented seriously and welcomes opportunity for discussion.

 

Public Comment

 

Mr. Alan Hopkins, concerned citizen, stated that he frequented Candlestick Park before there was grass and trees, and when it was just a landfill. It was stated that the area is now quiet and is a fantastic spot that would change with the current plan. Mr. Hopkins stated that he has problems with the bridge because it will diminish the use of the wetlands, and the proposal would divide the community instead of encouraging people from going into the community.  Mr. Hopkins stated that he was also not in support of the stadium idea at the end of a peninsula because of traffic concerns for residents and businesses, tailgate parties, and the potential of trash ending up in the bay. It was recommended that if there were to be a stadium that it should be placed away from the bay.

 

Mr. Arthur Feinstein stated that state parks are not supposed to contain roads and should be used for the preservation of natural resources, not to facilitate transportation.  Mr. Feinstein stated that he is supportive of the project, but that it should be a project that is better for the community and for the city as a whole, as well as Lennar, not for destroying the state park.  Mr. Feinstein stated that the state park could be used to make the community more valuable by locating property next to natural resources, which would increase property value and could figure into the economic package.

 

Ms. Noreen Weeden, Golden Gate Audubon, stated that the bridge is a bad idea that would cut through the habitat and reduce the opportunity to enhance habitat for future generations.  It was stated that there is a good opportunity for the City to review Arc Ecology’s proposal and other opportunities at this time.

 

Vice-Chair Gravanis discussed the 4F evaluation process requirements and negative impacts on the state park.  Vice-Chair Gravanis stated that she hopes that money won’t be allocated to a bridge that would save a minimal amount of travel time, especially in light of the current economy.

 

7.   Announcements. (Discussion)  There were no announcements made at this time.

 

8.   New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Recommendations for future agenda items included: February 9 meeting—(1) Treasure Island topics on stormwater and wastewater, land use and infrastructure changes since December of 2006 when Supervisors endorsed the term sheet.; and (2) adopt environmental accords to work on for 2009; March 9 meeting: (1) pros and cons of various options for garbage service pickup and current regulations; (2) Environmental Accords website overview; and (3) community outreach for attendance at meetings. 

 

Ms. Kass, Department of the Environment, asked Commissioners to determine what future presentations they would require on the Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point development project.  Committee members thanked Ms. Kass for her involvement in coordinating the presentations.  Vice-Chair Gravanis indicated that she would send in her comments on the Draft Transportation Plan as a member of the public since a request was made to produce comments soon.  Chair Wald indicated that she would send a thank you note to Ms. Bohee on her efforts to present to the Committee.  Committee members discussed how to improve community participation at Policy Committee meetings on this topic.  Ms. Fish reported on current outreach efforts that include posting of the agenda on the web, Library posting, and forwarding to an agenda subscriber list.       

 

9.   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.

 

10.  Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 7:10 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:  February 9, 2009

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