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02.22 Approved Minutes

CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO

COMMISSION ON THE ENVIRONMENT

POLICY COMMITTEE

 

*RESCHEDULED MEETING

APPROVED MINUTES

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2010, 5:00 P.M.

City Hall, Room 421

San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 

*The Monday, February 8, 2010, 5:00 p.m. Commission on the Environment Policy Committee meeting was RESCHEDULED to Monday, February 22, 2010 at 5:00 p.m., City Hall, Room 421.

 

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 5:00 p.m.  Present:  Chair Wald, Vice-Chair Gravanis and Commissioner Martin.

 

2.   Approval of Minutes of the January 25, 2010 Policy Committee Rescheduled Meeting.   (Discussion and Action) Upon Motion by Commissioner Martin and second by Commissioner Gravanis, the January 25, 2010 Meeting Minutes were approved with amendments. (AYES:  Commissioners Wald, Gravanis and Martin) (Explanatory Documents: January 25, 2010 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. 

 

Ms. Noreen Weeden, Golden Gate Audubon, commented on the Recreation and Park Department proposal to install artificial turf and night lighting at the Beach Chalet soccer field.  She stated that the proposal is to install 60-foot lights that would remain on until 10:00 p.m. at the Beach Chalet Soccer Fields in Golden Gate Park and convert four grass soccer fields to artificial turf.  Golden Gate Park is adjacent to Ocean Beach, which is part of the Pacific Flyway, an important migratory route for birds.  Night lighting can cause birds to become confused and disoriented.  Birds that migrate at night use the moon and stars which has been documented in a book written by Travis Longcore and Catherine Rich, called Ecological Consequences of Artificial Night Lighting.  Ms. Weeden encouraged completion of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on this project, which has not been conducted on any conversions of grass fields to artificial turf.  Commissioner Martin inquired whether a formal request was made for an EIR.  Ms. Weeden stated that a formal request was made and she is awaiting a response. (Explanatory Document:  “New Soccer Complex to Drastically Alter Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach”)

 

Item 7 was heard before Item 4.

 

4.   Hunters Point Shipyard Phase 2-Candlestick Point Draft Sustainability Plan and Project Update. (Informational Report and Discussion)  (Explanatory Document:  Briefing Document and ARUP Presentation) Speakers: Wells Lawson, Office of Workforce and Economic Development, Jean Rogers, ARUP, Stephen Proud, Lennar, and Steve Rottenborn, H.T. Harvey and Associates.

 

Mr. Wells Lawson, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, reported that work is in progress on (1) reducing the 30,000 foot level project to a consolidated version; (2) the Sustainability Plan; (3) Infrastructure Plan, (4) Design for Development Document; (5) and Transportation Plan. Committee Members had an opportunity to see the Draft Environment document that was produced, and public comment closed in January.  The CEQA team is at work responding to the 1800 comments that were received, and changes will be made after this process. A review was made of housing variants, land plan, non-stadium alternative that isn’t just R&D, but creates more of a mixed-used neighborhood in Hunters Point Shipyard. The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) includes a utility variance that includes features suggested by Policy Committee members, e.g., decentralized waste water treatment facilities, TRANSVAC, centralized waste collection facility, district heating and cooling facilities. Project approvals are now being created to allow the developer to start the project.  The project team will continue to attend meetings to review major phases of the project infrastructure and details discussed in the Sustainability Plan.  Committee Members received a copy of the Draft Sustainability Plan Briefing Document prior to the meeting for review.

 

Ms. Jean Rogers, ARUP, reported that the Draft Sustainability Plan Briefing Document is anticipated to be widely distributed in the community, and the document would be finalized once feedback was received. It would be the summary document that would be more accessible to most people than the large and very detailed Sustainability Plan.  She stated that comments on the larger Sustainability Plan are being addressed and that a final document may be available by the end of this week.  Ms. Rogers discussed goals and strategies that are highlights of the Sustainability Plan that include:

 

(See presentation for detailed information)

·         What does sustainability mean to the local community--jobs, health, safety, education, cost of living, and quality of life and how has the project responded?

·         Hunters Point Shipyard and Candlestick Point Development Program allotment of space to various uses.

·         Unique Aspects of the development program in terms of arts and leisure, infrastructure, and innovation.

·         Sustainable strategies and key components for economic vitality and affordability, community identity and cohesion; public well-being, safety, and quality of life; accessibility and transportation, resource efficiency (energy, water, waste), ecology (habitat and climate); and advanced information and communication technology. 

·         Benefits to Community—significant economic opportunities, better education opportunities, home ownership opportunities, a lower cost of living, improved quality of life, improved health and air quality, and preserving community spirit.

 

Commissioners provided their comments on the Sustainability Plan Briefing Document:

 

Commissioner Gravanis--

·         Jobs and economic development should be referred to as more important than “amenities.”

·         Inquired whether wind power would be pursued.  Ms. Rogers stated that the area does not have a great wind resource and would require very tall significant wind turbines.  Building integrated wind would not be as effective as photovoltaics in terms of cost effectiveness and generating a significant amount of renewable capacity. She stated that individual homeowners, business owners, or the stadium may want to pursue integrating wind turbines into their particular area. 

·         Inquired whether the larger Sustainability Plan would be made available on the web when complete.  Ms. Rogers confirmed that it would be made available on the web.  

·         Inquired what would happen to the wetlands that are currently located on the shoreline in Candlestick.  Ms. Rogers and Mr. Steve Rottenborn, H.T. Harvey and Associates discussed the effect of sea level rise and the feasibility of sustaining wetlands. Commissioner Gravanis referenced written correspondence received from Arc Ecology on plans to use riprap and seawalls at several locations along the Bay shoreline where they believe a living shoreline approach would be preferable.  (See Explanatory Document)

 

Commissioner Wald suggested changing the language in the “Economic Vitality and Affordability” slide that states “up to $17.8 million workforce development funds” because it suggests it could be a lot less.  She stated that she is surprised by references in the Briefing Document, page 39, and in the presentation on solar thermal because the solar thermal developers that she is working with would not put projects in San Francisco because there is not that much insulation. Photovoltaics (PV) would be fine, and PV is being installed now, but found references to solar thermal as a projected contribution quite surprising. She inquired what type of technology would be used.  Ms. Rogers stated that the engineers are looking at insulation and believe that as an efficiency measure, solar thermal is economical and important to look at. This strategy would reduce the heating load or gas demand and would work in conjunction with a district heating and cooling plant. Commissioner Wald inquired whether there would be onsite storage for energy that would enable taking advantage of days when demand is low and there is a lot of sun. Ms. Rogers stated that onsite storage was not considered because it is expensive and the PV would only generate about 38% of the project’s peak demand so it would all be used.  Storage would not be needed for that amount of PV.  She explained that the solar thermal would feed into a district heating cooling plant potentially for hot water or other uses that would serve both commercial and residential if implemented so there would be a balanced load. 

 

Commissioner Martin—

·         Inquired whether the public infrastructure would be providing pay telephones and drinking fountains. 

·         Suggested including the potential for installation of new community gardens.

·         On page 4 T3, inquired about the accuracy of the reference to over 60% increase. 

·         On page 4, T5 inquired whether the plan is outlined for street cleaning and suggested a street cleaning analysis be prepared on specific routes where there may be more tire pollutants.

·         On T7 “encourage fans to travel by bike or public transit”—has not seen a goal of having effective and sufficient bike storage at the stadium. Suggested anticipating capacity. 

·         Page 5 Energy, household expected to enjoy savings of $188--the presentation says $300. Ms. Rogers explained that $300 includes combined savings from energy, water, etc. 

·         Presentation mentioned 15% total project in electric use of photovoltaics, and the Briefing Book says up to 15%.  Minimum target may be the appropriate way to state it.

·         WT2—include low water plants because it is a significant consumption reduction.  Will there be GPS monitoring for irrigation?

·         Regarding water conservation, inquired whether there would be fountains as have been shown in the renderings?  Fountains may help with amenities in microclimates where there are hot spots to make the immediate environment more amenable. Ms. Rogers stated that recycled water would be used if there were fountains.  All water for parks and open space is recommended to be done with recycled water.   

·         In WT4, suggested a design storm event of at least 20 years instead of 5 years.

·         Integrated Pest Management to cite attracting beneficial species so that it would be a design element for plant selections. 

·         HB3 to include percentage of evergreen canopy target, because of their differing benefits from deciduous trees in our climate.

·         Page 7 ICT1-add additional information on the ability for localized controls, whether people would be able to look at controls within individual units as well as commercial. 

·         Provide more information on the broadband network, whether it would be fee based or free? 

·         Presentation reference “What does sustainability mean to the local community?”--add earth, air and water quality.

·         Presentation reference “How project responded”—consider consolidating.

·         Discussion of regional retail space and use of space.

·         Ninety percent of residences have access to neighborhood services— now is the time to make it 100%.    

 

Commissioner Gravanis inquired about the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process and how it would address stadium or no stadium, bridge or no bridge alternatives.  Mr. Lawson reported that the no-bridge alternative that takes advantage of a railroad right-of-way that goes around Yosemite Slough as an alternative to running the Bus Rapid Transit across the slough looked at habitat impacts, noise, air quality, and traffic as part of the EIR analysis.  Mr. Stephen Proud, Lennar, suggested that a more detailed discussion on alternatives be discussed at a future meeting. Commissioner Gravanis stated that a lot of people are interested in the process on how the final decision will be made.  

 

Public Comment:

 

Mr. Leonard Helm, Bayview Resident, stated that he has lived in the Bayview District for approximately 35 years and has had to deal with mold and mildew issues in the housing projects, which he believes are dilapidated and should be torn down.  He spoke in support of the project because he believes it would create jobs and help remove the sickness caused by mold and mildew.

 

Ms. Stormy Henry, Alice Griffith resident, thanked the developers who are creating this project and commended the Commissioners for their questions that address community concerns about sea level rise and living conditions.  She stated that she would like to see the project move forward in order to solve the current mold and mildew in buildings.  She stated that there is a shortage of parks in the neighborhood, inquired about the ratio of basketball courts, and asked to provide the community information about the Indian burial grounds. 

 

Mr. Javier Marquez stated that he does community awareness work in the southeast sector and inquired about lead and toxins at job sites.  He suggested getting rid of the red tape that is prolonging this project and could make the situation worse.  Mr. Marquez also expressed his concern for children who become ill from toxins in the current housing.

 

Mr. Michael McGowan, Ph.D., ARC Ecology, scientist, congratulated the project team on their eloquent presentation on sustainability of the built environment, but stated that the presentation was mute with regard to the natural environment especially for San Francisco.  He stated that he is especially concerned about the use of riprap and other hard armoring along the shoreline.  This hard armoring is not only aesthetically unattractive but blocks public access, for example for kayakers, and harmful to the habitat itself.   It does not provide a natural transition that would include wetlands, sand, eel grass, offshore native oyster reefs, etc.  Given the actual erosion conditions that are based on site specific data (not distant data from the Airport which is unlikely and unsuitable for this area), the natural living shoreline approach should receive a lot more attention, especially along the northern shoreline in Indian Basin and the entire southern shoreline along Yosemite Slough.  (See explanatory document)  He requested that the living shoreline approach be looked at in more detail. 

 

Rev. Arnold Townsend, Co-Pastor, resident of Hunters Point Bayview neighborhood, stated that he has been involved in a lot of development activities in San Francisco for the past forty years, and that this is the most effective project he has seen in the last 40 years.  He has attended many hearings and is here out of concern.  Everybody has to agree that what is there now is not good for anyone, not for the City of San Francisco and residents in terms of toxic and environmental issues.  He feels that something needs to be done quickly.  Rev. Townsend stated that the benefits of this project outweigh the concerns, e.g., the basic needs of the community such as decent housing, a safe environment for children, and bringing in economic advantages that will cause the neighborhood to be equitable with other San Francisco neighborhoods are more important than accommodating kayakers.  This project will do that and is big enough to accommodate natural and non-natural shoreline issues.  All the vetting has been wonderful and has made the project comprehensive.  No one is getting healthier with the project remaining as it is.

 

Mr. Eric Butler, Bayview resident, stated that he is trained in HAZMAT, lead abatement, asbestos, and discussed the environmental concerns in the community.  He stated that he would like to apply his HAZMAT skills in the Bayview community. He feels that the project should go forward for the sake of education and job opportunities for the community.

 

Ms. Ari Coleman stated that she is a mother of two boys and is a Bayview resident whose son practices basketball.  She is concerned with safety issues at neighborhood parks, e.g. insufficient lighting, and that she has to drive to basketball games in Contra Costa County because the neighborhood parks are not safe and the field is not large enough.  She stated that new parks would open up opportunities for kids in the neighborhood and spoke in favor of tearing down the housing so she would not have to worry about her children getting lead poisoning.

 

Ms. Noreen Weeden, Golden Gate Audubon, stated that in 2004, Golden Gate Audubon worked with the community and produced a report, the “Final Watershed Report”, on Yosemite Slough where they identified that there are 118 species of birds, 9 mammals, 5 reptiles and amphibians, and 14 species of butterflies that use the area, and that is in the current degraded state.  She spoke in support of a plan to restore the Yosemite Slough wetlands, which has been recognized by the California Coastal Conservancy who supported the Candlestick Restoration Plan for the restoration of Yosemite Slough.  She spoke in opposition to the bridge over Yosemite Slough and stated that it would divide the community instead of having them enjoy a park that can be restored.  The project also did not look at some of the issues that would be involved if a bridge was to be built.  It assumes that it would be part of the Bay Trail and that is not true.  The project does not look at the destruction, habitat fragmentation and nesting islands that are proposed in Yosemite Slough and the impacts that the bridge would have on that.  The project does not address other impacts from a bridge such as pollution, stormwater runoff, shading impacts, lighting and noise, local wildlife, impact to plant life, and existing eel beds in the area. 

 

Ms. Weeden stated that many people today come to Candlestick to enjoy the wildlife that is there.  There is an opportunity to make it better for the public, community and visitors and can be a draw for people to frequent the area. The project is proposing that 10,000 trees be planted, but does not talk about a plan to place appropriate trees.  It is another opportunity to improve the habitat of the area. The parkland includes a parking space which is covering up a toxic area--it is a parking space for the stadium, which is an area of concern. 

 

Ms. Christina Sandoval, Hunters Point resident, stated that she feels that the area is already divided as a community from one sector to the next.  She loves this project and believes it would bring about change for the youth community.  She stated that she resides in Hunters Point West A which is down the hill from Hunters Point, which has one basketball court that is broken, no parks, and no Girls and Boys Club.  They have 165 housing units which does not include affordable housing on the other side, where each resident may have 4 to 5 kids each with nothing for them to do.  This project would bring parks to the neighborhood that would give kids something to do so they would stay out of trouble and keep them in their own neighborhood.

 

Mr. Michael Patton supported the project’s plan for open space which he believes would be beneficial for the kids.  He stated that this project is good for the community and that everybody is waiting and excited.

 

Commissioner Martin noted in response to public comment that there appeared to be a misunderstanding on the part of the public regarding the Commission’s role and impact on the construction schedule and suggested Lennar attempt additional means of communication to relay an accurate message regarding schedule to the community.  Mr. Stephen Proud, Lennar, stated that the Environmental Impact Report has been published and work is being done on the response to comments.  The project team is in the process of negotiating a range of action and entitlement documents with City partners that will become available in the next two to three-month period.  There will be a Design for Development Document that will talk about the built environment that will be the subject of discussion at the community level, with the Community Advisory Committee, Bayview PAC, and the Planning Commission.  There will be a Development Disposition Agreement (DDA) that has control of the overall transaction structure for the project that would be brought to the community and Redevelopment Agency Commission for review.  There are a series of entitlement documents that are in various stages of drafts and productions working their way through.  The goal is to try to get through the entitlement process in the June 2010 timeframe.  Meetings are being held on documents and the outreach and community process will continue along with the formal process with City agencies and the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Lawson stated that there is a DDA Executive Summary available that would be sent to Commissioners.

 

Commissioner Martin inquired when people in the area would start to see activity/construction on the project.  Mr. Proud stated that construction has started, and that by the fall to the end of this year, they would be breaking ground for the project.  He discussed the challenging finance and housing market, but stated that once financing is in place, they would be ready to start on Phase 1. In regards to Phase 2 – a lot of programs are dependent on ultimate conveyance of the property from the Navy.  Right now, they believe that the first properties that were conveyed from the Navy as well as the footprint for the stadium would be conveyed from the Navy to the City in early 2011.  At that point, entitlements would be in place and applications would be submitted to the City to do work in those phases of the project.  Commissioner Martin inquired whether there would or could be any projects started currently that would provide relief for the community, especially the improved play areas as had been requested by public comment.  Mr. Lawson stated that some projects are underway, e.g. Alice Griffith has federal money to do lead abatement, and they would look at play areas.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested communicating the timeline to the community.  She stated that there is a perceived feeling of incompatibility of maximizing sustainability of habitat and wildlife with maximizing jobs, housing, and economic development, but that it should all be inclusive.  Commissioner Gravanis requested that Ms. Weeden’s issues be addressed in the EIR. 

Mr. Lawson reported that the response to comments would be complete by mid to end of March.  The aim is to have the EIR Certification in place by April, early May.  There would be an opportunity for the Policy Committee to provide comments. Commissioner Gravanis requested additional discussion on the Biodiversity Section of the Plan. 

 

5.   Director’s Updates.  Speaker:  David Assmann, Acting Director (Informational Report and Discussion).  Director’s updates were not heard at this time.

 

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

 

7.   New Business/Future Agenda Items. (Discussion)  Commissioner Wald suggested that the March meeting include (1) a discussion on the response to Commission Questionnaires to environmental organizations; and (2) discussion of tree maintenance issues.  Commissioner Gravanis suggested inviting relevant parties from Planning, Department of Public Works (DPW), San Francisco Tree Council, Mayor’s Office, and Budget Analyst (people who have knowledge about the cost of tree maintenance and ways the City can fund the program). Commissioner Martin suggested requesting input from the Department of Public Works about a proposal to put the city trees into public care.

 

Additional future agenda item requests included (1) Green Building discussion on energy efficiency for existing buildings and overview of current work (April meeting); (2) discussion on the disposal/transportation waste contract after negotiations are complete but before the contract goes before the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Westlund stated that he would report back on a date that would be feasible to hold a discussion (possibly May).

 

8.   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.

 

9.   Adjournment.  The Policy Committee meeting adjourned at 6:58 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: March 8, 2010

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