Archive for September, 2005

Three Years, 15 Sites, Not One Home

Beyond Chron has an article this week about the Surplus Property Ordinance.

“…three years after the Board of Supervisors enacted a Surplus Property Ordinance requiring the city to set aside vacant or underutilized land for the development of affordable housing for homeless and low-income people, not a single property has been actively perused. Moreover, a site that has real development potential might be instead used as a shelter or turned into a landmark. “

“While [The Mayor’s Office of Housing] deemed most of the 15 sites too small, isolated, or inaccessible for development, one property, located at 150 Otis Street might be usable under the ordinance. Previously the Juvenile Court and Detention Home, until 1949, and then a homeless shelter for the Department of Human Services, it currently is being used to house possessions of homeless residents. “


S.F. revels in snow day

Despite the neighbors doing everything they could to prevent the event from happening, Icer Air 2005 went ahead yesterday with thousands of people in attendance.

From the Examiner, “Skiers and snowboarders launched near a mock cable car at the top of the Fillmore Street hill at Broadway and then tore down a narrow strip of snow, reaching speeds around 30 mph. Just a few feet away on either side, crowds beat on wooden barriers that lined the route.”

“The event was originally scheduled for the end of August, but organizers and city officials decided to delay it after complaints from neighbors and safety concerns.”

SF Gate has a great 4 minute Quicktime video of the event as well, including how they brought the snow into Fillmore Street.


New lighting standards begin Oct. 1

From the San Francisco Business Times, “Beginning Oct. 1, people building or remodeling homes in California will have to obey new lighting standards meant to help consumers save up to 75 percent on lighting costs.”

“The new 2005 changes will now require that more than 50 percent of the wattage in kitchens must be high efficiency. The ratio of incandescent lights to the high efficiency lights must be four to one. At least one high-efficiency light fixture or vacancy sensors will be the minimum requirement in virtually every room. Outdoors, lighting attached to a building, such as a porch light, must be energy efficient or controlled by a motion sensor with a built-in photo control unit that detects dusk.”


Sparks fly over changes to condo conversions

Go figure. There were raised voices in the Land Use Committee yesterday when the subject of condo conversions hit the floor. The Examiner today has an article on the people that were yelling.

“A plan that would give extra chances to property owners who have long waited for The City’s approval to convert their units to condominiums became too hot to handle Wednesday, when a debate among supervisors ended with raised voices and a one-month postponement of the item.”

“Committee members agreed to revisit the issue on Nov. 2. But when a city representative on hand to answer questions about the city-run lottery process said it would be more timely if the committee acted now, Sandoval forcefully told him to stop advocating. Dufty soon raised his voice as well in defense of the staff, and it took committee Chairwoman Sophie Maxwell’s repeated banging of the gavel to close the matter.”

Once again they look to the king of tenants (or is he the jester?), Ted Gullicksen, for a quote but I’m not going to pass that one on. His lack of education on what it is he’s fighting for (or unwillingness to truly understand it) is getting old.


The city has a chance to create a great neighborhood on Rincon Hill

The Chron’s John King discusses the creation of the Rincon Hill ‘neighborhood’ in his Urban Design column today.

“The clock tower atop Rincon Hill doesn’t tell the time anymore, and by the end of November, there won’t be a clock tower at all. A 50-year-old landmark will be taken down, and a pair of towers, 55 and 45 stories, will rise in its place.”

“The funny thing is, the neighborhoods that work the best are the ones were got slapped together long ago. Space was at a premium, so houses were jammed close together; cars weren’t that common, so commercial districts were pulled in close to transit lines.”

“These days, by contrast, development is shaped by process and politics — with mixed results. Planning too often is nothing more than an attempt to satisfy the demands of every conceivable interest group. For most politicians, meanwhile, the long-term look and feel of San Francisco isn’t nearly as important as making your most strident constituents happy.”

“It’s easy to take down a clock tower; it’s tough to create a community. Let’s hope San Francisco is up to the task.”