FOGG Letter to the Port Commission

FOGG sent a letter to the San Francisco Port Commission, following up the informational presentation on April 11, 2006 by Simon Snellgrove, the developer. Here is the letter sent, April 17, 2006.

Dear President Lazarus and Members of the Commission:

This letter reaffirms the Friends of Golden Gateway’s (FOGG) stance on maintaining the open recreational space known as the Golden Gateway Tennis & Swim Club, and the need for its continued use as originally planned. The proposed development known as 8 Washington will significantly change for the worse our neighborhood, and we believe it is not in the best interest of the San Francisco waterfront. FOGG has over 800 members. Members of the Telegraph Hill Dwellers and Barbary Coast Neighborhood Assoc. also support our position.

With over 2000 residents (adults and children) residing in one of the most densely populated areas in the City, and with the least amount of open space it is imperative that we have a livable community that responds to its needs. Further, families throughout the City and Bay area come to this facility for their physical activity. It is the only recreational area open 7 days a week in this part of the City, and most hours of the day…at a reasonable cost. Attached is the latest Club newsletter showing the many activities and services provided by the Golden Gateway Tennis & Swim Club. (FOGG readers please see the Club website for the newsletter.) Please note the volunteer work accomplished by the Club for the benefit of the many in the community.

The development of the Golden Gateway neighborhood was approved on the condition that both Sidney Walton Park and the open recreational space where the Club is located, be preserved in perpetuity. To change it into a commercial and high cost condominium project would be tantamount to destroying its original intent. Dianne Feinstein, as both Mayor and U.S. Senator supported the need to keep this area open recreational space. (See attached documents.) (FOGG website readers please note that these documents are available on our website.)
As we stated at the Commission meeting, Mr. Snellgrove’s vision is a “20thst century.” Both AT&T (formerly SBC) Ball Park and the HP Pavilion in San Jose were planned a public transit priority, and both are highly successful. The past history of the Ferry Building was also this way. It should be the same in the future.

This Waterfront area is now overused with auto traffic. What we should be doing is work together to bring more public transportation to the waterfront area. We also find that there are a number of parking lots within walking distance of the Piers that Mr. Snellgrove is developing, usually underused, and open on weekends.
As seen at the informal hearing, the opposition to this proposed development from the neighborhood groups is wide and deep. Mr. Snellgrove will encounter an array of legal and political hurdles in his attempt to develop this project. It is possible, that even if he prevails, the parking structure may not be finished until 2011. If gasoline prices continue to rise to perhaps $6 a gallon, this parking lot may never be used as intended.
It was stated at the meeting that the historic seawall’s base extends to your seawall parking lot, and is quite porous. The Bay high tide flows all the way to Montgomery St. Deep excavation of the lot for construction of the underground parking lot could cause severe damage to the neighboring area, including the Embarcadero roadway, not to mention the effect of a major earthquake.
We ask that the Port Commission support FOGG’s position in keeping the entire 8 Washington space open for community recreational purposes. It is critical to the neighborhood and the City.

Thank you for giving us this opportunity to express our position.
Lee Radner
Chair, Friends of Golden Gateway

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