FOGG Open Letter – September 15, 2009

FOGG is reporting on the Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group (NEWAG) meeting held last Wednesday, September 9.  And, as always, we want to thank those FOGG supporters who took the time out of a very busy Wednesday schedule to attend and participate.

In summary, not much new really happened that would give us a definite indication where the Planning Department and Port are heading in the Northeast Embarcadero Study, other than the Planning staff gave a lengthy report on the present status of the recently held Community Workshops.  We do urge you to read the ‘talking points’ which are available on this web site, please click on the Page link ‘SF Planning Department Talking Points’.  It will give you some insight on what direction the Planning & Port staffs are heading.

We did learn that the next Planning Workshop will be held on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30 – 6:00PM, at the Ferry Building, Port Commission Hearing Room, 2nd Floor.  We understand that there will be a report on Planning/Port recommendations, followed by small discussion groups.  We sincerely hope as many of our FOGG supporters as possible show up for this meeting, as we must show that FOGG and the community is steadfast in maintaining and supporting the integrity of our open recreational space.  We will send you reminders, but please put it on your calendar now.

Back to the meeting:  FOGG members including our attorney queried the Planning Department and Port staff on more specific details concerning rising water levels in the Bay.  Responses were quite general.  The Port did release a Memorandum concerning the key terms of the Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) in their relationship with San Francisco Waterfront Partners.  The agreement could continue to May 2011.

The meeting became somewhat heated when we read a few of the many emails we have in our possession concerning the strategy for these Community Workshops.  We specifically pointed out the Planning staff/Port idea that the need for “open space” along the waterfront is downplayed in any final report, and that we must be “educated” on why the 85 foot height limit looks about right to them.

There were other issues that we didn’t raise at this time.  Reading the actual emails brought some strong responses, but again, no specific denials or contradictions.  It seemed they wanted to shoot the messenger, not the message.

One specific detail that was mentioned concerning Seawall Lot 351 zoning caught many of the attendees by surprise.  The Planning Department stated that due to a clerical error, SWL #351, which is zoned ‘P’ – Public, is really zoned ‘RC-4’ – Residential-Commercial.  We intend to research this and ask for the source documents.

We hope that the battle for transparency and an honest dialog concerning proposed development in our neighborhood will finally prevail.  With your support (including financial) we will continue the day to day fight with an optimistic outlook.

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