By Dennis Richards, Chair DTNA Land Use Committee
This summer the DTNA Land Use committee has been busy crafting input for the San Francisco Planning Department and Supervisor Mandelman’s office in anticipation of the upcoming rezoning of not only Duboce Triangle, but of most of the city west of Twin Peaks. We will vet that input with the wider membership at a special General Meeting on Tuesday September 26. We hope to see everyone who cares about these issues show up for this last chance to provide input that will shape the Triangle for years to come.
As mentioned in our previous newsletter, committee members have completed a walk-around of part of the Triangle from Church Street to 15th and Noe, to get a sense of what makes our neighborhood so livable and where we hope to steer development in the coming decade.
We followed up with meetings in June and July and had thoughtful discussions and an exchange of ideas on what we envisioned the rezoning should consider, focusing on what aspects of livability were most important to preserve while encouraging growth. Meeting participants were eloquent and engaged in active listening, appreciating other’s points of view, even when they disagreed. Several of us actually changed some of our opinions as the result of these thoughtful and very cordial discussions.
The issues we will focus on at the September 26 meeting are imagining how large-scale development can fit in an historic neighborhood, and what that could actually look like, as well as how to upzone with equity in mind, to allow disenfranchised groups access to the high resource areas of the city, including ours. We will also discuss objective design standards for both historic resources as well as for newer buildings that are not historic resources, and what building design should look like in the case of lots that are merged in order to accommodate larger buildings.
One key issue that we all felt was important was our desire to preserve most aspects of the current mid-block open spaces which comprise all the backyards in a block in which trees and wildlife thrive. While we felt that rear yards could be reduced on some corners in order to welcome more new residents, we also felt strongly that rear yards were incredibly important to us all for livability, for recreating, and to maintain the city’s tree canopy to help meet our carbon goals.
The Committee agrees that the biggest opportunity site in the neighborhood is the Safeway building and parking lot. Urban Design lecturer at Stanford University Dehan Glanz recently led his undergraduate class in a series of imagined redesigns of the Safeway site. All the ideas were well received not only by members of the Land Use Committee, but also by members of the Safeway’s corporate development division, which suggests they may come to fruition at some point.
We look forward to hearing your feedback on the work that we have done at the September 26 meeting at Harvey Milk Rec Center. See you there!