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Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association Meets Tuesday

Please join your neighbors on Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 6pm at the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific in the Library (450 Harrison Street at 1st Street).

You may have read about the Mayor’s legislation to help stimulate development of currently approved projects, including the second tower of One Rincon Hill and a “sister” development to The Infinity at 201 Folsom Street.  There were stories in the San Francisco Chronicle and The Examiner today. That is one of the topics that will be addressed by our guest speaker on Tuesday, Michael Yarne from the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development.

I think we all want to see the buildings in Rincon Hill built, but we’re also scratching our heads and wondering why our millions of dollars paid to the City and County of San Francisco in property taxes haven’t been used to improve the sidewalks and pedestrian safety environment along the residential cores of Harrison Street and Folsom Street in Rincon Hill. It would appear as though the only way we’ll get improvements is via development impact fees from new buildings, and this creates a great concern about delaying the collection of those fees by another 2-3 years.  If Rincon Hill neighbors saw the sidewalks and pedestrian safety improvements promised in the Rincon Hill Plan implemented via our, I’m just guessing, $30 million or so in property tax dollars we contribute each year, the delay of the impact fees would not be a big deal in my humble opinion.  However, because infrastructure improvements like the Guy Place Park site seem to be stalled until more impact fees are collected from new construction, it seems like this is just a raw deal for Rincon Hill residents …. the City won’t return our approximately $30 million of property taxes to improve pedestrian safety, so many of us drive our cars to get around … and for those who don’t feel safe to walk and instead drive everywhere, they feel trapped in their homes during the evening commute by all of the traffic going to the Bay Bridge.  Anyway, that’s one topic we’ll cover on Tuesday ….

A much more favorable, win-win issue we’ll also discuss with Michael Yarne is the proposed Green Development Agreement legislation.  It is discussed in an article in The Examiner today and Streetsblog covered it a few days ago.  I think this is a winner … though I would suggest a couple of contingencies (a 5 year limit and a review of the entitlement if the basis for which a component of an entitlement was approved significantly changes, ie: 201 Folsom and the postal service intending to move to 550 Townsend Street, removing the need for “272 replacement parking spaces” for the postal trucks).

The first pilot project of the Green Development Agreement legislation is 399 Fremont (at Harrison Street).  Steve Kuklin, representing Fifield Companies, will discuss the exciting plans to create a street tree nursery and a biofuel research site on the property – much better uses of the property (temporarily, until development can begin) than what exists today.  You can actually hear more about this topic at today’s Planning Commission meeting, City Hall, Room 400, 1:30pm start time (or watch it on cable channel 78).

This legislation has a lot of impact on the Rincon Hill neighborhood and our day-to-day experiences in and around our developing community.  I hope you can join us on Tuesday, March 2nd at 6pm at the Sailors’ Union of the Pacific to gain a better understanding of what is proposed and what we can do to support or to suggest changes to the Mayor’s legislation.

Also, if you cannot make the Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting on Tuesday, you might want to attend the March 9th brownbag 12:30pm – 1:30pm discussion at SPUR’s 654 Mission Street office (free for members, $5 for non-members, you can bring/eat lunch) of the Green Development Agreement moderated by our friend and San Francisco Chronicle columnist John King.  We should thank John King profusely in regards to the Green Development Agreement legislation because it was his July 2009 articles that challenged ReBar Group and others to think about temporary uses of the empty development lots stalled by the economic downturn that really ignited the movement to truly do something for the public good until development can begin at these sites.

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