The Agenda, June 18-24: Supes to radically change notice requirements on development

Plus how to support the Tenants Union and the first big debate for D10 candidates

The Board of Supes will vote Tuesday/19 on a piece of legislation that would change the way planners give the public notice of upcoming projects. Nobody’s paid much attention to this, but neighborhood advocates say it’s a very big deal.

The legislation comes from the office of Mayor Mark Farrell, and it’s designed in part to make it easier to build 100 percent affordable housing by streamlining some of the requirements. Hardly anyone disagrees with that.

Mayor Mark Farrell wants to reduce the amount of public notice on development projects

But it also eviscerates some of the public notice requirements for commercial projects, including eliminating the requirement that notices be published in a newspaper.

For better or for worse, public-notice legal ads have helped keep publications like the SF Examiner and ethnic-community newspapers alive in a very challenging time.

Sue Hestor, a longtime land-use lawyer notes that the legislation finds that “Newspaper circulation is down and digital media consumption is up. It says minority populations more likely to use digital media – so we are going to defund everything that keeps print media alive including the minority press?

The legislation, Hestor says, “assumes everyone has computer” – when in fact about 100,000 San Francisco residents lack Internet access. “The legislation assumes that everyone has a printer that can print 11×17 plans. Many, many architects do plans with important details in color, which is expensive to print out.”

The bill would also limit notice for projects in the C3 district, which includes downtown. But Hestor said “there are hundreds of existing housing units in C3, many of them SROs that are vulnerable to hanky panky.”

Sup. Aaron Peskin asked for a delay in the Planning Commission’s consideration, saying that most of the public had no idea what this would really do. The commission passed it anyway. So did the supes Land Use and Transportation Committee.

I asked Peskin about Hestor’s concerns that this is a bad piece of legislation, and he said: “I absolutely agree.”

These are significant changes in the Planning Code that have slid by with little public input. The Yimby folks are big supporters. Worth watching, among other things, what Mayor-elect London Breed does on this.

If she supported a continuance, this could get delayed until after Farrell is out of office, she is the mayor, the new D8 supe, Rafael Mandelman, is in office, and her replacement in D5 has been sworn in.

Or she could let it go through as is, to the delight of her Yimby supporters.

The San Francisco Tenants Union is holding its annual fundraiser Thursday/28, honoring the Outstanding New Organizers of 2018 – Democratic Socialists of America, for their work on Prop. F, and Veritas Tenants Committee, for organizing against one of SF’s largest landlords. The group will also add Carol Bettencourt of the Eviction Defense Collaborative to the Tenant Hall of Fame. You can get more info and tickets here.

The India Basin Neighborhood Association is hosting a debate for the District 10 candidates Saturday/23 and I will be the moderator. There is no incumbent running, and given all of the issues facing the southeast part of the city, this will be a critical race. 2pm, Hunters Point Shipyard Artists, Horn Avenue, Building 101 auditorium.

And watch this site for Marke B’s annual Pride Guide!