San Francisco Redevelopment Agency


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110-5608-002                                                                                        Meeting of February 3, 2009

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION MEMORANDUM

 

TO:                 Agency Commissioners

 

FROM:           Fred Blackwell, Executive Director

 

SUBJECT:    Update on the ongoing Bayview Hunters Redevelopment Project Survey Area C community planning process and redevelopment plan amendment.

           

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

In 2006, the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan (“BVHP Plan”), adding 1,361 acres of the Bayview Hunters Point Survey Area (or Project Area B) to the existing 137-acre project area.  During that plan adoption process, it was determined that more detailed planning would be necessary before the India Basin shoreline area of the Bayview Hunters Point could also be amended into the BVHP Plan.  The India Basin shoreline area, also known as Redevelopment Project Survey Area C (“Area C”), is generally bounded by Jennings Avenue, Innes Avenue, Earl Street and the San Francisco Bay.

 

Therefore, in August 2007, the San Francisco Planning Department and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (“Agency”) began a collaborative community planning process focused specifically on Area C.  The purpose of the planning process is to craft new zoning controls, height limits and design guidelines for the area, and to identify public improvements and community benefits to inform a redevelopment program for the area. The planning process builds upon the community vision for the India Basin Shoreline contained in the 2002 Bayview Hunters Point Community Revitalization Concept Plan (“Concept Plan”).  

 

To date, staff has conducted five community workshops and conducted regular meetings with the Bayview Hunters Point Project Area Committee (“PAC”) and other stakeholders to receive input on the new land use controls and the redevelopment plan amendment.  In October 2008, staff released a policy framework to inform the General Plan and redevelopment plan amendments, as well as draft zoning recommendations and height controls.  These work products are currently being revised, based on the last round of public workshops and discussions with the PAC.  Revisions will be released this spring for further public review and discussion.  Staff anticipates being before the Agency Commission for hearings on a Draft Environmental Impact Report (“Draft EIR”) and the redevelopment plan amendment in summer 2009.

 


 

 

BACKGROUND

 

India Basin Shoreline (Survey Area C) Existing Conditions

 

Area C is generally bounded by Jennings Street to the north, Innes Avenue to the west, Earl Street to the south and the San Francisco Bay to the east, as seen in Attachment 1.  The southern boundary of Area C abuts the boundary of the Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Area, Parcel B.  Heron’s Head Park and Port of San Francisco lands sits to the northwest of the area.  The hillside area just above Area C contains three San Francisco Housing Authority developments including Hunters View.  Several single-family homes are located directly on Innes Avenue, just outside the survey area. 

 

Within the survey area, Innes Avenue contains several commercial businesses and light industrial operations, some ground-floor retail and office spaces, as well as many vacant storefronts.  There are also several new multi-family residential buildings on Innes Avenue.   There are a number of industrial operations between Innes Avenue and the San Francisco Bay. The India Basin Shoreline Park and Open Space Area (both owned and maintained by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department) are within the survey area, fronting a majority of the India Basin waterfront.  Portions of the Baytrail exist along the India Basin shoreline, but several significant gaps in the trail remain.

 

There are many vacant, or soon to be vacant, properties in Area C, as seen in Attachment 1.  The future of these sites has generated much discussion, highlighting the potentially significant development opportunities that exist in the area.  These properties include the 17-acre “India Basin Flats” or Acosta Parcels (formerly known as the Ferrari Brothers property) located at the southern end of the study area near Earl and Innes Streets, and the 33-acre Pacific Gas & Electric’s Hunters Point Power Plant (“PG&E Power Plant”), which was decommissioned in 2006 and is currently being dismantled.  There is also a collection of small industrial parcels on the waterfront near the intersections of Innes Avenue, Hudson Avenue and Griffith Street that were acquired by the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in late 2007, which is considering a new residential project on the property.  These parcels also include the vacant Shipwrights Cottage at 900 Innes Avenue, which was recently designated a San Francisco historic landmark by the Board of Supervisors.  There are also several smaller infill opportunity sites along Innes Avenue and an unimproved City-owned right-of-way called Hudson Avenue.  

 

The existing zoning in India Basin is primarily industrial, with large swathes of M-1 (light industrial) and M-2 (heavy industrial) zoning between Innes Avenue and the waterfront.  Many of the smaller parcels along Innes are zoned NC-2, a neighborhood commercial zoning classification.  These industrial and commercial zoning categories are very permissive, allowing most uses by-right, and including relatively high density housing either by-right or through a conditional use permit.  The current height limit throughout the area is 40 feet.  Interim zoning controls are currently in place that require a conditional use permit for any land use change or new development project until this planning process is complete.

 

 

 

The Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Area and the Concept Plan

 

In 1995, the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco (“Board”) created the roughly 2,500-acre Bayview Hunters Point Survey Area.  In 1997, the Project Area Committee (“PAC”) was formed.  Following a series of public planning meetings, and with assistance from the Agency, the PAC adopted and published the Bayview Hunters Point Community Revitalization Concept Plan in 2002.  The Concept Plan outlines a wide range of programs intended to bring about physical and economic improvements in Bayview Hunters Point.  The Concept Plan served as a foundational policy document for the BVHP Plan.   

On March 7, 2006 the Commission recommended adoption of the BVHP Plan, amending the existing 1969 Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan to include the Bayview Hunters Point Survey Area, or Project Area B, and allow redevelopment programs in Project Area B consistent with the policies contained the Concept Plan.  In May 2006, the Board of supervisors adopted the amendment to the BVHP Plan, adding the 1,361-acre Project Area B to the existing 137-acre Hunters Point Project Area. 

During the plan adoption process it was determined that further detailed planning would be necessary before the 76-acre India Basin shoreline area could also be amended into the BVHP Plan.  Thus Area C remained a redevelopment survey area for consideration in a future Redevelopment Plan amendment.  At that time, the Agency committed to leading a community planning process to ensure that the community’s vision would inform the policy direction and new land use controls for the area. 

The 2002 Concept Plan includes a chapter on the India Basin shoreline area. The Concept Plan’s vision for Area C includes:

  • Water recreation along the India Basin Shoreline and public access to the water.
  • New mixed-use residential developments that feature ground floor neighborhood-serving businesses and housing above in appropriate locations on the west side of Innes Avenue.
  • New mixed-use development centers with flexible land uses on the PG&E and Ferrari sites that take advantage of these large parcels of land.
  • The cleanup of hazardous substances from identified contaminated sites, particularly the PG&E site.
  • The creation of new pedestrian-friendly, walkable streets.

 

While this vision provides a strong foundation for contemplating changes in Area C, further refinement of the ideas contained in the Concept Plan are needed to craft sufficiently detailed land use controls for the shoreline area.

 

COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS

 

Accordingly, in August 2007, the San Francisco Planning Department and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (“Agency”) began a collaborative community planning process focused specifically on Area C.  The BVHP PAC is the formal advisory body to the Redevelopment Agency for this effort, and will be asked to endorse all work products.

 

This section provides an overview of the community planning process to date, including the anticipated work products, the public outreach process, and areas of consensus and areas for further discussion resulting from discussions with the community. 

 

Anticipated Work Products

 

The India Basin Shoreline community planning process will result in four related work products:

 

  1. An amendment to the existing Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan to include Area C.  The redevelopment plan amendment will define a program of public improvements and community benefits for the area.  The redevelopment plan amendment
    will require a number of technical studies to be completed, including a revised blight survey of the area and tax increment projections.

 

  1. An amendment to the San Francisco General Plan amendment to incorporate the vision, goals, and policies for Area C.  The San Francisco General Plan currently includes references to India Basin shoreline in the Bayview Hunters Point Area Plan section, calling for industrial uses in portions of the survey area.  The section will be revised and strengthened to better reflect goals and objectives related to the creation of a more mixed-use community.

 

  1. New zoning controls for the area that more accurately reflect the vision for India Basin.  The current industrial zoning is not appropriate for the mixed-use character envisioned for the India Basin.  New zoning will be prepared that better captures the types of uses desired for the area, and provides a more refined set of land use controls.

 

  1. Architectural design guidelines for the area to guide future development.   Architectural design guidelines will be prepared for the area to ensure that future development is of a scale appropriate to the area’s waterfront location and pedestrian-orientation, and is of high design quality. 

 

Overview of the Planning Process To Date

 

In August 2007, Agency and Planning Department staff initiated the community planning process.  To date, there has been a significant amount of public input and outreach, including five community workshops hosted by the PAC and facilitated by Agency and Planning Department staff, regular meetings with the Bayview Hunters Point PAC and other stakeholder groups, and staff office hours in the Bayview for more informal discussions and feedback.  The community planning process has addressed or will address many issues, including specific land use controls; building height and urban design standards; infrastructure needs; open space and community facilities; affordable housing goals; and workforce programs.

 

  • Public Workshops

Staff, in collaboration with the BVHP PAC, has conducted a series of public workshops and one community meeting to solicit input about Area C.  Below is a brief summary of each workshop:

 

  • Public Workshop 1: Issues & Goals. On August 1, 2007, Supervisor Maxwell and the PAC hosted an “idea sharing” session to identify key issues and goals related to the land use, urban design, transportation and street design and open space in Area C.

 

  • Public Workshop 2: Land Use Alternatives. On October 1, 2007, Agency and Planning staff presented three conceptual land use alternatives for the shoreline area including ideas for where housing, retail, open space and other uses could be located.  Each alternative presented a different approach for organizing density, building heights, and different land uses.  There was a discussion about the relationship between development density and the ability to create more public benefits, such as new open space.

 

  • Community Meeting and Open House.  On January 31, 2008, staff from a variety of City departments provided an overview of all the major planning efforts and development projects occurring in the larger Bayview Hunters Point, including the Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II project, Hunters View, and the Port’s Backlands planning effort.  The purpose of this meeting was to create a better understanding of the changes being proposed around and near Area C.

 

  • Workshop 3: Context and Plan Concepts.  On May 21, 2008, staff presented a single draft land use concept with distinct land use districts to identify where new housing, retail, commercial and other uses should be located.  Staff also presented an open space priorities diagram, identifying possible locations for future open space, as well as circulation and building scale concepts, for public discussion and input. 

 

  • Workshops 4 and 5, Policy Framework, Draft Zoning and Height Proposals.  This past fall, staff released a proposed Policy Framework as well as a draft zoning and height proposal for public review.  The materials were distributed at a workshop on September 24, 2008.  Participants then had three weeks to review the materials, and returned on October 15 workshop for detailed discussions about the proposals.  Participants worked through a “discussion workbook” to solicit input on the key ideas presented in the materials.  Staff is currently in the process of revising the draft Policy Framework and zoning proposals based on the feedback from these two workshops.

 

  • Office Hours

Staff has also been hosting periodic “office hours” in the neighborhood throughout the planning process.  There have been eight office hours held to date, with the most recent session on January 21, 2009.  Office hours provide the opportunity for informal discussions and brainstorming about land use, circulation and design issues, building on the conversations from previous workshops.  The office hours also provide an opportunity for community members to share new ideas with staff and other community members, and view comments and input received to date.

 

  • PAC Meetings and Other Stakeholder Meetings

Staff has conducted regular discussions about the Area C community planning process with the PAC.  Staff has worked most closely with the PAC’s Land Use and Transportation Committee, as well as the Outreach and Education and the Health and Environment Committees.  The planning process has also included meetings with other stakeholders, including the India Basin Neighborhood Association, property owners including PG&E, as well other city departments and regulatory agencies with purview in Area C, such as the Recreation and Park Department, the Port of San Francisco, and the Bay Conservation and Development Corporation (BCDC).

 

Areas of Consensus and Areas for Further Discussion

 

Staff is still in the process of analyzing all the input received to-date, however there appears to be general consensus in many key areas, such as:

 

  • Creating a community that is distinctly mixed-use, allowing a mix of residential, commercial, retail development and new open space and recreational uses.
  • Creating a new retail and waterfront recreation-oriented neighborhood center in the middle of the survey area, building on the area’s waterfront location and maritime history, to serve both residents and visitors.
  • Improving and increasing open space and public access along the water, including completing the Bay Trail through the area and building new recreational facilities. 
  • Turning the former PG&E Power Plant site into an emerging technologies job center, with research and development and office uses, retail and improved public access to the water.   
  • Ensuring that building heights within the area are varied to avoid monolithic walls of development and step down towards the waterfront.
  • Increasing building heights in key areas in exchange for community benefits, through a system of height bonuses or transfer of development rights.

 

There are some areas where there is a lack of clear consensus, requiring further staff analysis and community dialog, such as:

 

  • The appropriate mix of land uses on the India Basin “flats” parcels, particularly whether or not residential uses should be allowed on this large vacant property.  Some community members would like to see this privately-owned property acquired for permanent open space.  Others would like appropriately-scaled development that could help generate new tax increment to fund community benefits. 
  • The desired building heights, particularly around the shoreline area.  Some community members indicated a preference for the lowest building heights and very limited or no development near the water. Others suggested that urban form tools such as setbacks, parcel size controls and open space requirements could achieve the desired design quality along the Bay while still ensuring development opportunities. 

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW PROCESS

 

The India Basin Redevelopment Plan amendment and zoning changes are part of the scope of the CEQA environmental review work being completed for the Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II development proposal. The Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) will provide a programmatic level review of the proposed zoning changes and the redevelopment plan amendment for Area C.  Future specific development projects within the area will need to conduct additional project-specific CEQA review. 

 

 

NEXT STEPS

 

Staff is currently revising the draft zoning proposal, including a revised height map, and the General Plan policy framework based on the input received to date.  In addition, staff has begun drafting the Redevelopment Plan amendment technical studies, including the blight analysis and tax increment projections. Staff anticipates presenting a revised zoning proposal and General Plan policy framework, and a draft of the Redevelopment Plan amendment, to the community for discussion in spring 2009. 

 

Discussions with the BVHP PAC will continue throughout the process.  The PAC will be asked to review and endorse all work products. 

 

Date                            Task

January 2009               Staff continues to conduct Area C office hours

 

Spring 2009                 Staff publishes all work draft work products including a revised zoning proposal, height map and a draft Redevelopment Plan Amendment for public review.

 

Spring 2009                 Community open house to review all draft documents

 

Late Spring 2009        Draft EIR published

 

Summer 2009              Planning Commission and Redevelopment Commission hearings on the Draft EIR, redevelopment plan amendment, and the Planning Code and General Plan amendments

 

November 2009          Final EIR published

 

December 2009           Begin Commission and Board certification hearings on the EIR, and adoption hearings on the redevelopment plan amendment, and the Planning Code and General Plan amendments

 

 

Originated by Lila Hussain, Associate Planner and Kelley Kahn, Project Manager

 

 

 

Fred Blackwell

Executive Director

 

 

Attachment 1: Area C Boundary and Context