SF lawmaker threatens to sue state if transit-oriented development bill passes

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Opposition to a state bill that would increase housing density and heights near transit routes is building. Now one city lawmaker is threatening legal action.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin on Monday pledged to sue the state to overturn Senate Bill 827 should it be approved.

“I am an unabashed opponent,” Peskin told a packed crowd of San Franciscans at a Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee hearing on a resolution he authored that would put The City on record as opposing the bill.

Peskin said the bill carried echoes of the redevelopment of the Western Addition, which displaced much of The City’s black community, and places San Francisco on the “precipice” of displacement.

Though the Board of Supervisors has no authority to direct the City Attorney’s Office, Peskin said he would explore the possibility with the office… (more)

When did our lawmakers in Sacramento decide that it is OK to powertrip us the way that Trump is stepping on their authority? The power grab out of Sacramento is not lost on the voters. Citizens from San Diego to Eureka have gotten the message that Sacramento is attempting a major shift in state Land Use and zoning policies, and they are fighting back. What are the options if you don’t like what is happening? At least two recalls are on the ballot so far due to angry voters. More may follow.

Legal pushbacks are already coming from both sides. Our ex-mayor, governor-wannbe, Newsom, lead the suit against San Francisco over who has the right to determine the development of the waterfront. The state settled that one.  YIMBYs, lead by Sonja Trauss, who is running for D-6 Supervisor,  are suing cities they claim are not meeting their YIMBY density goals, using the 1982 Housing Accountability Act . SB 827 and 828 will give the YIMBYs more fuel to sue. If you want to stop this power grab send letters to the Board of Supervisors and your state legislators to let them know how you feel about the state power grab and SB 827 and 828.

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Homes in SF, some historic, illegally demolished by developers

By J.K. Dineen : sfchronicle – excerpt

In early December, the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection received a permit application to demolish a home at 49 Hopkins St., a 1935 modernist residence just east of Twin Peaks that was designed by famed architect Richard Neutra.
But there was a problem with the application: The house had been torn down two months earlier. All that remained of the white, two-story redwood-and-concrete-block home was a garage door and frame. The rest of the house, one of five structures the pioneering modernist designed in San Francisco, had been carried off in dump trucks…

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who represents Russian Hill, Chinatown and North Beach, said he’s drafting legislation that would impose penalties substantial enough to discourage illegal knockdowns.

“The signal that is sent time and again is that you can demolish even some of the most important historic, iconic buildings in the city with impunity,” Peskin said. “It really speaks to an attitude and a culture in our planning and building departments that nothing is sacred.”…

“It’s serial lying and serial fraud over and over again, and they get away with it,” said Planning Commissioner Dennis Richards.

Planning Department Zoning Administrator Scott Sanchez said imposing a five-year stop-work order penalizes neighbors who have to live with the detritus of the aborted construction project. It also temporarily eliminates a housing unit. But he agreed that the current penalties are not much of a deterrent.

“We don’t have anything in the planning code that addresses those violations,” he said….(more)

What really makes America great or unique? We used to have trust in a system of law that relied on well-intentioned citizens electing officials to write laws that the public respected and agreed to abide by.

We no longer have trust in government and we no longer have a honest citizenry. Now we are faced by the daunting option of anarchy or an over-bearing government that over regulates us. There is no over-seeing eye in the sky that watches out for our interest. The enforcement system relies on public complaints to investigate illegal activities.

If you see something that looks “wrong” you must file a complaint with the zoning administrator and that report may eventually get the attention it deserves. As Planning Department Zoning Administrator Scott Sanchez points out, the options for reprisal are limited.

Can we pass stricter laws with higher penalties that may stop these illegal actions? Perhaps, but, that will not happen overnight. Perhaps we need to extend the penalties to the contractors and others who are involved in the demolition, or encourage neighbors to do a lot more checking as they see construction sites go up next door. Look up those permit numbers to see what is included in the approved plans, and call anything suspicious to the attention of your supervisor.

The enforcement system should be a large part of any conversation with candidates for mayor and supervisor as we move into this highly charged campaign. Ask them for solutions and support the ones with the best answers for solving the problems you want dealt with.

RELATED:
For a really interesting presentation on a CEQA Exemption argument at the Board of Supervisors Meeting on January 9, 2018. Will try to get the link after the live show, but, this is the 3 PM special hearing. The property under appeal is at 2417 Green Street. Other than historic resource protection issue and this one has it all. – possible flooding or soil issues, a famous Holloywood filmmaker, contaminated soil, poor soil that is protected under the soil-protection act protection act and other issues raised by a geotechnical engineer; the historical resource is built on a brick foundation in poor soil and the plan is to anchor their foundation to the brick foundation on the poor soil. I don’t see how they can deny this appeal.