I just read your story “Blended water in the pipeline.” Thanks for your hard
work in researching and writing this story.
I have a question: Some years ago (at least 10, maybe more), I remember
a lot of discussion in the press about that very same aquifer. It seems that for many
years (dating back to John McLaren putting the windmills at
the western end of Golden Gate Park to provide irrigation for the
new plantings) we, along withcities to the south including Colma and
South San Francisco, had been pumping water from that aquifer.
The issue I encountered at the time was that there was so much water removed that
the natural replenishment couldn’t keep up; and the water level dropped.
The concern at hand was that the water level at Lake Merced had dropped alarmingly,
threatening great environmental damage; perhaps destroying
the lake, or at least dramatically reducing its usefulness and recreational appeal.
The solution was to stop, or greatly reduce, San Francisco’s
use of that water. In addition, the San Francisco water agency negotiated
a reduction or elimination of the use of this water by
the nearby cities; providing them with Hetch Hetchy water to make
up their losses. Lake Merced has substantially recovered from the damage done
at that time, as you can see when driving or walking past.
Does the SFPUC plan take this into consideration? If so, how do they
propose to protect the lake from over-pumping again?
– Ken Keep
Supervisor Katy Tang’s new legislation on the Affordable
Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) adds a local version of it she calls
“HomeSF.” This is an offshoot from the failed 2015 AHBP attempt,
which neighbors were up in arms about. The local version
of the state density bonus program gives developers bonuses
and allows zoning changes (spotzoning).
Although the latest version claims single-family homes
(RH-1) and duplexes (RH-2) are exempt, there are exceptions.
The same rear yard reduction, height increases, parking disallowances,
setbacks and open space placements instead of
ground in rear yards from 2015 are offered. In conjunction with
the local AHBP, are the Urban Design Guidelines (UDG), which
are modeled on the AHBP Design Guidelines that many
neighbors were against. Various density bonuses, with
concessions and waivers, would easily increase the height and
bulk of buildings in residential and neighborhood commercial
Add to that some new overarching citywide urban design
guidelines and this is easily a recipe for out-of-character and
size buildings for the immediate neighboring areas.
What you see next door may be something unimaginable.
Arguments regarding shadows from tall buildings next to somebody’s
home adjacent to a bulky and tall building with Manhattanstyle
design would likely be moot reasons for any protests.
The “creep” concept is also a concern – when something is
built near you that’s really out of character to your area, and it is
used to justify a much larger and impactful building that could be built
next to you, it starts a domino effect down the block and
eventually the neighborhood. It appears the “local AHBP” is
touting units for everyone regardless of the impacts to existing
This AHBP program will violate the current
SF Planning Code as written and the UDGs can be seen to affect
the violations. If these things are concerning to you, comments on
both the Urban Design Guidelines (http://sfplanning.
org/urban-design-guidelines) and the AHBP legislation (https://sfgov.legistar.com) may
be sent to by e-mail to Anne.Brask@sfgov.org.
On Feb. 7, I mailed (with insurance at a $250 value) a card to
my daughter in New York that included $200 worth of gift cards
and $60 cash. This was mailed from the post office at 22nd
Avenue and Irving Street. The envelope was never received.
I have come to find out that one of the gift cards to Trader
Joe’s was used at a store in Brentwood, CA. The Macy’s gift
card was used to make online purchases.
I filed a report with the postal inspector – a difficult process –
and was told that I can only receive a $15 value for each card.
(All receipts were attached to my complaint.) I was never told at
the post office that the value would equal such a small amount
and not the actual value of $250 for what I insured the envelope.
This experience has been a costly learning experience for
I have always been a strong supporter of the U.S. Postal
Service, rather than seeing it privatized, however, I must say that
my eyes have been opened regarding this. Of course, I do not
have any proof of who stole this envelope but feel the casual attitude
of the staff at 22nd and Irving contributed to this situation.
I want to let my fellow Sunset neighbors know of this situation
and to consider sending valuable mail with a company that will
take ownership of its errors.
– Helene Dorian