Planning Update: Expiring Commissioners’ Terms; Department’s Draft Work Plan

On Monday this week (1/9/12), Mayor Ed Lee named Planning Commissioner Christina Olague to replace Ross Mirkarimi on the Board of Supervisors, who has moved on to become Sheriff. Ms. Olague’s seat was scheduled to expire on July 1st of this year, and will be filled by the Board of Supervisors. Two other Commissioners’ terms, Ron Miguel and Mike Antonini, are scheduled to expire this July 1st. Both Mr. Miguel and Mr. Antonini were appointed by the Mayor. We will continue to keep readers informed about all three of these appointments as information becomes available.

At the Planning Commission today the Planning Department Staff is scheduled to present to the Commission a draft proposal for the Department’s work program priorities for the next two fiscal years (FY12-13 and FY13-14). According to the Department’s January 12 Staff Report for the Commission, the following activities are expected to be key components of the work program:

  • In coordination with the Department of Building Inspection, the Planning Department is currently in the implementation phase of the new Permit and Project Tracking System (PPTS). The Department anticipates allocating 8.15 and 2.80 full-time equivalent positions of existing staff in FY12-13 and FY13-14, respectively, in order to ensure the PPTS system is designed, tested, and implemented effectively.
  • Preservation staff will initiate new survey and community outreach work funded by a Certified Local Government (CLG) Grant, and will continue to provide review of historic survey work conducted by community groups.
  • The Department will focus on strengthening the City’s neighborhoods through neighborhood improvement initiatives that are not expected to result in new area plans or zoning changes. The Better Neighborhoods Program: Strengthening Existing Neighborhoods proposes to initiate a dialogue with neighborhoods that are seeking to strengthen their communities through policy, public realm and economic development improvements.
  • The Department will begin work on the EIR for the Transportation Sustainability Program (TSP), which will enable new development to alleviate its burden on citywide transit performance by funding categories of transportation projects shown to directly offset the impacts of growth from new development.

According to the Staff Report, constrained resources mean that many of the City’s long-range planning needs cannot be addressed by this work program. Staffing to improve pedestrian quality and safety, through participation in the Pedestrian Master Plan and the Mayor’s pedestrian safety initiatives, is needed. Additional public realm projects would support pedestrian goals, particularly a public realm plan for the South of Market and Mission Bay neighborhoods and expanded funding to fully address public realm needs in the Civic Center Sustainable Resource District Plan. The City’s General Plan requires updating beyond individual elements, calling for a fresh look at how it is developed, used and applied. The growing demand for the City’s Pavement to Parks Program indicates the need for additional resources to expand open space opportunities. Additional resources allocated to long range planning would enable the Department to keep abreast of these growing areas of need.

With respect to the Environmental Planning (EP) division, EP’s ongoing major EIRs include the Transit Center District Plan plus several associated private projects, the Central Subway Corridor Plan, CPMC’s five campuses, MTA’s Transit Effectiveness Project, Academy of Art, Mexican Museum, MOMA Expansion, Harrison Gardens, Natural Areas Management Plan, Bayview Transportation Improvement Project, and the Western SOMA Plan. Two high priority EIRs that are expected to begin in FY11-12, the Health Care Services Master Plan and Better Market Street Plan, will continue in FY12-13. Negative Declarations are expected to be completed for the following major public and private projects: Better Streets Plan, Alexandria Theatre retail and housing, Mission Streetscape Plan, Fisherman’s Wharf Plan, and the Recreational & Open Space Element (ROSE).

Staff hopes to finalize the Department’s budget and work program, and have the Final Appropriation Ordinance adopted, by the end of July 2012.

CORRECTION: The R&J Update of last week misspelled the Plaintiff and Appellant’s name in the case. The correct case name is Frittelli, Inc. v. 350 North Canon Drive, LP, et al. (2011 WL 6358528 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)). Our apologies on the error.

The issues discussed in this update are not intended to be legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is established with the recipient. Readers should consult with legal counsel before relying on any of the information contained herein. Reuben & Junius, LLP is a full service real estate law firm. We specialize in land use, development and entitlement law. We also provide a wide range of transactional services, including leasing, acquisitions and sales, formation of limited liability companies and other entities, lending/workout assistance, subdivision and condominium work.

Copyright 2012 Reuben & Junius, LLP. All rights reserved.