Balboa Reservoir Site Study: Summer 2015 Update

Dutifully cut and pasted from the latest email blast from the Planning Department…

Dear Community Members,

Thanks for your interest in the Balboa Reservoir Site Study project! You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed for updates or attended a community outreach meeting on the project. You may change your settings here.


Project Overview

Through the Public Land for Housing program, San Francisco has identified a number of underutilized, publicly-owned properties that would better serve the public as housing. As a 17-acre site located between several neighborhoods and within walking distance to BART, businesses and schools, the “lower” Balboa parking lot west of City College was chosen as one of these sites. This site, owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), has been vacant or leased as a surplus parking lot for 30 years. It is important to note that any future use of the site also needs to respect SFPUC’s obligation to its ratepayers of receiving fair market value for the land.

To date, more than 450 people have attended public workshops and community meetings with local organizations to help the City better understand the opportunities and challenges presented by developing the site with housing at a range of affordability levels and open space.  These discussions will ultimately help structure a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a developer partner, which is expected to be issued in late 2015 or early 2016. Read more about the overall public input process here and how a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) will continue to help shape the Request for Proposals (RFP) here.


Public Workshop #2 recap

The public workshop on May 5 was attended by over 150 community members. After a brief presentation, meeting participants discussed their values and preferred public amenities related to the topics of Open Space & Sustainability, Housing & Neighborhood Character, and Transportation. Participants expressed a great range of opinions in each of the topic areas similar to those discussed at other workshops and meetings, such as large open space, walking routes, compatible neighborhood character, maximizing housing affordability, supportive housing and workforce housing. Read more about the results of Public Workshop 2 here.

Many participants raised comments and concerns about parking and congestion. This feedback was duly noted and will be factored into additional transportation planning the City hopes to conduct in the neighborhoods surrounding the site in conjunction with the Balboa site project.

Some workshop participants proposed keeping the site as a parking lot, converting all 17 acres to a park, or donating the site to City College. These proposals have their own merits, but are not consistent with the Balboa Park Station Area Plan, SFPUC’s financial obligation to ratepayers, or Proposition K, the 2014 voter-approved measure calling on the City to build 30,000 more housing units, at least 33 percent of which are to be affordable.

However, other community suggestions can and will be incorporated into a balanced development program. A large open space and other elements identified through community feedback will be included in the RFP, and development proposals will be evaluated in part on the strength of these elements. The community’s concerns about parking have spurred the City to expand its analysis of transportation and parking in the entire neighborhood, and to work more closely with City College and its district-wide master plan effort.

What’s Next

The public workshops and recent meetings represent only the preliminary round of public participation.

In the coming months, public discussion of the project will be carried forward by a newly-formed Community Advisory Committee (CAC) composed of community representatives. The CAC was recently appointed by Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Norman Yee. It includes the following representatives:

  • Sunnyside Neighborhood Association President: Lisa Spinali
  • Westwood Park Neighborhood Association President: Kate Favetti
  • OMI Resident: Maria Picar
  • City College Employee or Trustee: Brigitte Davila
  • Member of Balboa Park Station Area Plan CAC: Robert Muehlbauer
  • Ocean Avenue Business Owner: Howard Chung
  • SFPUC CAC Member: Rebecca Lee
  • At-Large Seat #1: Christine Godinez, Lick Wilmerding HS
  • At-Large Seat #2: Jon Winston, Sunnyside resident

The CAC meetings will provide an opportunity for these representatives and the public to engage in deeper, more detailed discussions about specific aspects of the project as they relate to transportation, parking, open space, City College, sustainability and neighborhood character.

The first CAC meeting will be held the week of August 24, 2015. The meeting will be duly noticed, including a notice on the Balboa Reservoir website, when a date and location are confirmed. Please check back soon or subscribe to notices about the Balboa Reservoir Study.

You can find more information on the CAC, including its members and meeting schedule, on our website.

The CAC will advise staff on the principles in the RFP, which is expected to be issued in late 2015 or early 2016. Once a developer partner is selected through the RFP process, the CAC will facilitate a more extensive community process around project design and the development program, combined with more targeted workshops led by the selected developer partner with the Planning Department. We currently expect the second phase of outreach to extend several years, continuing through the project’s legislative approvals.

We look forward to your continued participation. If you cannot attend the CAC meetings this year, you can stay involved in the following ways:

  • Talk to a CAC member (contact info will be made available)
  • Attend neighborhood association meetings
  • Read the website
  • Ask questions on the Google group online

Look for an email soon announcing the first CAC meeting date!


中文詢問請電: (415) 575-9010
Para información en Español llamar al: (415) 575-9010
Para sa impormasyon sa Tagalog tumawag sa: (415) 575-9121

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