District 3 Candidate Responses to FOGG Questions – October 1, 2008

FOGG, at the request from some of our members, has sent to every District 3 candidate three questions concerning our interest in preserving the open recreational space known as the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis & Swim Club.  We have received their answers and want to share them with you.

As a non-profit organization, FOGG cannot and will not endorse a candidate, but we wish our members to have all the information possible to come to their own conclusions on who will best serve our District and the need to provide critical open recreational space for our community.

Question 1.

If elected to the Board of Supervisors would you support permanent legislation (similar to the Resolution passed by the Board in December 2006) that would require a developer to replace in-kind and on-site open recreational space as a requirement for project approval?

Joseph Alioto: No response.

Claudine Cheng: There is a deficiency of open space and especially planned open space for recreational purpose in District 3.  As Supervisor, I will introduce legislation to require development proposals to replace in-kind and on-site open recreational space.

David Chiu: I support the 2006 Resolution adopted by the Board and would support a new law to ensure that any new development projects at a minimum maintain, and hopefully increase, the amount of recreation space as a requirement for project approval. In our dense urban city, existing recreational areas should never be eliminated — they must be either preserved as-is or replaced by an equal or greater recreation area on the project site itself.  As Supervisor, I would hope to use the discussion on any new law to plan innovative solutions to increase the public recreation and open space in District 3, and would want to appoint a task force of all stakeholders — include neighboring residents, businesses, planners, developers and Port staff —  to identify opportunities, challenges and strategies for maintaining or increasing recreation and open space along the Northern Waterfront, as well as to update the Waterfront Land Use Plan.

Mike DuNunzio: Yes I want to preserve all open recreational space and more.

Tony Gantner: Yes, absolutely–but we don’t want to even have to go there—open recreational space should be left alone except for maintenance and periodic upgrading of existing facilities–and open recreational space in a PUD  such as the GG should not be touched as it is part of the original intent to include such space as an integral part of the PUD.

Lynn Jefferson: Yes.

Denise McCarthy: I absolutely support this.  I worked as a Port Commissioner to make more recreational space available as part of projects there.  The Ferry Building and AT&T Park both added on site open recreational space that has enhanced the waterfront.  I was one of two votes against the Mills project partially over the issue of open recreational space.

Wilma Pang: I won’t be able to answer your request.  Go ahead and say no response.

Question 2.

What is your position on rezoning the property known as Seawall Lot 351, and Parcels 0168, 0171 and 0201 (site of the existing Golden Gateway Tennis & Swim Club and the proposed 8 Washington Street condominium development) from the current 84 foot height to 40 foot height?

Joseph Alioto: No repsonse.

Claudine Cheng: The height limit of any proposed project in the 4 lots referenced to in the question should be such that the physical structures (if any) will fit into the overall scheme of the design of the neighborhood along the Embarcadero corridor and in harmony with the skyline that would be the best for this portion of our waterfront.  Given the height of the Embarcadero Center buildings, the Golden Gateway apartments and the Golden Gateway Commons, my sense is that 40′-65′ would definitely be a more suitable height limit than 84′.

David Chiu: I would support a 40 ft rezoning for Seawall Lot 351 and these parcels, rather than leave them vulnerable to loopholes that could result in massive high-rise complexes or large office buildings out of step with the character of San Francisco’s unique Northeast Waterfront Historic District.

Mike DuNunzio: Yes, 40 feet (or less).  I also want total rezoning of the waterfront as a historic site with open space for recreation and enjoyment of every resident, visitor and tourist.  There would be enormous city wide interest in this as part of the 21st century “greening” of San Francisco.  I have the relationships to recruit a non-partisan coalition of business and community leaders in every district to include Greens, Democrats, Independents and Republicans.  It can raise the funds, obtain the signatures, and mount a successful non-partisan campaign to protect the waterfront.

Tony Gantner: Rezoning to 40 feet is not enough–we need to preserve, protect and enhance the Embarcadero promenade, and reorient the Golden Gateway towards the bay in light of the removal of the Embarcadero freeway. Thus down-zoning to 0 feet is the right thing to do, and do not change the current P zoning, except possibly for open space recreational that would enlarge the GGS&TC(I don’t object to private public open space if a concerted good faith effort is made to make such space available to  the public as well).  Building on SW351 or the GGTSC should not be permitted beyond upgrading existing facilities at the GGTSC–if the residents of GG&GGC were in accord to allow some form of building on SWL351 that was compatible with the GGTSC–perhaps even an expansion of the Club–I am ok with that– expansion of private open space if it is shared with the public as the Club presently does might be acceptable–but it cannot detract from the promenade.

Lynn Jefferson: I do not want to see an 84 foot height on the Embarcadero.  SB 815 accomplished this goal.

Denise McCarthy: I support smart land use planning that creates broad community support for projects.  Any development at that site has a way to go before I believe it is the right plan for such an important part of the waterfront at Seawall Lot 351.  The 40 ft limit has created great character for North Beach and it is reasonable to reduce some areas when we are seeing increases South of Market.

Wilma Pang: I won’t be able to answer your request.  Go ahead and say no response.

Question 3.

What is your position on the Public Trust Doctrine that presently applies to the Seawall Lots on the northeast waterfront?

Joseph Alioto: No response.

Claudine Cheng: As an attorney and a resident of the Northeast Waterfront for 20 years, I have been deeply concerned about the vision for our waterfront and how it can be a shining example for other cities.  That was why in June of 2005, I took the initiative to coordinate a one-day seminar titled “The Urban Waterfront & the Public Trust.”  By brining together professors from Hastings College of the Law, officials from State Lands Commission, BDCD, the Port of San Francisco as well as other experts, I hoped to enhance our appreciation and understanding of the Public Trust Doctrine, its impact and relevance to the planning of our waterfront.

The Public Trust Doctrine should be respected and given the utmost consideration in all planning efforts where the doctrine is applicable. Having said that, there are instances where the project sponsors and/or municipalities have requested state legislative action to allow for modifications.  But these legislative actions are isolated exceptions and definitely not the rule.  The Doctrine should be adhered to in the planning process and any deviations in use should only be considered or supported if they are embraced by all parties’ concerned, and first and foremost, by the impacted neighborhood.

David Chiu: We have only one waterfront.  The seawall lots on San Francisco’s northeast waterfront, which our City is responsible for stewarding for the people of San Francisco and all of California, should remain subject to the public trust and not be sold off to the highest bidder for exclusive, private, non-waterfront-related uses.

Mike DuNunzio: I have been an ardent advocate of the doctrine of the Public Trust at every candidate forum and at public comment to the Port commission.  This doctrine is the major premise of my priority to rezone the waterfront as a historic site with open space for everyone.

Tony Gantner: I favor strict construction of the Public Trust Doctrine, narrowly applied to maritime and certain appropriate public uses that do not detract from the Promenade, do not create significant traffic and congestion issues, and open up the shoreline.  I do not favor altering the doctrine by going to the California legislature–except possibly from Pier 26 south.  This might be a good compromise–and of course, Prop H should not be modified to allow any hotels on the Waterfront.  I believe the Public Trust doctrine is best served by creating from Pier 22  1/2 ,north, more view corridors to the bay, waterfront parks and restoration of natural shoreline –rather than trying to meet the Port’s nearly $2 billion estimate for repair, seismic upgrade and redevelopment- of the finger piers-that’s a broken model–a more rationale solution is to open up the NE Waterfront–In addition, it might be possible upon loss of select piers to get the Calif. legislature to give the Port transferable development rights subject to BCDC approval which is in favor of removal of select piers.

Lynn Jefferson: I support the Public Trust Doctrine.

Denise McCarthy: I place a great deal of importance on the Public Trust, a doctrine wisely guiding governments for millennia.  I worked to protect commercial fishing and processing on Fisherman’s because I believe the public has a vital interest in using the Bay for the greater good.  We cannot create smart land use of Sea Wall lots without addressing the public’s vital interests along the northeast waterfront.

Wilma Pang: I won’t be able to answer your request.  Go ahead and say no response.

We thank the Candidates for their responses, and we encourage all FOGG supporters to vote on November 4th.

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