FOGG Open Letter – October 16, 2009

There is one good thing that has come out of the Planning Department’s Community Workshops: It has shined a glaring spotlight on the Planning Department and Port Staffs intent to ignore the concerns of the neighborhood and community, and to move forward on their predetermined schedule for excessive height limits and an oversized underground parking garage on Seawall Lot #351 and the present Golden Gateway Tennis & Swim Club as proposed by San Francisco Waterfront Partners.

That is the simple truth.

Make no mistake about it.  They are all working together towards allowing the developer to move ahead with two eight story luxury condominium towers and the 400+ space underground parking garage called the 8 Washington Street project, using the Planning Department Workshop process for their benefit.

The only benefit will be for the handful of very wealthy residents of the condominiums that will finance the underground parking garage to the tune of $90,000 plus per stall, and the businesses at Piers 1 ½ – 5.  The developer will benefit from the profits, not our neighborhood.  The businesses at the Ferry Building have been set up as a pawn in this money play, as have those who support affordable housing in San Francisco.

The words that we have seen written by the Planning Department and Port clearly show a strong bias for the 8 Washington Street project.  Those who attended the September 30th Workshop have told us this.

If this development were to happen there are two givens.  First, the open recreational space facility will no longer exist in its present form, as a jewel that is so important to the fabric of our neighborhood and City, serving hundreds of families, the young and seniors with recreational and social activities unequaled in our community, which has been here for over 40 years.  Second, those who live in the neighborhood – both private and commercial adjacent to the recreational facility – will see a tremendous loss in what they now have.

Some have accused FOGG of being ‘just anti development’, or just plain negative.  That isn’t so.

FOGG has offered serious proposals such as a 40 foot high boutique hotel on SWL#351; an extension to the recreational facilities that would add a one story restaurant that would serve both users of the recreational facility and the walking and biking public along the Embarcadero.  It would also have an adjacent sports activity shop that would offer services to the bicyclists and pedestrians that utilize the openness of the present Embarcadero; and, an open space active and passive park as an extension of the green space we envision for the Northern Waterfront.  Our proposals are dismissed with minimal comment.

FOGG volunteers and our legal team have been successful over the years in stopping such crass development, and it is time for those who sit on the sidelines, or who take a ‘neutral’ position, must now step forward with active participation and donations before it is too late.

Now is the time to act.

We welcome your financial contributions.  You can do your part now by helping FOGG prevent this destruction of open recreational space.  Please send your tax deductible donation by check to AGAPE/FOGG, mailed to Jim Eggert, Treasurer and CPA, 550 Davis Street #46, San Francisco, CA 94111.  You can also donate at this web site by clicking on the Donations to FOGG link.

FOGG has the resources and experience to end this destruction of our Waterfront and neighborhood, and with your support we will succeed.  Don’t hesitate any longer.  Be a real partner in the future and in saving our open recreational facility.

We value your input.  Please respond to coaches@fogg.us with your comments, as so many have been doing.

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