Preparation for the Public Hearing

The purpose of this Planning Commission hearing is to accept oral comments regarding the adequacy and accuracy of the Draft EIR. Each speaker will have 3 minutes to let the Planning Commission know that there is substantial opposition to the project as proposed. We hope that you will personalize your comments. Focus on one or several areas that you feel passionately about. Let the Commission know that your particular concerns are based on your own experiences and circumstances. An overhead projector will be provided and we strongly encourage you to bring photos and other visual materials to further emphasize your points. While comments should technically be limited to environmental impacts, in practice comments may cover other issues. If you are not comfortable speaking publicly, we urge you to come anyhow and support your neighbors.

ISSUES

Conflicts with Area Plans and General Plan: Conclusions in the Draft EIR conflict with the Showplace Square/Potrero Area Plan and General Plan by disregarding policies of preserving neighborhood character and protecting parks and open space from shadowing.  

Studies are out of date: The City is relying on a document (Eastern Neighborhoods Final EIR) that is eight years old and is now stale for the environmental review of the 1601 Mariposa Street project . Some of the studies and research rely on data that is as old as the 2000 census.

Ignores cumulative impact: The issue of cumulative impact has been dismissed entirely and misrepresents the projections made in the Eastern Neighborhoods Final EIR. The fact is that the City already has more units in the pipeline for Showplace Square/Potrero area than were anticipated to be built in the area by 2025. Furthermore, the City has failed to fund the promised infrastructure improvements to support growth. The assumption that cumulative impacts will be limited is no longer true.

Traffic impacts were not fully studied and cannot be fully mitigated: 1601 Mariposa will contribute to significant "unavoidable" traffic impacts at two intersections (Arkansas & 16th and Mariposa & Mississippi). The DEIR notes that the intersection at Mariposa and Mississippi Streets is already at "unacceptable" levels. The traffic analysis fails to fully account for “past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects”. The traffic study is incomplete, as some of the traffic, pedestrian and parking impacts were studied when nearby schools were not in session.

Recreation impacts are not fully addressed: The addition of 320 new households would result in an increased demand on Jackson Playground. The Draft EIR for 1601 Mariposa relies on outdated projections  and doesn't account for cumulative impacts. It points to onsite public and private open space to fulfill recreation needs for residents. However the majority of this space consists of a mid-block passageway that functions primarily as a hardscape pedestrian path, rather than a bona fide recreation area. Furthermore, the proposed mid-block passage as a substitute for the rear yard is not permitted in Eastern Neighborhood Mixed Use Districts, except as an approved exception through the Large Project Authorization process.

Land Use objectives are ignored: The UMU (Urban Mixed Use) zoning for this project does not honor the Showplace Square/Potrero Hill Plan’s Objective 6.1 to “support the economic well being of a variety of businesses”.  The 1601 Mariposa development will result in the displacement of 96 jobs, many of them viable PDR and blue-collar jobs. Most of the development’s square footage will be devoted solely to residential use. The extent of the cumulative loss of PDR space was not fully anticipated in the Eastern Neighborhoods’ FEIR (Final EIR) and merits further study.

Shadowing will impact the use of Jackson Park: In order to ensure the enjoyment of our limited public open spaces and to honor City policies, it is imperative that we prevent new shadows when possible. The Eastern Neighborhoods Final EIR found that up to 40 percent of Jackson Playground could be shaded at certain hours during the winter months and 25 percent during the summer months under cumulative conditions. Analysis for 1601 Mariposa was for the entire park, but shadowing will be more significant in the areas heavily used by neighborhood residents: the playground, community garden and tennis and basketball courts.

Hazardous Materials need further study: The EIR should be revised to include more specific information about hazardous materials and measures to protect children and neighbors from exposure during demolition, remediation and construction. Based on the lack of detail in the Draft EIR, we are not confident that our children and neighbors will be safe.  

Noise may be a nuisance for two full years: Jackson Park, residences and businesses in the area will be impacted and the proposed mitigations are inadequate. In the CPE, the Planning Department noted that construction noise "could interfere with indoor activities and may be considered an annoyance by occupants of nearby properties." Scheduling around school schedules appears problematic and the use of noise blankets over such a long period of time would have a significant impact on Live Oak's access to light and air.

Study of Air Quality was not included: Additional mitigation measures are needed to address construction-period air quality impacts.  Air quality was addressed in the CPE Checklist, but not the Draft EIR. Recently we have witnessed failures at nearby construction sites to properly control and monitor dust. Watering down is not an adequate mitigation, particularly under windy conditions. Alternate measures should be provided.

PROJECT ALTERNATIVES

Grow Potrero Responsibly supports the Reduced Density Alternative as the environmentally superior alternative because it would avoid the significant traffic-related impacts and reduce or avoid other impacts. A lower density project, broken into smaller masses, would simultaneously reduce the impact of a large number of new residents and better respect the existing character and scale of the neighborhood. We have proposed that the developer include a more active ground floor with neighborhood-serving businesses, including PDR, to maintain some of the historically diverse land uses that have been typical in the area and that the ENP sought to preserve. In order to address the increased need for open space, we strongly believe that a rear yard exemption should be scrutinized, and that a second mid-block passageway from Arkansas should be included as part of the complex. Additionally a bona fide public gathering area with a setback on the Mariposa side of the development has been proposed by the community and should be included as part of the project. This would reduce shadowing of Jackson park and the Live Oak School courtyard. Additionally, the neighborhood has asked for an onsite community center, open to the public, to reduce the pressure on the already overburdened Jackson Park clubhouse.