Short Cuts

in by


Last month, the California Supreme Court removed the last legal barrier to a long-planned Muni streetcar ring in Dogpatch, rejecting an appeal by the Committee for Re-Evaluation of the T-Line Loop, which wanted the tracks redirected.  The loop will run along 18th, 19th, and Illinois streets, and provide a link to the Central Subway, which is supposed to open in 2019.  Construction is expected to begin this summer.  The Committee is concerned that the loop will cause noise and traffic congestion, and has maintained that it would have been less disruptive if it was rerouted roughly six blocks to Muni’s Woods Yard Park.  “Despite acknowledging lots of significant changes in Mission Bay and Dogpatch, Muni never went back and did review that the law ordinarily requires, said David Lanferman, the Committee’s lawyer.


In March, the San Francisco Planning Commission heard legislation advanced by Mayor Ed Lee and District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen to upzone Urban Mixed Use parcels throughout the Eastern Neighborhoods. The bill was part of a package of zoning changes to support the Mission Action Plan 2020, including increasing height limits for UMU-zoned buildings in the Mission, with heights raised from 40 to 48 feet on a number of parcels in Potrero Hill and Dogpatch as well.  The legislation characterized the bump-up as a “correction” to zoned heights “inadvertently” put in place during the Eastern Neighborhoods Planning process. District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen indicated her support for Mission Action Plan goals, but opposed including the Hill and Dogpatch in the legislation, in part on the basis that, unlike in the Mission, there’s no PDR replacement requirement in those neighborhoods, and, as a result, the height increases wouldn’t provide additional protection for those types of businesses.  In response, the Planning Commission exempted Dogpatch and the Hill from the proposed policy, which will likely be voted on by the Board of Supervisors this month.


Last month, South Park, San Francisco’s oldest park, reopened after a $3.8 million renovation. It now features a state-of-the-art children’s play area, accessible walkway, natural lawn, and new landscaping. Newfangled park furniture has been installed and stormwater and irrigation systems upgraded. The park is encircled by South Park Street, running from Second to Third streets, with numerous cafes and restaurants along the road. The makeover was funded by 2012 and 2008 park bonds, as well as Eastern Neighborhoods Impact Fees, voter-supported Proposition K funds – through the San Francisco County Transportation Authority – lease revenue bonds, and a generous donation from the South Park Improvement Association. Dogpatch-based Fletcher Studio designed the space.


Last month, within days after abruptly announcing its closure, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers reversed taps, with a spokesperson stating that the company “…is working hard to maintain a future for their San Francisco brewery after agreeing to enter receivership on March 13, 2017. The company’s tap room will remain closed, but the brewery continues to produce your favorite beers, in addition to the all-new Murky Business APA.” A sale to an as-yet-unnamed new owner is “anticipated to close during the next 45 days.” The 1997-founded brewer employs 40 people and sends its beers, like Big Daddy IPA and Payback Porter, all over the region, with 30 West Coast distributors. Its tasting room at 1195 Evans Avenue opened in 2011.  In 2015, Speakeasy expanded to a new, larger facility capable of brewing 90,000 barrels per year. According to Inside Scoop, the majority of the brewery’s employees have been laid off; a “skeleton crew” of just six employees will keep production flowing.


The San Francisco Superior Court is accepting applications for Civil Grand Jury service for the 2017-18 term. “San Franciscans who are eager to make a difference and want to be an agent of change in this great City should apply to become a member of the Civil Grand Jury,” said Judge Susan M. Breall, who chairs the Court’s Civil Grand Jury Committee. “The Civil Grand Jury offers a unique and exciting opportunity to contribute to our community by examining City government to address inefficiencies in operations and hold officials accountable. This is an exceptional way to become involved in City affairs.” The submission deadline is May 31, 2017. Volunteers must be U.S. citizens; at least 18 years of age; lived in San Francisco for at the past 12 months or more; have no felony convictions; and be able to effectively communicate in English. Applications and more detailed information are available here.