February 18, 2009

NVDC Town Forum: SFPD, Whole Foods & More

This month's edition of the Noe Valley Democratic Club meeting was much more crowded than usual. The reason? Likely the community interest in the arrival of Whole Foods on 24th St. Over 150 people attended a meeting that usually has 12-20 participants. The panelists included representatives from the SFPD, the NVA, Whole Foods and a surprise representative of the shuttered Real Foods -- all MC'd by Bevan Dufty.

SFPD Mission District Captain Stephen Tacchini
  • Victim of a theft or break-in? Report it! Resources are allocated to a police area based on the number of reports and the department maps trends. You can report online here.
  • Only 1,000 reported incidents in Noe the last 6 months (vs. 200,0000 per year in the Mission)
  • There has been an increase in burglaries in the last year which is finally starting to decrease – you can help by locking windows and keeping valuables out of your parked cars (laptops, cameras, cell phones are the big targets)
  • There have been a few armed robberies – and they’ve recently made some arrests
  • Got a rogue garage business to report? Officer Miguel in code enforcement can help
When the floor opened to questions the biggest concerns were:
  • Can I park my SMART car perpendicular to the curb? (No)
  • How do I get the Examiner to stop littering my doorstep - and so people don't break into an obviously empty building? (Bevan actually said to call or email him for help)
  • When school is out MUNI is hell (Deputy Chief Tony Parra monitors MUNI for the SFMTA)

Whole Foods

The info was much the same as previously reported, but with the following new tidbits:
  • The Campanga family (that owns the property at 3950 24th St) donated $5,000 to green the front of the lot
  • Whole Foods will break ground mid-March with a projected September 1st opening
  • They are committed to a one-day-a-week shuttle to the Potrero location, with more possible if demand requires and/or justifies it
  • The recycling center will remain, but will be more “aesthetically pleasing” and "suit the neighborhood"
  • Considering opening the lot for a farmer’s market one day (midweek) during construction
  • Whole Paycheck? “38% cheaper than Bell Markets on produce; 25% cheaper store wide.” (Based on apples-to-apples comparison.) “Meats and seafood are competitive, but quality is higher.” - Joe Rogoff, VP for Whole Foods Market Northern California
  • Hours: 8am-10pm; delivery receiving to maintain existing hours, but with smaller trucks/box vans, and will continue to load on 24th St (not Elizabeth St)
  • Employees will not be allowed to park in the lot [Ed. -- which means more parking will be available than when Bell was operating], and will be encouraged not to drive to work
  • The 24th St Cheese Co is the only merchant that has expressed concern about competition, and the NVMPA and WF are working to allay concerns
  • BONUS: Joe Rogoff confirmed that Whole Foods has signed a contract to open in a new development at Market and Dolores –- which should alleviate traffic to Noe Valley (if built)
  • Add recycling bins to the front of the empty lot during construction
  • Senior discount? No
  • Hire laid off union employees from Bell (They’ll have first dibs to interview)
  • Will there be food for lazy vegans? Yes

Real Foods
Neutraceutical, represented by Sergio Diaz of Fresh Organics

  • Reached a settlement agreement with Real Foods workers yesterday and so “now we can talk about this.”
  • Have gone through various design and planning phases over the last five years, but now don’t have enough money to do what they wanted so will start the process over with “scaled back” plans
  • They do not have a Conditional Use permit [Ed -- which means a hearing in front of the Planning Commission and probably 2 years until anything happens]
  • Unrepentant about the process, but “I do apologize to the neighborhood for five years of this.”
  • Sell, and get the _____ out while you can. (“We want to prove we can have a good store.”)
UPDATE: Cooks Boulevard has a more thorough account of Sergio's appearance.

Noe Valley Association, Deb Neimann, President

Very brief:
  • We did: Crosswalks, planters, street furniture
  • Got ideas or feedback? Call/email

[NVSF: Whole Foods Responds]
[NVSF: Update: Whole Foods]
[NVSF: Blight: Real Foods]


Anonymous said...

The 24th Street Cheese Company is a great place. It is too bad they couldn't use the space for other things that compliment their product line. If only they were able to do a wine and cheese paring class or how about two evenings a week turn that lovely wooden counter into a fondue and cheese night? What about private events? I realize there may be permit issues but tough times need thinking outside of the box to survive.