February 26, 2010

Community Meeting Minutes: Let The Free Market Work

It was a full house tonight at St. Philips. Not as many people as at the Whole Foods community meeting but still a good turnout and all the usual suspects were there with Bevan as the smooth-talking moderator to keep things civil. The most vocal were people who live on or around 24th Street, or on Jersey or Elizabeth (with restaurants in their backyard).

Short SFPD Presentation
  • Captain Corrales praised Chief Gascon, who has brought in new perspective and ideas – like fingerprint kits for car break-ins
  • Lots of clapping for Lorraine Lombardo, 24th St beat cop for 20 years
More Restaurants on 24th Street
  • Quick overview of the proposal from Bevan that passed the Board last month, and he then introduced the lady pictured here (couldn't catch her name). Her main point – Starbucks opened in 1993 even when we had all these rules in place. All of this needs more study - we need balance and stability “like a good shopping mall.”
  • Another woman stood up and asked what “necessary and desirable” means in the planning code. The Planning Department's Elizabeth Watty's answer: “It’s subjective.” It needs the community support and restaurants typically should be no more than 20% of commercial space. And no formula retail or chains – communities typically support independently-owned restaurants.
  • Yet another complained about the “hustle and bustle on the streets to create a new restaurant” so that they could "open and close, open and close” and the “pizza crusts” and “rats” she worried about with a place like Extreme Pizza opening (it was shut out in the 90s)
  • Bill and Carol Yenne stood up and said they’ve lived in the 'hood for years, have kids and grandkids here (on and around 24th Street) and everyone they know supports more restaurants
Other Highlights from Public Comment
  • Everyone hates nail salons, title companies and banks
  • The biggest opponents to more restaurants are people who live on or around 24th Street and near restaurants (they hate the noise, smells, and delivery trucks)
  • There were a few people who worried about the gentrification of Noe (all these changes are driving out “working class people like me”)
  • Fresca, "the taqueria" and Hahn’s Hibachi are hated by their neighbors for the noise and smells
  • Starbucks neighbors hate the noisy refrigerated delivery semis that idle in their driveways for hours every night
  • Savor was held up as a good neighbor for respecting and listening to complaints and installing state-of-the-art (read: quiet) ventilation
  • At the end of this segment Bevan asked for a show of hands. There were many more for more restaurants than against. 4-to-1? 3-to-1? Hard to tell but it was a solid majority.
Pavements to Parks (aka the New Plaza for Noe on 24th and Noe)

Debra Niemann gave a quick talk about what the Noe Valley Association does (greening, maintenance, crosswalks, making downtown Noe an urban village) and highlighted some of the recent projects like the green area near Starbucks and the pedestal newsstands – as well as the Harvest Fest.

"Very soon" they plan to invite neighbors to talk about the proposed green common space at 24th and Noe. No details yet, except that Flora Grubb is donating the landscaping and other vendors are donating design time. Send an email to info@noevalleyassociation.org if you want an invitation to the meeting to discuss the proposal. The hope is to have a decision soon enough to open the space on June 21.

February 25, 2010

Reminder: Community Meeting With Bevan Dufty Tonight

Bevan Dufty is co-sponsoring a community meeting tonight with the Noe Valley Merchants Association, the Noe Valley Association, Friends of Noe Valley, the Noe Valley Democratic Club and Upper Noe Neighbors. The agenda includes:
  • New legislation to allow more restaurants on 24th St
  • An introduction of Captain Corrales, SFPD Mission Station
  • And a presentation by the NVA including details on the "upcoming Pavements To Parks program project at 24th & Noe Streets."
What: Community Meeting
When: Thursday, February 25, 2010, 7:30 pm
Where: St. Philip's Church, 725 Diamond St. (between Elizabeth & Castro)

New Street-side Plaza For Noe Valley

"Plaza premiering later this year" at 24th and Noe Streets. The article doesn't give any other details and the SF Pavement to Parks website is down. Stay tuned...

[SFGate: S.F. plazas, 'parklets' spout, squeeze out cars]

February 24, 2010

Tidbits: Real Estate

4033 26th St hit the market this week. The former eyesore has 4 bedrooms ("including a luxurious top-floor master retreat"), 3.5 baths, views and parking. All that since the photo above was taken in November. (Fast?) Offered at $2.595M.

Nove has opened on the eastern edge of Noe Valley in the old Palm Broker spot at 1070 Guerrero. The two condos currently listed are $1.125M and $1.575M. Curbed has the best summary of features and photos.

Check out Firehouse 44 at 3816 22nd St. The big beautiful 4-bedroom, 2-kitchen house without a view or a yard has dropped to a bargain $4.8M from it's original asking price of $6.375M back in September '08.

February 22, 2010

Urban Cellars: Busted Again

Urban Cellars' license has been suspended again for selling to a minor, and this time they've been shut down for 15 days. They'll reopen this Friday unless there's something we don't know. (Hmmm... is it really that hard to check ID?)

On a related note: That change of ownership mentioned in the comments last time? Application withdrawn. Anyone know more?

[NVSF: Urban Cellars: Closed By ABC]

Help! Lost iPod

Deborah needs your help, kind citizen:
I left my house today on Cesar Chavez around 10:30 or so and as usual could hear the J about halfway down the block. So, as usual, I started to run. I made the J and when I sat down say the headphones of my ipod dangled from my bag - but no ipod. Somewhere along my sprint from Cesar Chavez past Chloes's to the stop in front of Fattoush on Church my ipod was lost. Realizing this, I got off the J at 24th and walked back down retracing my steps. No ipod. I want to believe that some good person in the neighborhood picked it up and if only they knew how to reach me, they would return my ipod.
More on Craigslist.

February 19, 2010

Update: J-Church Repairs

Eileen Bermingham of Upper Noe Neighbors sent minutes from last night's meeting with Muni:
Hi—Thought you might be interested in the details of our meeting on the Muni track replacement project. Muni is completing this project because the affected track sections haven’t been addressed in 30 years. These sections can no longer adequately handle the volume/weight of the train cars.

Muni project manager Ha Nguyen presented an overview of what will be happening during the three J Church track replacements. The work will be done from 8PM on Friday to 4AM Monday, as per the following schedule:

Church & 18th St
San Jose & 30th St
March 12

San Jose & 30th St
March 19 and March 26

Church & 20th
Three weekends in September

Along with track replacement, the crew will be replacing the pavement, installing new water pipes, striping, and addressing noise/vibration issues. They’ll also install new overhead poles and curb ramps.

Buses will help shuttle riders in the areas where the crew is doing the work. Traffic will be rerouted around the affected track sections.

Muni has completed similar work in the Sunset, and we’re told all went well in terms of safety and traffic control.

Meeting attendees expressed concern about concrete jackhammering during the night (which will kick off at 9PM on a Friday for a given location), as well as loss of parking for a temporary period. However, it’s the general consensus that Muni needs to do the work at some point in a seven-day week, and weekends/nights provide the least disruption in train service.

Some neighbors raised other concerns about Muni in general, primarily involving loud screeching and noise due to fast driver speeds.

If you’d like to express your own concerns or have any questions, please contact SFMTA Community Relations head Jay Lu at 415.701.4387/jay.lu@sfmta.com

February 18, 2010

Dog Pooh Files: Do Your Part

The folks at Noe Valley Pet Co. caught on to the recent brouhaha about dog poop and have a plea worth broadcasting:
Fellow dog owners
Let's do our part to take care of our city

We all know what it's like to step in dog poop...
We all know what it's like to watch dog owners walk away without cleaning up after their dogs...
We all know how gross our streets and parks have become...

So, let's do something about it! Clean up after our dogs and encourage others to do the same.
- Bring an extra bag to share with a fellow dog owner who might have forgotten one
- Thank dog owners who clean up after their dogs
- Gently encourage dog owners to clean up after their dogs when they fail to do so

Times are tough. Let's do
what we can to take care of each other and our beautiful city!!
[NVSF: Reader Rant: Dogs Need Places To Poo, Too]

February 15, 2010

UNN Meeting: MUNI Track Repair

Join the Upper Noe Neighbors and representatives from MUNI this Thursday at the Upper Noe Rec Center. Neighbors will get a chance to voice frustration with noise and speed, of course, but the main focus of the meeting is to discuss upcoming repairs to the J-Church tracks. Some details from Jay Lu, PR Officer for the SFFMTA:
As part of the SFMTA Rail Improvement Project, we have tentatively scheduled to replace the rails at the following locations on these weekends:

J Church Rail Replacement on weekends only (from 6 p.m. Friday continuously to 5 a.m. Monday)
Church Street & 18th Street
San Jose Avenue & 30th Street
Tentatively scheduled for the weekends of March 5, 12, and 19, 2010

J Church Rail Replacement on weekends only (from 6 p.m. Friday continuously to 5 a.m. Monday)
Church Street & 30th Street
Tentatively scheduled for three weekends in September 2010
What: Upper Noe Neighbors Monthly Meeting
When: Thursday, February 18, 2010 at 7:30pm
Where: Upper Noe Rec Center, Day at Sanchez Streets

[SFMTA: Rail Improvement Project]

February 5, 2010

Views from the Edge: Dolores Park Renovation

The local blogosphere blew up this week with word that Dolores Park will close for at least a year for renovations. PBR-drinking fixie riders were in an uproar. Nevermind all those who loved the park long before the others decided it was their holy land. And so it was up to Dolores Park Works to set the story straight - the park will remain accessible:
The renovations will be done in phases. The whole park will not be closed or fenced off for the duration of the renovations. ... [The playground remodel phase] is scheduled to start in October 2010 and end in April 2011. [Phase 2 will start after that]. The goal is to limit the impact on the community while ensuring that the work is done efficiently and safely.
Stay involved and get the full story by following the latest at Dolores Park Works.

Update: Details added to clarify timeline.

February 4, 2010

Benefit: Geeks In Bushes For The Alvarado School

Those nerdy kids with iPhones poking around your front yard this weekend? Not the usual clipboard brigade. They're likely part of a scavenger hunt designed for the 21st century. From the over-the-top chirpy PR email: "Get your geek on! ... Smart phone scavenger hunts are all the rage these days, but I’m not aware of any like this, and all the money raised goes directly to Alvarado." All four district 8 supervisor candidates are (of course) supporting the event, and competing against each other in an early test of their electability. Annoying, yes, but at least it's for a good cause.
It works like this:

Arrive early! At 6:00 pm sharp participants will leave Alvarado Elementary School’s auditorium and be given a map with some clues to decipher. Solving those clues will lead you to various locations in Noe Valley. When you arrive at the mystery location, you'll take a photo of the answer with their phone and email it back to an address provided at the beginning of the event. The first team to solve all clues is the winner. Simple, no?

Why: For fun, mostly. And for prizes (from Geeknet, EA Games, Bon Jovi tickets, and more). And also because all the money raised goes toward improving technology for students at Alvarado Elementary. That means ticket price is tax-deductible.

Cost: The fee is $50 for a team of up to 4 and $75 for a team of up to 6. A bargain for memories that will last a lifetime. All of the money raised from this event goes directly toward improving the quality of computers at the school.

Rules: All you need is a phone that can take a picture and send email. Be on time, or you’ll be behind your fellow competitors. Teams have to stick together and stay on foot. Bring a flashlight (or flashlight app). Charge up your phone batteries. Respect the neighborhood.
[Official Site: Tech Search Party]

Overheard: 24th St Survival Guide

"Next time I come to Noe Valley I'm bringing a paddle ball. Maybe then the stroller b******* will move over."

February 2, 2010

NVV: We Read It So You Don't Have To

The Noe Valley Voice is published ten times a year and has been a neighborhood fixture since 1977. Here are notable highlights from the latest issue. Links are to stories we've covered here on NVSF or outside sources as the Voice doesn't post stories until the middle of the month.


Front Page: The city clears the way for more restaurants on 24th Street; Officer Lorraine Lombardo on the beat for 20 years with SFPD; Whole Foods and La Boulange are boosting business on 24th Street; a lovebird is weaned.

Letters: If your kids were photographed with Santa, Fima Photography has your free 5x7 photo for you; an alert about car break-ins in Upper Noe; and a bike-to-Marin benefit for multiple sclerosis.

Feature: Circle Bank is opening this spring; Mike Gutierrez of Tuggey's is going for the world record for the largest rubber band ball.

Cost of Living in Noe: Home prices overall saw a 13.8% drop in 2009. Average cost of a home was… $1.3 milion. (Ed.-Translation: It's now 10 degrees cooler on the surface of the sun.) Rents? Still ouch.

Traveling Voice: Cuba, Guatemala, India, Vietnam.

Store Trek: Independent Nature, Old Republic Title Company

Rumors: The Noe Valley Stroller Menace (Oh Noes!); Cover to Cover gets grief for not carrying Sarah Palin's book Going Rogue; SF Gate is looking for a freelance Noe Valley blog after the last one abruptly disappeared; and the NVV mentions Everyblock, and also this blog as a source of information: "while somewhat snarky, it keeps the news coming and has a neighborhood posting wall;" NVV goes on to mention "an interesting item duped on NoeValleySF in January was a 'Reader Rant: Dogs Need Places to Poo Too.'" We're not sure what that means, but you can read the story here. And NVSF (that's this blog again) linked to the NY Times story for the top 10 NetFlix rentals in Noe. That led NVV to poll Video Wave for their top 10 (first was Burn After Reading – pick up an issue of NVV for the full list). Thanks for the shout out, NVV!

Finally, NVV counts 9 vacant spots on 24th Street; the owner of the Artsake building is renting that spot for $3,000 and has fielded calls from a nail salon (noooo!). The 2,500 sq. foot former Mi Lindo Yucatan space should be finished by June and ready to rent – the owner is hoping for a destination restaurant. Cardio-Tone opens; Bill Yenne has another book; farewell Helen Weinschenk, former owner of the Wooden Heel (the shoe repair shop) on 24th Street.

[The Noe Valley Voice]