Let's Preserve Open Space Along The SF Shoreline

Detailed Explanation

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Download the full detailed proposal here.

Request to Deny Proposed Restaurant Lease with Woodhouse Marina Green LLC

1. Lack of Notice

The immediately affected neighbors were not notified by the Department of Rec & Park about this proposed venture. Neither were the two traditional neighborhood associations notified, i.e., the Marina Neighborhood Association and the Marina Civic Improvement and Property Owners Association. It can only be assumed that this was a strategic reason to blindside the affected and surrounding property owners.

An after the fact PR write-up in The Marina Times, which is not widely read, cannot be considered a legal notice. Why is it when a property owner wants to change a small window in a home, everyone in the neighborhood has to be notified, but not so for a change of use of a Public Recreational Open Space Shoreline to a commercial use?

It seems that the majority of spokespeople which were paraded before the Rec & Park Commission in support of this project were folks associated with the hospitality industry, restaurant suppliers, restaurant employees and the operator and his sons. The directly affected neighbors were cavalierly brushed aside.

2. No Finding of Consistency with General Plan before Rec & Park Approval 

There was
no Finding of Consistency with the General Plan before the Rec & Park Commission approved this lease.

For 77 years the City has respected the original 1935 legislation for the Marina Green. It is truly a unique and historic Public Recreational Open Shoreline in an urban setting. Why would anyone want to spoil it with a commercial restaurant? It is not that we are short of restaurants in the Marina.

3. In Conflict with the Recreation and Open Space Element of General Plan

Notwithstanding the vaguely reasoned General Plan Referral by the Planning Department, dated October 18, 2012, this restaurant project is in direct conflict with the Recreation and Open Space Element of the SF General Plan for the western portion of the north waterfront: {SEC. 4.113.} No park land may be sold or leased for non-recreational purposes, nor shall any structure on any park property be built, maintained or used for non-recreational purposes, unless approved by a vote of the electors.”

Policy 2.2 - Preserve existing Public Open Space
  • Para 4 - "Proposals for nonrecreational uses in public parks and playgrounds may arise in the future ... Development of this kind in parks and playgrounds should, without exceptions, be prohibited." 
Policy 2.4 - Gradually Eliminate Nonrecreational Uses
  • Para 2 -"In cases where it is possible to provide services elsewhere it should be the City's policy to eliminate nonrecreational uses in parks and playgrounds, demolish the facility and return the site to open space use
Shoreline Objective 3 - Provide Continuous Public Open Space along the Shoreline unless public access conflicts with Maritime uses or other uses requiring a waterfront location.
  • Para 2 - "The western and northwestern shoreline should function as a long unbroken stretch of open space; it natural qualities should be preserved ...." 
  • Para 3 - "On the northeastern and eastern shoreline the objective is different." 
Policy 3.1 - Priority Land Uses -"The most important uses of the shoreline should be those providing substantial long-term public benefits that cannot be provided on other sites within the City."

Policy 3.1 - Prohibited Land Uses - "More specifically, industry or commercial uses that are not dependent upon use of or proximity to the water, or which do not further maritime, commerce, or public recreation or enjoyment of the waterfront, should not be permitted."

4. HRER- Historic Resource Evaluation Response

According to the Assessor's office, the Marina Green is a Zoning A - High Historic Resource Category. To allow a commercial restaurant operation there should require a HRER - Historic Resource Evaluation Response, which was not provided before the Rec & Parks Commission approval.

5. Historic Building - Request for a Historic Preservation Commission Finding

The Degaussing Station has always been considered a historic building in the past. It was built by the Navy for temporary use and was to be demolished afterwards and the shoreline restored to its original condition, the preference for the majority of nearby residents. Short of demolition, there are certainly better uses for this building to serve the public besides a commercial restaurant. A children's playground, a children's soccer club house to support the children soccer activities on the Marina Green or sailing center or other water oriented recreational activity center would make more sense in keeping with the character of the Marina Green Open Space Shoreline purpose. 

6. Environmental Impact - Bird Life - Request for Environmental Impact Report

It would seem outrageous to approve such a change of use without a full Environmental Impact Report. No mention has been made how this project would affect the Marina Green bird life, such as the Black Crowned Night Herons, Blue Herons, Killdeers, Pelicans and other species. It certainly would attract more rats and rodents, which already is a big problem in the area. How would this negatively affect the meaning and spirit of the Board of Supervisors' Urban Bird Refuge Resolution 18406, passed last year?

Further, it is the only part of the Marina shoreline without light pollution where one can enjoy and observe the night sky.

7. Increased Traffic Flow, Circulation - Request for Traffic Study

No information has been given how the restaurant operation would affect and increase the traffic flow. Additionally, it seems that the proposed move of the building 13 feet south would eliminate the sidewalk and create a bottleneck.

8. Attractive Nuisance Impact on Marina District Residents

To have a seven days a week, 7:00AM to 9:00PM, operating commercial restaurant at this site, presents a great nuisance to the immediate neighbors, most of whom have spent considerable investment to live there because of this unique urban Open Space Public Shoreline environment.

It will create noise, smell and light pollution. Further, as the restaurant proposes to have a take-out counter, more in line with a fast food restaurant, it will create trash problems all along the Marina Green, already an ongoing problem for nearby residents.

9. Serving Alcohol in a Public Playground against Public Policy

The Marina Green is being used as a public playground by hundreds of children playing soccer on the weekends and dozens more during the week (one more reason to utilize this building as children's soccer clubhouse).

The Board of Supervisors' own ordinance prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages in public children's playgrounds. It is our understanding that the operator is filing for a beer and wine license in order to serve alcoholic beverages at this proposed restaurant, only a few feet from where the children are playing.

10. Opposed by the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods

The Marina Green belongs to all SF residents who should have a voice in the change of use of this important Public Open Shoreline Recreation Area. It should be noted that the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, an umbrella organization of 48 SF neighborhood organizations, strongly oppose this project.

11. Conflict of Interest - Request for Supervisor Farrell to recuse himself

With all due respect, Supervisor Farrell should recuse himself from any decision in this matter. Supervisor Farrell is or was a Managing Director of QV Hospitality and Thayer Ventures, which claim that their strategic limited partners own and operate over 10,000 restaurant locations. This manifests a clear conflict of interest.
Please sign our electronic petition today.

Copy of Woodhouse Marina Green Restaurant Proposal