This area is to discuss and report on issues the neighborhood is facing (Updated May 9, 2013).
1. The Crestmont Development (now called San Francisco Overlook). A builder plans to add an apartment block at the end of Crestmont, a narrow winding road just below Mt Sutro. Most neighbors opposed it on the grounds of safety (landslides, fire access), neighborhood character (no apartment blocks in Forest Knolls); and infrastructure issues. The Environmental Impact Report was released in May 2012. The eight-year battle ended recently, with the city giving the builder permission to proceed. The latest is here.
2. Sutro Cloud Forest. UCSF, which owns three-fourths of this beautiful eucalyptus forest above Forest Knolls, is
reviewing plans planning to fell trees on up to half 75% of their portion of it. In May 2009, UCSF sought FEMA funding to cut down thousands of trees on a quarter of the forest, ostensibly in the name of fire mitigation. Opponents believed this was a ruse for a native plant conversion of the forest, and the fire threat an excuse to get FEMA funding for a landscaping plan. They considered it dangerous because of increased fire hazard from a more open and dryer forest; greater landslide risk; concern about toxic chemicals (Roundup and Garlon) being used; and worries about the area being artificially reclassified as a High Fire Risk with impacts on disclosure requirements and insurance rates. (At present, Cal Fire notes there are no areas of Very High Fire Hazard in San Francisco.)
In February 2010 UCSF withdrew its applications from FEMA. It plans to start tree-felling and understory removal at four sites in
September 2011 A ugust 2012 Fall 2013. They eventually plan to fell and mulch over 30,000 trees. [Details on the SaveSutro website.]
3. Laguna Honda Reservoir. Another issue that affects Forest Knolls indirectly is SF PUC’s plan to build a
gravel distribution center dive site office on Clarendon Avenue, on the eastern edge of the Laguna Honda Lake. This area was apparently presented as a temporary staging post, but then was to be made permanent. Neighbors protested, and also discovered that the reservoir and its surrounds are zoned as open space. At present, the dive office has been opened, but the gravel yard is apparently in abeyance. The neighbors are battling to have it maintained as open space.
4. Extended parking meter hours in San Francisco. Despite Oakland’s unfortunate experience with extended hours on its parking meters (a revenue measure), San Francisco’s MTA still has such a plan under consideration. This does not directly affect the neighborhood, which does not have meters; but it affects the residents who shop or work in surrounding areas like West Portal or Miraloma. [Edited to Add: There's a good discussion of this in the November '09 issue of the Westside Observer. The article (on page 2) is by George Wooding, president of the West of Twin Peaks Central Council.] Meanwhile, the MTA has started metering on Sundays.
5. The 36 Teresita route. In 2009, the City planned to curtail the service of the 36 Teresita, the only bus serving Forest Knolls, on the ground of inadequate ridership. Neighbors pointed out that it was not so much a matter of numbers as a matter of access; there were people without cars who relied on the bus. The feedback was accepted, and the route changes – implemented from 5 Dec 09 – did not affect Forest Knolls. However, the frequency falls to 30 minutes (instead of 20 during weekday rush-hours); and the last bus leaves Forest Hill at 11 p.m.] There were other changes to the route, however. The latest: It looks like the proposal to drop Forest Knolls continues