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UCSF’s Space Ceiling Saga

February 12, 2014

UCSF Feb 2014 meeting for LRDP 1From time to time, I attend UCSF’s Long Range Development Plan meetings. My main concern is the forest on Mt Sutro, but I’m also interested in what’s happening down at Parnassus. Yesterday, I learned more about the ongoing saga of the Space Ceiling. (My last report on that was HERE and it provides background on some of the issues.)

The Space Ceiling was a self-imposed limit to growth that UCSF decided on in 1976. That was when it got into a huge battle with its Inner Sunset neighbors as the University spilled out in all directions, and started changing nearby neighborhoods. At the time, the limit was set at 3.55 million square feet. By 1996, it was at 3.66 mn (or 6%  over) with a plan to reduce it to only 2% over by 2012. Instead, by 2012, it was 8.2% over the limit, at 3.84 mn sq ft.

WIN SOME, LOSE SOME

What’s happened since? Three things, which left them with a tiny net increase in the space to 3.844 mn sq feet, or 8.3% over the Ceiling.

  • They knocked down the building at 735 Parnassus, gaining 2,766 square feet.
  • They gained another 3,121 sq feet when they converted the office building at 1486-1488 Parnassus to student housing, which doesn’t count against the space ceiling. (The only housing that counts toward the Space Ceiling are the student housing units at Aldea, up above Forest Knolls off of Clarendon Avenue.)
  •  However, they also did a careful re-measuring of the existing square footage of the Parnassus campus. They found that two changes increased the actual square footage: They enclosed the Food Court, which made it an inside space instead of an outside space; and they converted a mechanical space in Moffet Hospital into an “occupied space.” They also found some of the old measurements were inaccurate. So all told, they found that the actual existing space had been understated by 10,700 sq feet.

It’s really difficult to start knocking things down mainly to get UCSF under the Space Ceiling, so while it’s doing some demolition, UCSF is also converting more space to student housing (which, as we said, doesn’t count). They expect to double the amount of student housing at Parnassus.

They are also going to ask the Regents to revise the Ceiling specifications so that Aldea housing doesn’t count either.

Here are the current plans:

UCSF LRDP Feb 2014 -1

Click on map for larger version

THE RESTRICTION ZONE

Restriction Zone 1The other restriction on growth was on purchase or acquisition of properties in the “restriction zone” that includes Forest Knolls – see below.  (UCSF’s aggressive acquisitions had been changing neighborhoods around it, and neighbors wanted it to stop.)

Anyway, UCSF reaffirmed their commitment to observing that Zone, but noted that they weren’t prohibited from leasing commercial properties, or affiliating with other public agencies in this area.

Here’s a closer view of the Restriction Zone. It includes Forest Knolls, Edgewood, Inner Sunset and Cole Valley.

Restriction Zone 2

OTHER ISSUES

They seem to have given up on the 16,000-a-day people limit. It’s crossed 18, 000 now. But they’ve promised an annual community meeting to monitor all the parameters.

Neighbors have been concerned with truck traffic, and UCSF did a traffic study. They’re looking for solutions like making loading/ unloading more efficient by having a permanent dockmaster stationed at Medical Center Way; using some of the demolished areas on Koret as additional truck parking, and consolidating deliveries elsewhere into UCSF trucks, so reducing the number of trips.

One commenter spoke about the problems of living next to the UCSF campus – glaring lights by the ammonia tank; 30-50 smokers daily, who were not allowed to smoke on UCSF’s Smoke-Free campus ended up under his window;  noise from blaring radios on vehicles as they waited to move; and syringes being tossed over his fence. Not a great environment for his two small kids.

MOUNT SUTRO FOREST

sutro forest commitmentThough the University wasn’t planning to discuss Sutro Forest, some of the changes planned will have a (apparently quite minor) impact on the forest. Also, supporters and opponents of UCSF’s current plan for Sutro Forest took the opportunity of this meeting to speak up. The report is HERE.

At this meeting, UCSF reiterated its commitment to keeping Mount Sutro as publicly accessible open space. (Some commenters had suggested that the University might have other plans.)

GOING FORWARD

Here are the milestones going forward. The LRDP is to be adopted in November 2014.

LRDP Milestones

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