On January 21, 2021, the UC Regents approved a significant revision of the earlier 2014 Plan for UCSF’s Parnassus Campus- despite objections from San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors who asked for a delay so the Plan could be studied further.
According to a UCSF report, “On Jan. 21, the Regents certified the Environmental Impact Report for Comprehensive Parnassus Heights Plan (CPHP), which amends UCSF’s 2014 Long Range Development Plan to adjust the space ceiling limit, projected campus population, and the Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve boundary.”
For us in the Forest Knolls neighborhood, the main impacts of the change will be from the higher Space Ceiling, and the accelerated destruction of Sutro Forest.
THE SPACE CEILING
The Space Ceiling was established in 1976 in response to neighbors’ anger at the impact of UCSF’s unrestrained growth on surrounding neighborhoods. There is more about that here. It has been expanded from 3.55 million square feet – which had been exceeded several times, with existing square footage in as of 2014 in the range of 3.84 million square feet. This Plan will raise the ceiling to 5.05 million square feet.
In the forest, tree felling started in 2019, and the pace appears to be accelerating.
An article in SF Weekly in October 2019 discussed this new Plan, noting that neighbors had concerns and those were not really taken into account.
Anyway, the Plan is going ahead despite any objections, since UCSF is in practice only answerable to the Regents.
The plan is to demolish the existing low-rise wood-shingled buildings, and replace them with tall ones. The first phase will be three 8-storey and one 5-storey building. Here’s their impression from the DEIR document.
One of our concerns is that they’ll remove even more trees to accommodate the new buildings and the construction space to build them. We can probably expect most of the forest lying between Forest Knolls and the Aldea Housing to be thinned to the point that it is merely a few trees standing around instead of something resembling a wood.
Also gone – the tall trees that lined Clarendon Avenue in front of the Aldea San Miguel UCSF student housing.
I remember a time when you couldn’t even see the fence from the street. When UCSF thinned the vegetation there many years ago, they promised plantings that would conceal the chain link fence. Well, they planted some vines, but the concealment didn’t happen.
The chain-link fence is more prominent than ever.
And across the road, a swath of trees adjacent to the homes on Clarendon have been felled too, I think by SF Rec and Parks (or possibly Sutro Tower, not sure).
Over the last decade, we have lost a lot of the glorious trees that made Forest Knolls a community surrounded by forest. I’m glad I had a chance to see them in their former beauty.
I got an email requesting me to post this notice about the Forest Knolls Block party…
It’s on Sunday May 19th 2018, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and will be held in the 100 block cul-de-sac of Forest Knolls Drive (that’s just above the Clarendon School playground.) There’ll be snacks (tacos, empanadas) and drinks, a bouncy house, balloons, a fortune teller and a photo booth and more. Representatives from SAFE – Neighborhood Watch, the NERT Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, and from the Fire Station and SFPD may be present. Please RSVP to Walter Caplan at email@example.com
Just in case you didn’t get the Forest Knolls annual holiday party flyer in your mailbox, here is the information.
The Forest Knolls Holiday Party is set for Sunday, 12/9, from 4-8pm with a dinner buffet at 5pm. The event will be held at the Armenian Church at 275 Olympia Way, next to our fire station.
If you plan to attend, PLEASE RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. There’s a form to be filled in and mailed to Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization, PO Box 31387, SF 94131 (or you can email email@example.com). Adults are $25/person, kids are free. Photos of the front and back of the flyer are given below.
They’re replacing sewer pipes on Woodhaven, right here in Forest Knolls. If you’re an aficionado of big machines (or have kids who are!), there are plenty.
I took these photos over the last week.
Every day is different and fascinating.
This was today!
Here’s the notice about the Sewer Replacement Project. It’s 5-6 weeks, they said, and started Aug 6, 2018. The first of many, from the sound of it. The big machines may be coming to a street near you!
Of course, it’s a lot of noise and dust and access/ parking limitations for the homes on Woodhaven and nearby, but hopefully it will prevent plumbing problems in future. Like this broken water main from 2009. That wasn’t even a sewer line, which would be more insidious!
I got an email requesting me to post this notice about the Forest Knolls Block party…
It’s on Sunday May 20th 2018, from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and will be held in the 100 block cul-de-sac of Forest Knolls Drive (that’s just above the Clarendon School playground.) There’ll be snacks (tacos, empanadas) and drinks, a bouncy house, balloons, a fortune teller and a photo booth and more. Representatives from SAFE – Neighborhood Watch, the NERT Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, and from the Fire Station and SFPD may be present. Please RSVP to Walter Caplan at firstname.lastname@example.org
We got a notice about the annual holiday party… you probably received it in your mailbox, but in case not, here it is!
The Forest Knolls Holiday Party is set for Sunday, 12/10, from 4-8pm with a dinner buffet at 6pm. The event will be held at the Armenian Church on Olympia, next door to our fire station.
If you plan to attend, PLEASE RSVP to email@example.com. Indicate the number in your party and ages of kids attending. For members of the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization (FKNO), the price is $15/person. Non-members are $20/person. Kids are free. Please use the self-addressed envelope you received in your mailbox to pre-pay and/or join FKNO.
This article is taken (with permission) from the SaveSutro.com website. It says UCSF’s Plan for Mount Sutro – which could start as early as this winter – could directly increase the risk for our neighbors on Christopher and Crestmont.
I started thinking about it. It’s a pretty insidious. The cutting of trees, and widening of the road to use heavy machinery and trucks up above our neighborhood could have very long-lasting effects – for five to ten years after the project, according to the research. Nothing might happen immediately – and then along comes a really wet stormy winter and whoosh!
Is this something real estate agents will have to disclose? I don’t know. And if something does happen – what’s the insurance situation? (I’m not even going to think of the risk to families living there.)
Anyway, this article is to let our Crestmont and Christopher neighbors know about these concerns. There’s more about the UCSF 2017 Plan on SaveSutro.com
Recently, we wrote that the Sutro Forest 2017 Plan Imposes a Landslide Risk. A University of Washington study shows that mudslides are most like 5-10 years after trees have been cut down on slopes. The picture below shows the South Ridge, which will be directly affected.
But it’s not just the tree-cutting. UCSF is widening two major trails into roads fit for heavy equipment, and adding nine quarter-acre “staging areas” for machines and felled trees. Both the roads are above Forest Knolls. (The heavy yellow lines in the map below are the new roads. The red squares are the locations of the staging areas, each of which will be a quarter acre.)
The picture at the top of this article gives some indication of how steep the hillside is. And the roads above Forest Knolls are atop a slope *known* to be unstable. Look at this landslide hazard map:
The double black arrows show landslide direction. The wiggly black arrows show soil creep direction. All those dark green areas? Potentially unstable. All the gold areas? Also potentially unstable.
Though the Draft Environmental Impact Report claims it’s making safety its first priority – it doesn’t look like it. In attempting to mitigate one (overstated) concern (dead trees falling), they’re worsening the risk of landslides.
But it didn’t proceed. Instead, it was put up for sale.
FOR SALE AT $14 MILLION
In May 2015 SocketSite reported that the site was for sale, with the plans for the units (but without building permits).
In January 2016 they reported that the asking price, initially $20 million, had been cut to $15 million.
And in November 2016, they said the price had been cut to $14 million.
Hmm. According to a November 2016 mailing I received from realtor John Kirkpatrick, homes in the Forest Knolls neighborhood sold for an average of $1.195 million. Forest Knolls homes have 2 or 3 bedrooms and 1 or 2 bathrooms, but the back half of the garage typically offers customizable space. You can put in another 2 rooms and bathroom down there if you want. They’re standalone homes with no shared walls and most of them have a yard. That’s the competition to this project.
Let’s say these 29 luxury homes are priced at about $1.5 million, because they’ll have the latest fit and finish. Other benefits, like a 2-car garage and views are not unique to the development.
That would be a gross take of $43.5 mn, roughly 3 times the asking cost of the land and plans. Is it worth it? I don’t know.
ACCESS IS STILL AN ISSUE
Though there’s an agreement with the Mt Sutro Woods HOA, the project’s only access runs through the very narrow Crestmont Drive, which has houses on one side and a steep hillside on the other. Though on the map it looks like you could easily link it up to 5th Avenue, the intervening land doesn’t belong to the developer and is also very steep.
The way in to these 29 would-be homes is through the Forest Knolls neighborhood. Fears of destabilizing the mountainside where many homes are supported by concrete piers, fears of added traffic on an already narrow street, fears of potential emergency situations with very poor access, all could fuel more opposition.
Walter Caplan of the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization asked me to post this “save the date” for the Forest Knolls Holiday Party. It’ll be at the Armenian Church at 275 Olympia Way, on Dec 18 at 4 p.m. – with snacks, dinner, Santa, and gifts for children.
Unlike previous years, there’ll be a $10 per adult charge to cover costs. Children are free! If you wish to attend, please fill in the form below (or still better, in the linked PDF file) and mail it in with your check.
It’s that time of the year again! You may have seen the orange flyer in your mailbox or on the fence at the entrance to Forest Knolls: “Forest Knolls Trick or Treat Monday October 31”
Each year, the Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization (FKNO) encourages neighbors on Oak Park and Warren Drive (and a small stretch of Christopher) to join the “Loop” – a Halloween-friendly route that kids can trick-or-treat on.
This year, it’s been expanded to Forest Knolls Drive and Woodhaven Court. It runs between 5.30 and 8 p.m. People who want to greet kids with candy can get a pumpkin and a pumpkin sign to let them know they’re in. FKNO will provide both pumpkin and sign – email Walter Caplan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s the map. If anyone wants to send me pictures afterward (and maybe a few lines about the event?) I’d be happy to publish them.
Our neighborhood doesn’t see much crime, so it was surprising when neighbor Florence Meyering posted on NextDoor that there were police on Clarendon Avenue with guns drawn! (This was on 23rd July 2016 around 5.30 p.m.)
“As I was driving on Clarendon/Twin Peaks Blvd, I saw police with guns out and police cars were arriving from everywhere. They were looking at the hill towards Mount Sutro Forest. Does anyone know what was going on and if they caught whomever were were after?” she posted, along with the picture above.
So I wrote to Park Station police, and they wrote back within a couple of days: “On that date and time, there was a carjacking that occurred. I believe officers were most likely responding to this incident. The suspect is in custody and the stolen vehicle returned to it’s rightful owner.”
Are you a short-term rental host? (AirBnB, VRBO, even on Craigslist – anything less than 30 days at a time) The city of San Francisco requires you to register. Walter Kaplan asked me to publish this PSA:
Forest Knolls residents who wish to act as a short-term rental host MUST register with the City’s Office of Short Term Rentals.The City is hosting a registration event at the Ortega Branch of the San Francisco Public Library on Thursday May 5, from 5:30 to 8:30 PM. There will be walk-in registration, and no appointment is required.
Here’s the original message from the city:
Hi. Here is the information on the upcoming (City-run) registration event at the Ortega Branch of the Public Library. Feel free to share with your neighbors.
Short Version: If you plan to host short-term rentals (including through websites such as VRBO, Airbnb, & Craiglist) in your home, then registration is required with the City’s Office of Short-Term Rentals. A walk-in registration event (no appointment required) will be held at the community room of the Ortega Branch Library, on the evening of May 5th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. For more information visit http://www.sfgov.org/OSTR.
Long Form Version:
The San Francisco Office of Short-Term Rentals is offering additional opportunities to apply for registration as a Short-Term Rental host** or just to ask questions.
At the Ortega branch (3223 Ortega Street – meeting room) of the San Francisco Public Library on the evening of May 5th, from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Walk-in registration (no appointment required). This is not a library sponsored program.
Walk-in registrations (no appointment required) at 1660 Mission Street (inside the Dept. of Building Inspection), on the 5th floor, on every Wednesday afternoon, between 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Evening walk-in registrations (no appointment required) on the first Monday of every month, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, at the Planning Department. Located at 1650 Mission Street, on the 4th Floor.
At the Earthquake Retrofit Fair on April 18th from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM, at Bill Graham Auditorium, located at 99 Grove Street. No appointment required.
Registrations can also be handled, by appointment, on most weekdays (at 1660 Mission Street), and take about 20 minutes. Appointments are held at 1660 Mission Street, on the 5th floor. Appointments can be requested online at http://www.sfgov.org/OSTR.
Having a complete application and required documents (listed on Page 3 of the application form) can help speed up review and approvals after the registration event or appointment.
Registration is required with BOTH the Office of Short-Term Rentals AND the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector.
For more information on the application requirements, including documents needed in order to register visit http://www.sfgov.org/OSTR.
Hosting Short-Term Rentals WITHOUT being registered with the Office of Short-Term Rentals can result in daily fines. The City’s Administrative Code (Section 41A) requires registration if a permanent San Francisco resident would like to host short-term rentals in their home. To file a complaint about a Short-Term Rental, or if you have any questions please contact us at email@example.com or (415) 575-9179.
**Short-Term Rentals are for stays of 30 days or less, that are hosted in residential dwellings. This includes if you offer stays in your home through the use of online platforms such as: Airbnb, Craigslist, Flipkey, HomeAway, and VRBO.
OMAR MASRY, AICP | SENIOR ANALYST
Office of Short Term Rentals, City & County of San Francisco
P. 415.575.9116 l F. 415.558.6409
1650 Mission Street | 4th Floor | San Francisco | CA 94103 http://www.sfgov.org/OSTR
The Sutro Stewards and UCSF are going ahead with plans to build the Clarendon connector trail, which would run inside the screen of trees that divides Forest Knolls from UCSF’s Aldea Housing. This is, coincidentally, the area that was severely thinned in August 2013. (Before picture above, after picture below.) This means that the actual trail probably will cause less destruction than it would have before. They hope to finish it by November 2016.
The trail would start on the Clarendon- Christopher corner, go into the narrow alley behind the pump house and fence, and continue on parallel to Christopher. (That’s the orange line on the map below.)
They’re also going to punch a new trail through on the South Ridge (the purple squiggly line), in addition to the Quarry Road Trail that was built with no notice to the community. These trails would not be bad, except that they always end up destroying trees – if not immediately, a year or two later when tree lining the trail are declared hazardous. Over 1500 trees have been removed since 2013, with around 350 being felled this last winter. There’s such a thing as too many trails for a 63-acre forest.
NEW TRAIL HEAD PLANNED
On March 14th, they had a meeting to design a formal new trail head at Clarendon x Christopher. (The red labels aren’t original to the picture, they’re just to orient you.)
The initial designs showed a seating area of granite, a kiosk with maps and signs, and gravel. The idea was to provide a well-marked entrance to the forest from the UCSF side (there is already one from the Stanyan side) that would avoid the campus, connect to new trails across Clarendon Avenue being built by San Francisco Recreation and Parks (SFRPD) near Sutro Tower, and have street parking available since UCSF has no plans to provide additional parking for this. They were looking for public input on what they wanted at the Trail Head.
Some of the ideas – seating, some kind of shelter from the wind that blows up Clarendon, a water-fountain, an earthen berm along the Christopher side to provide wind protection, permeable pavers on the ground instead of gravel.
So far, no funds have been set aside for this. It seems to be a fund-raising opportunity for the Sutro Stewards, who plan to write grant proposals for the money. UCSF may provide some funding too, but it is unclear how much. The team – the Sutro Stewards, and Julie Sutton of UCSF, seemed to want people to think big. Maybe that would justify a bigger grant?
CONNECTING TO OTHER SFRPD TRAILS
Lisa Wayne of SFRPD attended, to show how the new trail would link to three other trail projects SFRPD is working on: The Creeks-to-Peaks Trail from Glen Canyon to Twin Peaks (already being built); the plan to turn half of the figure 8 on Twin Peaks into a bicycle/ pedestrian area by restricting cars to the other half (in design); and trails to connect Twin Peaks to Mount Sutro via trails past Sutro Tower (yellow dotted line below – in planning).
She’s hoping to get work started this summer, for an opportunity to use VOCAL volunteers. Hope this doesn’t mean cutting down trees in the nesting season. Actually, not cutting down trees at all would be better, but trees are apparently the casualty of every SFRPD project, especially near any “Natural Area.”
CONNECTING TO THE BAY AREA RIDGE TRAIL
Several people from the Bay Area Ridge Trail group came, and Bern Smith spoke about how this new trail would connect to other trails and become part of a 550-mile trail system around the Bay.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR FOREST KNOLLS?
Quite aside from such issues as tree removal and thinning of the forest, this project will practically be part of our neighborhood. On the one hand, if there’s enough seating, it might make a picnic or gathering spot for a neighborhood that doesn’t have one. On the other – could this mean parking problems on nice days?
UCSF is taking comments. You can send them to Christine Gasparac: firstname.lastname@example.org
COMMENTS AT THE MEETING
The gallery below shows the comments from people at the meeting – which included a few members of the public, but no neighborhood representatives. If you click on the pictures, they should become legible.
Recently, we posted about the Halloween Loop, homes in Forest Knolls that would have candy for trick-or-treaters. For the 4th year in a row, it’s been great. It’s not the huge event that some streets put on that draw crowds from all over the city – it’s a friendly neighborhood Halloween.
“A successful Halloween was had by all!” writes neighbor Laura. “I know our family enjoyed going out trick-or-treating with our friends, who came to FK to join us. Among other terrific costumes we had that night, we had a detective, a bartender, a goth guy, and a zombie cheerleader!”
The pictures here are published with permission. (If you’d like to add in pictures of you or your kids in costume from Halloween, please email them to fk94131 at yahoo.com)