UC Extension Update
There are several items of interest regarding the proposed development at UC Extension as we go to press. The Planning Commission is scheduled to discuss the EIR at their next meeting. HVNA has asked the Commission to delay any final actions on this property until the Market Octavia plan has been finalized. As the proposed development at the UC site falls within the center of the Market Octavia plan, we feel that it is very important that we understand the overall scope of the plan as we discuss any development in the plan area. Since it was never anticipated that the UC site would have any change in use, it was not included in any of the Market Octavia planning.
Supervisor Tom Ammiano has been asked to carry legislation at the Board of Supervisors that would allow for zoning changes on the site once a final determination has been made by the Planning Commission. He has kept us informed about the process and assured us that there will be no legislation proposed without our involvement. Supervisor Ammiano has also met with Supervisor Mirkarimi regarding the site, possible development and community input, as Supervisor Mirkarimi has been very involved in all the meetings produced by the developers, the Planning Dept and HVNA. We feel confident that the Supervisors understand the vital importance of an open community process and will continue to work with them regarding this project.
While not everyone agrees on what, if anything, should happen with the UC site, everyone agrees that a six acre site that has been in the public realm for its entirety must be treated differently than if it were just another private lot. While HVNA sponsored a series of meetings that allowed public participation, we have never wanted to be the final arbiter of what should happen on the site. Long ago we proposed that the Planning Dept conduct a survey which would give input into the needs, present and future, of people in the area. And, as the Market Octavia plan indicates a need for public benefits throughout the area, this idea makes even more sense today. It has been proposed that an impartial needs assessment take place, separate from any proposal of the developer, HVNA, or any other group. We are in favor of such an effort as long as we can be assured of its neutrality, and have offered our support of this effort to Supervisor Ammiano. We should have more information on this topic at our April meeting.
Finally, HVNA member Warren Dewar, who has been very active in the discussion regarding the UC Extension site, forwarded his legal research on the subject of the ownership of Waller Street to the City. We understand that the City Attorney has taken the preliminary position that Waller Street belongs to the City and not to the University of California. At press time, our understanding was that each entity had their title company doing further research into this matter, and it has not yet been resolved. There will be an update on UC Extension at the March 22nd HVNA meeting.