MISSION LONG -TERM PLANNING 
PROCESS AT RISK
 TESTIMONY at Small Business Commission Hearing 
Have two City funded non-profits overruled the community based long-range planning process with supervisorial backing to allow their reign as prejudiced development czars to continue indefinitely as part of the the rule of law?
DEC 22, 2002 
Sonia Melara, Executive Director of Arriba Juntos, called for new leaders to speak for the Latin Community at SBC meeting held to air grievances by small business just prior to the Mission Long Range Plan going to the Planning Commission for initial approval in January.
Sonia also recently emerged as a key figure in moving the long stalled Mission Community College Campus forward as she hosted the meeting on December 18th where Carlotta del Portillo and Chancellor Phillip Day (ccsf.edu/ ) announced plans to lobby the SFUSD (sfusd.edu ) board to sell the existing site to and expand the campus on this much larger site. 
Also in December MAC (Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition) which below is identified as primarily Mission Housing and MEDA (Mission Economic Development Association) met with Supervisors Chris Daly (District 6) and Tom Ammiano (9) to shore up support as the Mission plan moves to scrutiny by City-wide bodies. Tom Ammiano began his uphill race for mayor by taking bows for negotiating a landmark agreement between tenants and landlords regarding rent increases for landlord improvements.
Progressives, whose base is the Mission District and nearby neighborhoods were weighing their options as both former Supervisor Angela Alioto (progressive with heart angela4mayor.com ) and Treasurer Susan Leal ("the practical progressive") were not slow to point out weaknesses in Ammiano's candidacy. The two newest supervisors Bevan Duffy and Fiona Ma are both strong allies of Susan Leal. Much of Bevan's district considers itself a part of the Mission which Bevan spent many year's serving as Supervisor Leal's chief of staff. 
Tom rides MUNI
to work
 Mayor in 2003? Ammiano Achilles Heel 
 His strong  support for what appears to be a misguided land grab by non-profit administrators  is being called  the main reason behind the corruption of the Mission District's community planning process. The 4 2002 meetings represented thousands of hours donated to a vision of the Mission which many say has been ignored by Planners as they prepare the EIR to go forward before the Planning Commission.  
  ammianoformayor.com/
Treasurer Susan Leal, who began her career as the Latin Supervisor, is said to be close to announcing for Mayor. She has not yet weighed in on this developing long range planning story. For most of Susan's life the  Mission was know as the metro center for working classes which served all South of Market neighborhoods and the North Peninsula.  Leal's childhood home in Eureka Valley, like the Excelsior and Daly City, was considered part of the Greater Mission. LEALforMayor by google | urbanecology.org/ 
Hostile Posture Tragedy: 
Among the tragedies of the hard ball politics has been the projected regional role the Mission could have played as a model in educating the Bay Area voters about the benefits of smart growth. The progressive regional smart growth group Urban Ecology was conspicuously absent during planning meetings. But  housing is fundamentally a regional issue and one would hope the would be Mayor of San Francisco would believe they had a role to play in leading the largelyurbanecology.org/ rudderless San Francisco Bay Area towards real solutions in the decades old housing crunch. 
Follow this story at http://planning.missionmerchants.org/ 
Curtis Eisenberger (Founder and chief organizer of the opposition. Mission Coalition for Jobs & Justice) MEDA has redefined itself in terms of discouraging business and actively rigging the planning process

Mark Melvin (Operator of Mission Cliffs Climbing Gym) victimized by MEDA's anti-business activism and economic illiteracy

Judy West (Artaud project) MEDA is pushing defacto shutdown of Mission's most important theatre, bankrupt Theatre Artuad

Fred Snyder ( small business incubator as landlord to 40 business)  Mission Housing and MEDA have said this is all about them getting the profit from any Mission development 

Dave Dempsey ( Northeast Mission Residents Association) what they thought was a community based planning process, but what turned out to be a fairly fait accompli

Thomas ChenMilton Gains Based on 3 years of frustration with City Planning regarding their 18,000 square foot housing project of empty lot they assume this is about a land grab by MAC/MEDA 

 Joe O’Donahue ( Residential Builders Association main builder of the popular new housing know as "indigenous warehouse style" or lofts) Mission Housing is opposed to home ownership opportunities and standing behind claims that the Mission belongs to poor Latin immigrants which is offensive to the American immigrant experience and long great history of the Mission District

 Sonia Melara (Arriba Juntos ) Long-term families in the Mission want home ownership which they cannot now afford and this opportunity to provide it is being lost by an unnecessary fight brought about by politicians giving too much power to self proclaimed Latin representatives with narrow agendas. || TOP ||

"A group with MEDA’s mission will serve this community well, however MEDA does not serve their mission thus doing a disservice to Mission residents, especially the poor and disadvantaged." Mark Melvin  continued "Perhaps most importantly for this Commission, MEDA actively discourages new business development that it can’t control, and that it does not understand business enough to engage in constructive dialogue."

WHERE IS 
THE MEDA BOARD?

The only Board Member from MEDA heard from during the  controversy swirling around the 25 year old group this past year has been chairperson, Rosabella Safont, a former Mission banker whose main point has been she grew up in the Mission and she doesn't like how it is changing. Much more has been heard from those who resigned in dismay like Toby Levine. 

 "really disturbed with the hostile posture that some organizations including Mission Housing and MEDA are taking. Judy West stated " these are the organizations that they have been told they have to deal with in order to get their ideas through"

Adopted from the posted minutes of the Small Business Commission Hearing held on December 9, 2002  Full TEXT  ci.sf.ca.us/sbc/ 
FOLLOWING THE BELOW TESTIMONY:
Commission President Steven Cornell: Has asked the Planning department to present some alternatives to their announced plans which address the below concerns at the January meeting of the SBC, scheduled for January 13, 2003, prior to the tentatively scheduled January 16, 2003 Planning Commission meeting at which they will vote on the preferred alternatives.
Curtis Eisenberger: A member of the public representing the Mission Coalition for Economic Justice and Jobs. He stated that the Mission Coalition is an Ad hoc group composed of residents, small business owners, artists, property owners and other interested parties in the Mission. He commended the Planning Department’s efforts at taking a comprehensive look at zooming issues in the eastern part of San Francisco, however he stated that he is highly critical of their process, stating that their outreach has been nothing short of a disaster. 
  • never did get a meeting with long range planning director Amit Gosh (City Planning).
  • it took them (City Planning) two months to give them the data, which they found a 70% error rate in.
  • Mission Economic Development Association (MEDA), which is funded by the city has been discouraging small businesses not encouraging small businesses.

For instance, he stated that in the Mission District, which he represents, there were very few people who knew about the first workshop. He said he did not know anybody who knew about the first workshop beforehand, be they residents, property owners or small business owners. He stated that they heard about the second workshop a day before it took place, adding that they heard about it only by a flyer posted on a telephone pole. He stated that the only reason that there was small business interest represented at the next two workshops was because they sounded the alarms in the neighborhood for the hundreds of people that had not heard about it. He stated that the Planning Departments process has been flawed, stating that their data has also been flawed. Unfortunately they were laxed and reluctant to release information and or to meet with him and his group, in fact he stated that they never did get a meeting with long range planning director Amit Gosh. For example, he said that they received GIS data two months after requesting it, which is something that should be available from the Freedom of Information/Public Record. He said that this is the data on which their maps are based, stating that all they asked for was an electronic download, adding that it took them two months to give them the data, which they found a 70% error rate in. Finally he stated that the analysis of the zoning ordinances and the rezoning in the Mission calls for a rezoning of the Northeast Mission, which is now an industrial area to something that is called PDR, which is Production Distribution and Repair. He stated that this ignores everything else, ignoring the possibility of high tech, ignores office, it ignores 8000 of the 19000 jobs in the Mission. He called this push planning, stating that it would make 30% of the property in the Northeast Mission nonconforming against the wishes of many small businesses, adding that the Mission is also saddled with a set of interim controls which expire next July, stating that somebody in this interim planning controls set up a citizen review panel controlled by the Mission Economic Development Association (MEDA), which is funded by the city. He stated that MEDA had been discouraging small businesses not encouraging small businesses. He stated that the Mission had been the subject of four workshops; Showplace Square had been the subject of seven workshops, suggesting that the process ought to be slowed down. He said that they need to slow the process down, look at it much more closely, and that they are not ready to go to Commission because they can not make the appropriate public comments and have the appropriate people at the table in a forum like this were everyone is limited to two minutes. || TOP ||
·          Mark Melvin: A member of the public stated that he was there to express concern specifically with MEDA. He is the President of Touchstone Climbing Incorporated, which started business in the Mission seven years ago. He stated that they are a good partner to the community, stating that they have supported all Mission schools that wish to use their facilities, stating that the same is true for non-profits for kids at risk and adults in need. 

He stated that even MEDA does not disagree with them on this point, however he stated that MEDA does feel that such support is condescending and irrelevant to Mission residents, stating MEDA’s mission of expanding opportunities to low and moderate income residents, help low income residents own and operate businesses, help these residents gain managerial skills, raise economic and social levels of residents in the Mission.

  • MEDA’s position condescending to the Hispanic population, adding that representatives of MEDA have gone so far as stating, “we don’t rock climb”
  • MEDA actively discourages new business development that it can’t control, and that it does not understand business enough to engage in constructive dialogue

  He asked, what better way to support this mission than to help those in the poorest of situations gain the self-esteem they need to tackle jobs and move on. He stated that he finds MEDA’s position condescending to the Hispanic population, adding that representatives of MEDA have gone so far as stating, “we don’t rock climb”, the global we being Hispanics. He talked about his experience, stating that in late 2000 they started plans to become a tenant of an abandoned theater on Mission Street, further investing in the Mission community. He stated that their plan was to put well over a million dollars into a fitness facility that would cater to the Mission. He stated that the only active opposition was MEDA, stating that supporters included local business owners and those non-profits which they help etc. He stated that they naturally tried to work with MEDA to alleviate their concerns. He stated that Touchstone was very open to many ideas to support the community and stated that he expressed this to MEDA in November 2000. He stated that MEDA let them know immediately that their form of support was irrelevant and not appreciated. In subsequent meetings, he stated that MEDA made it clear that the only way to gain their support was for them to dictate their final product pricing, adding that even his request for a system to provide reduced rates was responded to with quotes such as “we won’t take your welfare”. In his opinion, a group with MEDA’s mission will serve this community well, however MEDA does not serve their mission thus doing a disservice to Mission residents, especially the poor and disadvantaged. He stated that perhaps most importantly for this Commission, he believes that MEDA actively discourages new business development that it can’t control, and that it does not understand business enough to engage in constructive dialogue || TOP ||
·          Judy West: A member of the public and one of the Directors of the Project Artaud Corporation, which is located in the Northeast Mission. She stated that they own and manage a full city block with a diverse assortment of theater, galleries, and individual artist studios. She stated that they are the original non-conforming use around which the controversial live work ordinance was created in 1988 and part of the reason for all of the workshops for rezoning. 

  • really disturbed with the hostile posture that some organizations including Mission Housing and MEDA are taking
  • MEDA stated that they had already determined that art and entertainment venues were not rent sensitive and could afford to operate anywhere, and as such should be prohibited from the Northeast Mission Industrial zone

She stated that they have been there for 30 years and she personally has been involved in the land use controversies and rezoning for the neighborhoods for the past 10-12 years, stating that she is really disturbed with the hostile posture that some organizations including Mission Housing and MEDA are taking. She stated that these are the organizations that they have been told they have to deal with in order to get their ideas through. For example she stated that project Arto was invited by MEDA to a forum were a representative of MEDA stated that they had already determined that art and entertainment venues were not rent sensitive and could afford to operate anywhere, and as such should be prohibited from the Northeast Mission Industrial zone. She said that this is serious, stating that their main theater went bankrupt this year, adding that if they become a non-conforming use she understands that new tenants would not be able to move into that space and continue operating as a theater. She stated that MEDA has flat out stated that they do not want the neighborhood to be destination neighborhood; they want it to be dead and cheap. She stated that they are doing everything they can to prevent businesses form locating here, adding that they should not be in anyway coordinating any of the rezoning stuff. She recommended for the Small Business Commission to help them prepare a task force to study some of the implications on the business, stating that the workshops are projected out to the public as if they are rezoning the whole Mission, but they are not, they are only rezoning the commercial areas, stating that the residential areas are not being discussed, yet hundreds of residents of Mission Housing’s projects and SRO hotels are coming to the workshops, trying to sort out what the priorities are for rezoning the commercial areas. She stated that it is totally ridiculous, adding that there is no dialogue and that they must get back to some kind of a forum where people could talk about the issues, stating that it is not happening at the planning forums, with 400 hundred people there. She stated that they did the rezoning effort in 1992 and 1994 in which all stakeholders sat around the table and worked out a pretty consensus plan, stating that 17 competing interests cannot go to the Board of Supervisors and pick a plan. She said that is not going to work. || TOP ||

·          Fred Snyder: A member of the public and a member of the NEMIZ as property owner and small business incubator for over 30 years. He stated that it is truly disturbing what is going on there, adding that the community is very divided. He stated that they really need help bringing the community together. He stated that a wedge has been driven into the community, to the point that they don’t even communicate any more, stating that having to come here to talk about what is going on is ridiculous. He stated his concern with the Planning Departments presentation, stating that he has not

  • a wedge has been driven into the community, to the point that they don’t even communicate any more
  •  concern over a meeting which took place two years ago at Horace Mann Middle School where the MAC (Mission Antidisplacement Coalition) made up of a lot of Mission Housing and MEDA people, stated that there would be no development in the Mission unless we get all the profit.

 been present to any of that, on the contrary he feel s that they (the NEMIZ) have been overlooked. He stated that if you divide the Mission into four parts, they are about a quarter of it. He stated that there was no notification of those meeting, stating his belief that they were excluded from those meeting for a purpose, yet it is their neighborhood that will be rezoned. He stated that he represents about 40 small businesses, of which none were notified. He said he saw a notice for the second meeting, which went out to a non-profit, adding that they are stakeholders but have not been involved in the process. His big concern was that in 1992 they all did get together, in what he described as a wonderful process, but when it was all done, people were advocating for each others position. He feels that they have been totally excluded form the process, stating that the Planning Department has not been the representative in the neighborhood. He said that he went to Amit Gosh after the second meeting and asked him if he would pull the community together for them to meet, to which he said he responded no, stating that they would only meet in the big forums. He explained his concern over a meeting which took place two years ago at Horace Mann Middle School where the MAC (Mission Antidisplacement Coalition, made up of a lot of Mission Housing and MEDA people, stated that there would be no development in the Mission unless we get all the profit. He said that this was restated again when the Supervisors passed the second wave of the moratorium. So he questioned this, and said that they need help from the SBC to understand it. He questioned the relationship between Mission Housing and MEDA and the City. He asked the SBC to bring all the stakeholders to the table; otherwise small business will suffer greatly. || TOP ||
·          Dave Dempsey: A member of the public and founder of the Northeast Mission Residents Association, stated that they formed as an ad hoc group in July when they became aware of what they thought was a community based planning process, but what turned out to be a fairly fait accompli (fay-tah-kom-PLEE) political process. 
  • what they thought was a community based planning process, but what turned out to be a fairly fait accompli
  • he has every faith in city government as long as everyone is involved in the process.

He stated that their experience in engaging in the process was one of feeling marginalized. For example, at a recent last planning meeting where the adoption of Plan B happened, he explained that at his table there was Hans Art that runs a small car repair place and himself, a resident. He stated that everyone else was a political activist, a planner in training, but for the most part exclusively MAC and MEDA activists. However at the MCEJJ sponsored Planning session,  the ratio was much better, in that only two people at my table were outsider activists versus only 2 being actual community members at the Planning Department session. 
He requested that the Commission continue in being open to the process as it moves forward and help the larger government in San Francisco get visibility into how that process is affecting the people live, work and own businesses and property in the Northeast Mission. He stated that he has every faith in city government as long as everyone is involved in the process. || TOP ||
·          Richard Parker: A member of the Public and owner of 450 Architects stated that his business is in one of the neighborhoods that are being rezoned. He said that it is wonderful that the city is finally taking a long-term approach to city planning, however he had not been able to attend any of the meetings. He is on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and said he would like to have a presentation to the Board so that they could take a position on the proposed plan.


·          Thomas Chen: A member of the public and co-owner of the 2690 Harrison Street. He stated that they have owned the business for over 18 years, but due to the technology situation it is not viable for them to operate the business in the same location anymore. He stated that they decided to develop the property into housing, which San Francisco really needs, however he stated that by being a small business owner they had no experience to develop housing in San Francisco. 
  • Today, two years later they are finally scheduled for a hearing, however he said that they received a phone call stating that MEDA requests that you delay your hearing until they have approved the planning,


  • they assume that any property over 15,000 feet is a land grab by MEDA & MAC and the non-profits. He stated that his project is 18,375 square feet.

He stated that they applied to the Planning Department and were immediately asked if they had talked to MEDA. He said they did not know who MEDA was. Today, two years later they are finally scheduled for a hearing, however he said that they received a phone call stating that MEDA requests that you delay your hearing until they have approved the planning, adding that there should be no development until MEDA has approved the planning. He stated that he did not understand the politics behind it and said that if this is the city’s position, who will invest in the Mission?
·          Milton Gains: A member of the public and Mr. Chen’s partner at 2690 Harrison. He stated that he had a wallpaper printing plant for 33 years and started to buy in ownership over 30 years ago and then Mr. Chen and he bought out the primary shareholder 16 years ago. He stated that they are at the southern end of the NEMIZ, stating that they decided to do housing three years ago. He stated that he appreciates what the Planning Department is trying to do and said that it is an extremely difficult process. He stated his belief that the business community was not organized, starting that he was traveling 50% of the time. He said that it wasn’t until Curtis Eisenberger got the Mission Coalition going, which came about the third neighborhood meeting, that any voice started to be heard. He said that he thinks what’s happened is that MEDA and MAC have gotten so well organized and so well infiltrated to the Planning Department and how it works and how to communicate with them, that someone like them is at a real disadvantage. He stated that he was the only businessperson at his table in the planning session, all else were activists. He stated that it wasn’t until the fourth meeting that there was a much better representation of businesses. He stated that it was his observation that MEDA & MAC were more or less in charge of the meetings. He stated that they have found that MEDA and MAC have opposed them at every single turn, that MEDA and MAC do not want any private funding of any development in the Mission, they assume that any property over 15,000 feet is a land grab by MEDA & MAC and the non-profits. He stated that his project is 18,375 square feet. He stated that they said that they are more or less opposed to any property owners, any business owner, which he said did not make sense because on the other side they say they want jobs and they don’t want any PDR demolition. He stated that business has not come into the Mission, nor will it. || TOP ||

   Joe O’Donahue: A member of the public and of the Residential Builders Association. He stated that in 1978 the City undertook a massive rezoning of the city, and we are feeling the in effects if it today. He said that it was an economic disaster that created a housing crisis, which is still being experienced, and the forces behind that proposal are similar forces behind the moratoriums, which now exist in the Mission and in the South of Market today, with the same negative impact, a fiscal crisis, a housing crisis that is expanding and mounting deficits with disastrous consequences for small businesses. He stated that the reality is that the forces today, many of whom existed in 1978, come as immigrants like I did to this country, but when I came from Ireland, I left the socialism of Ireland, which forced me to immigrate behind in Ireland, and I left the war in the North of Ireland behind in the North of Ireland, and I came here for the free enterprise alternative opportunities. He stated that the people in the Mission of the MEDA and Mission Housing need to leave their revolutionary principals and their socialism in the borders form the countries which they had to flee like we fled in order to get economic justice and economic opportunity. He stated that like many immigrants, he came penniless, stating that he had to pay back his fair, adding that in the Irish community they had a structure, one in which their
  • when leaders like Carlos Ramirez 
    ( Executive Director of Mission Housing ) could stand up representing an organization and say that homeownership is bad and should be banned, and then of course we have the disaster, which is happening in the Mission today.
  • He said that the leadership in the Hispanic community, in the Mission, which is now dictating to the rest of the city, who say to you unless you are Hispanic you have no right in the Mission, unless you speak Spanish you have no say in the Mission and we don’t want gentrification, stating that when he lived in the Mission in the 60’s, it was an immigrant Irish neighborhood
  • Finally he said that the Planning Department is divided, but when you have people like Dr. Amit Gosh, with an agenda that will conk up the figures wherever he wants.

 leaders left that socialism behind and showed them that when you get your money you buy your home, economic homeownership. He stated that when leaders like Carlos Ramirez could stand up representing an organization and say that homeownership is bad and should be banned, and then of course we have the disaster, which is happening in the Mission today. He stated that this is the problem that is going on today, stating that planning takes it’s direction form the Board of Supervisors who took it form people who feed to the public truff. He stated that what needs to be done is to pull the tax returns and see how MEDA and Mission Housing being financed, and look at if they are serving their people as well as the leaders in the Irish community served their people, which is showing them the way to prosperity through homeownership. He stated that when he looked at the tax returns of Mission Housing two years ago, they had approximately 22 hundred units under their control, all of which had no equity homeownership. He stated that having come from poverty in Ireland, where they were born in pubic housing, but they ended up owning that public housing and from that they moved into prosperity as soon as they got their actions together. He said that the leadership in the Hispanic community, in the Mission, which is now dictating to the rest of the city, who say to you unless you are Hispanic you have no right in the Mission, unless you speak Spanish you have no say in the Mission and we don’t want gentrification, stating that when he lived in the Mission in the 60’s, it was an immigrant Irish neighborhood. He stated that in fact there were only three Mexican restaurants on Mission Street. He stated that one really needs to look at the effect of the moratorium, stating that it has been an economic disaster, stating that businesses are moving out they are not moving in, adding that zero businesses have moved in since the moratorium and hundreds have been lost. He stated that Dr. Gosh’s figures are pipe dreams, making them up as he goes along. Finally he said that the Planning Department is divided, but when you have people like Dr. Gosh, with an agenda that will conk up the figures wherever he wants.
·          Margery Bear: A member of the public and a business owner at 2660 Harrison Street, next door to Thomas and Milton. She said that she is also a resident of the Mission and she is also concerned about the rezoning. 
·          Commissioner Nick Aiello: Expressed his concern with the moratorium in the Mission, stating that it should be removed. || TOP ||
·          Sonia Melara: A member of the public and executive director Arriba Juntos, stated that there is a perception that there are certain organizations or individuals that speak for the Mission community, adding that she would like to ask the Planning Commission and other members of government to begin to search out for other leaders in the community to

Long-term families in the Mission want homeownership, but many cannot afford to buy it. She said that it would be great to develop a dialogue between the two sides, because all that they are looking for is a great quality of life, which she feels has gone down hill in the Mission in the last 15-20 years. 
She stated her awareness of the political game, adding that one of the members of the Board of Supervisors actually founded MAC
 

 speak a different tune. She said that part of what is happening is that there is no dialogue, adding that there are people who speak on one side and those that speak on the other side. She said that long-term families in the Mission want homeownership, but many cannot afford to buy it. She said that it would be great to develop a dialogue between the two sides, because all that they are looking for is a great quality of life, which she feels has gone down hill in the Mission in the last 15-20 years. She stated her awareness of the political game, adding that one of the members of the Board of Supervisors actually founded MAC and said that this is something that needs to be looked into, stating that politics should be kept out of what needs to happen in the neighborhoods for the good of the communities, including businesses, non-profits, and residents. || TOP ||

SF PLANNING DEPARTMENT RESPONSE

·          Jean-Paul Samaha: Stated that they are listening to the comments. Regarding the comments on interim controls he stated that current interim zoning controls were passed at the Board of Supervisors, stating that the Planning Department simply implements them, adding that as public employees they have to follow the law of the policy makers. He reiterated that this process has been and will continue to be a public process.
·          Miriam Cheung: Stated that she wished to address some of the issues as they relate to small business. First of all she stated that the job of the Planning department is to draft three alternatives with different emphasis that reflect the diversity of opinions and desires within each community. She stated that at this point they have a set of alternatives that address minimal change, that plays more emphasis on the preservation of existing conditions and more support to some of the production, distribution and repair businesses. On the other extreme she said that they have an alternative that pr
omotes the most change, stating that is where they encourage a large proportion of housing development, higher heights, mixed use and commercial uses. In the middle she said that they tried to address some of the needs of small businesses, some of the needs of production distribution and repair businesses and some of the needs for additional housing development. She said that at this point their task is to have a set of alternatives that is reflective of the diversity of the communities. She said that the main challenge in terms of small businesses was to deal with some of the land use conflicts that they have experienced over the last 5-6 years. She said that they have experienced strong growth, strong development and have seen some housing development next to industrial businesses, which was causing some issues. She explained that the rules for housing development were not clear and the process was getting complicated. She said that the task was to come up with zoning districts where developers, residents, businesses know exactly what they could do. || TOP ||
·          Commissioner Murphy-Reed: Request to get a packet of information detailing the rezoning plans and any other relevant information for her to make an informed decision and before taking any action.
·          Commissioner Gwen Kaplan: Gave an example of what the interim zoning controls mean, explaining that across the street form her business is a business called Spiral Binding, which is a book binding business who bought their business in 1995. She stated that the book binding business is a dying business and what the zoning controls mean is that if Spiral Binding and the McNeil’s want to close their business, the zoning controls state that they have to find a business just like that to occupy the space. She said that they are very concerned and said that people want to be part of the process.
·          Commissioner Kaplan: Stated that MEDA had come to the Northeast Mission Business Association (NEMBA) last year and stated that they were authorized by the Planning Department to plan the process that was going to happen in all of these meetings. She asked if MEDA got paid for this out of that $700,000?
·          Miriam Cheung: Stated that they cannot authorized anyone to do the work for them unless it’s through some consultant services, which in this case there has been none.
·          Commissioner Steven Cornell: Summarized that small businesses feel as thought they have been left out of the process and their concerns are not being heard and nor addressed by Planning. He suggested that the Small Business Commission direct staff to work with the Planning Department to come up with an alternative that suits the small business community. He said that there may be another alternative besides the three that Planning has already come up with. He said that the Small Business Commission is here to represent all the small businesses that cannot always attend and participate in meetings.
·          Jean-Paul Samaha: Said that he would be happy to work with the SBC staff and come back to the Commission in the near future for a hearing at which an action would be taken and possibly a recommendation to the Planning Department regarding this process. He also encouraged the Commissioners and the public to attend the Planning Commission meeting on the 19th to voice their concerns during public comment. He stated that the Planning Commission will not vote until January 16th on the preferred alternatives for zoning in the 5 areas.
·          Miriam Cheung: Stated that at this point they need a spectrum of alternatives that will go through the EIR process. She said that there might be some expression from the Planning Commission regarding what their preferred alternative may be, but the three alternatives will be analyzed and the decision will not be made until the EIR process is completed, which means that there is still plenty of time for the public to provide input. She stated that the important task is to make sure that the needs of the small businesses are contained within the spectrum of alternatives that are analyzed.
·          Commissioner Reed: Requested to receive maps and the overall plans.
·          Miriam Cheung: Stated that they have packets of each community planning area summarizing the proposals with some description of the zoning districts and the uses that are allowed, but additional information can be provided. She stated that the rezoning workbook, which is more comprehensive, is not ready at this time.
·          Commissioner Cornell: Stated that the SBC would like the Planning department to come back at the January meeting of the SBC, scheduled for January 13, 2003, prior to the tentatively scheduled January 16, 2003 Planning Commission meeting at which they will vote on the preferred alternatives.

|| TOP ||

Follow this story at http://planning.missionmerchants.org/ 
MORE NEWS: www.missionmerchants.org/
HOME: www.missionmerchants.com