Civic Design Review Committee - April 19, 2021 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
April 19, 2021 - 2:00pm
Monday, April 19, 2021
2:00 p.m. 
Remote Meeting via video and teleconferencing
Commissioner Stryker called the meeting to order at 2:03 p.m.
1. Roll Call
Commissioners Present:
Kimberlee Stryker, Chair
Yakuh Askew
Paul Woolford
Abby Schnair
Debra Walker
Commissioners Absent:
Yiying Lu
Staff Present:
Joanne Lee, Deputy Director of Programs
Tara Peterson, Program Associate 

2. General Public Comment
There was no public comment.

3. Leather & LGBTQ District Commemorative Plaque Project: Single Phase Review
Cal Callahan, Project Manager, San Francisco Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District 
The project team presented the context for the project stating that in the 1980s there were 55 business’ that were LGBTQ owned or serving the LGBTQ population. Since that time, many of the businesses have closed and today there are only 14 LGBTQ businesses in operation. The team stated that the commemorative plaques will made out of bronze and will be 18” square by 3/8” thick. The project team informed the committee that the design was vetted with the LGBTQ District’s constituency though online posts, surveys, and social media. The location of the plaques will be in the LGBTQ District with a concentration between 5th and 12th Streets. The team stated that the plaques will be installed in phases—the first phase will include the installation of 14 plaques by SFPW and the remainder will be installed as funding becomes available. In total there will be 124 total plaques. 78 are included in current legislation.
Commissioners applauded the project and asked about how the number of plaques was determined. They also asked for more specifics regarding how the project team would secure funding for the installation of the remaining plaques. 
Public Comment
Norm Lynde: Expressed gratitude towards the city of San Francisco for welcoming people from all walks of life and shared the story of how he met his husband in the LGBTQ District. He stressed that history is critical and explaining the history of these districts through their street markers opens visitor’s eyes. He urged the committee to approve the project. 
Commissioner Lu joined meeting at 2:22 p.m.
Commissioner Walker, seconded by Commissioner Woolford moved to approve a Single Phase Review of the Leather & LQBTQ District Commemorative Plaque Project as presented. 
The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Lu, Schnair, Walker, Woolford
4. Portsmouth Square Improvement Project: Phase 2 
Cara Ruppert, Project Manager, SF Rec and Park
Michael Wang, Architect, MEI Partners
Travis Theobold, Landscape Architect, SWA Group
The project team described the location of the project in Chinatown between Clay and Washington Streets and Walter U. Lum Place and Kearney Street. The team started by reviewing the committee’s concerns from Phase 1 review. They then outlined some of the refinements to the site including expanding the shade area, relocating existing public art works, plaques; softening the park entrances, increasing the size of the playground.
The site consist of three main areas—the clubhouse, the community living room, and play area. The team stated that the basic organization of the clubhouse remains unchanged with doors on the south side facing the park and access to Washington St. on the north side. Previously a split level, the lower level is now a single level and there have been no changes to the second level where the main entrance is. The team explained that the glazing on the clubhouse will create an open and transparent space with a glowing lantern effect in the evening. Building materials include board formed concrete walls, frittered glass, aluminum awning, steel. The project team added red accents throughout the site and in particular to the elevator entry as per previous commissioner comments. The team stated that the site has a stepped or tiered configuration with the highest point at Walter U Lung Place. The team stated that they are primarily using concrete with different patterns for the perimeter of the site, the east west spine, and the community living room area. In contrast, the play area is entirely soft utilizing rubberized materials and turf. The Goddess of Democracy sculpture will be placed near the elevator lobby area. A tribute to the Tiananmen Square uprising, the sculpture will face west towards China. With regards to landscaping, the team stated that the north side of the plaza will have more evergreen trees but throughout will be seasonal blooming trees to tie in with the new year. The plaza includes seating planters, ottomans, seat walls, and table and chars. The plaza will include lighting from above as well as up lighting in planting areas. The play area includes all ages slide, mountain climbing maze, zodiac sculpture, and adult fitness area. 
Commissioners complimented the team on a beautiful project where the elements balance and engage with each other well. Design seems mature, measured, and confident. Commissioners asked the team to revisit and consider extending the vertical patterning down the full extent of the glazing on the clubhouse and to further highlight the reference to the Asiatic lantern. 
Public Comment by Email
Tan Chow writes: On behalf of the Committee for Better Parks and Recreation in Chinatown (CBPRC), I am resending a community coalition letter of API arts, cultural, and historical organizations sent on November 12, 2020. We respectfully asked the city to either allocate a portion of the 2% arts enrichment budget and/or create a fund to develop public art, cultural, and historical pieces reflecting the history, experience, and stories of Chinatown and Chinese Americans in the city and US. In the many meetings over the last decade, a common theme and sentiment have been about the sacredness of Portsmouth Square and it being “The Living Room” of Chinatown but there’s nothing that tells or shows our stories. It is important that such a central, public square includes historical, cultural, and art pieces that represent our stories and struggles and help educate and inspire both Asian American and American residents, visitors, and tourists alike.
Commissioner Schnair, seconded by Commissioner Askew moved to approve Phase 2 of the Portsmouth Square Improvement Project with the following contingency: the project team will take another look at the fenestration patterning on the Clubhouse. 
The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Lu, Schnair, Walker, Woolford

5. Ocean Beach Sloat Boulevard Restroom Project: Phase1  
Monica Scott, Project Manager, SF Rec and Park
Solange Guillaume, Landscape Associate, SF Public Works
Eoanna Goodwin, Architect, SF Public Works
James Munden, Landscape Architect, Munden Fry Landscape Associates
The project team presented the project as part of the overall Ocean Beach Climate Adaptation Project which involves the removal of Great Highway between Sloat and Skyline Blvds in order to provide vital PUC wastewater infrastructure and also develop a multi-use trail in place of great highway. The project was presented to the community in December 2020 will be presenting updated plans in summer 2021. The team stated that the Ocean Beach Restroom is at the northern end of larger project site at the intersection of Sloat and the Great Highway opposite west side pump station. The team presented their plant palette for the site as informed by coastal plants, which are typically exposed to windy conditions and salt spray and require minimal water. They stated that the four planters will be planted with a raised topography in order to see all the different shapes and textures of the plants within. The restroom building contains five all gender restrooms, a janitorial closet, a plumbing chase, and a mechanical and utility area which  connects to the service road. The shed roof on the building will allow for maximum light and ventilation into the restrooms. The team presented the building materials to be copper, skylight, wooden slats, and concrete. They also stated that they will likely need a rock filled basin to catch water runoff. 
Commissioners complimented the project team on an elegant and thoughtful building. They had a number of questions for the team--whether or not the project team had begun conversations with Public Art staff regarding artwork for the site; why the lack of urinals in the restroom; how the team is addressing the need for transparency and privacy with regards to the restroom sinks; requesting more information about the materials, textures, and colors being integrated into the plaza and how they will work with the plantings; and should there be outside sinks/showers for public use. In addition, the commissioners informed the project team of an adjacent public art project being planned by the For-Site Foundation at the northern end of Ocean Beach. 
Commissioners also wanted to understand how the Sloat Restroom and Plaza elements hold together throughout the entire Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation project and requested that staff follow up with the project team to make sure there is some discussion of continuity of design and sequencing and to inform the commissioners of a plan for future project reviews. 
Public Comment
Inke Noel: Spends a lot of time with her family at this site and wanted to stress the need for outdoor showers for surfers and other beach users. 
Commissioner Schnair, seconded by Commissioner Askew moved to approve Phase 1 of the Ocean Beach Sloat Boulevard Restroom Project with the following contingencies: 1. that all project teams will work with staff to come up with a plan that ensures the entire project has continuity and 2. The project team will study the possibility of an outdoor sink. 
The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Lu, Schnair, Walker, Woolford

6. Merced Heights Playground Lower Terrace Renovation Project: Single Phase Review 
Melinda Sullivan, Project Manager, SF Public Works
Andrea Alfonso, Landscape Architect, SF Public Works
The project team stated that the location of the site is in the southwest quadrant of the city at Monticello and Shields Streets. The site is 17,000 sq ft field with no formal programs. The project team explained that this was a community driven project and the site is intended to be primarily used by seniors and families. The team informed the committee that there are 12 large Acacia trees that are in poor condition that will be removed and replaced one for one. The project team outlined the main elements of the redesigned park--adult exercise area, drinking fountain with dog bowl, benches and picnic tables, a looped pathway, and a burmed lawn. Landscaping at the site will include a hummingbird and pollinator garden, slope stabilization shrubs, and trees along the pathway. The paving will be integral colored concrete.
Commissioners complimented the project team in their attractive and simple park.
Public Comment 
Renard Monroe: Executive director of Youth First, tenant of Merced Heights playground, and community member. His family has been coming to this park for the past 35 years and he is very enthusiastic about the upgrades to park. The community is behind the project and look forward to its completion.
Ernest Jones: Legislative aid in the office of District 11 Supervisor Asha Safai. The  D11office is in support of this project. Its’ taken many years of advocacy to get to this point. Rec and Park has done an amazing job listening to all of the community and stakeholder feedback and making sure the project is cohesive with what the community wants. Our office as well as the supervisor is in support of this project. 
Commissioner Schnair, seconded by Commissioner Walker moved to approve a Single Phase Review of the Merced Heights Playground Lower Terrace Renovation Project as presented.
The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Jung, Lu, Schnair, Walker, Woolford

7. Southeast Treatment Plant - Biosolids Project: Post Phase 3
Carolyn Chiu, Project Manager, SF Water
Peter and Inke Noel, Inke Design
Anthony Esterbrooks, Landscape Architect, SF Public Works
The project team provided a little background on the project and stated that they were back with a response to the committee’s previous recommendation to simplify the fence design. The team reminded the committee that the idea behind the fence design was to bring the campus identity to neighborhood and to tell the story of the plant and its unique processes. The team simplified their approach and now there are two accent panels per process element. The project team highlighted that the panels are now each 5 x 10 feet and so will b easily visible to both pedestrians and vehicular traffic. 
Commissioners commented that they liked the way the illustrations were incorporated into the fence and commended the team for a nice job simplifying the fence while still keeping the element of curiosity. They stated that the project was very rich and elegant. 
There was no public comment.
Commissioner Woolford, seconded by Commissioner Schnair moved to approve Post Phase 3 of the Southeast Treatment Plant - Biosolids Project as presented.
The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Lu, Schnair, Walker, Woolford
8. Visual Arts Committee Update
Commissioner Schnair shared an update on Favianna Rodriguez’s new work A Celebration of Interspecies Friendships recently installed at San Francisco Animal Care and Control.
There was no public comment.

9. Staff Report
Deputy Director Joanne Lee reported on approving one Administrative Review for the Psychiatric Emergency Services Building at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. She reported that due to budget constraints the majority of the budget went to interior improvements. The minimal exterior changes consist of the addition of three windows placed high up on the building, which are not accessible by the public.
There was no public comment. 

10. New Business and Announcements
Commissioners welcomed Commissioner Yiying Lu to the committee. 
Yiying Lu is an award-winning artist, entrepreneur, educator, and bilingual speaker. She was named a “Fast Company's Most Creative People in Business”, Microsoft's “Top 10 Emerging Leader in Innovation”, and a “Shorty Awards” winner in Design. She has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, Fast Company, The Atlantic, NBC News, TIME, Wired Magazine, The Verge, CNN, and BBC.
She was born and raised in Shanghai China, educated in Sydney Australia & London UK, is currently based in San Francisco. Leveraging her cross-cultural background and experience, she strives to be a bridge between the East & the West. Her life purpose is unifying the dualities between Art & Tech, Business & Culture, Beauty & Meaning, Work & Life.
There was no public comment. 

11. Adjournment 
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:32 p.m.
posted 4/29/2021 at 4:32 p.m. mw
approved 5/3/2021

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