Civic Design Review Committee - October 19, 2020 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
October 19, 2020 - 2:00pm


Monday, October 19, 2020
2:00 p.m.
Remote Meeting via video and teleconferencing


Commissioner Stryker called the meeting to order at 2:04 p.m.

1. Roll Call

Commissioners Present

Kimberlee Stryker, Chair
Yakuh Askew
Mary Jung
Dorka Keehn
Abby Sadin Schnair

Commissioners Absent
Debra Walker
Paul Woolford

2. Public Comment

There was no public comment.

Commissioner Walker joined the meeting at 2:15 p.m.

3. 30 Otis Street Public Plaza Project: Phase 3
Logan Williams, Project Manager, Align Real Estate
Bob Baum, Architect, Gould Evans
David Fletcher, Landscape Architect, Fletcher Studio

The project team shared the location of their project as being part of The Hub where Market and Octavia Streets meet. The team reminded the commissioners that they have been working with Mexico-born artist and architect Frida Escobedo. The project features three circular spaces in relation to one another. Each space offers distinct features with which to engage the public--the largest, known as The Forum, functions as a performance space, the second largest space contains a water feature which, when turned off, can also be used as a performance space, the third and smallest space functions as a greenscape. The team gave a brief overview of the materials they will be using for the project including working primarily with aggregate and experimenting with the size of the aggregate as well as gradation of aggregate in the walls and ground throughout the site. The team is working with a concrete contractor to work through a series of mockups to achieve a smooth transition and stated that the gradation of the aggregate is quite small from 1/8 to 1/2 inch. The team will also be using bronze for the handrails which will patina over time highlighting the areas most used. The team also briefly presented the plant materials for the site which included the Gingko Biloba tree.

The Commissioners expressed concern over the transition of aggregate throughout the site and stated that the importance of the transition be gradual and even and not too busy. They also asked about the textural changes as well as the color palette within the concrete gradations. Overall the commissioners expressed excitement for the project and are looking forward to visiting it once it is complete.

There was no public comment.

Commissioner Schnair, seconded by Commissioner Keehn moved to approve Phase 3 of the 30 Otis Street Public Plaza Project, as presented.

The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Jung, Keehn, Schnair, Walker

4. Herz Playground Play Area Renovation Project: Phases 1, 2, and 3
Amy Mitchell, Project Designer and Landscape Architect, MIG
Alexis Ward, Project Manager, SF Rec and Park
Johanna Schorr, Architect, MIG

The project team shared the location of the project to be in Visitacion Valley with the project scope within the existing play area. Renovation upgrades will include replacing play elements and surfaces, providing new furnishings, renovating the drainage and fencing, providing ADA improvements, updating the restroom to meet code, and providing new trees and plantings to the site. The team described a robust community engagement process that started over a year ago. They organized multiple community events including workshops. They also formed a youth task force to help identify the ways in which youth and children will use the space. They received feedback on three possible plans from the community. The results of which ultimately revealed a core set of community priorities for the park—organic, modern, all ages, safe, fun and challenging. The final design includes a central ribbon pathway which creates an accessible space and experience for all users. Each play area is ADA accessible and incorporates a musical element. The team shared their plant selections to be low water, native species with stepping stones placed throughout to encourage play amongst the plants. The team talked about working to find a balance between using color and highlighting the natural elements of the surroundings. Commissioner Stryker asked if this is the first project being presented at CDR with a one stop approval process. Deputy Director of Programs Joanne Lee confirmed a single review and explains that the scope for the CDR committee is limited which is why this project is being considered for consolidated phase review. Commissioner Stryker explained to the committee that there is work being done to streamline the approval process.

The Commissioners enjoyed the project and were especially pleased to hear of the project team’s successful engagement with the community. They also appreciate the planned interaction of formal and informal play structures. Many commissioners expressed concern with the fencing and in particular that there wasn’t a plan to replace the existing chain link fence. They expressed that this renovation is an opportunity to upgrade to a less industrial and more attractive fence for the neighborhood and urged that the design team to find funding for this important feature.

Public Comment
Steven Currier, resident of Crocker Amazon neighborhood and member of the McLaren Park Collaborative, spoke in strong support of the project. He mentioned that the design team presented the project to the collaborative the previous week and the that the members were very happy with the final plan.

Commissioner Schnair, seconded by Commissioner Askew moved to approve the motion, to approve Phase 1, 2, and 3 of the Herz Playground Play Area Renovation Project with the comment that stresses the high desire of the Civic Design Review Committee that the existing fence be replaced with a less industrial and more welcoming fence.

The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Jung, Keehn, Schnair, Walker

Commissioner Woolford joined the meeting at 3:00 p.m.

5. Jackson Playground Renovation Project: Conceptual
David Fletcher, Project Designer and Landscape Architect, Fletcher Studio
Noah Levy, Project Manager, SF Rec and Park
Brian Liles, Architect, Jackson Liles Architecture

The project team shared the location of the project as being located in Potrero Hill neighborhood between 101 and 280 freeways. The project is a private/public partnership between SF Rec and Park and the community group Friends of Jackson Park. The team spoke of the work they did to encourage robust community engagement over the course of 3 years including many meetings and interactive workshops. The core goals of the project as determined with the community are to continue the park’s operation as an important resource to the community, to improve accessibility for the general public, and to create a vibrant and safe open space for adults and children for generations. The project will renovate and reinvigorate the existing spaces including the ball fields, the clubhouse, playgrounds, amenities, tree canopy, and gardens. The project is currently in the initial environmental approval phase. The current design takes into consideration the historical and character defining features of the site. The full project scope and material palette are still being refined. The team expressed that there are multiple opportunities for public art, namely the fencing surrounding the courts and perhaps the exterior walls of the clubhouse addition.

The commissioners congratulated the team on their incredible public/private collaboration and remarked that the project was inventive and playful. They appreciated how the design activates all the spaces and were looking forward to see how the project develops. They did have questions regarding the facing of the ball courts and stated that it is preferable that they be on a north/south access. They also questioned the function of the clubhouse addition with the hope that it would be offering more than just storage. Commissioner Keehn informed the committee that there is currently a public art work on site that is part of the Civic Art Collection and if it were to be removed, it would need to go through the deaccession process. There was also concern around the rotated placement of the clubhouse addition in relation to the clubhouse itself. The rotation seemed self-conscious and the tension between the old and new buildings unnecessary. The commissioners expressed that the overall composition of the additions would be more handsome if it was on the same axis as the clubhouse. There was also a comment regarding the combination of window glazing and trees with regards to bird kill and suggests that the team looks into fritted glass.

Public Comment:
David Rainer, neighbor, spoke in strong support of the project. has lived on the park for 10 yrs. He and his family use the park often and are very excited about this plan. He is especially excited about the plan providing greater access to the park outside of sports use.

L. Robertson, neighbor, spoke in strong support of the project. The caller grew up in Potrero Hill and has raised 3 kids who have spent their entire lives going to Jackson Park. She spoke about how the park has been in need of a refresh for quite some time and is excited about this design. She also expressed appreciation for the engagement opportunities.

JR Eppler, President of Potrero Boosters Association, park becomes a fulsome part of the community. Have seen, with shelter in place, the need for open space in the neighborhood. Support by past and present supervisors. Design by neighbors for neighbors. Allison Heath, member of Potrero Boosters Association, called to speak in support of the project. The caller shared a long history of land use conflicts in the neighborhood to express gratitude today for the Friends of Jackson Park and the architects for pushing forward this long needed renovation with the community in mind.

6. Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Utility Enclosures Project: Phase 3
Levi Conover, Project Designer, Treasure Island Development Group
Lauren Stahl, Landscape Architect, CMG

The project team explained that the project is part of the Treasure Island Development and larger series of pump stations. This project is to be constructed as part of phase 1 of the TI Development with two pump stations on Treasure Island and two stations on Yerba Buena Island. The team expressed that the project primarily stayed the same with the exception of a few updates to the utility enclosures as per commissioner contingencies from Phase 2 CDR meeting—metal panel material change and perforation size, 4th street layout change, and a review of north elevation of 4th and 5th Street pump stations. At the recommendation of the PUC, the team is now using stainless steel instead of aluminum due to its highly anti corrosive properties. They have also upsized the perforations to ½ inch and spaced 1 3/8 on center. The team explained that this change maintains their design intent while reduced transparency. The team made appropriate changes to the 4th Street layout in order to clear the vault on site. They also made adjustments to the 4th and 5th Street design to allow more regular spacing between posts. The materials palette includes simple concrete walls a metal perforated panel system.

The commissioners expressed gratitude to the team for being so thoughtful in their design changes and for presenting them so clearly. They agreed that the project will be a nice addition to Treasure Island.

There was no public comment.

Commissioner Woolford, seconded by Commissioner Keehn moved to approve Phase 3 of the Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Utility Enclosures Project, as presented.

The motion unanimously carried by the following vote:
Ayes: Stryker, Askew, Jung, Keehn, Schnair, Walker, Woolford

7. CDR Guidelines: Administrative Review, Small Project Review, and Exempt

Deputy Director of Programs Lee presented that the intent of this item was to propose changes to better define the process and the eligibility/criteria of projects that would fall under these three different categories—administrative review, small project review, and exempt projects. These review categories are currently the CDR guidelines. She presented on the Administrative Review and proposed that SFAC staff in consultation with CDR chair or Director of Cultural Affairs determine whether a project be considered for Administrative Review. If a project is presented as Administrative Review, it would then be presented during the Staff Report at next CDR meeting.

Commissioners commented that rather than the DCA, that CDR chair or designated member of committee (perhaps a rotating member) work with staff.

Deputy Director of Programs Lee explained that a Small Project Review is for projects where 2 to 3 phases are combined into one meeting. She presented modified language that clarified which projects fall under this review and proposed that the project fee be cut in half.

Commissioners brought up concerns over not receiving project drawings for these projects and suggested that a CDR committee member(s) review the project with SFAC Staff to help determine if it should go through full CDR process or not. There was also a request that the committee be careful to make sure nothing falls through the cracks by condensing the project review process.

Deputy Director of Programs Lee stated that currently, Exempt Projects consisted of temporary projects on public property that last for up to two years. She presented new language that included accessibility improvements, infrastructure, and utility upgrades.

Commissioners requested that ADA upgrades continue to be reviewed by CDR and that we should list examples of exempt projects in CDR guidelines. Deputy Director of Programs Lee will bring updates to guidelines back to CDR for approval at November 2020 meeting.

There was no public comment. 

8. Visual Arts Committee Update

Commissioner Keehn presented on the artwork at Portsmouth Square--Bruce Porter, Robert Louis Stevenson Monument, 1897; Thomas Marsh, Goddess of Democracy,1990; Mary Fuller McChesney, Tiger, Ram, Serpent, Monkey, Rabbit, Dragon, 1985 ALSO 12 bench supports, 1 serpent wall, and 2 lion statues, 1999. Commissioner Keehn explained that the Art Enrichment budget for this project is $104K. Twenty percent of that budget goes to administrative costs leaving only $60K to fund an artwork. Conservation to the three works would cost between $105K-145K. Commissioner Keehn’s proposal is to spend art enrichment budget on conservation.

Commissioners expressed interest in supporting new work on site and feel disappointed that art enrichment is limited to construction costs on building when the larger project is massive.

Commissioner Keehn also spoke of a project by Sasaki Design Company who are designing a site that features a statue commemorating Frederick Douglass. She posed a few questions for the committee to consider when considering design projects--how can design fully reflect and honor community? Who is making decisions around design and how informed are they before the design process actually begins?

There was no public comment.

9. Staff Report

Deputy Director of Programs Lee asked commissioners to consider a more organized approach to how we schedule Informal meetings. She explained that currently, when a project team requests an Informal meeting, staff poll commissioners and the project team to schedule.

The commissioners had mixed views on whether or not to have a set schedule for Informals. Commissioners Stryker, Askew, and Woolford will discuss offline and determine a path forward.

There was no public comment.


10. New Business and Announcements

Commissioner Woolford announced that a project his firm designed was awarded by the American Architecture Award.

There was no public comment.

11. Adjournment
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 4:58 p.m.

posted 10/27 at 4 p.m. MW
approved 11/2

Archives Available
A recording of this meeting will be available online after the meeting at the following address:

Translated written materials and interpretation services are available to you at no cost. For assistance, please notify Maysoun Wazwaz,

我們將為閣下提供免費的書面翻譯資料和口譯服務。如需協助 Maysoun Wazwaz,

Materiales traducidos y servicios de interpretación están disponibles para usted de manera gratuita. Para asistencia, notifique a Maysoun Wazwaz,