We're listening to public comment and debate for an environmental impact appeal to a coffeeshop before @sfbos at 1801 Mission Street. It's already called a "tech hub" cafe, a "high-end" cafe, and a "luxury" business twice.
The cafe will be located within the American Indian Cultural District (which includes Mission Dolores and Dolores Park), which callers say was not consulted on the proposed cafe. americanindianculturaldistrict.org/cultural-distr…
A caller brings up the "Walmart effect" of the proposed cafe at 1801 Mission St. FYI the cafe is the Creamery, which wants to move from 4th and Townsend. Background: sfchronicle.com/local/heatherk…
The Creamery is well-known for its South of Market location. (The owner is seeking a new lease, since 4th and Townsend across from Caltrain will be the site of a larger building.) A lot of coffee meetings went down at the Creamery:
So @hknightsf's work is taking a bit of heat among callers for her "snarky" column in the wake of her work on CEQA abuse
Now Erick Arguello from @Calle24SF is on, saying that (paraphrasing here) cultural districts are being disrespected, and that "we can't deny what happened on Valencia Street."
Caller saying he's the owner of the deli "almost next door" says he was never notified of the proposed business, that the new cafe will take business away, that rents will increase, and that once legacy businesses are forced out the residents will be forced out.
Back to CEQA, a proposal to reform the CEQA appeals recently failed before an @sfbos committee.
According to this @sfexaminer story from 2013(!), "efforts to reform the CEQA appeals process by past Board of Supervisors members have failed three times." sfexaminer.com/news/sf-lawmak…
Location context: 1801 Mission is across from the Armory, and just off the corner of 14th Street. Nearby there's @StandardDevBrew, a gas station, a bodega, an electrical supply store, a couple auto shops, and farther off a couple of car dealers goo.gl/maps/4owFXpgwm…
A caller is calling the proposed cafe as a form of "violent gentrification," and a previous one says @charlesphansf's Slanted Door led to the gentrification of Valencia.
"A small ripple of an affluent business" coming into the community has "speculative landlords" waiting to raise property values, a self-described Mission district native says, adding that he would support this business "anywhere else in the city."
Now representatives from @sfplanning and the city attorney's office are speaking to the board. Slides a-coming.
First slide gives some of the location context. There's a note that the retail location for the proposed cafe *has never been occupied*.
Quick rundown of the planning process so far for 1801 Mission. Note that today's date is June 8, 2021
The thing about CEQA is that it sucks up city resources, just like the very agenda item before @sfbos right now. See how @sfplanning talks about environmental vs. socioeconomic impact
"We have received no such request [for documents] from the American Indian Cultural District," planner says.
Now @HillaryRonen is parsing category 1 exceptions for CEQA (which proves the point made above in this thread). "If a project were to result in damage to a scenic resource, or cause an adverse change in ... a city landmark or historic resource," planner explains
The site used to be a parking lot, @sfplanning says, where at times it was used to sell Christmas trees.
Now a representative of the building owner and the cafe explains that the Creamery is being displaced from 4th and Townsend due to development and seeks to move into a new vacant location. It's not formula, it's permitted, there's no conversion, @sfplanning has approved, he says.
The cafe has agreed to multilingual menus and to seek new hires from the neighborhood. The most expensive Creamery item will be $11. There'll be no expansion of the space. There'll be no adverse impact on the physical environment, he asserts.
Basically the Creamery rep is asking appellant for proof that the 1,700-square-foot cafe will have substantial impact on the environment, saying that the argument that the cafe will lead to decay is spurious.
Now @shamannwalton opens comments in support of the project and against the CEQA appeal. First caller is against the project and thanks City Hall for supporting the @Calle24SF district, and says the Mission "is not the place" and the cafe "will not contribute anything."
The clerk reminds callers that it's time for speakers in support of the project. Also comments that say the cafe should seek to open elsewhere is kind of literal NIMBYism. Moving on ...
It's not the law that the city should seek to rule on principally permitted business competitors, caller advocating for CEQA reform says.
The owner of the cafe has signed a lease and has been paying rent, caller in support says. There's also thousands of vacant square feet nearby. "When did coffee and bagels become high end?"
Now @samdman95 calls in to say that "this really isn't the way to run the city," where someone can file an appeal to block a business from opening. "No other city in the world is run like this," and we need to spend more of this CEQA appeal time talking about #housing
4th Street resident says he'll miss the Creamery and that the city needs small businesses. "Empty spaces are pretty crap when you walk out of your place and you don't have a neighborhood gathering spot."
Same caller: "if this is a city that cares about workers, let small businesses thrive!"
Now @MikeChenSF says CEQA isn't really in scope in this situation. Mike recently wrote about @GardenCreamery, not to be confused with the Creamery thefrisc.com/garden-creamer…
Appellant under CEQA is allowed to rebut comments. He's taking issue with @sfplanning analysis of the 1801 Mission proposal. In addition, "the burden of proof is on the city and not on the appellant to prove no harm," which is extremely interesting.
Appellant also says cafe owner had said he wants to recreate the foot traffic from VC and tech customers in his new location, a clear attempt at a smear in what's been a charged dynamic in #SF for years.
Sup. @HillaryRonen opens discussion by saying she understands the frustration from the community, but doesn't see the CEQA appeal as legally relevant here. The case precedent cited by the appellant involved two massive malls in Bakersfield. We're talking about a cafe here.
The appellant argued that like on Valencia, a single business can lead to "tremendous upscaling," and Ronen says she's just not seeing how this cafe will have serious impact. She's hoping that the cafe will continue its outreach with the district and neighbors
Ronan wants @sfplanning to let neighborhoods know when projects come to certain streets, or would like to do that legislatively. Then she moves to affirm CEQA exemption, denying the appeal.
On the motion: Supervisors vote 11-0 to affirm the proposal and deny the CEQA appeal. Only Ronen made substantial comment and so this saga ends. The Creamery project will move forward.

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