Miraloma Life Online – September 2012

  • PDF Version – Sept Miraloma Life
  • Show Your Fall Colors—Food and Fun on September 15
  • Will Mt. Davidson Be Spared the Axe?
  • One Bay Area: A Regional Plan that Demands Our Attention
  • A Successful Miraloma Park and Sunnyside Tree Planting!
  • Miraloma Elementary School Traffic Plan
  • MPIC Safety Committee
  • Results of the MPIC Board Election of June 21, 2012
  • Thank You to Jim O’Donnell as He Leaves the Board
  • Energy Efficient Homes: A Case Study
  • When Do You Need a Building Permit?
  • 2012 Year to Date Miraloma Park Crime Report from the Ingleside Station Newsletter
  • Summary of MPIC Board Meetings on June 7 and August 2, 2012
  • August 2, 2012 Board Meeting

Show Your Fall Colors—Food and Fun on September 15

by Shannon Chu

Please join your neighbors on Saturday, September 15, from 3 to 6 pm at the MPIC Clubhouse (350 O’Shaughnessy/Del Vale) for an afternoon of food and fun. Wear your favorite team jersey or logo and meet fellow fans from the neighborhood. The MPIC will provide free pizza and drinks. There will be a bounce house for jumping fun and fall coloring activities for kids of all ages to enjoy. Last year’s Fall Fiesta was a blast for everyone, and this year’s Fall event should be just as good or better.

Will Mt. Davidson Be Spared the Axe?

by Jacquie Proctor

Thanks to the efforts of many neighbors and park users, the Recreation and Park bond on the November ballot will limit spending in the Natural Areas Program to Golden Gate and McLaren Parks. This is an important acknowledgment by the members of the Board of Supervisors of the fact that many residents are opposed to extensive tree cutting,hazardous herbicide use, and restriction of access to Mt. Davidson and other parks designated as Natural Areas. This does not mean, however, that all trees will be spared the axe or that some popular trails won’t be closed.

The Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, approved by voters in 2008, includes funds for forestry hazard assessment and trail restoration on Mt. Davidson. Public meetings will be scheduled by the Recreation and Park Department this fall to get community input on how to spend $500,000 allocated for Mt, Davidson trail restoration. The Miraloma Park Improvement Club (MPIC) has offered to host these meetings. All trees within 50 feet of all trails and along the perimeter of the Park will be evaluated for potential removal as hazards. The MPIC has requested that trees removed be replaced one-for-one within the park, but as yet there has been no reply to this request. After the evaluation, some trails may be fenced or closed for safety, erosion control, or to prevent damage to native plant areas.

In addition, the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Significant Natural Resources Management Plan (SNRAMP) has yet to be released. Depending on which alternative is approved by the Planning Commission, more or fewer than 1600 trees would be slated for removal to implement the SNRAMP for Mt. Davidson Park. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing before deciding on the FEIR. If the FEIR is approved, the Natural Areas Program would likely apply for grants to complete restoration projects in the Park that could include tree removal. Park bond funds are not the only source of revenue for the Natural Areas Program; grants have funded substantial tree removal in Glen Canyon and elsewhere in order to enhance native plant growth. Look for notices of the 2008 Bond Project and FEIR meetings this fall.

A Regional Plan that Demands Our Attention

by Dan Liberthson

To promote sustainable development in the State, the CA Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Association of Bay Area Governments ABAG), and other regional agencies are proposing a 25-year master plan—One Bay Area (alternatively, the Bay Area Plan)—for achieving climate protection, adequate housing, healthy and safe communities, open space and agricultural preservation, equitable access, economic vitality, and transportation system effectiveness (for more information, visit the website at www.onebayarea.org/about.htm).

One Bay Area originated in Senate Bill 375 (2008), which requires each of the State’s 18 metropolitan areas to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and light trucks, which contribute about 40% of the GHG pollution that many scientists believe causes global warming. Under SB 375 each region must develop a “Sustainable Communities Strategy” (SCS) that promotes compact, mixed-use commercial and residential development that in turn promotes bicycling and walking and is near mass transit, jobs, schools, shopping, parks, and other amenities. If successful, One Bay Area would increase transportation choices, create more livable communities, and reduce pollution and climate warming.

One Bay Area appears to be fast-tracked for approval. Here are the Next Steps for EIR drafting and presentation posted on the Onebayarea.org site:

  • December 2012 – Release Draft EIR.
  • January through March 2013 – Public hearings/ workshops will be held throughout the region, along with online comment opportunities.
  • April 2013 – MTC and ABAG will adopt the final Plan and certify the final EIR.

One stated priority of the Plan is “preserving the Bay Area’s high quality of life and each community’s unique characteristics … by strengthening the connection between housing, jobs and transportation, by growing jobs and the economy, and by ensuring stewardship of our region’s spectacular scenic and natural resources.” Certainly, if ABAG’s projections of population growth over the next 25 years turn out to be correct (whether or not these projections are based on realistic economic assumptions is another issue), careful planning will be essential. The job of Miraloma Park residents and the MPIC (as well as other SF residents and neighborhood organizations) will be to ensure that the State agencies take an inclusive approach in which the needs and quality of life of all segments of the population are heeded. Cities should provide a “fair share” (as the Plan puts it) of compact, affordable housing near public transportation for people with low and very low incomes, even if the population growth expectations of ABAG prove excessive, but cities should also preserve single-family, middle-class housing in the sort of green and attractive environment that Miraloma Park and similar neighborhoods provide.

Concern is warranted because the scoring system by which the State agencies decide which communities need more “affordable” housing appears to be something of a blunt instrument. In Plan Bay Area, each community is assigned a “score” based on income level and school performance, and those that score high can be proposed for higher density housing, which includes “diversity of densities and community identities.” Pleasanton and Dublin have been threatened with fines and loss of State funds if they don’t build high-density apartment buildings near transit hubs. As in the SF Housing Element, discussed in past Miraloma Life issues, definitions of the size and extent of “transit hubs” and “transit corridors” will be critical, because single-family houses in areas so designated could be regarded as inequitable and unsustainable.

According to the OneBayArea site, “local aspirations are especially important because one of the primary goals of Plan Bay Area is to strengthen the character of places [Ed’s. italics].” It is vital that these concepts be clearly defined so that “character of places” includes the character of Miraloma Park and San Francisco’s other single-family residential neighborhoods. So, we—all of us—must closely monitor the Plan’s development process and comment freely via the opportunities provided on the Onebayarea.org site. As in the case of the Housing Element, some provisions of which are clearly driven by State mandates, we must also consistently urge SF government planners to stand up for the need for single-family housing, and resist sacrificing quality of life in single-family zoned neighborhoods on the altar of environmental and socioeconomic imperatives.

In the coming issues, the MPIC intends to report on various components of Plan Bay Area in the Miraloma Life, as we have reported on and been proactive in our concerns about the Housing Element. Only by actively communicating our priorities to ABAG and other relevant State and City agencies can we hope to ensure that the our goals, most prominently preservation of quality single-family-zoned neighborhoods like Miraloma Park, will be respected in this regional planning effort.

Editor’s Note: The MPIC is grateful to the Miraloma Park resident who brought to our attention the One Bay Area regional planning process, for the Plan could, long-term, reduce or even eliminate single-family housing in the Bay Area by broadly imposing mixed-use transit-hub/corridor zoning.

A Successful Miraloma Park and Sunnyside Tree Planting!

On a very warm, picture-perfect Saturday, July 21, residents of Miraloma Park and Sunnyside joined together with the help of Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) for neighborhood tree planting. We planted 25 trees, including 21 different species. Our FUF volunteers showed us step by step how to dig the holes properly, plant the trees, pound the stakes into the ground, and install the straps. It was a great opportunity to meet our neighbors, as we split up into teams to plant these beautiful new trees. If you walk around the neighborhood, you’ll see these lovely trees with their stakes and green FUF labels.

Many people helped make this event successful. Of course, there were the residents who planted trees, helped offload the trees and equipment from the trucks, and prepared the straps. Many thanks also to Cornerstone Trinity Church for storing the trees and equipment the night before the planting and allowing use of their church as our staging area on planting day. A huge thank you goes out to the staff of FUF and the many FUF volunteers who came from across the City to help with the planting. We also are grateful to the Miraloma Park neighbors who volunteered just to help with the planting. Lastly, a tremendous thank you to Miraloma Park’s Julie W. for her generosity in hosting the after planting potluck, where many of us came together to celebrate our hard work.

Some neighbors talked about creating a magnificent, tree-lined Teresita Boulevard from Portola to Foerster—a fine vision for the future that might be accomplished with ongoing FUF plantings. Please consider the many benefits of planting and nurturing a tree. Trees increase property values, making homes more attractive to current residents and new home buyers. They also create relaxing, beautiful, healthy spaces that provide color, texture, air, and shade. Trees clean the air by removing carbon dioxide and providing oxygen, and they absorb traffic noise, calm traffic, and increase privacy. Best of all, the involvement of neighbors in the planting and care of local trees can help build a stronger Miraloma Park community.

To learn more about Friends of the Urban Forest and their neighborhood tree planting program, visit their website at www.fuf.net.



Miraloma Elementary School Traffic Plan

MPIC Safety Committee

On August 20, Miraloma Elementary started the 2012/2013 school year, welcoming approximately 370 students. Almost two thirds of the students live within a few miles of the school. With the start of school comes many cars entering and leaving the school vicinity between 7:40 and 8:15 am. Traffic becomes quite congested in the morning during arrival/drop off time. Some children will be dropped off, but many parents will park their cars for about 20 minutes in order to attend the Morning Circle, a daily opportunity for all of the children, parents and teachers to gather together in the school yard for announcements, important messages, and daily lessons delivered by Principal Ron Machado.

The MPIC appreciates that parental involvement has been a key factor in improving the school’s performance and we commend the efforts of parents and faculty to make Miraloma Elementary an excellent school. The MPIC Board Safety Committee has continued to work collaboratively with the school and the SF Police Department (SFPD) on a comprehensive plan with both educational and traffic/parking enforcement components. Mr. Machado has issued guidelines to the school community emphasizing a need to maintain positive relationships with the neighbors by not blocking driveways or parking illegally at corners, intersections, sidewalk bulb cutouts, red zones, and fire hydrants as well as obeying the new 15 mph speed limit and all stop signs. To ease congestion and avoid problems, parents are encouraged to car-pool, to leave home earlier, and to seek parking a few blocks away from the school and enjoy the walk to school with their children. The school has implemented an effective traffic flow plan (see map below) to reduce congestion. Throughout the school year, if you are a resident whose driveway is blocked, please call Principal Machado’s office at 469-4734 and he or his staff will immediately advise the car’s owner to move his or her car. Just be sure to provide the following information: your address and the license number, make, model, and color of the car blocking your driveway. You can also send an email to Mr. Machado at machador@sfusd.edu regarding any non-urgent traffic and parking matters.

The SFPD, along with SF Municipal Transit Authority (MTA) officers, will be on hand during the first weeks of school to provide traffic control and, where needed, enforcement. If you drive within the vicinity of the school during arrival arrival times, please make every effort to follow this recommended traffic flow. Traffic congestion can occur on Reposa Way because cars parked on both sides will prevent two-way traffic. Add a 36 Teresita MUNI bus, and traffic can grind to a halt, so please follow the traffic plan and avoid going down the hill on Reposa Way. Following all of these guidelines will result in the most secure, efficient, and safe environment possible for our community.

The Miraloma Elementary staff have posted flyers in the immediate vicinity of the school to remind parents of the traffic flow plan and speed limit and of the importance of parking legally. To learn more about Miraloma Elementary, visit www.Miralomasf.com.

Please keep the MPIC posted regarding improvement or continuing traffic and parking problems by emailing us at miralomapark@gmail.com or by leaving us a voice message at 281-0892.


Results of the MPIC Board Election of June 21, 2012 and a Thank You to Jim O’Donnell as He Leaves the Board

A quorum of voters (members in good standing) came to the June 21 MPIC Election of Board Members and Officers, and many stayed for Joanne Whitney’s fascinating slide presentation and talk about poisonous plants. As a result of the voting, the current Board of Directors and Officers is now constituted as detailed on the back page of this newsletter.

Jim O’Donnell, long-time member of the Board, did not stand for re-election and will now dedicate his volunteer time to other projects, including recruitment and grant-writing for the Great War Society. Jim served a term as President of the MPIC, organized several debates and presentations related to City election candidates and ballot propositions, and contributed many articles to the Miraloma Life over the years, including interviews of local merchants. He helped with expansion of the Clubhouse native plant garden, together with Dan Liberthson auguring holes for new plants in the tough, stony soil. Jim also had the great idea of designing and ordering the distinctive green jackets worn by many Board members and a few members at large, which have kept us warm en route to and after many fog-shrouded and wind-blown MPIC meetings and events. We wish him well in his new volunteer endeavor.

Energy Efficient Homes: A Case Study

by Luke Easdale, Energy Efficiency Outreach Coordinator, SF Department of the Environment

For 13 years, James Bell’s home was so chilly he would wear a hat most evenings. It was an issue, but like most of us he bundled up and just made do. James had given up on turning the heat on shortly after he moved in. “There was no point in turning the heat on. It would make one room unpleasantly hot for ten minutes before the heat dissipated, and the smell of burning dust was just horrible,” he said. During hot weather, finishing up work on a Saturday was made that much more unpleasant by the sticky heat permeating his home. He bought a couple of fans, but gave up after they just seemed to blow hot air around his house.

At great expense, James replaced his windows with newer, more energy-efficient ones, thinking they would solve the problem. He was disappointed that even after all that work and cost his home was just as drafty. Frustrated, he started to research what he could do to make his home more comfortable, and came across an ad for San Francisco’s Energy Upgrade Program.

James was surprised to find that San Francisco homeowners can get up to $5,000 in rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades from the San Francisco Home Improvement & Performance Program (SFHip). This program saves homeowners money, reduces energy use, and supports local jobs. James called an approved contractor to come out and investigate his home’s energy efficiency.

The home assessment results were shocking! Not only was there no insulation, but there were dozens of unseen cracks and gaps in the walls of his house. Even his beautiful fireplace was letting heat escape right out the chimney. The contractor took the time to explain the “whole home” approach to energy upgrades and walked James through the different options he had to increase the energy efficiency and comfort of his home. “That was the first time I realized I had to take a ‘whole’ approach to my house instead of just doing one thing at a time,” he commented.

The contractor set about improving his home’s energy conservation by installing an energy-efficient furnace, plugging the fireplace, insulating the walls, and sealing unseen gaps and cracks. The results were remarkable. He was finally comfortable in his home. His gas consumption decreased by over 50%, and all of the rooms in his home maintained a pleasant temperature throughout the year. Through the SFHip program, 80% of the cost of James’s upgrade was covered by rebates.

“The benefits for me are tremendous,” James reports. “My home is now quieter and more comfortable. I would encourage any homeowner that is considering this to go ahead and do it.” Currently, rebates of up to $5,000 are available to single family homeowners who complete a project by April 2013. Rebates are first-come, first-served.

To learn more about the SFHip program please visit: www.sfenvironment.org/sfhip/ or phone 415.355.3769.

When Do You Need a Building Permit?

by Cassandra Mettling-Davis

According to the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, building permits are required for all construction projects except those that are specifically exempt. Common examples of exempt projects include painting, most floor coverings, glazing repairs (not new windows), minor plaster repairs, fences not over 3 feet high in the front yard of a lot and not more than 6 feet high at the rear of a lot, and sheds/playhouses with less than 100 square feet of projected roof area.

Electrical and plumbing permits are separate from building permits. Electrical permits are required for electrical work and can only be obtained by licensed electricians or homeowners who can pass an exam administered by an electrical inspector at the time of permit application. The same applies to plumbing permits and licensed plumbers, which also cover mechanical items (i.e. heating, ventilation, air conditioning). Building permits can be applied for by the homeowner, general contractor, or other person designated by the building owner to act on his/her behalf.

Building permits are important to maintain the safety of occupants and the structural integrity of buildings, and to protect adjacent buildings and occupants. It is recommended that homeowners always obtain building permits for non-exempt projects. By doing so, they create an official record that work is warranted, which is important when selling a home or applying for future permits. My clients have encountered problems when projects built without permits in the distant past may or may not have met code requirements effective at the time. Later, when permit applications are submitted for a larger project, the inspector may request that the building owner open up and redo older work to comply with current codes. If you always get permits and perform the work according the codes, even if codes change, past work can often be grandfathered into compliance, as long as a permit was used at the time of construction. When selling your home, permitted rooms and improvements will result in a higher selling price than non-permitted work.

When a project involves relocation of walls or enlarging wall openings, engineering drawings and calculations may be needed in addition to architectural plans. Even removal of non-load-bearing walls can affect a building’s ability to resist lateral forces (i.e., strong winds or earthquakes). The building may need to be reinforced elsewhere to compensate for the wall removal. Besides complying with building codes, making your building more earthquake safe is always a good idea.

In some cases, Title 24 Energy Compliance Documentation may be requested as part of the California State Energy Conservation Ordinance. This is usually when windows or skylights are being added, or any additional conditioned space, such as a new room in the garage area.
If you are replacing front windows, or any windows that can be seen from a public right of way, the Planning Department will also need to review your permit application. They will require several items, including photographs, window details, and specifications. The many considerations in replacing windows are covered in the Guide “Standards for Window Replacement,” which is available from the San Francisco Planning Department website at http://www.sf-planning.org/ .

Applying for a permit can be daunting, but is required for construction projects. Engaging the services of a licensed, experienced architect is essential to assisting any homeowner or contractor with obtaining permits and complying with relevant codes. This is one of many essential services that architects can provide for homeowners considering building improvements of any scope or size. Other services include, but are not limited to, designing the project, coordinating the engineer and other consultants (i.e., Title 24), selecting and specifying materials, and overseeing the project during construction. Using a qualified architect will give the homeowner peace of mind and confidence that the project is well-designed and compliant with the building codes.

2012 Year to Date Miraloma Park Crime Report from the Ingleside Station Newsletter

Summary of MPIC Board Meetings on June 7 and August 2, 2012

by Dan Liberthson, Carl Schick, and Joanne Whitney

Guests: Presentation by SF Recreation and Park Department

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): In May 2012, the MPIC’s net worth was $27,998.98 (reserve total of $18,200). May’s rental activity was the highest ever ($5032, vs $2692 in April). Increasing our security deposit from $400 to $1000 has not resulted in a single event being lost.


Safety—Please see articles in this issue.

Zoning and Planning (ZAP, C Mettling Davis [CMD])— C Mettling-Davis wrote letter to Board of Appeals on behalf of neighbor whose privacy would be affected by proposed deck, citing Miraloma Park Residential Design Guidelines.

Membership (R Gee)—MPIC membership was 618 on 5/31/2012 and 648 on 6/30/2012, vs 537 on 5/31/2011, an increase of 111 members in 13 months!

Events (S Chu)—Motion for 9/15 Clubhouse event (Fall Colors) approved with $1200 budget.

Clubhouse Maintenance (CMD)— Graffiti found on Clubhouse exterior rear wall painted out by rental agent. K Wood requests notice of graffiti vandalism on Clubhouse so she can request passing calls from SFPD. D Liberthson proposes repairing cracks in parking lot. Gardener to be monitored ongoing by D. Liberthson and J Whitney.

Delegate Reports: West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WOTPCC, K Breslin): The Natural Areas Plan (NAP) and the Forest Alliance gave presentations. The WOTPCC sent a letter to address NAP DEIR issues. WOTPCC will hold a forum for the supervisorial race in the Fall. Police Community Association (PCB; J. Whitney) will hold “Neighbor’s Night Out” national event in July; Whitney proposes MPIC host this event in 2013 and plans to write article about PCB’s bicycle theft prevention program. OceanEdge (organization opposing Beach Chalet Soccer Fields proposed expansion and development, K Breslin) will be appealing Board of Supervisors decision that approved the project. K Wood proposed motion (passed unanimously) to write to Board to “Support SFOceanEdge in their opposition to current plan for Beach Chalet soccer field development.”

New Business: Public comment period for Draft EIR for Natural Areas Plan extended to June 11. Motion passed (8 yeas) to submit letter to DEIR officer B. Wycko (J Whitney voted no).

August 2, 2012 Board Meeting

On-line Votes: K Breslin requested $250 be donated to the WOTPCC for their September District 7 Supervisor’s Forum (approved: 9 yeas). D Liberthson requested approval of $2500 to be used to repair the parking lot (approved: 10 yeas) and later $500 to completely asphalt the lot (approved: 13 yeas).

Guest: Casey Allen, Clubhouse gardener, spoke about his plans for the native plant garden and other areas. He described the various grants available to improve the garden areas and urged the Board to consider a bioswale and to use storm water for watering.

Treasurer’s Report (T Sauvain): July MPIC current net worth was $26,454,87 (reserve total is $15,200). We had $432 in advertising income in July and $285.91 income from membership dues. We spent $400 for landscaping, $1094.77 in Clubhouse repairs ($800 for the first parking lot repaving installment), $250 in clubhouse cleaning fees for the single-event renters, and $250 for WOTPCC dues.

Committees: Safety—Please see articles in this issue. Zoning and Planning (ZAP, C Mettling Davis [CMD])—As architect for a proposed addition at 550 Rockdale, CMD has recused herself from the ZAP committee on this issue. An outside architect has been consulted.

(R Gee)—As of 7/31/2012, MPIC membership was 639. Graffiti (S Kirkham)—Thanks to S Kirkham, K Wood, and K Rawlins for removal of graffiti from the Miraloma Elementary School and from curbs and traffic signs near the school. Tim Amour has joined the graffiti abatement team.

Clubhouse Maintenance (CMD)—Repair of the parking lot is in progress. CMD will inform rental manager to caution renters about the danger of attaching things to the lighting fixtures. A section of the front fence of the clubhouse property, which was knocked down, has been reinstalled and painted. The Men’s bathroom, flooded when a renter left the water running in the sink, has dried out and been inspected—there appears to be no major damage.

Delegate Reports: Coalition for SF Neighborhoods (CSFN, K Breslin): Karen Breslin is now the delegate and Tim Armour is the second/alternate delegate. Community Police Boards (CPB, J Whitney): The CPB is sponsoring a Neighborhood Night out on August 7th. The citywide bicycle safety and registration program is proceeding.