Redevelopment planning land grab of Shipyard and all BVHP

Tell Redevelopment how you feel Tuesday, Dec. 2, 4pm, City Hall Room 416

by Maurice Campbell and Barbara George

The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency is making a move to grab the whole neighborhood – the Hunters Point Shipyard and nearly all of Bay View Hunters Point!

While tracking efforts to ram through the agreement for Lennar to develop the Shipyard, we discovered Redevelopment’s hush-hush plot to gentrify practically all of BVHP. Instead of continuing to pursue its longstanding plan to create a new project area, Redevelopment is quietly proposing to annex the rest of Bay View Hunters Point to the existing Hunters Point Redevelopment Project Area through a simple-to-pass amendment. That way, the Redevelopment Commission can pass it quietly without full public notice and review.

At the next meeting of the Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 2, the community is urged to come out in force, because both of these issues affect our future very seriously. Comment on both the neighborhood takeover “amendment” and the Lennar Disposition and Development Agreement (the DDA) for the Shipyard. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. in City Hall Room 416.

Ask the commissioners to postpone their vote on the Lennar agreement – the DDA – until the community has had its say. Many questions have been raised by community groups that have not been answered.

In addition, call the Board of Supervisors today and ask them to hold an informational hearing before any vote by Redevelopment. The Redevelopment Agency, the City Attorney and Lennar should come before the supervisors and answer the community’s questions.

Two Redevelopment plans — neither benefits BVHP residents

The general outline of Redevelopment’s plan for the Shipyard has been known for a while, but the devil is in the details. That’s why it is so important for the Supervisors to review it. What BVHP residents want most — business development providing long-term jobs for local residents — may be delayed for years. Upscale housing is the main focus for Redevelopment and Lennar, but business is what generates jobs, not expensive homes that many people in the community can’t afford.

Now this new annexation amendment of the Hunters Point Redevelopment Project Area appears intended to clear away the low-income Black population that has lived alongside the Shipyard for 60 years — with the goal of increasing the future value of Lennar’s housing.

Neither of these projects helps the people who live here.

Redevelopment’s ‘amendment’ to gentrify BVHP

The proposed San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Plan Amendment, dated Nov. 4, 2003, would add 1,600 acres to the existing 137-acre Hunters Point Redevelopment Project Area. It would encompass all the public and low-income housing near the Shipyard, most other residential areas, the entire Third Street corridor and other sections of the neighborhood all the way to Bayshore Boulevard and the freeway (see map).

The Black population in San Francisco has dropped from over 14 percent to less than 6 percent in this city. Bay View Hunters Point remains the city’s largest predominantly Black neighborhood. In Redevelopment’s brochure showing how the agency expects the neighborhood to look in the future, all the people in the pictures look White.

What Redevelopment did by creating the Western Addition Project Area, bulldozing thousands of Black homes and hundreds of Black-owned businesses – wiping out most of the Black population and even renaming the neighborhood known worldwide as the Fillmore – must not happen again! We need to make it clear to the powers that be that we will not be moved.

Let the Redevelopment Commission know on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. in City Hall Room 416 that you don’t want any rushed decisions for acceptance of either the annexation amendment or the DDA. You want time for review, and you want the Board of Supervisors involved. Don’t be swayed by special interests that want you to support their get-rich-quick schemes.

Redevelopment wants to lock in Lennar

Redevelopment’s proposed agreement to put Lennar Corp. in charge of the first phase of development of the Shipyard is called the Disposition and Development Agreement, or DDA. The DDA describes the obligations of the developer, the City and the Navy, covering such topics as toxic cleanup, employment opportunities and Lennar’s profits. It sets up the “horizontal” development – roads and utilities infrastructure – and includes decisions on open space, housing density and community facilities.

The current lame duck administration is pressuring residents to approve it without seriously examining it. The DDA is an enormously complicated document, over 1,000 pages, but the mayor wanted the Hunters Point Shipyard Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to approve it in “30 days.”

Some of us who are on the CAC objected that many of the listed attachments weren’t attached and other information that was promised has not been delivered. The community must know what the Redevelopment Commission is being asked to sign, and it’s our responsibility as the CAC to find out.

We divided into subcommittees to look at different pieces of the DDA, and we held more than 26 meetings in the last month – because Redevelopment is in such a hurry! We’ve spent over 60 days reviewing it and recommending changes and additions, including community comments like “Not enough of the community was notified,” “Rush to judgment,” “Not getting answers from Redevelopment,” “Not seeing a very important document from Redevelopment until 6pm 11/24/03, the time of our final meeting.”

The Redevelopment staff has described the CAC’s recommendations, breaking them down as either 1) acceptable to Redevelopment, 2) acceptable to the developer or 3) other — not acceptable or requires further discussion.

What’s the rush?

What’s the big hurry to sign an agreement with Lennar? Redevelopment is acting as if Lennar is doing us a big favor by coming here. The reality is that the Shipyard is some the world’s most valuable real estate, and Lennar, America’s largest home builder, has earned a terrible reputation by, among other travesties, building new homes on its own toxic dump in Florida.

Redevelopment wants to use the DDA, along with the existing ENA, the Exclusive Negotiating Agreement, to lock in Lennar as Master Developer for the Shipyard. The Exclusive Negotiating Agreement comes up for review by the Board of Supervisors in December. By postponing Redevelopment approval of the DDA until then, we can examine the entire relationship with Lennar.

No transfer, no development until Shipyard is clean

Many obstacles must be cleared out of the way before work can be started on developing the Shipyard. Most important is Proposition P. Prop P is the ballot measure passed overwhelmingly by 87 percent of San Francisco voters in 2000 prohibiting any development of the Shipyard until all toxic contamination, including all traces of radioactivity, has been cleaned up and removed.

In addition, there can be no transfer of any parcel of Shipyard land to the city from the Navy because the Conveyance Agreement between the City and County of San Francisco, the community and the Navy has not been signed. The Navy is eager to transfer Parcel A, where Lennar wants to build 1,600 houses, and Parcel B, but neither is clean yet.

The regulators — the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), the DTSC (California Department of Toxic Substance Control) and the Water Resource Board – have not yet signed off on a FOST (Finding Of Suitability for Transfer) for Parcel A. And the Record of Decision on Parcel B just recently went through its five-year review, which drew community comments that must be answered, and a lot of cleanup work remains to be done on Parcel B.

Whether you’re buying a car, a home or a cell phone plan, you don’t want to cave in to the high pressure salesperson and regret it later. This is no time to cave in to the pressure to give up the Shipyard and all of Bay View Hunters Point.

Although this is happening in the midst of the holidays and everybody’s busy, this is the time to take a stand. Give the children a gift they can be proud of — a community for all the people who live here, not a gentrified community for somebody else.

For more information, read “Arrested Development” by Lisa Davis in the Nov. 19 SF Weekly at http://www.sfweekly.com/issues/2003-11-19/feature.html/1/index.html. The DDA can be found at http://www.hunterspointshipyard.com/dda.html.

Maurice Campbell is the convener of the Community First Coalition and is a member of the Hunters Point RAB (Restoration Advisory Board) that advises the Navy and the Hunters Point CAC (Community Advisory Committee) that advises the city. Barbara George is executive director of Women’s Energy Matters and a community activist. Email Maurice at mecsoft@pacbell.net.