My civic duty
If nothing else, I had a chance to stand still and pray for peace in the world and in my family. Chris is away, taking care of his mother in the hospital this week. It's been hard being a single parent for a week, but so much harder to become the caretaker of your parent.
But that's not all. Then I got to go to my first planning commission hearing in years! My older son practically learned to walk in the halls outside the commission chambers. When he was really little, Chris and I were very involved in the Coalition for Jobs, Arts and Housing, a group advocating against gentrification in the South of Market and Mission Districts, specifically the so-called live/work loft scams. But I hadn't been there in years. My younger son, who is almost six, may never have been to a planning commission hearing.
The occasion was that a developer has proposed a 17 story luxury condo development on the lot next to our little 2 story Meetinghouse. There are a number of issues, not least of which is the lack of public notice about the project. The biggest thing for our Meeting is that they proposed to put the only entry/exit point to the garage on the wall adjacent to our meeting for worship room. There are also environmental issues that have been ignored by the developer.
The bad news is that I had to leave after two hours to go pick up my kids from their afterschool program, and our item had not yet come up on the agenda, so I didn't get to speak. The worse news is that our item on the agenda ran until 8:00 p.m! Like three hours from the time it first started. Six and a half hours after the meeting began. I feel so sorry for the folks who had to stay for the whole thing and so glad that I decided not to try and take my kids back to the hearing so that I could speak.
The good news is that the approval did not get rubber stamped. The commission postponed the decision for five weeks to allow further public input and to get the design issues worked out. I hope that the good work that the Meeting's Property and Finance Committee did and the dozen meeting folks who turned out will encourage the developer to negotiate on the level from now on.
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