Tensions ran high yesterday, but ultimately nothing came of the joint hearing between the Planning and Rec & Park commissions on the FiDi's twisty cylinder. Why? First of all, as one planning commissioner noted, there were perhaps various confusing issues related to documents and a fee payment that could have been clouding discussion — all of which would presumably benefit from the whole thing being pushed back a few weeks. The Rec & Park Commission, which had to be present in order to give a green light to a project that would cast even the tiniest shadow on its parks, voted for a postponement — and shortly thereafter bailed on the whole spectacle. The Planning Commission, however, stuck around to see if they could at least decide on the certification of the final environmental impact report, a necessary step before unleashing the building upon the Financial District.
Consider the public's comments yesterday to be mostly a rehash of existing criticisms of the project itself. Former supes prez Aaron Peskin made a civilian appearance and referred to the fact that two of the commissioners had already trashed the draft EIR, saying it was weirdly subjective. The director of "The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" also spoke up again, at one point appearing to suggest that the beloved parrots "don't understand why this EIR is even being considered with so many exceptions." She made a reference to "these blue, reflective towers that are absolutely murderous to birds." A former city planner who had worked on the Downtown Plan also chimed in, saying rather surprisingly that the slender, 400-foot tower is "very consistent with the Downtown Plan." To wit, back then "we frankly did not anticipate that residential buildings would be built in the downtown core." So rather than allow "grotesque," 400-foot-tall office buildings with fat floorplates, they opted to zone the spot downward to 200 feet.
In the end, a motion to not certify the EIR failed, and without having certified it, the whole hearing, Rec & Park and all, was rescheduled for March 18th. Public comments, however, have already been taken on the matter, so commissioners who missed it last night will have to listen to it all on tape until their ears bleed.
· Twisty Cylinder Goes to Its Epic Showdown at City Hall Tonight [Curbed SF]
· Commissioners Say Twisty Cylinder's Report Was Too Subjective [Curbed SF]
· Twisty Cylinder to Play Sidekick to Transamerica's Pyramid [Curbed SF]