LANDMARK STATUS AND HISTORIC DISTRICTS IN SAN FRANCISCO
While working for the National Park Service at the Presidio of San Francisco I was involved with the over 650 buildings and some 1800 housing units. The Presidio is about 1480 acres a small City within a City. A perfect area to study and implement many projects historic.
Since the Presidio of San Francisco was established in 1776 and have so many Landmark Sites and Buildings it was very interesting for me to get involved and learn as best I could the guidelines laid down by the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings. I took advantage of the experts and also the many work shops. Since most of the experts worked in very close proximity with me I could ask pertinent questions and get the required answers.
The National Park Service has many Historical Architects on its pay roll. And then you have Landscape Architects and you have experts that can analyze anything - historic. Then you have maintenance folks that can restore and it is really a science watching and learning about materials, crafts, colors, paints, moulds, and the gamut of things that make so many things historical.
In any City that has Historical Districts or Sites like Boston, Washington DC, San Diego, New Orleans the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation and Historic Buildings come into play. I have asked questions and I have got answers as I am into things historic even as I am into things archeological and deal with anthropology. My visits to these and many other cities have allowed me to study historical issues first hand.
It is a shame that in San Francisco we do not have one single document where an inventory has been done of all our historic buildings, landmark sites, and prospective historic districts. We all know that history did not begin in 1776 and so it would be nice if the Muwekma Ohlone and Shellmounds and other issues historic were included and considered. We must remember that the land was stolen from the First People. The 18 treaties signed between the First People and the United States Government was never kept and even today people continue to speak in fork tongues. Especially the Board of Supervisors who have no proper sense of history and think all history began in and around 1776.
There is one document that the San Francisco Planning Department uses that was done by two or three individuals and they just drove around the City of San Francisco and did a drive by window inventory. We pride ourselves that we are a City that knows how and we have done injustice to the constituents of San Francisco by not having the right document, the precise inventory, the right expertise to make the best adjudication.
Again and again we have the San Francisco Planning Department doling out permits and when there is some issue the matter in brought as an Appeal to the Board of Supervisors and often the adjudication is based on dirty politics. I have seen this happen again and again.
For sure we have several Historic Districts with some historic buildings and other Open Space Sites with Landmark Status that should have been in place as Proposed Historic Sites or Districts but this has NOT been done and we are in the year 2006.
We cannot hold some constituents hostage because the Board of Supervisors and the various City Departments have not done their job. We cannot hold some constituents hostage that have the Planning Permits but are forced to hold back expansion and other relevant projects just because the Historic Sites or Districts have not been demarcated. We cannot penalize anyone because of foolishness.
Some one should take the City to Court and resolve this important issue once and for all. We now have a population of about 770,000 and we have little land left to build. We know that there are some potential Historic Districts but we have NOT begun the progress with time lines and concrete goals. Some BOS pretend that everything is in place when nothing much has been done over the years.
We cannot hold innocent taxpayers hostage and this has been done again and again. Again and again SF Planning Department has failed. Let us not take advantage of good constituents that pay taxes, work hard, get their proper permits from the City Departments, and then are forced to come before the Board of Supervisors that are NOT the experts and fall prey to some faulty, idiotic, adjudication.