TO EVERYONE CONCERNED ABOUT PRESERVING JAPANTOWN
You must act NOW! This Thursday, May 28, the San Francisco Planning Commission will hear the Better Neighborhood Plan for Japantown. If they move to endorse the plan, the plan will become final and done; we will NOT have another opportunity to revisit or re-do the plan for possibly another 20 years!
The plan was suppose to be an opportunity to preserve Japantown but rather contains increase height and land use recommendations that COULD negatively impact the future of our historic and cultural community. What was supposed to be a plan to preserve our community has turned out to be a road map for developers. OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS WE WILL SEE JAPANTOWN REDEVELOPED AGAIN, BUT WITH LESS OPPORTUNITY FOR SMALL BUSINESSES TO COME BACK, LESS OPPORTUNITY FOR FAMILIES TO LIVE HERE AND MUCH LESS OF WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT JAPANTOWN.
All the historic and cultural preservation components of the plan were put off to be implemented later by a new (unspecified) organization, with no realistic plans or commitment for funding to implement the recommendations. There are no recommendations to preserve or improve the Japan Center, only increase height limits of up to 250 feet, which means if the Planning Commission endorses the plan, that the community and the City also endorses a teardown of the Japan Center. (A 40 YEAR OLD BUILDING IS NOT OLD, BY ANY BUILDING STANDARDS, BUILDINGS TWICE AS OLD ARE RENOVATED AND IMPROVED ALL OVER THE CITY)
By the City’s own costs analysis RENT for small businesses in the Japan Center will increase by over 100%. The Japan Center garage will close for 2 to 3 years, which would impact all of Japantown. The impact of this recommendation has never really been fully reviewed and debated by the community, small business owners and property owners.
NO COMMUNITY IN SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY HAS BEEN IMPACTED MORE THAN JAPANTOWN OVER THE PAST 100 YEARS, FIRST IN 1942 BY EO 9066, LATER BY REDEVELOPMENT IN THE 1960 AND 70'S.
JAPANTOWN deserves better, we deserve more, We deserve a chance to put a REAL plan together that can meet the original goals of preserving our community.
WE HAVE BEEN TOLD BY THE CITY, WITHOUT A HUGE OUTCRY FROM THE COMMUNITY AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS WHO VALUE OUR COMMUNITY, OUR HISTORY and OUR CULTURE, THAT THIS THURSDAY THE PLANNING COMMISSION WILL HEAR TO ENDORSE THE PLAN! THEIR ENDORSE IS FINAL PENDING ONLY THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REVIEWS and the Board of Supervisors.
Please tell the Planning Commission TO ONLY RECEIVE THE PLAN AS A WORK IN PROGRESS, in this way the community can continue to work on the plan, improve the plan, understand the impact of the recommendations and have a plan that will better serve our community and its FUTURE!
IF WE FAIL NOW, WE FAIL OUR FUTURE AND A JAPANTOWN THAT WE CAN BE PROUD OF TO PASS ON TO FUTURE GENERATIONS.
THERE IS NO NEED TO RUSH THE PLAN, JAPANTOWN'S ONLY IMMEDIATE THREAT IS APPROVING THIS PLAN BEFORE IT’S TRULY SOMETHING THAT PROTECTS THE FUTURE OF OUR COMMUNITY.
The Planning Commission meets this Thursday, May 28, at CITY HALL Room 400, please be there by 2:30pm. (We are second on the agenda)
If you cannot attend the commission meeting PLEASE E-MAIL, FAX OR CALL THE PLANNING COMMISSIONERS.
Be sure to indicate your name, any affiliations that you might have, also if you are a youth, a parent, a property or business owner, a senior, community worker, a shopper etc ON THE E-MAIL, FAX OR PHONE CALL. If you have a story of why Japantown is important to you, even better, BUT MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT YOU DO NOT SUPPORT AN ENDORSEMENT AT THIS TIME.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO ALSO E-MAIL THE PLANNING COMMISSIONERS. Post the information on your face book, MySpace or other blogs.
Ron Miguel, Commission President firstname.lastname@example.org (415) 601-0708
Christina Olague, Vice-President email@example.com (415) 558-6615 x 6
Michael J. Antonini firstname.lastname@example.org (415) 558-6615 x 2
Gwyneth Borden email@example.com (415) 367-3801
William L. Lee firstname.lastname@example.org (415) 558-6615 x 4
Kathrin Moore mooreurban @speakeasy.net (415) 558-6615 x 5
Hisashi Sugaya email@example.com (415) 558-6615 x 7
John Rahaim, Director of Planning John.Rahaim@sfgov.org (415) 558-6411, (415) 558-6409 fax
Friends of Japantown
SF JAPANTOWN PLAN: http://www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=57149
JAPANTOWN CHRONICLE ARTICLE: (See what over 250 people have to say about Japantown
“The Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan (BNP) sets forth a 20-year vision for the community and neighborhood. As the City continues to change and development pressures and the cost of living increases, the City’s leaders realize that it is critical that the cultural character and resources that make Japantown special be identified, maintained and enhanced. Japantown has been the cultural heart of the Japanese American community in San Francisco for over a century, serving a role that is unique to the city, region and country. (Excerpt from the Executive Summary of the, Vision for Japantown, BNP
“Our prize if we do our job well today, is a thriving Japantown for future generations to enjoy, learn from and participate in, our greatest gift that we can leave them is this plan that helps direct the foundation for that to happen”
Akit says: Get on your e-mail, phone, or whatever you can. Attend the meeting. SAVE JAPANTOWN.