Saving Corbett Slope

There's a particularly striking couple of blocks of Corbett Avenue, near Clayton Street, that cling to the east side of Twin Peaks and wind above Market Street. The area could be Sausalito or a little Italian village, but really it's unmistakably San Franciscan, with stunning views of the city and the bay, all the way to Mount Diablo. Neighbors smile and nod as they walk their dogs, an old-timer waters his geraniums, and kids pedal home from school on BMX bikes. Nestled here between brown-shingled condos, rainbow flags, and streams of fog lies Corbett Slope, a crescent-shaped wedge of cliff covered with cypress trees, hibiscus flowers, and jade plants that's one of the last patches of open space in the area.

Neighbors would like to keep it open; the city, however, has labeled this once public land “surplus property,” and has begun to sell it to developers. But that won't happen before Gary Weiss and the Corbett Heights Neighbors have a say.

Weiss is spending his own money to try to appeal one result of the California Environmental Quality Act that deemed unnecessary the usual Environmental Impact Review of the parcel, and is rustling up support from his neighbors. He explains, “As more and more of the city's green spaces have been developed, our hope has been that at least the city-owned land would remain green.”

In addition, District 8 Supervisor Bevan Dufty recently nominated seven trees on the slope for “landmark status,” meaning they're invaluable assets to the local community because of size, history, or health to the neighborhood; his nomination will be voted on by the Board of Supervisors within the next six months.

Meanwhile, the Land Use & Economic Development Committee, chaired by Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, will try to decide whether Corbett Slope should be used to build affordable housing or sold off to developers as surplus property.

And the locals? They'd just like a spot to walk their dogs, maybe sit on a bench and enjoy the view, or perhaps an area in which to build a staircase down to Market Street for a shortcut down the hill.

Sound complicated? It is. ¡Viva democracy!

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