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Posted on www.dtna.org
By 365gay.com staff writer

As we reported in the February-March 2010 issue of the DTNA Newsletter, Trader Joe's signed a lease in January for the Tower space at the Market and Noe Center.

Trader Joe's still needs for its plans for the location to be approved by the City's Planning Department. The first step Trader Joe's must take in that approval process is to complete a transportation impact study that analyzes the potential effects the proposed market would have on local auto, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, as well as the impact of truck deliveries to the location. DTNA's Land Use Committee has been tracking this project since its inception, and is in regular communication with the City's Planning Department about the project. In November 2009, DTNA proactively approached Trader Joe's to convey a number of discussion issues for the project related to the neighborhood context, including parking, street congestion, loading and noise impacts, and the impact on smaller, locally owned merchants. The discussion with Trader Joe's was framed by using DTNA's "Formula Retail Evaluation Matrix" which the association developed to help ensure proposed retail chain (also known as formula retail) projects add to, rather than detract from, the neighborhood's cohesion and assets. (For more information about DTNA's matrix, go to www.dtna.org/retailmatrix.pdf.) Since then, the Land Use Committee has been working with Planning to provide input on the scope of the transportation impact study. It is important As we reported in the February-March 2010 issue of the DTNA Newsletter, Trader Joe's signed a lease in January for the Tower space at the Market and Noe Center.

Trader Joe's still needs for its plans for the location to be approved by the City's Planning Department. The first step Trader Joe's must take in that approval process is to complete a transportation impact study that analyzes the potential effects the proposed market would have on local auto, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, as well as the impact of truck deliveries to the location. DTNA's Land Use Committee has been tracking this project since its inception, and is in regular communication with the City's Planning Department about the project. In November 2009, DTNA proactively approached Trader Joe's to convey a number of discussion issues for the project related to the neighborhood context, including parking, street congestion, loading and noise impacts, and the impact on smaller, locally owned merchants.

The discussion with Trader Joe's was framed by using DTNA's "Formula Retail Evaluation Matrix" which the association developed to help ensure proposed retail chain (also known as formula retail) projects add to, rather than detract from, the neighborhood's cohesion and assets. (For more information about DTNA's matrix, go to www.dtna.org/retailmatrix.pdf.) Since then, the Land Use Committee has been working with Planning to provide input on the scope of the transportation impact study. It is important to note that the city will not be requiring an environmental review process beyond the transportation study, as the Planning Department determined that the Trader Joe's project is "categorically exempt" from environmental review since it would be taking over an existing retail space. To date, the Planning Department has finalized a scope of work for the transportation study and, after DTNA submitted comments on the scope, has agreed to ensure that the external consultant conducting the study will address some of the committee's initial concerns. Those concerns are that:

• A no-parking alternative be evaluated in the study
• Creative "transportation demand management" (TDM) alternatives to deter shoppers from driving to Trader Joe's be examined, such as offering discounts for taking public transit, a household delivery service, a circulating customer shuttle and other such strategies
• Congestion and safety impacts related to the process of loading and unloading of goods into Trader Joe's be examined in detail, and that truck routes to and from the store be specifically identified
• The presence of the existing traffic-calming island on Noe Street be preserved to maintain the pedestrian character of Noe Street

The first administrative draft of the transportation impact study was recently released (shortly before this newsletter went to press) and the DTNA Land Use Committee is in the process of providing feedback to the Planning Department. Additional drafts are expected over the next several months, which DTNA intends to review and provide input on.

The Planning Department estimates that the final traffic study may be presented to the City's Planning Commission for approval by late summer.

The next steps in the City's review process for Trader Joe's will be to submit architectural drawings for the site, and then to apply to the Planning Department for a Conditional Use permit. A Conditional Use permit is required by the city when the proposed use of space is not automatically permitted in the location's existing city zoning codes. All Conditional Use permits require a public hearing before the City's Planning Commission in order to determine if the proposed use is necessary and desirable to the neighborhood, whether it may potentially have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood, and whether the use complies with the San Francisco General Plan. (For more information about the City's review process for such projects, visit www. sf-planning.org.) In the case of the Trader Joe's proposal, the Conditional Use decision will also be subject to criteria specific for Formula Retail uses.

DTNA is committed to thoroughly tracking the Trader Joe's proposal as it moves forward, keeping the Duboce Triangle/Upper Market community informed about issues as they arise, and to to note that the city will not be requiring an environmental review process beyond the transportation study, as the Planning Department determined that the Trader Joe's project is "categorically exempt" from environmental review since it would be taking over an existing retail space. To date, the Planning Department has finalized a scope of work for the transportation study identifying opportunities in the city's process for you to provide input on the project. At the DTNA general membership meeting on June 14th, we will have further updates.