That foam that keeps your coffee hot and the beer in your ice chest cold is getting ready to disappear from San Francisco, as the Board of Supervisors gave its final approval Tuesday to a ban on polystyrene foam packaging in the city.
Legislation by Supervisor London Breed that passed unanimously Tuesday will bar the product, widely used in food packaging, packing peanuts and ice chests, beginning Jan. 1. Though inexpensive and lightweight, polystyrene foam has long been controversial because it takes centuries to decompose, contaminating the ecosystem and clogging landfills.
But the material won’t disappear completely by the Jan. 1 deadline. Grocers will get a six-month waiver to phase out foam meat trays, and companies that ship medicines in temperature-controlled containers will likely continue using it for at least a few more years.
“This is a huge step for our health and environment,” Breed said.
That issue is settled, but the city’s approach to dealing with its tent camps isn’t.
There are now three pieces of legislation attempting to dictate city policy on homeless encampments. Supervisor Jane Kim filed an ordinance with the board clerk Tuesday that joins dueling ballot measures by Supervisors Mark Farrell and Aaron Peskin.
Under Kim’s measure, homeless people would receive notice seven days before a sweep of an encampment, and the city would be required to offer services and shelter to its occupants for at least 90 days. A housing plan for those evicted from a camp would be created during the first 30 of those 90 days. Kim’s measure will be considered by the board within the next month.
Kim’s proposal contrasts with Farrell’s ballot measure, under which camps would be banned and the city could place their residents into shelters within 24 hours of notifying its residents of a sweep. Peskin’s measure, which still needs six votes at the board by the Aug. 5 deadline to get on the ballot, would require the city to provide 72 hours notice before removing an encampment. The city would also be required to have a plan within 30 days on how to house those who were removed.
The board made law on permanent housing when it unanimously passed a 100 percent affordable housing density bonus program. Though it would bar for-profit developers from participating, it could add hundreds of new units to the housing stock. The bonus would allow affordable projects to add extra floors to buildings along commercial corridors, exempting them from zoning code height limits.
The supervisors also considered for-profit housing Tuesday when, by a 6-5 vote, progressive members passed a resolution opposing a state “by right housing approval” measure introduced by Gov. Jerry Brown that would streamline the environmental review process for proposed housing projects that are consistent with local zoning. While proponents say it would add much-needed housing to a rapidly growing city, opponents claim it would harm San Francisco’s approval process. That state legislation has been delayed until October.
And a vision for a new park atop dilapidated Francisco Reservoir is on its way to becoming reality. The large open space covers 4 acres on Russian Hill. The board signed off on an agreement between the private Francisco Park Conservancy and the Recreation and Park Department. The conservancy plans to raise more than $25 million for the project and to infuse about $150,000 into maintenance for the park annually.
“With today’s approval, the difficult and fun work of soliciting input from residents and neighborhoods about the park they would like to see created begins,” Farrell said.
The conservancy next will begin the design process and private fundraising.
Lizzie Johnson is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email:
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