From the recently completed Citywide Historic Context Statement for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) History in San Francisco, which was funded by a grant from the City’s Historic Preservation Fund:
“When the RedLight Abatement Act shut down the city’s brothels in 1914 and forced the sex trade onto the streets, prostitution moved into the Tenderloin. Gay and transgender prostitution and hustling became popular when some of the Tenderloin’s first gay bars appeared: the Old Crow at 962 Market Street (extant) around 1935 and the Silver Rail at 974 Market Street (status unknown) about 1942.”
And behind the aforementioned Market Street bars, between Mason and Taylor, Turk Street became one of the main drags for cruising and hustling in the city from the 1940s to the 1980s, dubbed “the Meat Market.”
But in order for the proposed 12-story building to rise at 950 Market Street, a modern mixed-use development which will cover half the triangular Mid-Market block bound by Market, Turk and Taylor, the buildings which housed the historic bars will have to be razed.
And while the 950 Market Street project was granted a Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration with respect to its expected environment impact earlier this year, helping clear the way for the development to rise, the co-author and co-director of the LGBTQ Historic Context Report has officially appealed the Planning Department’s declaration.
From the appeal:
I am requesting an appeal of the Planning Department’s determination that the 950-974 Market Street Project could not have a significant adverse effect on the environment, and that the buildings at 950-974 Market Street are not historic resources, as outlined in the preliminary mitigated negative declaration (PMND). This request is based on two primary issues: 1) the City of San Francisco’s lack of due diligence required by CEQA laws related to cultural resources; and 2) flawed and inadequate analysis in the 950-974 Market Street Historic Resource Evaluation Parts 1 & 2 (Page &Turnbull, July 17, 2015), as summarized in the PMND section on cultural resources (pages 77-106).
To the first issue, the City of San Francisco is out of compliance with CEQA by not taking into consideration the documentation and guidance provided in the recently adopted Citywide Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ History in San Francisco (Donna Graves & Shayne Watson, October 2015). Likewise, the City of San Francisco is out of compliance with CEQA by not requiring a reevaluation of the buildings at 966-970, 972, and 974 Market Street in light of new information provided in the LGBTQ Historic Context Statement. Nor did the Planning Department request an evaluation of the buildings at 950-964, 966-970, 972, and 974 Market Street as contributors to a potential LGBTQ historic district. In its current form, Page & Turnbull’s HRE evaluates 950-964 Market Street in a vacuum, failing to place the property in the larger context of San Francisco’s LGBTQ history.
To the second issue, Page & Turnbull’s HRE presents an exclusive, inaccurate, and at times offensive picture of LGBTQ history in San Francisco. It would be irresponsible to allow Page & Turnbull’s July 2015 HRE to be adopted into the public record and cited by future researchers as fact. It would be equally irresponsible to allow Page &Turnbull to develop an interpretive exhibit based on the history they have outlined inaccurately and incompletely in the HRE. Additionally, Page & Turnbull’s determination that 950-974 Market Street is not a historic resource under CEQA boils down to an analysis of integrity that prioritizes physical fabric over intangible aspects of history. This method of integrity analysis has been superseded by guidance in the LGBTQ Historic Context Statement.
And from the appellant’s second to last paragraph, which requests that Planning consider ordering a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 950-974 Market Street project, which would likely take a few years to complete: “I believe that the proposed project would cause a substantial adverse change to LGBTQ historic resources in San Francisco.”
A more generic appeal of the development’s Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration has been filed by Sue Hestor’s ‘San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth’ movement as well.