In appreciation: Lisa Spinali, founding Chair of the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee

Lisa _Spinali_BWEffective this month, Lisa Spinali has resigned as chair of the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee (BRCAC) in order to pursue other projects. Her public service for three years on this precedent-setting community forum is greatly appreciated by the officers of Sunnyside Neighborhood Association and many others in the community.

Lisa served as SNA President 2012-2016, and it was during her term that the need for effective local community input on the proposed housing development became clear.

Mayor Ed Lee began the process of developing housing on the seventeen-acre Balboa Reservoir land in late 2014, and a dysfunctional community meeting soon after illustrated the importance of a good community process. Lisa brought her long experience in enabling community involvement to bear on the matter, and it was through her initiative that the BRCAC was formed in 2015, a process facilitated and supported by Supervisor Norman Yee (District 7), and requiring the approval of Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors. 

The aim was to assure a meaningful and sustained level of community involvement during the many years of planning and development to come for housing and park space on the Balboa Reservoir site. The previous proposals for housing on this site during the late 1980s were very contentious and ended in a stalemate, with no housing being built. The outcome was in part attributable to a lack of meaningful dialogue between local residents and other stakeholders; that mistake must not be allowed to happen this time.

The BRCAC has met almost monthly for three years, providing direct contact for local residents with the Planning Department and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the two City agencies most closely working on the Balboa Reservoir Project, and later with the developer team once they were chosen. Public comment and input from local residents has been a key feature of the BRCAC meetings. An important document developed by the BRCAC in 2016 to guide the RFQ/RFP process was Proposed Development Principles & Parameters for The Balboa Reservoir.

Lisa has done an excellent job over the years of moderating the often heated exchanges during the public meetings. There are strong views on the various issues involved, such as parking and traffic, open space, building heights, density, and so on. Many in the community have appreciated that, under her leadership, fairness and civility in the discourse has been a reliable feature of the BRCAC meetings.

The officers of Sunnyside Neighborhood Association extend their thanks to Lisa Spinali for her service, and wish her the best in her future projects.

To replace Lisa, Community Advisory Committee Member-at Large Jon Winston has been elected Chair by the committee, while Lisa’s function as SNA representative for the neighborhood of Sunnyside will be filled by SNA Secretary Amy O’Hair, designated by SNA President Stephen Martinpinto, as per the BRCAC bylaws.

More about the Balboa Reservoir housing project.

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