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Seal of the City and County of San Francisco
City and County of San Francisco
May 17, 2001



Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, May 17, 2001

1:30 PM

Regular Meeting

PRESENT: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis



STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Gerald G. Green, Director of Planning; Larry Badiner, Zoning Administrator; Rana Ahmadi; David Alumbaugh; Rick Crawford; Kenneth Chin; Michael Smith; Glenn Cabreros; Ben Fu; Daniel Sirois; Allison Borden; Nora Priego, Transcription Secretary; Linda Avery, Commission Secretary


1. 2001.0147D (NIKITAS: 558-6306)

2645 BAKER STREET - west side between Union and Green Streets; Lot 003 in Assessor's Block 0949. Requests for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application Nos. 2000/10/19/3483 and 2000/10/19/3487 to demolish a 3-story residence and build a new 4-story two-family home in an RH-2/40-X District.

Preliminary recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project as submitted.

(Proposed for Continuance to June 14, 2001)


ACTION: Continued to June 14, 2001

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

2. 2001.0251D (BORDEN: 558-6321)

2935 PACIFIC AVENUE - south side of Pacific between Baker and Broderick Streets, Lot 27 in Assessor’s Block 976. Staff-initiated Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2000/12/21/8481 to merge three dwelling units into two units in an RM-2 (Mixed Residential, Moderate Density) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and disapprove the building permit application.

(Proposed for Continuance to June 21, 2001)


ACTION: Continued to June 21, 2001

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

3. 2000.0173C (LIGHT: 558-6254)

500 FRANCISCO STREET (a.k.a. 401-499 BAY STREET & 501-599 BAY STREET) - north side of Francisco Street between Mason Street and Columbus Avenue; Lot 1 in both Assessor’s Blocks 42 and 43. Request for a Conditional Use Authorization of a planned unit development for approximately 360 affordable housing units, a child care center, a computer learning center, ground level retail, and small scale neighborhood-serving office space in an RM-3 (Residential, Mixed, Medium Density) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Pending

(Proposed for Continuance to July 19, 2001)


ACTION: Continued to July 19, 2001

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

4. 2001.0261DDDD (WOLOSHYN: 558-6612)

322 28TH AVENUE and 326 28TH AVENUE - east side between California and Clement Streets, Lots 037 and 038 in Assessor’s Block 1406. Requests for four separate Discretionary Reviews (two for each lot) for permits pertaining to the tandem demolition of a single family house and reconstruction of a two-unit, three-story over garage building on each lot (Building Application Nos. 9920290 and 9920291 pertain to 322 28th Avenue, and Application Nos. 9920288 and 9920289 pertain to 326 28th Avenue) in an RH-2 (Residential House, Two-family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and approve the project with modifications.

(Proposed for Continuance to July 12, 2001)


ACTION: Continued to July 12, 2001

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

5. 2001.0242C (SANCHEZ: 558-6679)

87 PARNASSUS AVENUE - southeast corner at Cole Street; Lot 022 in Assessor’s Block 1278. Request for Conditional Use Authorization to allow the conversion of an existing nonconforming small self-service restaurant to a full-service restaurant as required per Planning Code Section 186.1(c)(3)(A) and defined in Sections 790.91 and 790.90, within an NC-1 (Neighborhood Commercial Cluster) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

ACTION: Project Withdrawn

6. 2000.1061E (WYCKO: 558-5972)

400 Paul Avenue - bounded by Paul Avenue, Third Street, Bayshore Boulevard and railroad spur track, Lot 14 of Assessor's Block 5431A. The proposal is an Appeal of a Preliminary Negative Declaration for the demolition of an existing 40-foot-high warehouse/distribution building, which totals approximately 89,400 gross square feet to be replaced by a newly constructed 65-foot-high structure with 339,300 gross square feet of space for Internet and telecommunication equipment and 155 off-street parking spaces. The proposed facilities would be warehouses for telecommunication switches and operational equipment that provides data services to Internet users. The proposed project is an allowed use within M-1 District and is situated within an Industrial Protection Zone.

Preliminary Recommendation: Uphold Preliminary Negative Declaration

(Continued from Regular Meeting of April 26, 2001)

(Proposed for Indefinite Continuance)


ACTION: Continued Indefinitely

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore


7. Commission Matters

Commissioner Theoharis: There is an article in today's Chronicle (5/17/01), which stated:  Red Tape Snarls Armory Conversion and that the owners of the project have spent $31.5 Million. She would like some clarification if the amount printed on the newspaper is just the construction costs and if there has been construction going on at the Armory. Larry Badiner, Zoning Administrator, responded that the amount stated in the paper is for purchase price and construction drawings. no actual construction has taken place.

Commission Secretary: There will be a group picture of the Commissioners on
June 7, 2001.

Commissioner Salinas: Requested information on 2472 Clay Street. Allison Borden of staff will provide this information to the Commissioner.

Commissioner Chinchilla: Requested more information on the Smith-Kettlewell Abbreviated Institutional Master Plan.


8. Director's Announcements

New Commissioner

The Director presented the new Commissioner, Myrna Lim, to the public and welcomed her aboard.

9. Review of Past Week's Events at the Board of Supervisors and Board of Appeals


Finance Committee

The Board did consider the request for a supplemental appropriation of approximately $1.9 Million. They did agree with the recommendations of the Finance Committee and they did essentially authorize the appropriation of the funds. However, as recommended by the Finance Committee, they did not authorize or release the four positions that were part of that request. The Department will have to request these positions in June, when the Director talks to the Finance Committee about the full budget for the next fiscal year. Supervisor Amiano would like to talk about the budget process in one step instead of breaking it up into two separate steps.

Legislation regarding the Conditional Use appeal procedure:

- Supervisor Peskin amended it by stating that it would take 5 supervisors instead of 4, in order to hear an appeal. The effective date of the legislation would be February 9, 2001. The supervisors who will participate don't have to be the supervisor of that particular district.

BOA - None

Building Inspection Commission

He attended a Building Inspection Commission regarding the formation of an Unlawful Demolition Subcommittee. They are trying to deal with a portion of their code that many people, both in neighborhood groups and in the building trades, believe is unclear and unenforceable. He believes that there are a lot of people who feel that there is a problem. He has been working with members of the Building Department and with neighborhood groups and with people involved in the building trades to develop a proposal that he believes everyone can live with. This will have some impact upon the Planning Code, particularly the noticing provisions of Section 311.

10. (ALUMBAUGH: 558-6601)

Informational Presentation on Planning Department efforts to devise policies and regulations to replace the Interim Controls which are currently in place in all Industrially-Zoned Districts. These Interim Controls will expire on August 5, 2001.


Joe O'Donaghue

- There is a housing crisis in this city and already, we're getting a plethora of restrictions and proposed restrictions, as we saw last week at the Board of Supervisors.

- The question is this: With all this legislation, is this going to increase the supply of housing?

- Once these restrictions are in place, will the people who put these restrictions in place, stop screaming and blaming everyone else but themselves for the lack of increase in supply and for the high prices?

- There will be no more construction in this City because when Conditional Use restrictions are placed, as was done last week, it's going to increase the cost.

- It's a business unfriendly city and the most affected will be the nonprofit housing developments.

Lu Blazej

- He is representing Federal Express. They are here in San Francisco and have a facility at 8th and Harrison Street. They would like to build a new distribution facility in the industrial area (M-2 Zoning area) one of the areas that Director Green identified as an area to be kept as industrial.

- There isn't vacant industrial land of any significance in the City so something has to be torn down. Yet this requires a conditional use.

- This legislation would be a hardship for industrial users that want to stay in the City.

Sue Hestor

- Two years is along time to wait to have some areas rezoned for housing as a legal use. People have been waiting a year and nine months and apparently nothing has been done.

- One can't go from a conditional use to a permitted use or from a banned use to a permitted use without doing an EIR. An environmental review has to be done.

- Months ago, staff should have come up with a project at least to do the parts that can allow housing that hasn't had any opposition.

- Now, two months before the controls are supposed to expire, is awfully late in the process.

- She is glad that there will be hearings in June but wishes that these hearings could have been done last June or last November. It's frustrating because she feels that we won't meet the deadline.

ACTION: Informational Presentation Only. No Action Required.


11. 2000.0173E (AHMADI: 558-5966)

North Beach Hope IV Housing Redevelopment Project (aka 500 Francisco Street) - Environmental Impact Report Certification. Assessor's Block 42, Lot 1 and Assessor's Block 43, Lot 1. The project is the demolition of 13 three-story buildings containing 229 units of rental public housing units and child care facilities for 38 children, and construction of 14 three- to four-story buildings with 360 units of affordable housing, neighborhood serving ground floor retail and commercial office space, child care facilities for 38 children, and one level of below-grade parking in the Fisherman's Wharf area. The 360 units would include 229 units of rental public housing, and 131 units of rental affordable housing of which 48 would be designated for senior housing. The project would provide 404 independently accessible parking spaces. The site is approximately 200,000 square feet, bordered by Bay Street, Francisco Street, Mason Street and Columbus Avenue. The project would require a Conditional Use Authorization from the Planning Commission to permit planned unit development under Sections 303 and 304 of the Planning Code.

Please Note: The public hearing for this item is closed. The public comment period for the Draft EIR ended on April 17, 2001. The Planning Commission does not conduct public review of the Final EIR's. However, public comment on the certification may be presented to the Planning Commission.

Preliminary Recommendation: Certify EIR


ACTION: EIR Certified

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore


MOTION: 16164

12. 2001.0150R (ASSEFA: 558-6625)

20th STREET VACATION (aka 740 VERMONT STREET) - Consideration of a proposal to vacate a portion of 20th Street between Vermont and San Bruno Streets.

Preliminary Recommendation: Finding proposal not in conformity with the General Plan.


ACTION: Continued Without Hearing to May 24, 2001

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

13. 2000.527C (CRAWFORD: 558-6358)

1635 CALIFORNIA STREET - south side between Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street, Lot 014 in Assessors Block 0646. Request for Conditional Use Authorization under Planning Code Sections 303, 723.21, 121.2, 723.11 and 121.1 for a nonresidential use exceeding 3,000 square feet in area and for development of a lot exceeding 10,000 square feet in area in the Polk Neighborhood Commercial district. This project is for demolition of an existing single story building, currently used as a parking garage, and construction of a 5 story over basement, 63 foot tall, mixed use building with 15,342 square feet of commercial office or retail space on the first two levels, 10 residential units on the fourth and fifth levels and 56 parking spaces in the basement and on the third level. This project lies within the Polk Neighborhood Commercial District and within the 65-A Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions.


(+) Dan Sullivan – Representing Project Sponsor

- They submitted an application which was summarized and is included in the Commissioner's packet.

- Department staff encouraged the housing in this proposal.

- He asks that the Commission approve the project.

ACTION: Approved as amended: 1) final material be reviewed by staff and approved by the Planning Director; 2) any proposal over 3,000 square feet would require a new Conditional Use.

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

MOTION: 16165

14. 1999.885C (CHIN: 575-6897)

679 - 24th AVENUE - northwest corner at Balboa Street; Lot 012 in Assessor’s Block 1567. Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Section 209.6 of the Planning Code to install a total of three antennas and a base transceiver station on the existing Pacific Gas & Electric Substation building as part of Sprint's wireless telecommunications network in an RH-2 (Residential, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District. As per the Wireless Telecommunications Guidelines, the subject site is a Preference 1.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with conditions


(+) Robert Crebs – Representing Project Sponsor

- This petition complies with the WTS siting guidelines, the San Francisco Municipal Code, and the Federal Communications Commission's RF Standards.

- The engineers have determined that this site is necessary to provide improvement in service to LAN lines, safety for residents and visitors of San Francisco, and provide a wider coverage of this area.

- There were three community meetings held and 13 people attended the first meeting, 6 people attended the second meeting and 3 people attended the third meeting.

- Notices were sent out in three languages.

ACTION: Approved as amended: Sponsor to continue to work with staff and design a false parapet in order to block antenna from view. If PG&E does not approve parapet, the proposal will come back before the Commission.

AYES: Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

ABSENT: Baltimore

MOTION: 16166

15. 2000.305C (SMITH: 558-6322)

106-110 West Portal Avenue (a.k.a. 101 VICENTE STREET) - northwest corner at Vicente Street; Lot 001 in Assessor's Block 2988A. Request to amend the existing Conditional Use Authorization for Motion No. 14300 under Planning Code Sections 729.53 and 729.21 to expand an existing Charles Schwab stock brokerage (classified as a Business or Professional Service) into the adjacent ground story storefront and increase the occupied floor area of the use from 2,700 square feet to 3,962 square feet, located in the West Portal Neighborhood Commercial District and 26-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with conditions


(+) Robert McCarthy – McCarthy & Swartz - representing Charles Swabb

- In 1997 Charles Schwab opened an office in the West Portal area.

- They have received over 1,200 signatures in support of this project.

- They are in complete conformity of the zoning requirements for this proposal.

- The need to expand is because there are more and more customers who are requesting the services of the brokers and provide confidential services to these clients. Currently brokers are meeting with clients in open cubicles.

- There is also an overwhelming support of merchants in the neighborhood.

- There are about 30 or more people here in support of this project.

(+) Art Belingson

- A few months a go they opposed the expansion of Charles Schwab. For a few years, they have been good neighbors.

- They provided money to their street cleaning.

- In the last 5 years, West Portal has increased its commercial retail spaces. This gives vibrancy to the neighborhood.

- West Portal is very unique. The neighbors are not closed-minded.

(+) Fred J. Martin Jr.

- He knows how hard the Commission works.

- He lives on the same block where Charles Schwab wants to expand.

- He believes that Schwab needs the extra space.

- Financial institutions are regular hour servicing organizations.

- He thinks that Schwab adds to their neighborhood. He tries to do everything on West Portal so that he doesn't have to get into his car.

(+) Marie Lee

- She is a residence of Ingleside Terrace.

- She supports the expansion of Charles Schwab.

- She remembers when her husband was very happy when Charles Schwab would be moving into the neighborhood.

- Having Charles Schwab present in this community has helped many people with their financial needs.

- Charles Schwab is very conveniently located and has convenient hours as well.

- She has been a client of Charles Schwab for many years. Their staff has always been very courteous and helpful.

(+) Terry Durkan

- He displayed a diagram of how the cubicles are very open and not very confidential for clients.

- The expansion would provide office space so clients would be able to have privacy.

(+) (name unclear)

- Since opening their office in this area, they have improved their services to the community.

- The needs of their customers have changed. Their financial needs have become complex and detailed.

- The size of their current space prohibits them from providing the best confidential financial service.

- When they first leased the space, they did not have the need to increase their staff.

- He asks that the Commission approve their request for expansion.

- Their customers patronize other businesses in the West Portal area.

(+) Suki Lee – Branch Manager of Charles Schwab

- She supports the expansion of their office.

- Their expansion plan is very well received by the neighborhood.

- They have received over 1,200 signatures of customers and businesses who support their expansion.

- They have serviced over 36,000 customers. They did a random survey and 96% indicated that they frequent other merchants while visiting Charles Schwab.

- She hopes that the Commission will support this proposal.

(+) Victoria Minas

- She has been working in West Portal for about 13 years as a hairdresser.

- She has her own financial problems so she is a Charles Schwab customer. When she goes to this office she feels self-conscious about speaking about her financial problems and having other people listen.

- There are a lot of elderly people living in the West Portal area who can visit this office and not have to travel all the way downtown.

(+) Jeffrey Eng

- Their neighborhood association borders the West Portal neighborhood.

- Their members frequent the West Portal Avenue shops.

- He is here to speak as an individual and to speak as a West Portal employee.

- His organization is frequently analyzing projects in his neighborhood and they always look to approving projects that will benefit the neighborhood. The expansion of Charles Schwab is definitely a benefit to the neighborhood.

- He has worked at Charles Schwab for 3 years and has been very happy working there.

(-) Mathew Rogers – Papenhausen Hardware

- He owns two businesses in this neighborhood.

- His opposition is not about Charles Schwab. It is about the process and how this came about.

- Ms. Lee contacted the West Portal Business Association about the expansion. There wasn't any community meetings or input about this expansion.

- A community room can be built in the space where Charles Schwab wants to use but they were never given a chance to suggest it.

- Charles Schwab needs to expand but a more creative way needs to be developed.

- Expanding behind the current location would not loose any space that could be used for something else.

(-) Kathryn Claitor

- She owns Shaws Candy Store

- She is concerned about the loss of retail space. She feels that there should be some compromise.

- She has a lot of people who are interested in the vacant retail space.

- Weekend hours are her busiest days.

(-) Ray Doyle

- She is opposed to the project. She agrees with what the previous speakers have said.

- She attended a West Portal Association meeting on December 2, 1999. Brian Buckner did come and mentioned he was interested in locating on West Portal Avenue. He was told by one of the members of the association that Schwab had the locale and it was not available for anyone else.

- Although she is not against Schwab, she would rather see a retail storefront there.

- She doesn't agree with a store that is closed on Sunday and half day on Saturday.

- The first floor of this locale should be vibrant; they should just move the offices on the second floor if they want privacy.

(-) Bud Wilson – Greater West Portal Association

- He would like to regress here for a second.

- Reference has been made here to the number of vacancies on West Portal.

- He remembers coming to the Commission within the last eight years, there was 13 vacancies on West Portal.

- The neighborhood district controls have worked well to preserve and protect the street and the retail small business community. Now they are here trying to defend another small business location.

ACTION: Approved

AYES: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Lim, Salinas, Theoharis

MOTION: 16167


At Approximately 4:30 p.m. the Planning Commission convened into a Special Discretionary Review (DR) Hearing.

16. 2001.0253D (JONES: 558-6477)

3868-96 NORIEGA STREET - northeast corner of Noriega Street between 46th and 47th Avenues; Lots 53, 54 and 55 in Assessor's Block 2004. Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Applications: 9927325, 9937326, 9937327 for the demolition of a two-story structure and the construction of three, mixed-use buildings, each containing three residential units (total 9 units) over commercial space in an NC-1 (Neighborhood Commercial Cluster District) and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project as submitted.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of May 10, 2001)

Note: On April 26, 2001, after public testimony the Commission closed the public hearing and continued the matter to May 10, 2001 instructed staff to explore finish materials for each building.


(+) Lou Blazej

- The proposed building has distinction and individuality.

- He described the material of the exterior.

- He displayed another project by the same architect.

ACTION: Took DR and instructed staff to continue to work on material and landscaping.

AYES: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Salinas, Theoharis


17. 2001.0141D (CABREROS: 558-6169)

1041 LAKE STREET - south side between 11th and 12th Avenues, Lot 043 in Assessor’s Block 1371. Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2000/09/07/9909 proposing to extend the rear of the building and to construct two additional floors to the existing building (one-story over garage). A second story deck is also proposed within the required rear yard as permitted by the Planning Code. The proposed alteration occurs within the permitted building envelope in an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and disapprove the project.


(-) Tracy Thompson – DR Requestor

- She lives next door to the proposed expansion.

- She received a letter and voice mail message from the project sponsor who wanted to request a continuance and meet with her to come to a compromise.

- She would support a continuance and welcome a dialog but hoped that there was enough time to review the revised plans.

- A letter was sent to the Commission requesting a continuance.

- She would like to request that this hearing be continued in order to review the revised plans and perhaps come to an agreement and/or resolution.

- The 4th floor is definitely an issue. Although there are other issues: 1) the effect that the 4th story structure would have on the trio of post 1906 cottages, 2) the affect on rear yards of the neighbors; and 3) the affect of her light and air blockage.

- Apart from San Francisco Heritage she has support from the Richmond District Association and Richmond Community Association. Every neighbor who is in the immediate vicinity is opposing the project. The appropriate way to proceed would be to see the plans and if there are no further issues to come to an agreement.

(-) Barbara Gault

- She lives on 12th Avenue and her house shares a back yard with the proposed construction.

- She is blessed with a beautiful view and a wonderful garden.

- These gardens create a wonderful oasis which many neighbors treasure.

- She will be commenting about the 2nd set of plans that were developed.

- Her lot is smaller than most lots and the proposed deck will come out close to her yard and create a privacy problem.

- The construction will significantly create a problem to her light and air.

(-) Bill Sugaya - Architect

- He was hired by the DR requestor to review the plans of the proposal.

- He served as president of the Landmarks Board many years ago.

- The changes made to the current plans do not deal with the historical significance of the building and the height of the building.

- The issue of compatibility should be taken into account.

- The proposed project is supposed to be reduced in size.

(-) Susie Eng

- She lives on Lake Street.

- She has lived at this house for more than 25 years. She has seen many remodels to their homes. None of the projects have been out of scale to the guidelines of the neighborhood.

- The interesting design of these cottages gives the neighborhood a distinctive look.

- The proposed construction would take away a lot of the charm of the neighborhood.

- She would like the plans to be reduced by one floor.

(-) Racher Meyer

- It is really important for her and her family to be able to see the green of the yards in her neighborhood.

- Privacy and mid-open space are issues to her.

(-) Chuck Lantz

- When he first saw the plans for this house, he determined that this is a monster home.

- He wouldn't even consider constructing something like this.

- He feels that someone is going to move in and then move out.

- He hopes that the Commission gives the neighbors time to talk to the developer.

(-) Vince Meyer

- He lives on Lake Street; he has lived there since 1975.

- He feels that he has been lead negatively about this project.

- A large portion of the house will be demolished so he doesn't understand why it's not considered a demolition.

- There will be loss of lighting and character of the neighborhood, and loss of time for coming to this hearing.

- The decks will definitely be a problem to their privacy.

(-) Laura Patterson

- She hates speaking in front of this many people but this is how strongly she feels about this.

- She feels that there is a general misconception that there is one large house after another all the way from Arguello Boulevard to Sea Cliff.

- One would find a pleasant mixed residential street with amenities not often found on larger streets.

- The larger buildings closer to Park Presidio Boulevard are typically six to eight unit apartment buildings with some smaller single-family houses.

- The block where her family lives, between 11th and 12th Avenues, is anchored with such apartment buildings.

- She believes that this project is inappropriate for the site and will be detrimental to the block.

- She is concerned that the project will block her sunlight and will have to deal with the construction, the porta potty and construction vehicles taking over parking spaces.

(-) Deborah Jenkins

- She has been a resident of San Francisco for 10 years. She lives on Sacramento Street but walks often on Lake Street.

- One of the unique things of Lake Street are the cottages on that block.

- Allowing a monster home to replace a little cottage will begin to destroy the uniqueness of the homes in San Francisco.

(-) Eugenia Perez

- She lives on 12th Avenue. The back yard of the proposed site comes to the side of her property.

- She wrote a letter, which she submitted, to the Commission expressing her opposition to the project.

- She has a very small yard.

- She has a lot of privacy in her yard but with the proposed construction she will lose that.

- A 4-story building or a 3-story building will give her the impression that she is standing next to an elevator shaft.

- Her oasis will be in full view of a 4th or 3rd floor view.

- She requests that the Commission not approve projects that demand so much space.

(-) Michael Paulson

- He lives on Lake Street and has lived there for 25 years.

- This neighborhood is open and light. One can walk down streets in San Francisco and see lot after lot.

- This project will become the biggest house on the block. It will be bigger than the flats. It will be bigger than the small apartment building at the other end.

(-) Hiroshi Fukuda

- He is a pharmacist and is a long term resident of the Richmond District.

- He purchased his house in the early 1970s.

- There was a meeting held in the neighborhood where all the neighbors who attended were very cordial and pleasant. He was very surprised because when he saw the plans, they shocked him because it was so large. He assumed that the project sponsor had a very large family or a very large extended family, but he did not.

(-) Helen Lantz

- She wishes the Commissioners can come to Lake Street and get an idea of what the neighborhood is really like.

- There are 3 people who live on a 2nd story flat.

- The proposed construction will create an impact on the light and air of her neighbors.

- It is not in the context of the neighborhood.

(-) Blake Hallanan

- She lives on 12th Avenue

- If the Commission approves this project, it will send a message to developers to build bigger.

- She urges the Commission not to approve the project.

(+) Ana Dirkising

- She submitted new plans to the Commission, which eliminate the 4th Story.

- She and her husband have two children and live a few blocks away from the proposed construction, which they will be living in.

- They are willing to talk to the department and eliminate the 4th floor.

- They have looked at other places for a home. They love the neighborhood so much and would like to continue living there.

- From her property line, her house already has a setback.

- She displayed a diagram of the block and lots. There are many houses that have large lot sizes.

- She is willing to eliminate the 4th floor if that is what the Commission requires.

ACTION: Take DR and approve project with the following amendments: 1) remove 4th floor; 2) new design should be reviewed and approved by staff.

AYES: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Salinas, Theoharis


18. 2001.0426D (FU: 558- 6613)

43 ELLSWORTH STREET - east side between Bernal Heights and Powhattan Boulevards, Lot 029 in Assessor's Block 5625 -- Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2001/01/24/0487, proposing to remodel the interior space and extend the rear of the building to the minimum rear yard setback in a RH-1 (Residential, House, One-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project as proposed.


(-) Brian Dare – DR Requestor

- He owns the property adjacent to the proposed project.

- He apologizes if his DR review application is not as professional and comprehensive as the Commission is accustomed to.

- The architect sent the final plans for this project to him on the very last day of the notification expiration date. He was given only one business day to review the plans and file a DR.

- He has had to stand in long lines at the Planning Department and at City Hall on the last day trying to express his concerns about this proposal.

- This proposal is a live/work loft that in his view is trendy and ultramodern.

- The entire first floor will be all glass with a triangular protrusion. There is glass from floor to ceiling.

- No one on the block or in the neighborhood has this design. The design simply is not in keeping with neighborhood character.

- It will stand out and look significantly different than anything else in the neighborhood.

- Anyone driving north on Bernal Heights Boulevard or just walking to the park at the top of the hill will stare at this building.

- At night, it will be fully lit. He believes that it will be a distraction to drivers on Bernal Heights Boulevard.

- For this reason alone, he feels that the construction should be modified. As for his concerns, he feels that the adjacent homes will feel a loss of privacy.

- He believes that a flat back wall with less glass would be more appropriate.

- The size of the windows should be reduced as well.

(+) Mark Lindsell – Project Architect

- He would like to address the comment made by the previous speaker about the drawings.

- It is true that there were revised drawings issued very late in the process. The only change that was made was that the neighbor's house was longer than what was shown on the previous drawings. So the amount of extension of the proposed building was actually less. The drawing actually showed a smaller impact to the neighbor than was originally shown.

- This neighborhood has a mix of home styles.

- The neighbor has expressed concerns that the new construction will allow people to look into his backyard. People can look into his backyard right now.

- The neighbor has also expressed concerns about the deck extending too far out. The deck will not extend that much.

(+) Jerry Lombardi – Project Sponsor

- He took a long time to try to get his neighbors to support his project. He contacted his neighbors to his side and to the front of his house.

- Mr. Dare does not live in the property next to his house. He rents it out.

- He contacted the people who live there, showed them the plans several times, and had full support from them.

- He also contacted the people living across the street, whose view will be impacted very slightly when they raise the roof about a foot.

- He also showed the plans to the people living to the north since they would be impacted as well so he revised the plans to consider their issues.

- He received 9 letters in support of his project.

- This project will not be a live/work project. It will be a single-family house.

- Also, this is not a Victorian neighborhood. It's a mixed-use neighborhood.

- The project will only stick out 6 inches from his neighbor's house. Since the project will be located to the north so he doesn't believe that his neighbor's house will be impacted in any way.

ACTION: Do not take DR and approve project as proposed.

AYES: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Salinas, Theoharis


19. 2001.0454D (SIROIS: 558-6313)

769-791 CASTRO STREET - east side between Liberty and 21st Streets, Lot 025 in Assessor's Block 3603. Staff-initiated Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2001/02/20/2498, proposing to merge two dwelling units into one dwelling unit in a RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and disapprove the building permit application


(+) Alice Barkley – Representing Project Sponsor

- These units will be converted back into a family home. What the Commission is looking at is just eliminating one small unit but providing for a family's needs.

- In the last 5 years, more families have moved into the City. The problem is that it's difficult for families to move back into the City.

- There will be a family of 5 living in the combined units.

- The housing production in the past has focused on smaller units. There are simply not enough units that are suitable for families.

- In terms of density, when you look at a family of five living in what is going to be basically a three-bedroom unit versus two-single family units, the same number of people, probably more, are going to be living in this building.

(+) Denise Ledbetter

- They have lived in San Francisco for many years.

- They used to live in Noe Valley for many years.

- In 1999 they started the architectural drawings to expand their Noe Valley home. Because of the housing boom they realized that the expansion would be too expensive.

- They realized that they would have to rent for a few months in order to get their expansion completed.

- They decided to move and purchase the property on Castro Street. This house had originally been a single family home and would be easy to convert back to the way it was.

(+) Joe O'Donaghue – Residential Builders

- These people bought their home before this Commission approved the merger policy.

- This case is about retaining families in this City.

- These people were put into a fix because of our laws and they should not be punished because of these laws.

- For 60 years, this building was a single-family residence.

- Please don't drive families out of this City.

(+/-) Sue Hestor

- A lot of houses in San Francisco don't have central heating. Space heaters rule in San Francisco because of the climate.

- She has never lived in an apartment that had central heating.

- It's a slippery slope if you start saying that it's impossible to provide code compliant heat without going to something more elaborate.

ACTION: Do not take DR and approve project as proposed.

AYES: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Salinas, Theoharis


5:30 P.M.


20. 2001.0348I (BORDEN: 558-6321)

2318 FILLMORE STREET - SMITH-KETTLEWELL EYE RESEARCH INSTITUTE ABBREVIATED INSTITUTIONAL MASTER PLAN - Assessor’s Block 612, Lot 19; 2209 Webster Street, Assessor’s Block 612, Lot 7; 2232 Webster Street, Assessor’s Block 613, Lot 28; 2238 Webster Street, Assessor’s Block 613, Lot 15; 2244 Webster Street, Assessor’s Block 613, Lot 16; 2250-2252 Webster Street, Assessor’s Block 613, Lot 17; 2389 Washington Street, Assessor’s Block 613, Lot 18; and 2472 Clay Street, Assessor’s Block 612, Lot 17 -- The Planning Department received an Abbreviated Institutional Master Plan (Abbreviated IMP) for the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute (SKERI) on January 5, 2001. This Abbreviated IMP applies to SKERI’S properties, located in the Fillmore Neighborhood Commercial District (NCD), the RM-2 (Mixed Residential, Moderate Density) District, and the RH-2 (House, Two-Family) District and the 160-F and 40-X Height and Bulk Districts. All of the properties, except 2318 Fillmore, 2232 Webster, and 2472 Clay are in the Webster Street Historic District. Per the requirements of Planning Code Section 304.5, this filing was reported to the members of the Planning Commission at the April 5, 2001 hearing. At that hearing, the Commission directed staff to schedule a hearing for the receipt of public testimony on the Abbreviated IMP for May 17, 2001, due to expressed public interest.

Preliminary Recommendation: No action is required of the Commission. However, the Commission may request additional information of the Institute.


(-) Judy Langley

- Saving Webster Street is very important.

- There are many people here to speak on this issue yet a few had to leave because of the late hour of this hearing.

- San Francisco Historical Heritage is also here.

- Before Smith-Kettlewell moved into the neighborhood, the houses were typical Victorian houses.

- They have slowly moved into the neighborhood and have converted many of these Victorian houses into large institutional buildings.

- Building maintenance became deteriorated. They then went to the Landmarks Advisory Board and requested that these houses be restored, which some were.

- Many of the houses and their buildings have large and noisy air-conditioning equipment that are on 24 hours a day. This noisy equipment disrupts the rest of the neighbors.

- In previous reports, Smith-Kettlewell stated that they had no plans of expansion. Since then, they have taken over about 6 Victorian houses.

- This abbreviated master plan is not very accurate.

- Why do they buy these houses in the first place? What is the real reason for retaining ownership of these houses? At one point, Smith-Kettlewell stated that they needed these houses for housing for students and as short-term housing for visiting professors.

- Is Smith-Kettlewell done expanding?

- The Institute recently wrote that they want amicable relations with the neighbors. A week ago they invited the neighbors to an open house.

- When the neighbors ask to work with them, the Institute ignores them.

- We don't want to be here ten years from now asking for the houses to be restored.

- We don't want to continue to pay heavy legal fees to continue fighting the Institute.

- Real families should inhabit these houses.

- It's time to stop this fighting.

(-) Ian Berke – Pacific Heights Residents Association

- His association is totally opposed of this Abbreviated Master Plan. It's not even abbreviated anyway.

- Smith-Kettlewell has a history of ignoring the Commission's desires.

- The Institute argues that they can't expand--but they can buy as they please?

- An institution of 80 employees requires so much space and is unaware of the requirements?

(-) Heidi Engelbrechten – Friends of Webster Street

- She lives in one of the buildings in the Webster Street Historic District.

- The Smith Kettlewell Master Plan describes four of its Victorian houses. One is currently used for residential purposes and three are currently vacant and will be used for residential purposes in the future, housing staff lecturers, fellows, doctors and others as needed.

- It's sad that in San Francisco, a Victorian is not on the housing market.

- How can we be sure that once this hearing is over, they won't once again have illegal guesthouses?

- Will Smith-Kettlewell provide its own interpretation and who is going to monitor the proper residential use?

- Whether left empty or used for visitors, these houses don't contribute to a neighborhood ambiance and that's what they want to restore.

- They want real residents in these houses who contribute to the neighborly interaction of our community.

- They realized how much Smith-Kettlewell has intruded after they had a block party.

(-) Nelson Wild – Friends of Webster Street and Webster Street Historic District

- He has lived on Webster Street since 1972.

- He referred to the interpretation of the Planning Commission Resolution adopted in 1996 that has to do with no north expansion.

- What does it matter that the institute buy, lease or rent--it is still a violation of this resolution.

- We submit that the use of this for 30 years or more is a violation.

(-) Bill Eddelman – Friends of Webster Street

- He has lived in the neighborhood for many years.

- He read a letter from a neighbor who could not attend and is opposed to the project.

(-) Mike Farrah – Office of Supervisor Newsom

- Supervisor Newsom could not be here tonight because of a previous engagement.

- He has worked with the supervisor for many years.

- The supervisor feels that the Abbreviated Master Plan is inadequate.

(-) Peggy Garlinghouse – Friends of Webster Street

- She believes that this neighborhood is a wonderful neighborhood for families.

- She believes that the Commission would want to approve a neighborhood that welcomes families.

(-) Mike Hamond – President of the Victorian Alliance

- He is here to support the Friends of Webster Street Historic District in keeping these homes for families.

- He would also like to know what plans Smith-Kettlewell has for maintaining these homes and what specific information is planned for use of these homes if they become part of the master plan.

(-) Beverly McCallister – Friends of Webster Street

- She is a member of the Friends of Webster Street

- She lives adjacent to the Webster Street Historic District and she is a member of the Pacific Heights Residence Board of Directors.

- She was surprised by the remarks made by Smith-Kettlewell's legal representative that the Friends of Webster Street Historic District members were engaged in Institute bashing.

- She is happy by the positive contribution made by researches of Smith-Kettlewell. She knows how hard researchers must work.

- She remembers that at the Planning Commission hearing in 1966, the Smith-Kettlewell representative was asked if they planned further expansion on the subject block and the answer was no.

- She believes that moving researchers into homes that are designed for residential use is not right. -

(-) Susan DuCote – Webster Street Historical Alliance

- She lives on Washington Street. Her office and bedroom look over her yard, which is bordered with the back part of the Smith-Kettlewell Institute.

- A hospital related entity moved into a residential neighborhood and now they want to say their master plan should be extended?

- Personally, she has her suspicions of why they bought the other buildings.

- The Institute just finished a two-year construction project that was just incredibly invasive. The Institute never returns phone calls and wouldn't tell her whom to talk to regarding the construction problems until she called the Board of Supervisors.

- She hopes that the Commission will keep the Institute from encroaching in the neighborhood because it's difficult enough as it is.

(-) Howard Schindler – Friends of Webster Street

- He has lived all his life in San Francisco and previously lived in this neighborhood for eight years.

- His business partner has been living and renting in the neighborhood for five years and loves the neighborhood.

- He recently married and has two children. He saw an opportunity to purchase a Victorian home directly across from Smith-Kettlewell. He loves the neighborhood and the urban feel. He knew that Smith-Kettlwell was there.

- But he was shocked and never dreamed that the Victorians would possibly be torn down or used for institutional purposes.

- He would like for the Commission to have these Victorian homes remain vibrant and used for their intended use--single-family homes.

(-) Mark Zier – Friends of Webster Street

- He lives on Washington Street.

- The Smith-Kettlewell representatives have spoken about the Institute's longevity in the neighborhood.

- The Abbreviated Master Plan states that the Institute was formed in 1959 yet their literature states that they were formed in 1963.

- The fact that the Institute has been there a very long time, does not give them any special rights.

- The minutes of a Planning Commission hearing in 1966 stated that the neighbors were opposed to the Institute coming into the neighborhood.

- In some cases, the Institute bought the homes as owners passed away.

- She believes that the Institute is just anxiously waiting for more homeowners to pass away so that they can purchase more Victorians.

- Newcomers to the neighborhood think that they are buying a home in a residential neighborhood instead of a medical campus.

(-) Josh Thieriot

- He is 29 years old and he has lived in the neighborhood for 27 of those years.

- He has many fond memories of playing football in the streets when traffic permitted, doorbell ditching and trick or treating with his neighbors.

- He asks the Commission for help in preserving the neighborhood.

(-) William Campbell – Victorian Alliance

- He desires that the Commission return the six Victorians back to private ownership and residential.

(-) Linda Kiouda – PHRA

- She belongs to various neighborhood groups and has lived for 17 years in a restored Victorian.

- Smith-Kettlewell tells everyone that they have no plans for expansion so their distrust has been a factor for 35 years.

- So she apologizes for not believing in what the Institute has been saying.

- It is true, of course, that an institution will outlive all of us, so it's very important that the Planning Commission restate and reaffirm in unmistakable terms that no medical or hospital related facility of any sort be allowed beyond the boundaries of the existing master plan on Webster, Washington, Buchanan, Clay or Fillmore Streets.

(-) Joe Dews – Friends of Webster Street

- He lives on Washington Street.

- His house is directly adjacent to the Victorians being discussed as well as the concrete building with the lab space for Smith-Kettlewell.

- When he bought his house he knew he had a hospital behind the house. He didn't realize he was sort of encircled.

- He is very disturbed by the noise from the roof units and the light from the buildings.

- He received a notice of an appeal to a Planning commission ruling that caused him to think that there was an attempt to change zoning or permits related to the adjacent properties.

- He would like for Smith-Kettlewell to sell the houses to individuals so that families can come live in them.

- If the Institute needs to provide short-term housing for affiliated parties, they should do that with appropriate housing in an appropriately zoned location.

(-) Sarah Morse

- She lives on Clay Street.

- She believes that if the Board of Supervisors did pass a resolution last August, which she heard they did, that the eye Institute restore the buildings to proper residential use, that they comply with it. Proper residential use means you live there and you sleep there.

(-) Margot Parke – PHRA

- She is on the board of directors of the Pacific Heights Resident's Association.

- She believes that the Abbreviated Institutional Master Plan be rejected because it is uninformative.

- She would like the Commission to further reject any plans that would defacto extend an institution halfway through the Webster Street Historic District.

- She hopes that the Commission goes further than just make a decision about how much information you need from Smith-Kettlewell.

(-) Courtney Clarkson

- She is a member of the Pacific Heights Resident's Association.

- Over the past several years, when she sits around and listens to cases at Commission hearings, she concludes that we have a housing crisis and a housing shortage.

- Allowing these uses to continue sets a very bad precedent because if Smith-Kettlewell can get away with this, then why can't other institutions.

- She hopes that the Commission does not approve this Abbreviated Master Plan.

(-) John Barbey

- He is president of the Liberty Hill Association and this is sort of like a worst nightmare for someone in a historic district.

- It is fairly evident what this institution is attempting to do.

- They are slowly purchasing each of the residential units as they come on the market with probably the precise intention of overturning the historic district if they finally obtain a majority.

- He is stunned that they have actually got 20% of this district now.

- He has a very short fuse about conversion of residential to commercial.

- A hotel is not a house and an office is not a house.

- He finds it outrageous that this so-called Master Plan is just a vague two-page narrative about nothing.

(-) Don Langley

- Last year the Institute declared itself a separate entity from the California Pacific Medical Center.

- Robert Passmore is so closely following this case that the Planning Department routinely copies him on its letters

(+) John Sanger

- Unfortunately some aspects of history simply can't be reversed and that's the situation being faced.

- There is a great deal of disharmony and distrust. Now the challenge is to try to get a harmonious future.

- The Institutional Master Plan is perhaps not a terrible framework within which to work.

- Personally, as a lawyer, he believes there is no question that it satisfies the strict requirements of Section 304.5. But he is not here to do legal battle.

- If the Commissioners require more information, he is more than happy to provide it.

- The Institute is committed to not seeking any future Conditional Use authorizations. It will only use its property as permitted. It intends to seek no approvals.

ACTION: Informational Presentation Only. No Action Required.


At this time, members of the public may address the Commission on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Commission except agenda items. With respect to agenda items, your opportunity to address the Commission will be afforded when the item is reached in the meeting with one exception. When the agenda item has already been reviewed in a public hearing at which members of the public were allowed to testify and the Commission has closed the public hearing, your opportunity to address the Commission must be exercised during the Public Comment portion of the Calendar. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.

The Brown Act forbids a commission from taking action or discussing any item not appearing on the posted agenda, including those items raised at public comment. In response to public comment, the commission is limited to:

(1) Responding to statements made or questions posed by members of the public; or

(2) Requesting staff to report back on a matter at a subsequent meeting; or

(3) Directing staff to place the item on a future agenda. (Government Code Section 54954.2(a))

Joe O'Donaghue

- He was watching a Board of Supervisors hearing and to be honest he found the demeanor and the conclusions of Supervisor McGoldrick troubling as he tried to defame this Commission. He was also very negative about the Director.

- He felt that the Director was too nice in response to these comments.

- Supervisor McGoldrick needs to understand and learn from the history of past engagements, that if you're going to bring a Director, no matter what department, before the Board, that you at least let him know in advance what the line of questioning is going to be.

Adjournment: 9:06 p.m.



ACTION: Approved

AYES: Baltimore, Chinchilla, Fay, Joe, Salinas, and Theoharis


Last updated: 11/17/2009 10:00:12 PM