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City and County of San Francisco

February 2, 2006

February 2, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, February 2, 2006

1:30 PM

Regular Meeting

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: S. Lee; D. Alexander; M. Antonini; K. Hughes, C. Olague; W. Lee

THE MEETING WAS CALLED TO ORDER BY PRESIDENT SUE LEE AT 1: 40 P.M.

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Dean Macris – Director of Planning, Larry Badiner – Zoning Administrator; Daniel Sirois; Dan Sider; A. John-Baptiste; Jon Lau; Lois Scott; Mary Woods; Sharon Young; Amit Ghosh; Linda Avery – Commission Secretary

  • CONSIDERATION OF ITEMS PROPOSED FOR CONTINUANCE

The Commission will consider a request for continuance to a later date. The Commission may choose to continue the item to the date proposed below, to continue the item to another date, or to hear the item on this calendar.

1a. 2005.0480CV (J. PURVIS: (415) 558-6354)

2814-2824 JENNINGS STREET - west side at Egbert Avenue, Lot 001 in Assessor's Block 4912 - Request for Conditional Use authorization under Planning Code Sections 303 and 215(a) to allow conversion of approximately 4,000 gross square feet of commercial space into five dwelling units without access to parking or open space. The site is within an M-1 (Light Industrial) Use District, a 40-X Height and Bulk District, the Restricted Light Industrial Special Use District, and an Industrial Protection Zone pursuant to Planning Commission Resolution No. 16202.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approve the Conditional Use with modifications and conditions.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 12, 2005)

(Proposed for Continuance to February 9, 2006)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

1b. 2005.0480CV (J. PURVIS: (415) 558-6354)

2814-2824 JENNINGS STREET - west side at Egbert Avenue, Lot 001 in Assessor's Block 4912 - Request for Off-street Parking, Open Space and Rear Yard Variances under Planning Code Section 305 to allow conversion of approximately 4,000 gross square feet of commercial space into five dwelling units without access to parking or open space. The site is within an M-1 (Light Industrial) Use District, a 40-X Height and Bulk District, the Restricted Light Industrial Special Use District, and an Industrial Protection Zone pursuant to Planning Commission Resolution No. 16202.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 12, 2005)

(Proposed for Continuance to February 9, 2006)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

1c. 2005.0481DV (J. PURVIS: (415) 558-6354)

2826-2838 JENNINGS STREET - west side at Fitzgerald Avenue, Lot 002 in Assessor's Block 4912 - Staff-initiated Discretionary Review under Planning Code Section 311, of a building permit to convert approximately 1,200 gross square feet of commercial space to three new dwellings units without access to parking or open space, subject to variance. The site is within an RM-1 (Residential, Mixed, Low Density) Use District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

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

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 12, 2005)

(Proposed for Continuance to February 9, 2006)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

1d. 2005.0481DV (J. PURVIS: (415) 558-6354)

2826-2838 JENNINGS STREET - west side at Fitzgerald Avenue, Lot 002 in Assessor's Block 4912 - Request for Off-street Parking, Open Space and Rear Yard Variances under Section 305 to allow conversion of approximately 1,200 gross square feet of commercial space to three new dwellings units without access to parking or open space. The site is within an RM-1 (Residential, Mixed, Low Density) Use District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 12, 2005)

(Proposed for Continuance to February 9, 2006)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

2a. 2003.0159CV (B. FU: (415) 558-6613)

2527 Mission Street - east side, between 21st and 22nd Streets, Lot 026 in Assessor's Block 3615 - Request for Conditional Use authorization under Planning Code Sections 161(j), 303, and 712.70 to allow a reduction in the off-street parking requirement for dwelling units within a NC-3 (Moderate-Scale Neighborhood Commercial) District with a 65-B Height and Bulk designation, and in the Housing/Mixed Use Zone as designated by Planning Commission Resolution No. 16727. The project also includes a Variance request for the off-street parking requirement for the proposed office and retail uses.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions.

(Proposed for Continuance to February 16, 2006)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

2b. 2003.0159CV (B. FU: (415) 558-6613)

2527 Mission Street -east side, between 21st and 22nd Streets, Lot 026 in Assessor's Block 3615 - Request for Off-Street Parking Variance under Planning Code Section 151 to require off-street parking be provided in the minimum quantities specified per each principal use of a building over 5,000 square feet of gross floor area. A total of 13 independently accessible off-street parking spaces are required as a result of the proposed new uses on the first and second floors and none are provided.

(Proposed for Continuance to February 16, 2006)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

3. 2005.1088EZ (D. SIDER: (415) 558-6697)

[Board File No. 051819 – Lower Haight Street Neighborhood Commercial Rezoning] - Ordinance introduced by Supervisor Mirkarimi amending the Zoning Map to change use classifications as follows: within Assessor's Block No. 0847, Lot Numbers 008, 009, 044 and 045 (formerly Lot Number 10), 011, 012, 013, 54 and 55 (formerly Lot Number 14), 015, and 016 from a zoning designation of RH-3 (Residential, House Districts, Three-Family) to NC-2 (Small Scale Neighborhood Commercial District) and Lot Numbers 017, 018, 019, 020, and 021 from a zoning designation of NC-1 (Neighborhood Commercial Cluster District) to NC-2 (Small Scale Neighborhood Commercial District); and within Assessor's Block No. 0861, Lot Numbers 031, 032, 033, and 034 from a zoning designation of RH-3 (Residential, House Districts, Three-Family) to NC-2 (Small Scale Neighborhood Commercial District) and Lot Numbers 022, 023, 025, 026, 027, 028, and 046 through 065 (formerly Lot Number 29) from a zoning designation of NC-1 (Neighborhood Commercial Cluster District) to NC-2 (Small Scale Neighborhood Commercial District). The subject properties are on both sides of Haight Street between Steiner and Pierce Streets. The proposal would reclassify parcels currently designated as either RH-3 or NC-1 to NC-2.

(Proposed for Indefinite Continuance)

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Continued Indefinitely

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

B. COMMISSIONERS' QUESTIONS AND MATTERS

  1. Commission Comments/Questions

Commissioner Antonini:

  • C-3 Legislation is currently in a somewhat different form now at the Board of Supervisors, moving through the process.
  • I guess it's important to me and I think the public would like to know what the differences are.
  • We do not need to know it necessarily today, but between what is presently before them and what had been forwarded by those commissioners who voted in favor of it, with specific reference to the suggested amendments I made. Are they being considered?
  • The issue regarding above-ground parking levels, accessory parking, accessory to residential, commercial parking buildings, those specific issues but not limited to that if there are others that have changed.
  • I think it is important that the public know that this is not necessarily the same legislation that was the legislation that came through the Planning Commission a month or two ago.

C. DIRECTOR'S REPORT

5. Director's Announcements

None

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

Board of Supervisors – reported by Dan Sider, Department staff

  1. First, Bevan Dufty's legislation to allow full bars in restaurants along the 24th Street corridor did pass on firsts reading, the vote was 10 to 0. Supervisor McGoldrick was absent.
  2. 1043-1045 Francisco Street – Appeal of categorical exemption – it was before the Board for an appeal of environmental determination. I would like to note that the Department and the Supervisors did receive a letter from Mr. Williams, the attorney for the appellant in this case, the morning of the hearing withdrawing that appeal.
  3. Better Neighborhood Plus – was head at the full Board two weeks ago. It was re-referred to the committee level because of several amendments that were made. It was passed out of committee again to the full Board after hearing comments. The vote was 2 to 0. Supervisors Sandoval and McGoldrick voting to send it back to the full Board.
  4. Last, to follow up on Commissioner Antonini's comments earlier, C-3 Parking. This package of controls did appear for final action by the Committee yesterday. Dr. Ghosh and Mr. Switzky did go to present your position on this matter, forwarding your thoughts including minority sentiment, especially those set forth by Commissioner Antonini, including topics such as the potential PDR scheme for parking credits as well as contributions via an impact fee or similar mechanism to public transit. Those were conveyed to the committee. Mr. Switzky and Dr. Ghosh did a yeoman's job responding to questions with respect to the substance of what did occur at the hearing. Importantly, there was one new significant change that the committee did unanimously act on.
  5. Under your conditional use authorization should this ordinance pass, new units in the C-3 area that have both a thousand square feet or more of floor area and two or more bedrooms, may seek to provide one-to-one parking. On balance, that did pass the ordinance as a whole out of committee 3 to 0.
  6. Commissioner Antonini, if I can direct a few remarks directly to you: We would stress a couple of changes that were made. On balance the Commission recommended amendments were incorporated in full into the current draft of the ordinance. Now it is very conceivable that the ordinance will see further changes down the road, perhaps at the full Board. What we would like to do should this become law is bring it back to you in the final form and go through what it means for a new project in C-3.

D. GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT – 15 MINUTES

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. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.

SPEAKERS:

Tony Kelly – Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association

  1. At public comment at last week's meeting, Director Macris asked me about the interim controls for the Eastern Neighborhoods. This needs to be brought back to the community.
  2. One big problem with the interim controls is that the definition of PDR is totally different from what was presented to us during the community-based workshops.
  3. In the interim controls you have before you, PDR is now defined by what it is not rather than what it is.
  4. Director Macris, at the first meeting you were at with this commission, you said that the rezoning of the Eastern Neighborhoods was going to be the most important thing that we would be working on.
  5. So if it is so important, why cut the commissioners and the public out of that process?
  6. The only answer that really seems to make any kind of sense commissioners is that the Planning Department is trying to rush in approvals for developers on applications that are already in the pipeline and they don't have an interest in environmental impacts, oversights or community based planning.
  7. These interim controls are going to kill the community based planning process.
  8. You need to stop the giveaway.

E. PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS WHERE THE PUBLIC HEARING HAS BEEN CLOSED

At this time, members of the public who wish to address the Commission on agenda items that have already been reviewed in a public hearing at which members of the public were allowed to testify and the public hearing has been closed, must do so at this time. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.

SPEAKERS:

Peter Gant

Re: 1401-1409 Castro Street

  1. I watched the tape of the previous hearing on this and I heard someone say there was no back door to the unit, which is curious.
  2. I have lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and I knew the tenant who lived there.
  3. He lived there even longer than I've lived in the neighborhood and there certainly was a back door there at that time.
  4. I remember letting him in once when he locked himself out and we had to climb the gate on Castro Street on the little alley and it goes to a back door.
  5. Although it would seem that everybody is universally in support of this in the neighborhood, I think most of us didn't know about this.
  6. It is very difficult to get to meetings during work.
  7. I talked to a lot of the neighbors about this, and most of them seemed unaware of what's happening.
  8. So no, we are not universally in support of this.
  9. Personally, I am not in support of seeing more units go to businesses like this in these mixed development situations.
  10. It is unfortunate that at this particular address, there used to be three tenants living there, three separate units.
  11. Now it's totally vacant living units.
  12. The owner Ellis Acted it so now no one is living there.
  13. This is really the wrong direction to go in our neighborhood and I'm just sorry to see that.

  1. CONSIDERATION OF FINDINGS AND FINAL ACTION – PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED

7. 2005.0578D (D. SIROIS: (415) 558-6313)

1401-1409 Castro Street - east side between Jersey & 25th Street, Lot 025, in Assessor's Block 6538 - Mandatory Discretionary Review, under the Planning Commission's Policy on Dwelling Unit Mergers (and dwelling unit removal), of Building Permit Application No. 2005.05.02.1317, proposing to convert a cottage located at the rear of the property from residential use to commercial use. The subject property is located in the 24th Street, Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District in a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and disapprove the residential conversion to commercial use.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 12, 2006)

NOTE: On January 12, 2006, following public testimony and Commission deliberation, the Commission closed the public hearing and continued this matter to February 2, 2006 by a vote +4 –0. Commissioners Bradford-Bell, William Lee were absent. Commissioner Olague was excused.

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Took Discretionary Review and disapproved

AYES: S. Lee, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, W. Lee

NAYES: Antonini

EXCUSED: Olague

ABSENT: Alexander

G. CONSENT CALENDAR

All matters listed hereunder constitute a Consent Calendar, are considered to be routine by the Planning Commission, and will be acted upon by a single roll call vote of the Commission. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the Commission, the public, or staff so requests, in which event the matter shall be removed from the Consent Calendar and considered as a separate item at this or a future hearing.

8. 2005.1086ET (D. SIDER: (415) 558-6697)

[Board File No. 051841 – Bar Uses In Certain Haight Street Movie Theatres]- Ordinance introduced by Supervisor Mirkarimi amending Planning Code Section 781.9 to allow a bar use in a movie theater under specificed circumstances in the Haight Street Alcohol Restricted Use Subdistrict. The Ordinance would allow beer and wine to be sold at certain single-screen movie theatres to ticket holders during performances.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Approved

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, and W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander and Olague

RESOLUTION: 17181

  • REGULAR CALENDAR

9. (A. JOHN-BAPTISTE: (415) 558-6547)

PLANNING DEPARTMENT'S PROPOSED WORK PROGRAM AND BUDGET FOR FY 2006-2007 - Consideration of the Planning Department's Proposed Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2006-2007.

SPEAKERS:

Program Director at San Francisco Beautiful

  1. The need for enforcement planners is essential this year.
  2. We have so many issues coming down the pipe with regard to billboards and to see the enforcement staff increase to address this issue is extremely important.

Bob Klausner

  1. A review of the budget proposal submitted by Mr. Macris leaves me a little puzzled because it does not reflect what I thought we all understood was going to happen the last time we had the grand jury report.
  2. We made five recommendations at that time and the program has been delayed for over four years.
  3. The Planning Director and the Mayor's Office and the other people who were making responses approved all of those recommendations.
  4. One completed recommendation was a draft work plan that never saw the light of day in front of the Planning Commission.

10. 2006.0074M (J. LAU: (415) 558-6383)

South Bayshore Area Plan - Initiation of a General Plan Amendments - The South Bayshore Plan covers the area generally bounded by Cesar Chavez Street, Highway 101, the San Francisco/San Mateo County line, Hunters Point Shipyard, and the San Francisco Bay. The Commission will consider a Resolution of Intent to Initiate Amendments to the General Plan that include text and map revisions to the South Bayshore Area Plan.

Preliminary Recommendation: Adopt the Resolution of Intent to Initiate Amendments to the General Plan.

SPEAKERS:

Dan Dodt, Member of the Bayview Project Area Committee

  1. There are planning and zoning amendments that need to occur.
  2. I also wanted to stress the positive nature of the coordination of departments and agencies in this regard.
  3. I think there is really an unprecedented level of coordination and respect toward the Redevelopment Agency and the Planning Department on recognizing the vision and desires of the community, the Bayview District, the people who live and work there, the people who have owned their homes there, people who own small businesses.
  4. There is a living document at play here.
  5. As we move forward, these zoning criteria need to be respected.
  6. I hope that you will support the adoption of the resolution today.

ACTION: Adopted

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

ABSENT: Alexander

RESOLUTION: 17182

11. 2005.1087ET (L. SCOTT: (415) 558-6317)

[Board File No. 051844 - Amendments to Planning Code Section 610] - Ordinance introduced by Supervisor Peskin on November 8, 2005 which would amend Planning Code Section 610 to provide for neutral Administrative Law Judges to conduct reconsideration hearings concerning the Planning Director's assessment of administrative penalties for the unlawful operation of general advertising signs; to make additional procedural clarifications; to establish a fee for requesting a reconsideration hearing; and to make environmental findings and findings of consistency with the priority polices of Planning Code Section 101.1 and the General Plan.

Preliminary Staff Recommendation: Approval with further amendments

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 19, 2006)

SPEAKERS:

David Owen on behalf of Supervisor Aaron Peskin

  1. This legislation is a product of numerous conversations that the Supervisor and our office had with various members of Planning Department staff relative to frustrations with the existing Code, or lack of certain provisions in the existing Code which allow section 610 to operate as I think was originally intended by the Board of Supervisors.
  2. It's been a very interesting process, and it is obviously very related to other efforts which we are sure you will hear about in the near future relative to relocation agreements and that legislation.
  3. We appreciate all the input from the various parties and I know that the planning staff has recommendations which our office generally supports and we are interested in the recommendations of this Commission relative to the recommendations from staff as well as various issues that have been brought up and I am sure will be discussed here by San Francisco Beautiful and various members of the regulation committee as well.

Bill Hooper – President of Clear Channel Outdoor

  1. Our company is the successor of a company established in San Francisco in the early 1900s.
  2. I've spent about 25 years of my career coming to City Hall and talking about these issues so I can perhaps give a context for this that you don't quite have yet.
  3. The last really significant sign legislation until recently was in 1965 when the city put further restrictions on signs.
  4. Since that time there was not a lot of building activity because they eliminated roof signs, they eliminated freeway signs, and the opportunities to build were quite limited.
  5. But in the late  90s when the .com boom kicked in, the economics of owning a billboard changed and there was a flood of new talent.
  6. Some came in with permits by virtue of differing interpretations of the Planning Code. Others were blatantly illegal.
  7. That influx of new signs created legislation.
  8. In 2001 Leno passed his legislation
  9. In 2002 Proposition G was passed.
  10. From 1990 or during most of the  90s, we built few signs and we have 50% less inventory than we had in 1990 as a result of normal attrition.
  11. We are very much for enforcement and we are supportive of what the Planning Department's objectives are here to the extent it looks to get rid of signs that never even attempted to get a permit.
  12. Where we have some degree of concern is there are those who would advocate changing a light bulb needs a permit and therefore the sign is illegal.
  13. Most of our signs predate 1980, 1970.
  14. There are processes happening now with in lieu permits as a result of the Leno legislation and perhaps the Planning Department will be reviewing things.
  15. Additionally, we are concerned about the fee process.

Ryan Brooks, CBS Outdoor

  1. CBS was formerly known as Via Com Outdoor.
  2. CBS agrees with the legislation of 610 that is before you today.
  3. But keeping it in the full practice of full disclosure, we do have a selfish interest in this legislation, and that selfish interest is getting rid-off illegal signs in the City.
  4. What we are asking you to do today is to codify existing practice of collective action.
  5. We are not asking for anything new.
  6. The way the proposed legislation is written is that notice of violation would be given.
  7. The sign company would have to submit documents within ten days, go through the process of the Planning Commission within ten days to get documents back and forth to prove that a sign is legal or go in front of an Administrative Law judge.
  8. What this does is impose an undue burden of penalty of $20,000 to $50,000.
  9. What we are asking is use the building [codes] that currently exists to correct the problem.
  10. Billboards should not be treated any different than any other business in the city.
  11. We have signs that date back to 1908.
  12. If a contractor at the time in 1908 built a sign in the city that is two feet too high, we are asking for the same thing that every other company has, and that is the ability to correct it without excessive fees.

George Speir – CBS Outdoor

  1. We believe there should be an alternative explicitly in the law that says it [the sign] can be made in compliance with the permit rather than having it removed or go through an appeal process. That is a modification that we would request that you consider.
  2. The second issue has to do with the penalty provision: we believe the 20-day minimum penalty, if an appeal is unsuccessful, is improper and unlawful.
  3. We believe to penalize a company, that is exercising their rights in a legitimate dispute to take this to an administrative law judge is unfair and we would request that you eliminate that provision.

Mark Mosher

  1. I've worked with more of the independent sign companies than any other consultant in the last few years.
  2. What we really have is a situation where there were a number of signs put up during a period, some older ones, that are in an in lieu process. And I think at this point they number in the hundreds of cases that sit undecided because understandably there is not the staff or the resources to go through them on a one by one basis.
  3. I think at this point we should be trying to put in place some broad rules so you can have Rule of Law governing signs.
  4. One of those would be establishing an inventory.
  5. If you are going to get through this inventory in an orderly fashion, it seems that we should pursue a policy that penalizes the people who come into the process and really don't do anything to correct their enforcement problem.
  6. I think the amendment that is circulating around is definitely a step in the right direction, and we would encourage that sort of doctrine to be employed here.

Jared Eigerman of Ruben and Junius – Representing Clear Channel.

  1. We support tightening the administrative penalties for sign regulations.
  2. The key change today as we see it is previously or currently the penalties only apply for illegal installation and now they would cover illegal operation.
  3. There is one thing still missing and that is a clarification at the very beginning that before the Department leaps to imposing penalties, it should clear the pending cases.

Michael Colbruno, Vice-President Government Affairs, Clear Channel

  1. There are hundreds of signs in dispute.
  2. As some of you have heard, there is a company running around that is trying to file a complaint because a light bulb was changed.
  3. It is a shake down effort of millions of dollars of the big sign companies.
  4. Some of these signs are 100 years old.
  5. Sign companies don't have permit histories on most of them and the city doesn't have them either.
  6. Many of the signs that are complained about are in that in lieu file and are actually in compliance.
  7. [He read from three letters whose writers expressed their concern about the apparent extraction from Clear Channel and the unfair loss of essential streams of revenue. One writer expressed the opinion that the proposed amendment would worsen the problem for cities as well as owners of sign structures who get caught in the middle.]
  8. It is an absolute shame that these renegade companies are doing this.

Milo Hanke – San Francisco Beautiful

  1. We very much like this legislation.
  2. The people of San Francisco voted for no new billboards.
  3. Supervisor Leno passed a law that would start ending the windfall profits of illegal sign operators.
  4. What this legislation does is bring that payday to a close. The jig is up.
  5. We'd like to emphasize that the penalties and fees collected go to enforcement. But more specifically to billboard enforcement.
  6. I'd like to advise against a myth of a lack of records.
  7. It is very hard to prove that there was a record lost that may never have existed and this is a possible outcome of having too elaborate an appeal process that we could effectively grandfather billboards that should never have been up in the past.
  8. Let's just get it done. Let's start enforcing the law.

Debbie Lawson -- Next Media Outdoor

  1. We operate 25 walls here in San Francisco.
  2. We believe that the proposed legislation fines are excessive particularly in response to a small business like ours.

Robert Clausner

  1. I feel that there are two missing essentials that have to be focused on that the staff has not dealt with in the material they have sent you.
  2. The first is the funding source. They need an assured ongoing non-general fund source if enforcement is going to be meaningful and going to be continuous.
  3. The suggestion is that there be an annual licensing or permitting of all general advertising billboards.
  4. The second problem is the issue of who has the prime responsibility for dealing with this issue of the two parties of interest -- the owners of the buildings or the owners of the billboard?
  5. The issue is not clearly defined in here as to who would be held accountable for processing costs.
  6. It is important that you deal with only one interested party.
  7. I think if you had those two things clarified, you would have a very effective new statute.

Gerald Murphy

  1. I represent a small competitor of Clear Channel in a Federal Court lawsuit.
  2. It is not a shake down.
  3. No one has commented on the fact that when prop G was enacted it redefined what a general advertising sign was.
  4. It defined general advertising signs as those lawfully erected as of March 2002. A sign that was constructed pursuant to a permit in the  30s and modified without a permit was not lawfully erected in March 2002.
  5. So, to conform with the spirit of Prop G, which is to cap the existing inventory and remove illegal signs, if you were to go forward and allow a fix-it remedy that is to conform the sign to what the code was maybe in the 30s, 40s or 50s, what you have done is create a new general advertising sign that is expressly prohibited by Planning Code Section 611A.
  6. These are not simple light bulb fix problems.
  7. We are not talking about minor modifications.
  8. As a matter of fact, the Building Code has always required a permit for signs way before the Planning Code was enacted.
  9. Moreover, the Building Code has established a minimum deviation from permitted dimensions of 6 inches (Building Code section 104.6.7).
  10. The Law is clear.
  11. Minor means what it means in the Building Code.
  12. Any alteration beyond six inches is not permitted; therefore an illegal sign as of the time Prop G was enacted.
  13. If you are to go forward now and allow a fix it remedy, you are creating new General Advertising signs in my view.

Alice Barkeley

  1. I'd like to echo one of the previous speakers that said that ten days is insufficient time to provide evidence to demonstrate legality of a sign.
  2. It is impossible to meet. Not because the applicant doesn't want to do it quickly, but there is a process.
  3. Second, There are portions of records in the city that are not really open to the public to just go in and get a file.
  4. The Department of Building Inspection has what they call Historic Records.
  5. They have to have their staff research it/get it.
  6. We do not have access to it.
  7. How much time it takes depends on their workload.
  8. I think that you really need to define the ten days/business days in terms of showing evidence that we have applied for the record.
  9. There are signs in the City that were permitted as a matter of right prior to 1960.
  10. Now, there is no record because no permit is required.
  11. The only way you can find out whether those signs are legal or not is through what is called historic research.
  12. In one case it took about four years before DBI finally decided  oh yeah, we found it, it's legal.' Meanwhile the owner is threatened with $2,500 a day penalties. The property owner removed the sign under duress.
  13. Yet there has to be some provisions if you are going to allow people to put legal signs back up.
  14. Under those limited circumstances there should be rules to allow people to put up signs because the violation was in error.

ACTION: Approved as amended to adopt the Exhibit C Amendments; to address the in lieu process: to address when fines become effective and what happens to them; to address ownership and liability--who is accountable.

AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague,

ABSENT: Alexander, W. Lee

RESOLUTION: 17183

12a. 2005.0032DV (M. WOODS: (415) 558-6315)

1043-1045 FRANCISCO STREET - south side between Larkin and Polk Streets; Lot 020 in Assessor's Block 0477 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2004.02.10.6005S, proposing to construct a one-story horizontal addition over the existing one-story extension at the rear of a two-story over basement, two-family building, in an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

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

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 19, 2005)

SPEAKERS:

Stephen Williams, representing Discretionary Review Requestors

  1. We are asking the Commission to take Discretionary Review and reduce the size of this ugly box as we see it now.
  2. They are proposing a very large box addition at the rear that overlaps every aspect of the building.
  3. The height is the first issue. A 15-foot addition. It is more like two stories, instead of one.
  4. The current ground floor is eight feet in height.
  5. Why on earth do you need to add a floor that is a master bedroom only that is 15 feet in height? Almost twice as tall as the existing structure?
  6. When we brought that to the attention of the developer, they agreed immediately to reduce the height to 11 feet and he actually signed off on drawings. That is our Exhibit 2 in my brief.
  7. It is indeed a giant black box.
  8. It is ugly and violates the Residential Design Guidelines.
  9. If you look at the Residential Design Guidelines, they talk about setting back additions at the rear, setting them back to allow light to the neighbors.
  10. They are also seeking a variance.
  11. I am at a loss to understand how when you have a nonconforming structure with no rear yard at all, pavement only, and a garage in the rear, that you would actually grant a variance to make it more nonconforming.
  12. The policies and recommendations of the Code would demand that the rear yard be respected.
  13. That is what we are asking for and we hope that you will support the design review and make those slight changes.

Kay Black

  1. If you look at the street rhythm, it has a step down effect all the way down until you reach the developer's property which projects already higher than any other building on the street.
  2. The back portion, the 15-foot box, if you will, over the first story southern addition is cantilevered out.
  3. Not only does it darken the next-door neighbor's house, but he would also suffer from a terrible glare with all that glass.
  4. I would also mention that this is the façade that is out of character. It looks like a loft from SOMA.

Andrews Black

- We are worried because of past experience with people who say they want to build a nice house and then what they really want to do is develop property so they can sell it at a profit

  1. I go on record by saying we are against contrast, with all due respect to the presentation this afternoon.

John Loughran

  1. The project seems to have more mass than would be justified in its location on the hill.
  2. The step-down effect is not respected, as was mentioned.
  3. The design of the front seems a little stark and sterile as well.
  4. We don't know exactly how the treatment would be on the front that might soften it.
  5. But in the plans it looks to be out of context.

Rich Garvin

  1. This whole situation has affected me emotionally in a way I never anticipated a year ago.
  2. I haven't slept for two nights and I've decided that it is because I have this intense love for the neighborhood I've lived in since 1999, and for my home and for my neighbors.
  3. I never intended to have to come to you.
  4. I was hoping that we could workout a solution, but we haven't
  5. The 15-foot height was originally proposed but was reduced to 11 feet.
  6. I also asked John to cut four feet off the back because I only have one window in my bedroom and this would, I thought, eliminate the light into the bedroom.
  7. Otherwise I was fully in support of this proposal and looked forward to the work he was going to do on the house.
  8. He told me if I filed the DR he would withdraw all his plans and submit an even bigger, more impactful project.
  9. That is what he has done.
  10. All I'm asking is that you accept the DR; you take it back to the 11 feet that he signed off on in May as being comfortable with; and that you eliminate the four feet so we can move on from there and I won't have to impose upon my neighbors who have been such good sports and waited for hours to present their opinion.

Project Sponsor Representative [a name was not given]

  1. In all honesty I feel like I'm hearing about a different project than the one we are trying to get approved today.
  2. Our project will have very minimal impacts.
  3. It is a modest addition of a bedroom over a one-story extension. It is 646 square feet.
  4. It does not overhang the existing structure on either side.
  5. It is flush in the rear with an existing roof overhang.
  6. That is the project. It is 15 feet tall. That allows for an 11.5 foot ceiling within that bedroom
  7. It comes to a total height of 23 feet. And in this zone we can go up to as high as 40 feet.
  8. We are a full 17 feet below where we could be.
  9. In contrast, the DR Requestor's property next door is three stories–significantly higher and significantly longer even with the extension.
  10. [With pictures, he showed how the addition would not impact light and air to Mr. Garvin's property.]
  11. There is going to be no change to the front height of this building.
  12. This is merely adding a second story to an existing one-story extension in the back.
  13. I'm not quite sure I understand any neighbor concern about the slope going downward.
  14. I'd like to turn my attention to process because that is what flabbergasts me so.
  15. At the 11th hour basically what happened is the Planning Department found that the project was categorically exempt from CEQA.
  16. So at the 11th hour that was appealed.
  17. That appeal has been withdrawn at the Board of supervisors.
  18. I our view it was a delay tactic.
  19. I think any objection to this project is based on misunderstanding and a spreading of incorrect information.

Gary Bell

  1. submitted the application for the horizontal addition to the Planning Department on behalf of the project sponsor.
  2. Being familiar with the DR process, I am aware that from time to time there are frivolous cases that have been brought before you.
  3. These are often sour grape cases that shouldn't have reached the commission in the first place.
  4. The present DR is, in my opinion, one of the worst examples of a frivolous application.
  5. That it has reached you represents to me an abuse of the system and should be summarily denied.
  6. In this zoning district, no side yard setback is required. And yet there is a ten-foot light and air legal easement between the two buildings.
  7. This easement will not be touched by the horizontal addition.
  8. The DR applicant has several windows on his building along the easement.
  9. One group of these windows contains opaque glazing and no one can see in and no one can see out.
  10. The next window serves a bathroom.
  11. The remaining windows serve a master bedroom.
  12. This master bedroom window is above and beyond the proposed addition.
  13. Again, there is no issue of shading. There are no privacy issues. There are no light and air issues.
  14. Another reason this DR should be denied is when the project is completed the proposed addition will be below the existing height of the DR applicant's building.
  15. The DR applicant's building is taller than the proposed building with the addition.
  16. The project sponsor's building is also downhill from the DR applicant's property and as a result there is no sunshine obstruction. There are no shadows.
  17. And because the proposed addition is below and in front of the DR applicant's building, again, there is no privacy issue.

John Giatello

  1. There has been a lot said about this professional corporation called SOMA coming into the neighborhood.
  2. That is not the case.
  3. There is no SOMA Corporation.
  4. There is Soma Development, LLC and that is the way the property is held in title.
  5. I am not a residential developer and I want to go on the record as telling all of you here tonight that I've never built any residential lofts.
  6. I have never been a part of any company that has built any residential lofts.
  7. We have repeatedly tried to get these things across to Mr. Williams.
  8. The trees that he showed you were overgrown trees on my property partly.
  9. He has just used information and not taken my clarifications to heart.
  10. We do have support letters that will also get to you.
  11. I want to reiterate once again that there is green space beyond this eve.
  12. The addition will not go up to the third story and that I really have reached out to the neighborhood – not the folks that have spoken here tonight.
  13. I hope you will take a look at this project and give it your consideration.
  14. We are trying to stay under the limits and work within the neighborhood and our surrounding neighbors.

ACTION: Continued to March 16, 2006. Public hearing remains open to address new plans.

AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Hughes, Olague

ABSENT: Bradford-Bell and W. Lee

12b. 2005.0032DV (M. WOODS: (415) 558-6315)

1043-1045 Francisco Street - south side between Larkin and Polk Streets; Lot 020 in Assessor's Block 0477 - Request for a Rear Yard Variance to allow the construction of a one-story horizontal addition over the existing one-story extension at the rear of a two-story, two-family building. The last three feet of the addition extends into the required rear yard pursuant to Section 134 of the Planning Code. The project site is in an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

(continued from Regular Meeting of January 19, 2005)

SPEAKERS: Same as Item 12a.

ACTION: Zoning Administrator continued the matter to March 16, 2006. Public hearing remains open to address new plans.

13. 2005.1043DD (S. YOUNG: (415) 558-6346)

3025 - 3029 SACRAMENTO STREET - south side between Baker and Broderick Streets; Lot 029B in Assessor's Block 1024 - Requests for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2005.06.26.6107, proposing to construct a three-story horizontal extension at the rear of an existing two-story over garage, three-family dwelling in an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

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

(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 19, 2006)

SPEAKERS:

Discretionary Review requestor

  1. This is a small project unlike the AIA and other presentations today that affect the whole city or larger numbers of people.
  2. This affects 60 to 75 people, maybe.
  3. In regards to impacts: The backyard space, light and air and everything.
  4. Aside from impact issues there are equity issues. When Prop M talked about light, air, neighborhood character, et cetera, it's a balancing test. It is not exact. It is a judgment call, an equitable call.

Victoria Mar

  1. I am one of the owners of 3033 and 3035 Sacramento Street.
  2. I strongly protest the proposed extension at the back of the building of 3025, 3027, and 3029 Sacramento Street.
  3. To extend this building 50 feet into the backyard will not only cast a shadow in my garden, but also obstruct sunlight and cast shadows into all my bedrooms.
  4. All the bedrooms are located in the back of the building.
  5. With the addition of the balconies on the second and third floor, my tenant will lose all privacy in their bedrooms.
  6. One family has lived in my building 10 years and the other 13 years.
  7. The tenants leave their shades up and windows open so they can enjoy the sunlight, air circulation and open space.
  8. With this extension, the families' quality of life will be disrupted as they will need to keep their shades down to ensure privacy and will lose all enjoyment of sunlight, air circulation and open space they have enjoyed for over 13 years.
  9. Just as most citizens are concerned with keeping the fronts of buildings in keeping with neighborhood character, I believe that it is equally important to preserve the character in the back of buildings and maintain the open space in backyards as there is so little in San Francisco.
  10. Both families have young children that play in the backyard, enjoying the sunlight and open space.
  11. I disagree with Mr. Joe and rebut that the impact of sunlight to my building is small.
  12. When sunlight is obstructed 100% in areas of my garden and in bedrooms, it is very significant to me.
  13. I have owned my building for 30 years.
  14. The new owner of the building adjacent to me on the right stated he would be moving in. He extended the building in the back, adding a window that looked into one of my bedrooms. All privacy in that bedroom is lost.
  15. As soon as he finished the renovation, he sold the building. He clearly had no intention of living there. The damage was done. He disrupted the quality of life of neighbors just to make a fast buck.
  16. I hope I am wrong, but my feeling is that these new owners of this building will do the same thing and again, the damage would be done and the quality of life for the neighbors would be irreparable.

Joann Maher

  1. My husband Bill and I are the owners of 3009 Sacramento Street.
  2. [Through pictures she was able to show how sunny and usable the backyards are.]
  3. I was privileged to live in this property and raise two of my children here.
  4. We have been so pleased that the tenants that we have had for the last six years have also had children.
  5. It is really a unique atmosphere in the city to have kids able to go outside, to have sunshine in yards that can be utilized and to me it is everything that the Mayor came to talk to the Commission about tonight – green space, light, the beauty of the city.
  6. All of our tenants that live in the building find it so unique to have this kind of space.
  7. I urge the Commission to consider the implications of having an extension that would virtually tunnel in and change the entire open space of all of the neighbors in that part of the block.

Joel Yodowitz, representing Project Sponsor

  1. I submit to you that this project case raises no extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.
  2. What this is is a modest 470 square foot three story addition that will add one bedroom and one bath to the third and second story units to accommodate families consistent with the policies of the city, to provide more family units.
  3. The downstairs existing nonconforming unit is not going to be changed, just moved.
  4. This will be an owner occupied building, unlike the rental properties on either side.
  5. There are no significant impacts on the neighbors despite the hyperbole that you have herd.
  6. The rear wall of the proposal will be moved back to match exactly the Maher's building.
  7. On this block there is no common pattern of open space.
  8. The project sponsors have already significantly cutback this building from the original proposal and the original proposal was not even an attempt to maximize out the building envelope.
  9. This is a code complying project.
  10. There is no rear yard variance required or any other variance.
  11. There is not much more that they could do to cut this project back.
  12. This modest extension is not going to significantly impact light, air or privacy.

Susan McCarthy, Project Architect

  1. We have designed this project well within the allowable area. The Code allows all property owners to build to the envelope established by the Planning Code and Design Guidelines.
  2. We have done that.
  3. Our initial submittal was well within that.
  4. Unfortunately, as the architect, we have pulled it back even more.
  5. I wish we wouldn't have to do that, but the owners wanted to try to appease the Maher's and Ms. Mar and still that is not enough.
  6. I'm just hoping that we can get this approved as we have shown so that my clients can get their project underway.

MOTION: To not take Discretionary Review and approved

AYES: Alexander, Antonini, and Hughes

NAYES: S. Lee, Bradford-Bell, and Olague

ABSENT: W. Lee

RESULT: Motion failed

ACTION: Continued to February 9, 2006

AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Bradford-Bell, Olague, and Hughes

NAYES: Antonini

ABSENT: W. Lee

4:30 P.M. - SPECIAL ORDER

NOTE: It is anticipated that items 1 through 13 will be completed by 4:30 p.m. If they are not, at approximately 4:30 p.m. the Commission will interrupt the matter before them at that time and take up the Special Order matter listed below. At the conclusion of the Special Order matter, the commission will resume hearing the matter that was interrupted at 4:30 p.m. and continue through the adjournment of their agenda.

14. (A.GHOSH: (415) 558-6282)

AIA Presentation -- An informational presentation of design principals in San Francisco.

PRESENTERS:

- Mayor Gavin Newsom

  1. I thank you very much, for giving me the opportunity to be very brief and expressing my real commitment and passion for elevating the dialogue and discussion in the City and County of San Francisco around excellence and quality design.
  2. We can do better.
  3. We can do more.
  4. We are an environment, I think most of us will agree, that has never been seen in our history.
  5. And that is an environment where we must be competitive as a region with other regions, not only across the State of California, across the country, but around the world.
  6. I think in order to be competitive, in order to stay out front, in order to be a leading edge city, a city of entrepreneurialism, of discovery, of design excellence, we have got to step up, all of us, and reconcile the fact that others are taking leadership positions on elevating their urban landscape.
  7. I have had the privilege in the last few years to travel across this country and recently around the world, and I've seen firsthand the remarkable change in transformation of cities that recognize that quality of life, a real commitment to quality of life broadly speaking are going to generally be the competitive advantage that will make their cities competitive in this new global environment.
  8. I don't think you have to go much further than the Midwest of this country to see what Mayor Daly and his staff has done to take an industrial city and turn it almost completely around.
  9. He has been called the Martha Stewart of Mayors, and this is in the best sense of Martha Stewart.
  10. He is known as the Mayor with the green thumb in recognizing that softening the urban environment, planting trees and flowers, doing things that invite community, things that provide a sense of place, have an intangible benefit across the board.
  11. Reducing pedestrian fatalities and reducing stress of living in an urban environment actually reduces crime.
  12. This is not something I offer just as a subjective opinion, it has been analyzed as an objective fact at the University of Illinois.
  13. Clearly it has improved not only the morale of the citizens, but has provided a sense of pride of living in a city like Chicago and has increased the property values for those otherwise who think this is a waste of investment.
  14. But this is not just as it relates to our streetscapes.
  15. We also need to focus on the design of our buildings.
  16. We need to look, I think, more aggressively at what is going on around the world in terms of design excellence.
  17. I think there is an attitude that we oftentimes are a little transactional as it relates to just getting through the process of getting a project approved and getting everyone behind me to agree that the project is okay by reducing a floor, changing a little bit of the square footage, but we forget often in our debate about the quality of the excellence of the design, and the impact that design will have on a generation.
  18. We forget at times about what sustainable design is or what green building design really represents in terms of maintaining and advancing the values of San Francisco.
  19. Just as Beijing doesn't want to replicate what they believe the mistakes of Shanghai are in building – they want to bring building to a whole new level, neither do we.
  20. That inspired in me consideration that we can do the same.
  21. I love that competitive spirit to take this to the next level.
  22. I've always been driven by Einstein's comments about knowledge. He said that imagination is more important than knowledge.
  23. I agree with that in the context of imagining what our city will be, not tomorrow, but five, ten, 15, and 20 years from today.
  24. I am talking about taking things to the next level and challenging the people that come in front of you to do more and do better.
  25. Because we can do more. We can do better. But we must be challenged.
  26. We are moving away from exclusive transactional representation in terms of how the public perceives you, to focus on planning and Better Neighborhoods Plans and building trust and putting together these programmatic EIRs, reducing the backlogs, respecting the unique diversity of our neighborhoods, not designing one size fits all policies.
  27. In the debates and dialogues around the Eastern Neighborhoods, around Central Waterfront, Octavia Blvd., Upper Market, around Geary and all the other areas that you are focused on, please challenge those developers, challenge those architects. Challenge those designers to think anew and to act anew. They should not focus on the way things used to be done. The focus should be on green building design and recycled materials, focus on things that perhaps they haven't really focused on in the past.
  28. They should align themselves with broader values that make San Francisco not a good city, but truly a world-class city. A great city.
  29. And design must be a big component in this and architecture must be a primer in that context.
  30. I'm really pleased that today the AIA is taking the time to come here and sort of express their support in broad strokes for this broader vision about what the city can be.

John Schlessinger, AIA

  1. Gave a presentation regarding the improvements of architectural design and what that means as a ripple effect through the City.
  2. Our city is world famous for its progressive politics and its cultural diversity.
  3. Yet in many ways we are architectural conservative and risk givers when it comes to building design.
  4. While We San Franciscans are proud of our heritage of being open to new cultures and being quick to adopt modern social trends, we have drifted away from one of the unwritten laws of city building.
  5. Architectural design is a reflection of who we were, who we are, and who we are becoming.
  6. Our well-crafted Urban Design Guidelines are based only on who we were and who we are, but has been relatively silent about who we are becoming.
  7. For example, Proposition M's support for the preservation of historic resources, while it has great virtues, we are all finding that it is an honorable document to use but unfortunately it has been used as the principle yardstick for measuring the visual design quality of the city.
  8. It is not enough.
  9. We need to review how modern technology shapes the character of our building.
  10. How original designs are the product of our contemporary culture.
  11. How the very best buildings of our times capture the spirit of exploration, invention, and originality.
  12. We are here today to create a partnership between the AIA, the Planning Commission and the Department staff to find a way to improve the quality of design.
  13. We have two goals for today. One, to define context and two, to broaden the range of approvable design.
  14. As architects, we are responsible for the quality of the physical realm of the city.
  15. Our toolbox includes considering issues of scale, proportion, character, and a choice of materials that often are not familiar to many members of the public.
  16. We want to provide you with better tools.
  17. Better tools to evaluate the merits of a project relative to its context so we can all speak the same language when using this work context.
  18. When projects are presented, we want you as commissioners to be more comfortable asking your staff, and asking us as project sponsors, questions about the design of the buildings especially as they relate to their context.
  19. There is greater weight given to design excellence rather than relying solely on compliance to a particular architectural style.
  20. The San Francisco entitlement process for projects large and small is a vetting process that is both lengthy and expensive for the project sponsors, often resulting in design decisions that are a compromise that satisfies neither us, our clients, or the interested public.
  21. This often works against other public benefits such as the need for rapidly supplying the city's housing stock.
  22. Because the economic steaks for obtaining these entitlements are high, architects and their clients must weigh whether an innovative design is worth pursuing or will it stall the approval of the project especially if those judging have a more narrow view of how the design must relate to its context.
  23. During the public hearing process, proposed projects are typically presented to the Planning Commission and described in terms of their Code compliance with parking, height, bulk, relationship to the adjacent building, all of the kinds of things you have become accustomed to.
  24. There is only a brief reference to the actual design of the project or its character or its context to its surroundings.
  25. And when this reference is made, context or character becomes loosely defined and often becomes the rallying cry as to whether the project is a fit or a misfit.
  26. We are urging you to assess the merits of the project's architectural design within its context more broadly to more quickly determine how a project's originality can benefit its surroundings and neighborhood.
  27. Thinking about context, both residential and non-residential buildings seem to reflect when they were built in twenty to thirty-year cycles.
  28. In their time these buildings may have been controversial, but then eventually they become beloved icons of the city.
  29. Much is now said about the sameness or uniformity that occurs in many existing San Francisco neighborhoods.
  30. Yet we would argue there is a greater diversity than commonly thought when it comes to building design in San Francisco.
  31. An image from the Marina: Everything about this steel and glass house is unlike the other houses on the block. Yet because like its neighbors it is built to the property line along the edge of the sidewalk, it fits right in.
  32. In Cal Hollow: A house is like its neighbors only in color. It differs in height, materials, ratio window openings to solids, yet it is entirely compatible with this context.
  33. On Telegraph Hill: Showed three completely different houses in materials and construction types. Yet by virtue of height, width, and lack of setback, they present a unified demeanor.
  34. On another image: In the sunset, the only similarity between the newish insert and its older neighbor is the position of the entry stairs relative to the street and living room. Yet that is all it takes to feel at home on its block.
  35. Context changes with time.
  36. This happens when buildings were developed under new neighborhood plans.
  37. For example, sustainable design as the Mayor has mentioned, increased density, and a greater reliance on public transit now shape our architectural designs where the result is often different from what we have seen in the past.
  38. In putting this presentation together, we have realized that it all comes down to the three ways the proposed projects can successfully relate to existing context.
  39. They can emulate surrounding buildings, they can reinterpret the features of the surrounding buildings in a different way, or they can contrast the surrounding buildings or honor certain qualities that they may have.
  40. All of these are valid solutions providing that their execution is done well.
  41. Parcel widths also play a major role in the context of a neighborhood.
  42. We recognize the consistent parcel size automatically establishes similar building widths.
  43. For instance, 25-foot wide residential lots have a profound impact on contextual consistency.
  44. Buildings of a different width contrast with neighboring context sometimes altering the visual rhythm along a street face.
  45. While distances between building entrances and garage doors change, there is a choice to either contrast the existing pattern or manipulate the building to reflect an existing pattern.
  46. Another thing we have recognized is that a building's exterior clouding and color often contributes to determining a building's success as being contextual rather than emulating an architectural style.
  47. In the South of Market the stain on a plywood siding creates a harmony between two buildings, which differ not only in scale and proportion, but also in use.
  48. The Apple Store in Union Square, though sheathed in metal fits right in with its conventional neighbors.
  49. In Pacific Heights, despite the difference in color, a multi-family development is a good complement to its neighbors due to bays and indents that are called the single-family Victorians up the street.
  50. Buildings that emulate:
  51. Buildings that copy a particular neighboring architectural style when authentic with its proportions, detailing and materials can be a thoughtful solution.
  52. Nearly mimicking what is there with off the shelf materials renders a superficial or Disney esque or Las Vegas type of solution.
  53. Buildings that reinterpret use a proportion of neighboring bays, rooflines and other architectural features, pipes, details, cemetery or a cemetery in a new way with updated materials are often successful.
  54. Buildings in contrast:
  55. Buildings that intentionally yet politely contrasts with their existing neighbors are a time honored tradition and should be encouraged.
  56. Providing they honor certain good practices of urban design, such as thoughtful pedestrian vehicular entrances, establishing a street wall height in relation to the street width rather than relying only on the height of the adjacent buildings.
  57. Very often the contrasting building enhances the appreciation and understanding of existing adjacent buildings by simply being different.
  58. We need buildings that can describe their time in history just as we need the eloquence of contrasting buildings.
  59. We need them to understand where we have been, where we are now, and to continue the dialogue about where we are going.
  60. We have now seen many examples confirming precedent for a variety of buildings within a streetscape that still adds up or fits in without always having to emulate one another.
  61. We hope that these examples have shown you, or will challenge your assumptions of architectural character and content and lead to a continuing conversation between planners, the public, and the architectural community.
  62. The time has come for us to move our vibrant city with greater diversity of architectural design to match the diversity of its people.
  63. Hopefully you will use these terms in subsequent hearings: Emulate, Reinterpret, or Contrast.
  64. Thank you.

SPEAKERS: None

I. PUBLIC COMMENT

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))

None

Adjournment: 7:30 p.m.

NOTE: Following this hearing, The Planning Commission plans to convene to socialize at 7:00 p.m. at the R & G Lounge, 631 Kearny St., San Francisco.

THESE MINUTES ARE PROPOSED FOR ADOPTION AT THE REGULAR MEETING OF PLANNING COMMISSION ON THURSDAY, July 20, 2006.

SPEAKERS: None

ACTION: Approved

AYES: Alexander, Antonini, Lee, and Olague

EXCUSED: Moore and Sugaya

ABSENT: None

NOTE: Per Section 67.18 of the Administrative Code for the City and County of San Francisco, Commission minutes contain a description of the item before the Commission for consideration; a list of public speakers with names if given, and a summary of their comments including an indication of whether they are in favor of or against the matter; and any action the Commission takes. The minutes are not the official record of a Commission hearing. The audiotape is the official record. Copies of the audiotape may be obtained by calling the Commission office at (415) 558-6415. For those with access to a computer and/or the Internet, Commission hearings are available at www.sfgov.org. Under the general heading Explore, the category Government, and the sub-category City Resources, click on SFGTV, then Video on Demand. You may select the hearing date you want and the item of your choice for a replay of the hearing.

Last updated: 11/17/2009 10:00:21 PM