To view graphic version of this page, refresh this page (F5)

Skip to page body
Seal of the City and County of San Francisco
City and County of San Francisco

february 16, 2006

february 16, 2006

Meeting Minutes
Commission Chambers - Room 400
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
Thursday, February 16, 2006
1:30 PM
Regular Meeting

COMMISSIONER PRESENT: Sue Lee; Dwight Alexander; Michael Antonini; Shelley Bradford-Bell; Kevin Hughes; Christina Olague; William Lee


STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Dean Macris - Director of Planning, Larry Badiner - Zoning Administrator, Jonas Ionin, Glenn Cabreros, Sara Vellve, Alicia John-Baptiste, Rick Crawford, Isolde Wilson, Tina Tam, Dan Dibartolo, Jasper Rubin, Johnny Jaramillo, Linda Avery - Commission Secretary.


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. 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.
(Continued from Regular Meeting of February 2, 2006)
(Proposed for Continuance to March 16, 2006)

ACTION: Continued as proposed
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, and W. Lee
ABSENT: Alexander

1b. 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.
(Continued from Regular Meeting of February 2, 2006)
(Proposed for Continuance to March 16, 2006)

ACTION: Continued as proposed
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, and W. Lee
ABSENT: Alexander

2a. 2005.0541XCV (A. LIGHT: (415) 558-6254)
49 KEARNY STREET - west side between Geary and Post Streets, Lot 2, in Assessor's Block 310 - Request for a Determination of Compliance under Section 309 of the Planning Code to permit conversion of an existing office building to approximately 7 residential dwelling units, with an exception to the Planning Code rear yard requirement, for the subject property, which is in the C-3-O Zoning District and a 80-130-F Height and Bulk District. The proposal is to convert the existing office use on the top seven floors of the subject building to approximately 7 dwelling units (one per floor at approximately 1,200 square feet), retaining the existing ground floor retail use. Some common residential open space is proposed for the rooftop of the subject building, but less (perhaps none) would be provided than the minimum required by the Planning Code due to roof size and depending on new fire code restrictions. No parking would be provided in order to preserve the building's historic façade, to avoid creating automobile/pedestrian conflicts, and also due to the subject lot's narrow width of 20 feet.
Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions
(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 26, 2006)
(Proposed for Continuance to March 16, 2006)

ACTION: Continued as proposed
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, and W. Lee
ABSENT: Alexander

2b. 2005.0541XCV (A. LIGHT: (415) 558-6254)
49 KEARNY STREET - west side between Geary and Post Streets, Lot 2, in Assessor's Block 310 - Request for a Conditional Use authorization to exceed the principally permitted dwelling unit density, for the subject property, which is in the C-3-O Zoning District and a 80-130-F Height and Bulk District. See Item "a" above for a project description.
Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions
(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 26, 2006)
(Proposed for Continuance to March 16, 2006)

ACTION: Continued as proposed
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, and W. Lee
ABSENT: Alexander

2c. 2005.0541XCV (A. LIGHT: (415) 558-6254)
49 KEARNY STREET - west side between Geary and Post Streets, Lot 2, in Assessor's Block 310 - Request for the granting by the Zoning Administrator of residential open space and parking variances; for the subject property, which is in the C-3-O Zoning District and a 80-130-F Height and Bulk District. The Zoning Administrator will hear the variance application concurrently with the Planning Commission. See Item "a" above for a project description.
(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 26, 2006)
(Proposed for Continuance to March 16, 2006)

ACTION: Continued as proposed
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, and W. Lee
ABSENT: Alexander


3. Commission Comments/Questions
Commissioner Antonini
- In today's Examiner there was an article regarding the potential Republican National Convention in San Francisco. I would be quite supportive as I would of any party who is here. I think it will bring a lot to the City.
- The planning issues involved around that: we do not have an arena that seats 20,000 or more people for a national convention.
- We've struggled in the past with the Cow Palace, which I don't think too many people would be interested in going to today, and Moscone Center in 1984 with the Democrats, and there was a problem there with not being a large enough facility and the vision lines being blocked off.
- I think this is very important that both publicly or privately, or jointly this be explored in the future to allow us to have these types of functions and a 365 venue that can bring revenue into San Francisco.
- I attended a session yesterday in planning in regards to the Bayview/Hunters Point Plan.
- I thank Long-Range Planning. It was very informative.
- One concern I have or I need a little more information on is the fact that large parts of that area are being proposed for possible inclusion in Redevelopment. And while that has significant tax advantages as we all know, it also requires that those investing in that area have to abide by certain different standards in terms of affordability and other provisions that are part and parcel to the Redevelopment process.
- I want to make sure that we look carefully at these different areas and particularly with reference to the Candlestick Park area that is under study, whether or not to be in Redevelopment. That the decision is made that is appropriate for the different areas there with consultation for any possible development potential in the future. I believe it's called Hunters Point Shoreline area that is under study.
- In regards to 2660 Harrison Street - which was mentioned last week as a Cat Ex Appeal - I wanted to make sure I was clear on the vote of the Commission.
- I do not remember the issue coming before us. I think it was 5 to nothing or 6 to nothing with one commissioner absent.
- It seems odd that the issue was not even raised before the Commission.
- The vote was unanimous. And then the Cat Ex Appealed. And the appeal was upheld by the Board of Supervisors.
- It just seems strange that we didn't hear anything about it from groups who may have been in opposition to this project.
Larry Badiner - Zoning Administrator responded to Commissioner Antonini:
- Actually, there was an appeal of the Negative Declaration, and there was a Conditional Use.
- There was relatively low-key opposition.
- Ms. Sue Hestor filed the appeal.
- There was no sustained opposition that was present at this Commission in such a way that was particularly notable beyond, really, very minor opposition.
- You are right in principle, but there was an appeal of the negative declaration before you.
Commissioner Bradford-Bell:
- Just on the Hunters Point issues, I've been getting a lot of phone calls from the community and from Supervisor Maxwell.
- I don't know where the misinformation is coming from, but at our meeting, we said we wanted the March 2nd date for the certification of the EIR because we did not get the document in time. We went back and forth about the fact that we've asked staff to give us 30 days. And even though this one is not 30 days, it's more like 25, we asked for it to be done on March 2nd.
- I need to make sure that everybody understands that it is coming back on March 2nd.
- What is being communicated out of the Redevelopment Agency is that we have pushed it back and we are trying to delay it.
- I hope that there is a staff person who will be presenting at Redevelopment next week when they hear it on the 21st. and then on the 23rd, that the Planning Commission is hearing it on March 2nd.
Commissioner Olague
- I just wanted to clarify something on the 2660 Harrison vote.
- There was a unanimous vote on the project, but not on upholding of the negative declaration.
- There was, I believe, a +5 -1 vote with me voting against upholding it.
- I was concerned about cumulative impacts and just the fact that we were approving so many projects.


3.1 Discussion item regarding recent letter submitted by or on behalf of the Planning Director to the Board of Supervisors regarding C-3 parking legislation on February 7, 2006.

Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- I want to thank the staff for putting it on the agenda.
- It was a concern to us as a Commission last week with the letters, and the fact that we had not seen them.
- I want to preface this conversation with -- I do not want this to be personal.
- I want to talk about process. I don't want it to seem like I am attaching staff or anything.
- I want to talk about how things are done in general, not by any particular person.
- I did watch the hearing of the Board of Supervisors. I kind of watched it backwards because I turned it on at the point where Larry Badiner was actually being questioned by Supervisor Daly, then I went back to watch the beginning of the hearing.
- My concerns are, first of all, there is a letter, which has gone out that states the position of our Director that is not on our official letterhead, and that is not signed by our Director.
- There obviously has been more than one version, because one version of it was read by Supervisor Alioto-Pier with the revisions that were read into the record by Larry Badiner.
- What concerns me the most is that these issues that we deal with every week are so emotional to somebody. Even if they are not to us, they are emotional to somebody.
- We are talking about the future planning of the city of San Francisco.
- And we as commissioners who get paid a lot of money to sit here - $46 a week -and listen to it and really put our heart into it.
- When we give an opinion, we've really read it. We listen to what people have to say.
- We've listened to our staff. We make an opinion.
- And then somewhere down the line it appears to me that it gets redrafted, rewritten and shifted with an opinion of staff that in some instances and in some pieces, particularly of this C-3 legislation, changes our position as Commissioners.
- It makes me wonder why I sat through hours of the hearing if what I had to say is going to be removed or overlooked.
- I'm not giving you a personal opinion about how it feels to see us in this situation.
- I respect the staff decision or recommendations, and I look for them before we as a Commission hear an item and vote on an item.
- If it becomes an after-the-fact issue, especially something as important as this type of legislation, then it would be to me the respectful thing to do for us as a commission, is to keep us in the loop.
- That something that we voted on; something that has gone before the Supervisors that we stated a position on; has some changes to it.
- Larry has done it with zoning issues that may be an issue not for us to hear, but he has kept us abreast with what is going on with it and what the Commission wants to hear about it. He'll bring it back if we need to.
- That level of respect was missing in this process.
- By whom, I don't know.
- And that is no longer a matter to me.
- What matters to me is we as a department and as a commission have a process in place.
- That our decisions are not, or don't appear to be overridden by political pressure or personal view, or what have you, that may be out there.
- But that when these kind of issues start to have the kind of drama to them that these kind of issues can have in the city, that we are kept in the loop. That we receive letters. That we have Director's comments - an update on what has happened at the Board.
- We get a Board report.
- But we don't get it to this level of what changes.
- I think this kind of thing discredits us as a department and as a commission.
- It looks like we are not working together.
- It looks like we don't have our act together.
- And it appears to me that someone has decided on behalf of us how we want to think.
- For me, it comes to the point that maybe the next time we have a big issue like Eastern Neighborhoods, I don't need to sit here.
- It seems like on and on and on these things are happening - Better Neighborhoods Plus, C-3 Parking - the Commission takes a position and somewhere out there in the ether it gets revised.
- That is a big, big concern to me.
- I don't know how we fix this.
- I'm more concerned about the credibility of us as a department. That there is a letter out there with our Director's name on it that changes or appears to contradict what we as a commission say we wanted.
- I'd like to here some explanation of this process.
- More importantly, I want to here how we make sure it doesn't happen again and that the Commission and Staff are working in concert with each other to make sure we present a unified front for any issue we've addressed to go before the Board of Supervisors.
Dean Macris, Director of Planning
- Your statement utterly confuses me, and I will tell you why.
- I explained the last time we walked about this that this was not authorized by me, or the Department. The way this happened is not complicated,
- The way it happened was that there was a request from the Mayor's Office to prepare a statement.
- I got a telephone call in Boston two hours before this was going to happen.
- I said, well, of course, we get requests from Commissioners, from Board members, from the Mayor's office.
- As long as the statement is consistent with the Commission's actions and it is prepared by the staff, that was acceptable to me.
- Staff went to work on that.
- And lo and behold, in the middle of that process, a statement gets released that we were unaware of in its entirety.
- How that happened, I don't know.
- I'm not investigating. I'm not trying to find out. Nor is it in my nature to blame anybody.
- But it was a mistake.
- I'd like to think that if I were here that would not have happened.
- We tried to do what I asked the staff to do - a statement consistent with the Commission, drafted by the staff.
- It did not happen.
- Can I promise you this will not happen again?
- No, I can't.
- We are dealing with human behavior.
- There is no guarantee it won't happen.
- What it needed was my leadership at a time that I wasn't here,
- I apologize for that because no matter if I am in Boston, I am still the Planning Director.
- What confuses me about your statement is that it seems to go beyond this incident, that you are now talking about other areas where the staff has some way or another gone beyond where the Commission has gone.
- I think you and I need to sit down and find our where that is because I am not aware of those instances where staff has done something that is inconsistent with the Commission's action.
- And if that is widespread with the other commissioners, I'd love to hear about that.
- We are attempting to be scrupulous - scrupulous about how we represent this Commission.
- What makes me mad about this is, we didn't do it at this time.
- I've been doing this kind of work for many, many years.
- This is the first time it's ever happened like this.
- I assure you, as long as I am around here, it is not going to happen again.
- But I would love to sit down with you and you tell me explicitly where the staff has miss-represented this Commission, because I'd like to know.
Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- I hate to drag Larry into this, but one of the statements that was made was that this had been happening over a couple of days; that the draft that Supervisor Alioto-Pier had was an earlier draft.
- The question was asked by Supervisor - I think Supervisor Peskin asked the question, how long has this been going on, was this just today? And his response was, it's been an evolution over several days or a couple of days, something to that point.
- It could be that because it was a dramatic situation, some of this might happen, that the real process of how this ended up happening was incorrectly stated.
- What was stated at the Board of Supervisors is it wasn't just that one day. It was, I think you said yourself, him and Matt Franklin who had been putting it together over a couple of days.
Zoning Administrator Badiner
- That is not accurate.
Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- I went back and typed it up so I made sure I wasn't misquoting it today.
Zoning Administrator Badiner
- I understand.
- I was brought into it about 11 o'clock. I was not planning to be at the hearing. I walked into it rather late, and it was my impression that this statement had been drafted for a couple of days.
- I had not had a chance, except in very short conversations, to talk to Mr. Macris at the time so I didn't know the genesis except for I had been brought in at 11 o'clock and at that time a statement was being drafted. I presumed that it had been going on for a day or so.
- In past discussions afterwards, I found out that it just happened about the same time that I had been brought into it.
Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- First of all, my opinions are only my opinions. I am not speaking for anybody else up here. It's my feeling about how things have gone. It's my concerns about how the Commission is being represented. I am not stating for any other Commissioner up here. They can speak for themselves on issues.
- I think a short answer to how we make sure this doesn't happen again is that it would have been easy to have a letter faxed to you on our letterhead and you fax it back when you signed it, and then it becomes an official letter.
- A statement that doesn't have your signature and is not on our letterhead should not be categorized as an official statement from this Commission to anybody.
Dean Macris - Director of Planning
- Nobody is quarreling with any of that.
Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- I am saying this as a solution. I am saying a short answer, because what I want is a solution to what I said. I am looking at this as just a process issue.
- I am not looking at this as personal or anything else.
- I am looking at how do we avoid it in the future.
- That to me is just one way we look at a way of how to avoid this in the future. No staff person should be presenting this as a statement from our Director if it is not on our letterhead and it does not have his name signed to it. It is not an official statement.
- It would have been very easy to fax you something on Planning Department letterhead, have you sign it and have you fax it back to us here. Then we would have known it was an official document.
- I think that's one way we begin to alleviate this kind of situation.
Commissioner Olague:
- I just wanted to say I think we are always going to have differences of opinion here at the Commission level.
- I just think that we have to find a way to move through these difficult issues that are very controversial in a way that is respectful of everyone.
- And in many ways, I feel that the group that was most disrespected in this situation, was staff.
- We have a staff of professional planners. Individuals who spend years studying this and working in this field.
- I think the C-3 Legislation is controversial for many reasons. It is an alternative, fresh way of looking at how parking is done in the downtown area of San Francisco. It's going to create some controversy obviously.
- I think as far as the C-3 and the downtown parking is concerned, it's something that staff has been raising since Market-Octavia.
- Then again Mid-Market -- Marshall Foster brought a similar idea I think as to what Joshua Switzky represented us. I think we've passed on a lot of the ideas to the Board around C-3.
- I think that the legislation that Daly brought to us, we amended significantly.
- We modified it based on recommendation from staff. So, what the Board received from us, our recommendations really reflected our Department's view. I would argue it was Director Macris' view, and Josh Switzky's and Marshall Foster's and other planners that have worked on this issue for a long time.
- I do not always agree with staff on things.
- I think in this case, you can't ever dismiss the amount of work and time and study that goes into the recommendations that they give us.
- I just kind of want to remind people that this is something - this is an issue that's been out there for a long time, it's very controversial, and what we recommended to the Board really was a very modified version of what Supervisor Daly sent us.
- So, I think it reflected more our Department's view of that issue.
- I think that we try to work well with the Mayor's Office. Matt Franklin was here a couple weeks ago. We try to work with community groups and we try to work with the Board also.
- Sometimes that can get muddy for lack of a better term, because of all the differences that we have.
- I just really hope that we can stick to the issues here- the policy piece.
- I believe Supervisor Peskin now has continued it for a couple weeks at the Board.
Dean Macris - Director of Planning
- I am very pleased by what you said. I want to remind the Commission of what you said. I want to repeat it because I think it's important.
- The staff recommended to you some new ways to look at parking in the core of downtown. It was our recommendation to you, and we were very proud of staff that the Commission, in its majority, voted to support the staff's initiative ideas about parking in downtown.
- It's very controversial, and in the heat of that kind and that much controversy, mistakes get made. Like this statement that we are talking about now. But I am very proud of what the staff has done here.
- We have a history of being pioneers in Planning throughout America, and I have said many times and on many occasions, there are reasons for that.
- First of all, we have a culture for that. We have a public that insists on new ways to look at things.
- It is because the public wants us to look at things in a different way and an innovative way, that this legislation was recommended to you. And with some modifications and working with the Sponsors of the projects, which happened to be Supervisor Daly and ultimately Supervisor Peskin, we made some very important steps, however modest, but important steps and ways to look at parking in downtown.
- I am hearing already from around the Country that we have created an interesting buzz about what this Commission has done with the Board's support, because that's what's expected to come out from San Francisco in Planning. Are we right where we need to be right now?
- No, we're not, and we've worked together in the last year with the Commission to bring the Department forward in a way now that produced legislation like this, and we are going to do more in the coming year.
- I talked with Supervisor Peskin at length about this. I've talked to Tom Radulavich about it. I've talked to the Mayor's office about it. I'll talk to some other people about it and there are probably going to be some technical modifications at some point offered to this legislation. It will come right back here to the Commission.
- We have not lost a step because of this unusual arrangement that happened during my absence.
- It has nothing to do with the outcome, because this is going to be excellent legislation in the end, with some perhaps modest modifications to it.
Commissioner Antonini
- Let me give my perspective on this, because I think what's missing in this entire discussion is what is actually contained within the statement.
- I realize that there is confusion about its origin and the timing. I am certainly sensitive to those facts.
- I think the statement in and of itself is merely a statement of fact.
- It's a clarification. And it's a clarification of what the differences are between what was passed by a 4 to 1 vote from the Planning Commission as far as the C-3 legislation, and what was before the Board of Supervisors I believe two weeks ago or a week-and-a-half ago now, in terms of the modified Peskin/Daly legislation.
- I asked a question of staff and others, are there differences? Conjecturally statements were made that it is essentially the same.
- Actually there were very significant differences and that's what this statement points out.
- It points out the fact that as a Commission, while we talked about curb cuts, being careful where curb cuts were, we did not specify specific streets - but they are specified in the legislation that was before the Supervisors. That is the most minor of the three.
- The other two I think are very significant.
- One is the accessible valet parking at which this became effective. In our discussion, we did not set a level.
- I seem to remember Commissioners, and certainly it was my understanding that the level was going to be in the hundreds. That it would have to be a fairly significant project before we required them to have valet parking. That below that level it would be independently accessible. We did not really weigh in on a level.
- This level in the Supervisor's legislation is ten. That is a very low level. So that is a very significant difference from what the Planning Commission forwarded - we had not specified a level.
- The third one, which I think is the most significant in the legislation is when it came through us, it was silent on the issue of parking as a principal use.
- When it came out through the Peskin/Daly legislation, it limited the number of floors on parking as a principal use and, I believe, to a height of ten feet (may have been 15 feet), but essentially it was one floor above ground and the rest of it had to be below ground.
- Those are three very significant differences and I think it is important for the Supervisors to realize that what they were voting on was different from what had come out of Planning.
Commissioner Hughes:
- Mr. Macris, I want to make one thing absolutely clear. That it is not, in my view, ever been the case where you did not accurately represent what I thought the Commission had concluded.
- That should be firm in your mind.
- I find myself saying the same thing up here from time to time. These things for whatever reason get bigger than they are.
- Not that misrepresentation is a small item, because it isn't.
- But if we look at the circumstances that occurred here:
- Dean is out of town for a two-day period.
- We have had communications from the Commission to the Board of Supervisors in the tens, if not in the hundreds over the period of time that we have been seated as this Commission.
- The ability to accurately capture the Commission's position can be done and it can be done well and has been done well.
- There have been times where it could be very difficult to capture the Commission's position.
- I've struggled on it at this end when we finally voted to figure out just exactly where we are.
- We have this series of events:
- Dean is out of town on a well deserved trip to be recognized for his abilities and skills and accomplishments in the area of planning for a two-day period of time.
- As luck would have it, this legislation is in the pipeline at the same time and darned if it doesn't get calendared for that same period of time.
- As a result, a communication is generated on your behalf.
- That in and of itself is not unusual. I have received many, many letters generated and signed for on behalf of somebody.
- It gets to the Board of Supervisors - another unsigned, unusual event in a series of unusual events.
- The next thing that happens is the Board regards this unsigned document as a valid communication.
- Normally, if it had been something that came before us and I asked for a signed original and I didn't have it, I would have given it very little weight as an unsigned document.
- But that didn't occur there.
- But certainly, I don't think one could conclude that it is a deliberate willful intention on the part of anybody to have the Board of Supervisors, which has the opportunity, and I think frequently views some of the Planning Commission hearings on the more germane matters that they have coming before them, that there would be a deliberate effort to skew the position of the Commission knowing full well there are so many members of the public involved.
- So I think it just has to be viewed in the light and the circumstances in which it occurred under.
- And for what it's worth, I don't believe there is a long-running problem with regards to accurately capturing the Commission's positions and relating them to the Board of Supervisors.
- First of all, I'm going to inquire of staff as to the validity of this unsigned document.
- If the response is something other than there are really some extenuating circumstances, then the weight given to it would seriously diminish.
Commissioner Bill Lee
- I have great confidence in Dean.
- Dean has always tried to build consensus.
- Whether or not I agree with him.
- In the last three years we've had a lot of controversy; Charter change; the Department being under funded; positions eliminated.
- If you watch the progression of the Planning Department, it has come a long way from where the public really had a lot of mistrust in some of the commissioners and some of the staff.
- The key to Dean's management leadership style is actually building consensus.
- When you read the letter, in some ways it is wide open for interpretation, which is good.
- Because knowing Dean the way I think I know Dean, he wants to build consensus and wants to leave room for where the Board and the Mayor and advocates from both sides can negotiate.
- So from my perspective, I don't think this is a big issue.
- As a Department Head, he has to multi-task. He has to serve seven commissioners. He has the Mayor's office. He has the Board of Supervisors. But more importantly, he has all these people going out to community meetings and things get lost in the translation at times.
- It is very difficult.
- Even for myself. I have 11 departments under me. To remember everything that was said and who said what to whom &
- Naturally you try to summarize it and collate it in such a succinct fashion, you get the gist of what people are trying to say.
- Dean was out of town.
- From my perspective, if this was a mistake, it's a mistake.
- We need to move on.
- We have a lot of other issues we need to deal with.
- I don't want to waste any more time.
- If it is a problem, fix it and let's move on.
Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- I started this out by saying this was not a personality thing. This was a process issue.
- I'm going to keep it on my issue, which is process.
- You're fantastic.
- Let's get back to process so that we don't have to have any other issue come up like this.
- We need a process.
- This is not about personality, not about how good the staff is.
- It's about the letter.
- To avoid this in the future, we need a process in place to show this is the only legitimate letter or request, that our process is being followed - whatever it is that we put in place. Period.
President Sue Lee
- I haven't said anything yet; so let me address Commissioner Bradford-Bell's process issue.
- I echo the sentiment of my fellow commissioners about our confidence in Director Macris.
- We are very lucky that he is here.
- We are part of a team or group that helps to make public policy for the City and County of San Francisco.
- I think we also need to keep in mind what our respective roles are.
- We only play a small part.
- We receive legislation from the Board of Supervisors, who are the legislators.
- They seek our opinion on a piece of legislation - any legislation.
- We express that opinion based on the recommendations of our professional planning staff.
- Then that recommendation is communicated back to the Board of Supervisors. They take our advice, but not necessarily lock, stock and barrel.
- In fact they continue to mull it over and debate. And they are pummeled by whoever the stakeholders are on that given issue.
- It's a dynamic process.
- And lo and behold, the Board of Supervisors may ask the professional planners what their opinion is however the issue has been mulled over.
- It is totally within the purview, the role of our planning staff, to provide their professional opinions.
- I don't think it is appropriate for them to change the Commission's position, if we have taken a position on legislation.
- But they can say, this is the Commission's action. They considered A, B, C and D. However, the legislation has moved on. It wasn't on the table when it was before the Commission, and this is the professional opinion of our planners.
- If our Planning Department has the credibility with the legislators and deport themselves as objective professionals, the Board of Supervisors or the legislative body will then receive their objective professional advice. They [the legislative body] will go ahead and act on the legislation - make the changes or not make changes, or whatever.
- I think we have to keep all this in perspective.
- I think this letter thing is ridiculous.
- I have confidence that it is not going to happen in the future.
- I'm not sure that we can put together some kind of oversight or mechanism where we are going to prevent this from happening again, because this policy-making process is messy.
- I think one way of anticipating it is having these discussions.
- When we do consider the legislation, that we as the Commission demand the best work from our planners so that even issues that aren't contained in the legislation are surfaced, so that we are able to comment or think about the issues and perhaps when our position does get conveyed to the Board, that can be expressed.
- I'm not sure that we can address Commissioner Bell's issue about fixing it.
- How do we create something, some mechanism that would prevent this from happening again?
Commissioner Bradford-Bell
- I think the short-term solution for a process, to addressing it, is only have signed letters.
- If it isn't on our letterhead and signed by the person he gave permission to sign, we have an accountability issue.
Director Macris
- Our Department's policy is that if any statement is made in writing that deals with policy or position, the Director signs it.
- So a good clue, if I haven't signed it, it probably has not gone through that process.


Marilyn Amini:
- The content of this letter is not material, whether it was signed or not is not material.
- When there are material modifications to a piece of legislation that has been before you, that legislation, according to Planning Code Section 302 D is to come back before you, and it is to be handled in the same way it would be handled when it is a new piece of legislation. So the material modifications that were cited would require that it be brought back to the Commission.
- You are the Charter created body in San Francisco that has jurisdiction to deal with land use matters that are discretionary. And to have a department take a position on something without bringing that material modification back to you and additionally cutting the public out of the loop, this is not a right process. This is not a good process, and it continues public distrust of the Department, which the department is trying to build back up again.
Mark Solomon
- What I am concerned about here is the appearance of corruption.
- Back in 2002 we passed Proposition D that seated this Commission here.
- There was a nice bright line between the Office of the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors.
- What we saw was a meeting convened in December. Mayor Newsom's most high-powered appointees - he was trying to make them hup-2 on his agenda.
- They were trying to make housing as profitable as possible.
- People at that meeting with Mr. Franklin and other folks that were there, they thought it would be a point test to see what would happen.
- And that is where any issues that staff had with the legislation should have been heard - in public session and open.
- But that wasn't the case.
- The legislation appeared to have the buy off of this department and their staff; that it went through the process and was going to the Board of Supervisors for its final hearing.
- The way this was handled, the letter was not given to the Supervisors. It was handed to Supervisor Alioto-Pier who said I have a letter in my hand here and she starts to read it and all hell breaks loose.
- That is a serious problem here and your authority as a citizen commission with diverse appointing authorities has been superseded by your staff because they decided, for some reason, that they wanted to go ahead and take a different route on the legislation and they were willing to go to any means to do that, which is pretty far below that which we would call ethical.
- And if we're doing this before people that have a massive stake in huge profits off of development on this, then the connection to corruption becomes a bit more apparent.
- This is a process issue, not personality.
- Certain individuals chose to take certain actions that are insubordinate. And I don't think we can sit here and tolerate a Commission having their staff essentially be insubordinate, especially when there is a high value issue. That makes you look bad before everyone else.
- We've seen some improvements in this department.
- We are concerned.
- I think staff needs to be disciplined on this because this is an issue where the line is clear.
- You don't contravene the commission. They [staff] pretty much went on their own.
- You can go to the Ethics Commission and ask for investigations there. Or to the Civil Service Commission because we can't have Mayoral influence in this department when the voters decided to go a different direction, and we can't continence having staff to be insubordinate to the wisdom of this group here.
Sue Hestor
- No one even mentioned that Supervisor Alioto-Pier, who was the one holding this letter, introduced a change to that same legislation which is before you on the second of March.
- There are two counterproposals for the C-3-O Parking.
- What it appears to a layperson is that no one pays attention. That this letter was an attempt to set up a Mayoral veto so they could set up new legislation that is on your calendar in two weeks.
- Legislation, which was quickly put on your calendar very carefully as to every other legislative process.
- Mr. Antonini explained his involvement.
- Mr. Franklin was apparently involved.
- It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out.
- The Mayor will either veto it in the next week, then you will have to decide what your position is on Supervisor Alioto-Pier's legislation, which I believe reflects the view of the business community that has problems with the legislation.
- I think C-3 parking is a huge issue.
- I've been involved in it for 25 years. It started the Downtown Plan
- How do we keep cars out of the downtown?
- Restricting parking was a big one.
- Now we have a little tension because we have offices being converted into housing and people say, well we can't sell the housing unless we can have the parking.
- At some point the city has to get into this and say, we really mean it.
- That was what that legislation was. It was watered down and now it's about to be watered down again.
- But people get suspicious when the Supervisor who is sponsoring legislation that basically will only be effective if this current legislation is vetoed has the letter.
Calvin Welch
- I live at 519 Ashbury.
- I find myself in the unusual position of supporting virtually absolutely the position of Mr. Solomon.
- I think the key point that was made in your conversation about this was the change that happened to the appointing body, to the appointing authority of this body in 2002.
- You no longer serve simply the Executive branch of San Francisco.
- Both the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor of San Francisco appoint you.
- What happened was that this commission was attempted to be used in the old way by the Mayor's office.
- I am not aware that the Mayor's staff representatives came to oppose the legislation when it was before you.
- I'm not aware that Mr. Franklin gave testimony to this commission about the administration's opposition or the reason for its opposition to this legislation.
- If they had such reasons, they were certainly welcome, as anybody else, to come and give testimony.
- Instead, they played the old game, which basically was to manipulate staff into a position that contradicted itself, not only to you, but a position that your staff made to the Board of Supervisors in the Board of Supervisors committee hearing three days before his matter was heard.
- Your staff was asked by the Board Land Use Committee, what is the position of the department on this legislation?
- We support it.
- Unequivocally?
- Yes.

ACTION: Meeting/Discussion held. No Action


4. Director's Announcements

Amit Ghosh - Chief of Comprehensive Planning and Analysis
- Commissioners at the last hearing you had requested that we explain to you the circumstances of another letter that was written by Mr. Macris on January 25, regarding Better Neighborhoods Plus.
- There have been instances here to give you the facts on why that letter was signed.
Sara Dennis - Department staff
- There were transmittals to the Planning Commission on January 19th.
- While the transmittal did contain somewhat misleading language, it stated that the proposed ordinance is being transmitted pursuant to Planning Code Section 302 B for public hearing and recommendation of approval or disapproval.
- While that language was somewhat misleading, the Planning Department did not believe the ordinance had to go back to the Commission for approval or disapproval.
- We subsequently confirmed that with the City Attorney's Office.
- The City Attorney's Office stated that the amendments were not deemed material.
- Those amendments to Better Neighborhoods Plus made January 17th were not deemed material, and therefore did not need to come back before you as the Commission for review.
- We relayed this information to the Clerk of the Board just to clarify things in a letter signed by Dean dated January 25th.
- Questions regarding this issue were also brought up at the Land Use Committee hearing on Better Neighborhoods Plus on February 1st.
- There were similar questions and similar members of the public that you have heard here.
- Chair Sandoval asked the Deputy City Attorney John Malmut, who stated that none of the amendments required referral to the Planning Commission and the Land Use Committee could act on the legislation at that time.
Amit Ghosh
- There was another item that you wanted some information on, which was our study that was required in the Rincon Hill legislation of a nexus analysis and the relationship between market-rate housing and affordable housing.
Sara Dennis
- Regarding the study which you heard a good deal about in the past weeks with the two pieces of legislation that we had regarding modification to the inclusionary Housing Program, the Planning Department intends to set up a technical advisory committee to guide us with the process of that study.
- The technical advisory committee is intended to provide advice and guidance to the consultant team throughout the course of the study process, to kind of act as a sounding board through ideas as we go through that study process of analysis, and then to review and confirm the study's conclusion.
- So when those conclusions come before you they have the backing of that technical advisory committee.
- We have come up with a series of recommendations for the committee that would provide a balanced mix of stakeholders.
- We are trying to represent the diversity of San Francisco.
- We're trying to provide a balanced mix of perspectives from the activist perspective, to the for-profit perspective, and the nonprofit perspective.
- And we're trying to provide a resource of technical expertise so people that actually have experience in the field of housing, the development of housing, et cetera, who can understand the nuts and bolts of the issues that we are trying to deal with in the course of the study.
- The recommendations for that technical advisory committee that we have are Calvin Welch, Project Director, Council of Community Housing Organizations; Barbara Gualco/Raymai Dare, Mercy Housing; Oz Erickson, Emerald Fund Inc; Ezra Mersey, Jackson Pacific Ventures; Steve Vettel, Farreli Martin and Brain; Sarah Karlinsky, Policy Director, SPUR; Fernando Marti, Asian Neighborhood Design; Chris Durazo, Community Development Director, South of Market Community Action Network / SOMCAN; Lydia Tan, BRIDGE Housing Corporation; Radhika K. Fox, Senior Associate, Policy Link; Brad Paul, Senior Program Officer Neighborhoods, Haas Jr Foundation, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
President Sue Lee
- [Directed that this item be calendared next week for public and Commission discussion and input.]

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

Board of Supervisors - Dan Sider, Department staff
- The last note on C-3 parking that we would like to provide today is that, in fact, as the Director alluded to earlier, on Tuesday at the full Board, the ordinance was passed. The vote was 7 to 4. Supervisors Alioto-Pier, Dufty, Elsbernd and Ma voting against.
- There was not an amendment put forward. The amendment was sponsored by Supervisor Peskin.
- The amendment included an effective date in the legislation such that should this become law. June 1st is the date upon which the ordinance will come into force.
- At this point the ordinance is now moved to the Mayor's desk for his consideration.
- Another item at the Board on Tuesday, and on this for final closure, Supervisor Daly's ordinance, which would have required your hearing for any condominium conversions subject to the City lottery process, the Board did consider an override of the Mayor's veto on this. That motion failed by a vote of 6 to 4. Supervisors Alioto-Pier, Dufty, Elsbernd and Ma voted against. Supervisor Mirkarimi was excused.
- Commissioner Antonini and Commissioner Olague, you had alluded earlier to 2660 Harrison Street - which is a 68-unit housing project near 23rd. Street. This is a project that the Board reviewed last week and by a vote of 8 to 2, overturned the Department's CEQA determination [a negative declaration determination]. Supervisors Ma and Elsbernd dissenting. Supervisor Alioto-Pier absent.
- The matter returned to the Board on Tuesday. This time for adoption of findings to effect that previous decision. They did adopt findings. Those findings are, quite important. They reflect the Board's intent to over turn the negative declaration based on a cumulative loss of production, distribution and repair space for this particular project.
- This may have some significant implications for other similar projects. Projects that are involving PDR land or PDR buildings.
- We estimate as a very rough figure that perhaps two dozen projects may be impacted by these findings. We are investigating the findings right now. We are studying them and working with the Supervisors and the City Attorney's office to look at our next step and see what this means.
- The final item to mention is the Sutro Tower, 250 Palo Alto Street, One Avanzada Street. There is a building permit application in the Department to install a fire suppression system in a base of the building owned by Comcast. It was categorically exempt from environmental review. The determination was appealed to the Board, and the appeal was not granted. We were upheld, and I believe this is an item on the calendar today for your consideration as a mandatory discretionary review.
- One final note is one introduction from Tuesday afternoon. Supervisor Ammiano did enact a moratorium on Check Cashing and Pay Day Lender businesses in the City. It was an interim moratorium that was set forth. It was a 45-day moratorium. It is approaching the end of the effective period. Supervisor Ammiano has proposed extending that moratorium to its full two-year window.
- The Board will be voting on that in the coming weeks and we will keep you posted, especially as we look toward land use development codes in conjunction with the Supervisor's office.


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.

Marilyn Amini
- I'd like to respond to what Sarah Dennis said relating to the Better Neighborhoods legislation.
- The amendment that the Planning Department on the advice of City Attorney determined was not substantial.
- That particular amendment was determined to be substantial at the time it was introduced at the Board of Supervisors.
- It was for the reason that it was substantial that it was sent back from the full Board to the Land Use Committee, and at the Land Use Committee agenda was the statement, referred by Planning, referred to Commission for hearing and comment.
Greg Miller
- I represent Friends of the Music Concourse, the Local Bistro Organization.
- Last Thursday the Mayor and Supervisors and LTAB celebrated the landmarking of the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park here in City Hall.
- Unfortunately that celebration conflicted with your regularly scheduled meeting and we're sorry that we couldn't see any of you there.
- Anyway, Friends of the Music Concourse wanted to thank you commissioners.
- You all worked really hard on this and paid a lot of attention and brought up a lot of good ideas.
- It resulted in a really great ordinance protecting the area.
- In thanks, we have prepared a small certificate of celebration for the landmarking and we have one for each one of you.
- So thank you very much.
Patricia Vaughey
- I felt that the selection of the technical committee was extremely biased.
- I firmly believe that some neighborhood people that have experience in housing should be on it.
- I'm seeing for-profits and political groups represented.
- I would like it to be balanced if you're going to have this committee.
- I've been around a long time and I didn't speak up earlier.
- This is the same thing that happened in the Fillmore.
- People who were put on the committee got special dispensations. They got chips for more than the housing that they did.
- One lady got 16 chips per units in the Fillmore when she only had one house.
- Another lady got a special deal out of the committee for a dollar a year for 14 years.
- I want you all to be very careful on what you are doing because I don't want to see the genocide like we saw in the Fillmore of the African America, Jewish and Japanese community that we saw.
- I am seeing the Bayview repeat on this, and I am really very worried about exactly what is happening with the Bayview.
- So be careful.


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.

6. 2005.0709C (J. IONIN: (415) 558-6309)
883-899 VALENCIA STREET - Assessor's Block 3596, Lot 113 - Request under Planning Code Section 726.56 for temporary parking on an open lot. The Proposal is to continue operating a parking lot on a vacated gas station. The lot would provide 22 total parking spaces (one handicap space, two standard spaces approximately 8'x20' each, and 19 compact spaces approximately 8'x16' each). This open-air parking lot is projected to exist only as long as it takes for the owner to gain approval of demolition and new construction permits (subject to a separate conditional use authorization, Case No. 2004.0891C) to develop a mixed-use structure with commercial on the ground floor and residential above. The project lies within the Valencia Street Neighborhood Commercial District, the Mission Alcoholic Beverage Special Use Sub-district, and within the 50-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

ACTION: Approved
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Antonini and Bradford-Bell
MOTION: 17188

7a. 2005.0290D (G. CABREROS: (415) 558-6169)
350 - 32ND AVENUE - east side between California and Clement Streets; Lot 032 in Assessor's Block 1402 - Mandatory Discretionary Review, under the Planning Commission's policy requiring review of housing demolition, of Demolition Permit Application No. 2005.03.22.8063 proposing to demolish an existing single-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 demolition.

ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved demolition.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Antonini and Bradford-Bell

7b. 2005.0567D (G. CABREROS: (415) 558-6169)
350 - 32ND AVENUE - east side between California and Clement Streets; Lot 032 in Assessor's Block 1402 - Mandatory Discretionary Review, under the Planning Commission's policy requiring review of new residential building in association with residential demolition, of Building Permit Application No. 2005.03.22.8059 proposing to construct a new three-story, two-unit 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.

ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved new construction.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Antonini and Bradford-Bell

8a. 2005.0738D (S. VELLVE: (415) 558-6263)
131 RIVOLI STREET - south side between Cole and Shrader Streets; Lot 029 in Assessor's Block 1287 - Mandatory Discretionary Review, under the Planning Commission's policy requiring review of housing demolition, of Demolition Permit Application No. 2005.08.05.9554 proposing to demolish an existing single-family dwelling in an RH-2 (House, Two-Family) Zoning District, and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project.

ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved demolition.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Antonini and Bradford-Bell

8b. 2005.0994D (S. VELLVE: (415) 558-6263)
131 RIVOLI STREET - south side between Cole and Shrader Streets; Lot 029 in Assessor's Block 1287 - Mandatory Discretionary Review, under the Planning Commission's policy requiring review of new residential building in association with residential demolition, of Building Permit Application No. 2005.08.05.9555 proposing to construct a new three-story over garage, one-family dwelling in an RH-2 (House, Two-Family) Zoning District, and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project

ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved new construction.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Antonini and Bradford-Bell


9. (A. JOHN-BAPTISTE: (415) 558-6547)
PLANNING DEPARTMENT'S PROPOSED WORK PROGRAM AND BUDGET FOR FY 2006-2007 - Consideration of and action on the Planning Department's Proposed Work Program and Budget for Fiscal Year 2006-2007.
Preliminary Recommendation: Approval

Marilyn Amini
- In a January 31st. communication by the Department, the statement is made that the Department initiated a new Better Neighborhoods plan along Geary Street.
- Initiation of a new planning area requires Commission action.
- I have some material that was taken out of the Better Neighborhood file and it's authored by David Alumbaugh, and it's actually pertaining to the Geary Corridor and talks about initiation and the fact that there has to be Planning Department initiation hearings.
- To my knowledge, there has been no Commission initiation hearing where public can comment on it.
- If you take action on the budget today, will your action on the budget automatically and/or by default be action to endorse the Geary Better Neighborhoods without the Brown Act required public comment, adequate notice, et cetera?
- How can the department initiate without Commission initiation hearings and without the public comment?

ACTION: Approved
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
MOTION: 17189

10. 2005.1052D (R. CRAWFORD: (415) 558-6358)
1 PALO ALTO DRIVE (AKA 1 AVANZADA AKA 250 PALO ALTO) - Assessor's Block 2724 Lot 003 - Mandatory Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2005.606.4223 for installation of an interior fire suppression system inside Comcast's existing equipment room within an existing building at the Sutro Tower Broadcast facility. This project lies within the RH-1, Residential House, One Family District and within a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and Approve with Conditions.
(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 19, 2006)

ACTION: Took Discretionary Review and approved with conditions as staff recommended.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

11. 2005.0722D (I. WILSON: (415) 558-6163)
2600 CHESTNUT STREET - northwest corner of Chestnut Street and Richardson Avenue; Lot 005A in Assessor's Block 0932 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2004.10.26.7675, proposing to build a three-story horizontal addition to the east of the three-story single-family house, and a two-story addition over the existing one-story garage, in an 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 revised.
(Continued from Regular Meeting of January 12, 2005)

Richard Wall, Discretionary Review Requestor
- My wife and I live at 2660 Chestnut Street and have lived there for some 37 years.
- The plans as submitted refer to the fact that there would be an existing two-unit building.
- Now, on the lot, which is larger than normal, it was created when the freeway was established for the Golden Gate Bridge. A portion of an adjoining lot was cut off and added to this lot.
- When the applicants purchased the property some time in the early 1980's, several years later, they put an existing garage on the open space on the corner. There was no opposition to this by the neighbors.
- The problem that the neighbors first had with this was some time later when it was told it was going to be used for something other than residential purposes.
- The applicant operated his business, a plumbing business, out of the garage. Chestnut Street is an RH-1 Residential Area.
- The proposed coverage of this RH-1 lot is excessive.
- The applicants are taking a four-bedroom, three bath house, which is in excess of 3,500 square feet, and propose to add to it so that there will be seven bedrooms, six and a half baths, and four other rooms that have been identified recently as a family room, a study, a sun room, and an exercise room.
- As part of the information I received, the applicants have stated that the property has not been rented.
- This is inaccurate.
- The building was rented to a number of unrelated individuals. They were young and gave a lot parties that went on into the late hours. When neighbors complained, the applicant's response was 'it's not our problem.'
- I'd like to quickly tell you that this building as you see it today is an eyesore.
- It has not been maintained for the past several years.
- It's been vacant.
Jean Caramatti
- A large concern I have is that none us ever received any notification of this project. I've been told by your project manager that notification did go out. While we all agree that at times there are problems with mail delivery, absolutely none of us received any information about this.
- If residents of this city can't rely on the process that is going to keep us informed about what is happening in our neighborhoods and how it will impact our own property values and our quality of life, then we don't have much of a process going on in this city and it needs to be evaluated.
- It was posted on the building so it assumes that all of us would have to be walking every square inch of our neighborhood looking at buildings, looking at sign posts to make sure nothing is going on that might impact us.
- That is not acceptable.
- I hope you will correct this and look into this.
- And under the circumstances, grant us discretionary review because we have had no time to do anything.
Jean Hayes
- I have been a resident at 2646 Chestnut Street for 36 years and I have enjoyed living there.
- I would like to continue to enjoy living there.
- I object to what is planned at the corner of our street.
Deborah Goodman
- We live at 2670 Chestnut Street
- We've only been there for one year so I can only rely on information that our neighbors give us about what has transpired at 2600 Chestnut Street over the last 40 years.
- However, I can tell you after reading the information that was given in copy to me by Mr. Wall, because I didn't receive any information either, that the information about renters as stated is false.
- Even since the time I've been there, which has been a year, there have been renters in the building.
- I haven't monitored the building, but I was just reading this and I know that statement is false.
- So when I look at the plans and see a four-bedroom building being transformed into a seven-bedroom building with exercise rooms and sun rooms and things, I also question the transparency of what is really going on here with these plans and what will ultimately happen in the future.
Denise Wall
- I've been a little bit more than annoyed at some of the rumors that are going around the neighborhood.
- Mrs. Lee is going around and petitioning all the neighbors to sign in their favor.
- My neighbor who lives directly behind me where the Lees used to live said she [the applicant] is only doing a new kitchen.
- Somebody else said she's just adding on a room.
- I don't know how many people signed the petition, but I do want you to know that they weren't told the truth.
- I'm opposed to the project.
Patricia Vaughey, Cow Hollow Neighbors and Merchants
- I've been watching this case because there are other buildings in the neighborhood that we have had problems with that these people own.
- My suggestion is to put some special restrictions on this case because they simply have not been good neighbors in several sections of the area.
- In a previous case, they said that they were going to build a garage for residential use and ended up being a plumbing [shop] in both buildings.
- They were told to revise their plans and they said they were not going to change anything.
- I'm concerned.
- Require the Notice of Special Restrictions to keep it RH-1, not RH-3; to make sure the plumbing pipes are removed from the kitchen that is proposed to be torn out; and require that they paint [a problem we have had with them in the past] and maintain the property.
- If they don't do these things, the neighbors would have the right to bring this back to the Planning Commission.
Mrs. Lee, Project Sponsor
- My husband and I would like to ask for your approval of our plans to remodel our home at 2600 Chestnut Street.
- We have lived in the Marina District for over 40 years, right around the corner from this property at 3130 Lyon Street.
- We understand that Mr. Wall means no ill to us or our family.
- He said his complaint is not personal
- However, our plans and intent for this property are personal.
- My son is newly married and he plans to start a family at this home.
- We are a close family but we both want to have our privacy.
- Our only purpose is to see our son raise his family in the neighborhood he grew up in.
Morgan Lee, Jr.
- I grew up in the Marina District.
- I was recently married and my wife Katherine and I would like to start a family soon.
- Being of Chinese descent, we would like our parents to help raise our children.
- Extended family support is important in our culture.
- The remodeling with the proposed improvements will give my family and me the opportunity to live together under the same roof with my parents and have enough space.
- The additional space will be a central necessity once we begin to expand our family with another generation of San Franciscans.
Jenny Lu
- I'm a friend of the family.
- I'm in favor of the project.
- [Presented to the Commission letters from all the key corners and those having direct views of the subject site in support of the project. She also presented a petition signed by supporters.]
Architect for the project
- Unfortunately the original architect passed away and I can't answer to the original plan.
- At one point plans did show two kitchens.
- That might be causing the confusion as to why it was thought it would be two units.
- My client is willing to sign whatever to assure that there will always be one unit.

ACTION: Took Discretionary Review and disapproved
AYES: Alexander, Antonini, Bradford-Bell and Hughes
NAYES: S. Lee, Olague and W. Lee

12a. 2005.1180D (T. TAM: (415) 558-6325)
4121 & 4123 CESAR CHAVEZ - south side between Noe and Castro Streets, Lot 52 in Assessor's Block 6581 - Mandatory Discretionary Review under the Planning Commission policy (Resolution No. 16700) requiring review of all residential demolition, of Demolition Permit Application No. 2005.12.22.0885, proposing to demolish an existing two-story-over-garage, two-unit residential structure in an RM-1 (Residential, Mixed, Low Density) Use District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the demolition

Representing Project Sponsor
- The top of the hillside is zoned RM-1 so you can have large buildings at the tip.
- This building was empty when bought by Spring and Yuen.
- The former occupant had lived there for 43 years. When she died her heirs did not want to live in the facility.
- The tenants who had lived there before moved our beforehand.
- There was no dialogue or request for any kind of relocation.
- This is clearly a multi-family neighborhood.
- In regard to parking, the proposed project is building one-to-one parking and the cul-de-sac allows 90 degree parking. It gets twice as many parking spaces than most neighborhoods.
- We are demolishing this current garage.
- When we are done the curb cut will be reduced to 10 feet and the garage entry will be reduced to nine feet, which creates another parking space.
- Yuen and Spring have really made an effort to reach all the neighbors because they live there now with their infant daughter.
- They will live there after the construction.
- This is really a family housing.
- The four two-bedroom units are 1300 square feet and the two, three or four bedroom units (depending on what the occupant wants to have) will either be three bedrooms and a family room or four bedrooms with no family room.
- We have agreed to do construction from 8 to 5, five days a week.
- 25 neighbors signed a petition indicating they had no objection to the project. Those are all people in the cul-de-sac abutting the project. We also have four other letters directly supporting the project.
- The neighbor immediately to the west had concerns about her light well.
- Because the program would not permit a matching light well, we agreed to put lot line windows so she wouldn't be looking at a blank wall and we agreed to put three new skylights in her house, which would give her far more light into the kitchen, the bathroom, and the utility room that would be off the skylight.
- I'm not worried about the quality of construction. Yuen does great work.
- This is where they're going to live.
Robert Levenson
- The building will increase the density of what is there already, in one of the most dense areas of Noe Valley.
- The proposed structure will have a significant negative impact on quality of life, public safety and access in neighborhood.
- The height of the building at four stories above the garage level exceeds every other building on the street.
- Although I have great respect for the desire of this group to be good neighbors, and I think they have been and they will be, I do think that there is a great deal of difference between the two-story, two-family unit that exists now and four-story, six-family units proposed.
- I would ask the Planning Commission to consider whether something in between really makes a little bit more sense given the character of the neighborhood.
David Parkinson
- I live at 4130 Cesar Chavez, which is the apartment building directly across the Street.
- My window looks directly across at Ewen's building.
- I did not receive any notice of this project at all.
- I did not receive any invitation to look at the plans from Ewen.
- The scope is a little bit large.
- There is no historic value to this building.
- Maybe four units would be a good compromise.
- I realize that there is one parking spot allowed per unit.
- And I realize it is the latest thing to try to get people out of their cars and use public transportation.
- But people don't do it. Especially not in Noe Valley.
- People park on the street.
- I just have these concerns.
Mark Thomas, Project Architect
- To the best of my knowledge, Ewen and Spring did substantial neighborhood outreach.
- I attended four neighborhood meetings with Ewen and Spring.
- They obtained approximately 26 signatures and various letters of support.
- I think the neighborhood was well informed of the project.
- The building was delivered to Ewen and Spring vacant.
- We met with Department staff and reviewed our idea of putting a six-unit building rather than a seven or eight-unit building in this RM-1 neighborhood.
- Usually at the top of a hill the density is a little greater and the buildings are a little taller.
- As the buildings come down the hillside they get a little bit smaller and more refined in scale.
- In terms of its size, I think Ewen and Spring have been reasonable in following the Residential Design Guidelines.
- The building steps back from the front street elevation twice on the third and fourth levels; in the back once at the fourth level; and along the easterly side at the second, third and fourth levels.
- We tried really hard to minimize the impact of the proposed building on the street by keeping the front façade generally the same as the existing building's façade. And I think we've managed to do that.
- But at the same time we've provided Ewen and Spring with a family house and fulfill the directives and goals of the General Plan.
- In terms of greenery and cars being parked in Noe Valley - there is 90 degree parking on this street, which means that this street has double the street parking available to the residents.
- We will provide one-to-one parking and we will also be providing a small garden space out front in the form of a couple of planters to help soften the pedestrian way and emphasize the importance of the pedestrian entrance and minimize the vehicular entrance.
Ewen Utting, Project Sponsor
- When we first moved into the property, we notified the neighbors of our intention to modify and do some work.
- That was the 311 notice that went out.
- I then hit the street and got to know my neighbors by informing them of our proposed project.
- I have a pretty good relationship with most of the neighbors.
- We received a very positive feedback from a majority of the neighbors.
- We would love to take one the top units to accommodate our family plans, and live in the building with other families, true San Francisco style, the American dream with kids playing in the backyard and all.
- It's a cul-de-sac street. Perfect for kids. Very little through traffic.
- We've had meetings with both our neighbors and I've tried to address many if not all of their concerns.
- I'm the contractor.
- I think it's a great project.
Spring Utting - co-project sponsor
- I just want to share with you. We love Noe Valley. We've lived in the area for about eight years now and looking for a place where we can raise our family.
- We think this will be a great place to share with other families in the backyard.
Luke Gilligan
- I would like to support the project.
- I think it's a very nice project. It would be affordable housing for young couples buying into that neighborhood.
- The parks are there. The schools are there.
- It would also benefit the city.
- All the young families with kids are moving away from the city.
- Something like this would be a great opportunity to get young families back into the community.
- I would like to support the project.
Lisa Bruckner
- I have met with Ewen and Spring.
- I've also reviewed the plans.
- I support the project and I certainly hope the Board will support it.
- I live in a three-story building on the same block and I'm quite glad to have them as neighbors.
Peter Brannigan
- I think this is a very appropriate site for a building of this height and density because of all the larger buildings around.
- I encourage you to support this project.

Jeffrey Heuer
- I live just below the project site at 1409 Noe Street.
- I can see the building and the project site from my front door.
- I think it is a great use of the space.
- I think it is a good project for the neighborhood and it is in the right spot.
- I encourage the Board to think the same way and approve the project.
Beverly Freyberg
- I'm a neighbor to the west of Cesar Chavez.
- I received notification of this project in the mail.
- I looked it over and I like the building. It's a nice looking building.
- I think this building will enhance the neighborhood and I would suggest that you approve the project.

ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved demolition.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

12b. 2005.1181DV (T. TAM: (415) 558-6325)
4121 & 4123 CESAR CHAVEZ - south side between Noe and Castro Streets, Lot 52 in Assessor's Block 6581 - Mandatory Discretionary Review under the Planning Commission policy (Resolution No. 16700) requiring review of all new construction associated with residential demolition, of New Construction Permit Application No. 2005.12.22.0886, proposing to construct a new four-story-over-garage, six-unit residential structure in an RM-1 (Residential, Mixed, Low Density) Use District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project as proposed.

SPEAKERS: Same as Item 12a.
ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved new construction.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Bradford-Bell, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee

12c. 2005.1181DV (T. TAM: (415) 558-6325)
4121 & 4123 CESAR CHAVEZ - south side between Noe and Castro Streets, Lot 52 in Assessor's Block 658 - Request for a Rear Yard Variance for a minor encroachment of the proposed stairs into the required rear yard pursuant to Planning Code Section 134. A portion of the proposed stairs at the rear for the new six-unit construction project is more than two stories in height, one story taller than permissible by the Planning Code for permitted obstruction. This variance will be heard before Zoning Administrator immediately following the hearing for the discretionary reviews referenced in the above. The property is in an RM-1 (Residential, Mixed, Low Density) Use District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

SPEAKERS: Same as Item 12a
ACTION: Zoning Administrator closed public hearing and granted the variance.

13. 2005.1093D (D. DIBARTOLO: (415) 558-6291)
2900 FULTON STREET - northwest corner at Fifth Avenue; Lot 017 in Assessor's Block 1648 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2004.02.24.7019S, proposing to alter the existing one-story commercial structure, by adding three floors, to contain four dwelling units over the ground floor commercial level; and, redesign of the ground level to include two separate retail spaces and façade alterations with a parking garage to accommodate four parking spaces, 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 revised.

Joe Glenn, Discretionary Review Requestor
- I live at 756 Fifth Avenue.
- We are not opposed to the demolition of this building.
- But we do have concerns about the design and the size of the structure.
- This will be on the corner lot and have a greater negative impact on the individual character of the neighborhood.
- The proposed structure is lacking in architectural detail or distinction seems to have been designed to minimize costs and maximize profit.
- The building occupies a maximum allowable envelope in conflict with the city's own Urban Design Guidelines.
- We strongly suggest the new building should blend with the surroundings rather than overwhelm them
- Furthermore, the architectural details do not adhere to the residential guidelines set forth by the San Francisco Planning Department.
- The appearance of the building would be detrimental to the character of the neighborhood.
- It will increase the current difficulties of parking.
Karen Gorin
- In the packet we gave you there are signatures from 16 property owners and 23 individuals.
- They are concerned about the design of the project.
- We are asking that the Project Sponsor re-look at the design of the building and look at something that is not visually disruptive to what is already there.
- We're asking that you guys re-look at the design and not approve it as planned.
- We are also concerned about the floor plan and the elevator to the penthouse.
- We are concerned about the commercial zoning.
Eva Young
- I live on Fourth Avenue.
- I would like to register concern about this project.
- I see that it is quite a large area and it may have impacts in the neighborhood.
- I didn't know about this project until two days ago.
- I didn't really have a chance to study it thoroughly yet.
Alice Yavorsky
- Concerned about the elevator that goes up to the penthouse. In a four-story building that is largely 75% residential, there are no existing elevators.
Janet Underwood
- Concerned about the traffic impact in the neighborhood.
Roberta Wallace, Architect for the project
- We did do some due diligence.
- We just had a neighborhood meeting. People came.
- [Showed various pictures of the project site and surrounding neighborhood. Through the pictures showed how the proposed project would differ and enhance the character of the neighborhood. Contrasted proposed project material and design with what exists in the area.]
- These units are to be made accessible.
- Therefore, if you are going to have shared garden space on the roof, you would have to put an elevator up there to accommodate that.
- There is no setback requirement on the Fulton Street side.
- And as the staff planner said, we are trying to emphasize the corner.
- I hope that you consider this project.
Justine, Project Sponsor
- Asked Commission to approve the project.

ACTION: Continued to April 20, 2006. Public hearing remains open to address new design
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Bradford-Bell

5:00 P.M.

14. 2004.0160U (J. RUBIN: (415) 558-6310, J. JARAMILLO: (415) 575-6818)
CONSIDERATION OF A RESOLUTION TO ADOPT INTERIM CONTROLS FOR AREAS OF THE EASTERN NEIGHBORHOODS AND CENTRAL WATERFRONT (PROPOSED FOR CONTINUANCE) - Public hearing on a resolution adopting interim zoning controls that would establish Mixed-Use Residential, Employment and Business Development, and Urban Mixed-Use areas for sections of the Mission (generally bounded by Guerrero, Division, Potrero, and Cesar Chavez Streets), Showplace Square/Potrero Hill (generally bounded by 7th, Bryant, Potrero and 26th Streets, and I-280), East SoMa (generally bounded by Mission, 7th, Harrison, 4th and Townsend Streets, and the Embarcadero), and the Central Waterfront (generally bounded by Mariposa Street, I-280, Islais Creek, and the Bay). The Mixed-Use Residential area would support residential development; the Employment and Business Development area would support production, distribution and repair (PDR) activities, including digital-media; and the Urban Mixed-Use area would require limited amounts of PDR space associated with a wide array of other uses, including housing. The proposed interim controls would also establish overlay areas including, but not limited to: 1) a Design and Showroom district intended to support those activities in the Showplace Square area and 2) an Arts and Technology district intended to encourage activities interrelated with the California College of Arts and nearby development in Mission Bay. At this hearing, staff will make a presentation that covers the process for adopting interim controls and a summary of the controls themselves, and lead a discussion on the definition of PDR. At subsequent hearings the following topics are proposed to be discussed:
- District controls
- Urban design, open space and other topics.
Preliminary Recommendation: Hold hearings and continue adoption to a date certain.

Curtis Eisenberger
- We oppose interim controls.
- We think that the grandfathering timeline is kind of arbitrary. But beyond that, we do not think that the details of these controls are workable.
Mark Klaiman
- I am concerned about the use of an all-inclusive PDR definition in this document.
- PDR businesses are different than other properties that are simply not residential retail personal services and not institutional.
- I agree we need flexibility, but we cannot predict the PDR uses in the future.
- We also need to further address thee PDR's that decide to stay in the mixed-use neighborhoods.
- We should not subject them to being classified as nonconforming uses.
- They should be allowed to stay as conforming uses.
- We should encourage density of residential units in the neighborhood.
- We also need to address relocation assistance for those PDR's that are forced to leave any area that is changes because of these interim controls.
Bob Legallet
- I work with the Back Street Business Advisory Board
- I worked extensively with the Planning Department and the development of these PDR definitions.
- It is an example of my family's experience with conversion of industrial space.
- I have 4,000 square feet of property that my grandfather developed.
- We rent out to tenants who are the true PDR backbone of this city.
- I'm here to defend their usefulness and productivity to the city as a whole.
- I'm also here to encourage you to do the same in your consideration of the interim controls.
- The Back Street Business Board, the District deemed the employment of business development district is intended to provide the most protection for PDR businesses.
- Yet there are other business types allowed under the interim controls because economies will not compete or displace or preclude the traditional PDR users.
- This is a dangerously broad definition of PDR to allow the biotech, digital media, and other high tech industries in PDR zones.
- We recommend that PDR should be more explicitly defined, rather than defined simply by what it isn't since the Interim Controls are going to create true PDR protection.
Sarah Schindler, Morrison and Forester representing Southern Hills Properties at Mission and Cesar Chavez
- We are replacing a one-story use with 16 units of retail.
- This is currently under environmental review but it will be coming before the commission during the interim period.
- The current affordability requirement is only 12%.
- But language in this draft says that new projects with ten or more units shall provide at least 20% of units with two or more bedrooms.
- And that they are strongly encouraged to be affordable.
- This recommendation is much higher and all of the affordable units would be the large two-bedroom units.
- This design guideline is inconsistent with the commission's recommendation of last week that changes to housing requirements should be deferred until completion of the pending housing and feasibility nexus study.
- This seems to be a way to sort of get around that recommendation.
- Inclusionary housing requirements require analysis and that is what the study is doing. It is questionable whether this is appropriately a design guideline.
Barbara Florez
- I am a member of the public that benefits from the PDR.
- I have an arts studio down between third and fourth and Harrison.
- This whole area is being revamped for affordable housing development.
- It sounds fabulous and wonderful for the city, but we are here to let the commission know there is a whole group of us from the studio and that in all these projects that are happening all over town, there are some really fabulous things that are being obliterated.
- Down in that area is an incredible art resource of San Francisco.
- It's called space 743 - The Clay Studio.
- 32 to 36 artists have studios there.
- I want to make sure you look closely at all these projects.
- When those developers tell you, and those lawyers and those huge publicity firms with boxes or paperwork that allow them to do what they do, that you look closely at those projects because there are people living down there who are doing wonderful things to support the City and all that is about to be lost.
Ken Watson, Graphics Sportswear
- 1240 Minnesota Street
- Currently supporting 100 employees in San Francisco since 1979.
- I applied for permits back in September 2004 and just curious what is going on and hoping we can stay with the mixed PDR residential.
- It helps financially to keep my employees employed.
- I'm curious to know where the commission stands as far as the grandfathering of projects like this.
Alison Poole
- We represent the exciting residential mixed-use project on Harrison between Third and Fourth Streets.
- It features over 570 residential units including townhouses with two and three bedrooms and ground floor neighborhood serving retail uses.
- It is one of the few remaining projects in Eastern SOMA available for high density mixed-use housing.
- There should be exceptions to the Interim Controls for properties adjacent to freeway alleys and elimination of mandatory walkways to freeway alleys because they would not be used.
Gregg Miller, Pillsbury Law Firm in San Francisco
- We represent the concerned owners of several pieces of property in the Eastern neighborhoods.
- On behalf of those owners, I ask that you eliminate the PDR replacement and mandatory PDR inclusion aspects of the controls because they are punitive and unnecessarily restrictive.
- In all of these districts the controls require certain ratio of PDR space to be part of any new residential development.
- With so little existing demand for such space, these PDR replacement requirements will be haunting development in these districts.
Robert Herr, Pillsbury Law Firm in San Francisco
- Why is it that U.M.U. is grandfathered for projects that were applied for before November 17, but not those other districts?
- I want to say that I am not asking for a grandfather provision to be applied generally to those other districts. We are asking for something much simpler.
- We simply do not want projects for which applications are already on file to not be processed by the staff.
- As to the point that interim controls are a way for the department to basically stop processing applications is precisely our primary concern.
- Just because you have adopted interim controls doesn't mean that you will adopt permanent controls.
- You have twice in the last five years imposed interim controls in portions of the Eastern neighborhoods and never adopted permanent controls.
- So, you stop processing applications simply because the are inconsistent with interim controls even if there is no expectation and no requirement that this commission actually considers those and approve those projects during the period that the interim controls are in effect.
- You are in effect declaring a moratorium on development in the area, which I think is a big mistake.
- Our suggestion is that you give clear direction to staff to continue to process applications, not to bring them before you for approval, but just to process them even though they may be inconsistent with the interim controls.
- On the alley issue that Ms. Poole mentioned - the requirements in the interim controls with respect to alleys are not guidelines, they are mandatory.
- Unless you provide an exception for the three-way tunnel she was describing, this commission would have no flexibility.
- You would have to impose the setbacks and other requirements of requests for alleys even though it makes utterly no sense.
Theodore Brown, Theodore Brown Architects
- I am here in support of the Gardens at Harrison project, which is a project we've been working on since August of '04.
- We would like to keep that project moving ahead.
Steven Gruel
- I along with 'Robert McCarthy of McCarthy and Schwartz represent the Colier Company.
- The Colier Company represents a building that is included in the interim controls - The McGuire Furniture Building, which is located at 1201 Bryant Street.
- It has been there since 1927 and it is a furniture manufacturing company and has acted so for quite some period of time.
- I'm here to oppose this particular site being included in the interim controls.
- Asked the Commission to exclude 1201 Bryant Street because geographically by boundaries it is in the Western SOMA, not the Eastern neighborhoods.
Elan Drucker, GCA Strategies representing McGuire Furniture Company
- Our site happens to be surrounded by retail.
- The City's largest retailer, COSTCO, is just across the street.
- Down the block is OMID, a rug retailer and a showroom.
- Kitty corner across the street is another antique retailer.
- It is not just industrial PDR.
- One thing we want to assure is that McGuire Center has no interest in moving. It has no interest in discontinuing any of its furniture making activities.
- We agree with staff in 2001 that the property belongs in Western SOMA.
Fred Snyder
- I want to speak on 550 Florida - an old subject that's come up a few times - the Mission Linen site.
- This area is inter-mixed with housing and PDR uses on every block.
- 550 Florida is a block that does not have housing, but it is surrounded completely by housing.
- I would like to get the urban mixed-use [zoning].
- Have a continuous zoning here for the whole area because ten years from now housing will fill even more on that block.
Jim Allen
- Mission Linen has told us in the last few weeks they are going to be leaving because they are paying more for water than they are for rent.
- They have installed every water conservation and recycling equipment that they can and still their water costs are driving then out of San Francisco.
- Two things are driving them out, water costs and the employment tax.
- We believe that building is going to be vacant in the near future.
- The way the map is currently drawn, that leaves us as a PDR or industrial use surrounded by urban mixed-use, which is probably going to become more and more housing.
- We would like to be included in urban mixed-use because it makes the property much more feasible for compatible use in the neighborhood.
Nina Saltman
- I am little confused as to whether for or against the Interim Controls.
- Basically we want the Planning Commission to look at the project, which is the Gardens at Harrison Street, and think about what is happening there.
- I don't think we even remotely expect we can stop that project, but maybe as commissioners you can make sure that whatever projects do happen can take into consideration the fact that we are being displaced and that a really viable wonderful art space is being destroyed by this project.
- Again, I'm not really sure if the interim controls would have a better affect on that or not.
Kyle Prenhould
- I also am an artist at Clay Studio/
- I'm opposed to the interim controls as they stand now because I don't believe they go far enough in protecting PDR uses like ours in east SOMA, which is zoned for all mixed-use housing and has no protections for uses such as ours that I believe would be compatible with housing, which is the focus of that new zoning district.
- I also don't think that the controls for inclusionary housing, low-income housing go far enough.
- It's a shame that it seems as though the controls, which are set out to kind of provide some kind of stabilizing guideline to the area, aren't doing that for that particular use.
- I would ask the commission to really consider that as they look at approving the interim controls if that is what they decide to do.
Jane Martin
- I'm here as an owner's representative for a company at 2360 Third Street
- I don't think that this is the appropriate time during the planning process to implement interim controls.
- The property that I'm here about today has been selected as a potential PDR continued use,
- And that is not in conversation with the current owner.
- It was through planning department staff walking the streets, as I understand it, walking the streets and identifying the buildings that looked like they might be appropriate for PDR use.
- I'm saying that there are a number of properties that need to be looked at more closely in order to know that this is the right thing to do.
Joyce Fujiwara
- I'm here for the Clay Studio and feel that the loss of this organization is going to be a huge loss to the community.
- I would just hope that you would take into consideration the arts that are moving out of the city.
- Yu guys could consider affordable arts space to try to keep the artists in San Francisco.
Paige Patterson
- I'm also here to speak on behalf of the Clay Studio.
- I take classes with some of the people who have spoken here.
- I just want to state my support for the space. It's a great community space.
- In addition to the individual artists, there is a large community space for people like myself who choose to spend five to ten hours a week there.
- They offer very affordable classes.
- It's got great instruction.
Dwight Dolliver
- I have a few multi-use properties down and around 18th and Harrison Street.
- There should be some of sort of consistent zoning in all this area.
- There does not seem to be any kind of consistency in this.
- The 5,000 square foot cap on space seems to be ridiculous when you talk about multi-media space.
- People with film and video need space.
- You have to have some sort of flexibility in this stuff.
- A lot of us have a lot of money on the line - a whole life savings.
- We literally subsidize our renters and what it costs to maintain these properties.
- It seems like we're absolutely being overlooked and the single biggest criminal thing I think is going on with all this zoning is no one is looking at parking.
- You have to put parking in.
- If at some point in the future we have a magic bullet and everybody takes public transportation, fine, turn the things into living spaces or storage.
- But build these buildings with parking.
- Otherwise, keep it consistent.
Brenda Lopez
- I speaking on the 1-25 Division Street property.
- I work for a small family owned building and we own the property at 1 through 25 Division.
- We also built the brick style building at fourth and Townsend.
- We are known for building high-quality mixed-use projects.
- We all want to continue working and building here in the city.
- We spent a lot of time acquiring this property on this site.
- We were shocked at the new proposal prohibiting residential units.
- Our relatively small company has spent approximately $10 million on investment in the property.
- Before we purchased the Division Street property, we checked with our land use attorneys and found that the site at 1-25 Division Street had been zoned as residential in the first Eastern Neighborhood's map of 2003.
- It remained as residential in the interim policies of 2004.
- We are excited to develop the project because of the current condition of the property
- We feel that we have been singled out due to the way the lines are drawn with the residential zoning on all three sides of our property.
- The revisions on October 24th were the first talked about prohibiting residential on this site.
- Immediately after learning of certain issues which all came after we bought the property, our company and our attorneys wrote letters to the planning staff and commission and we haven't had much response from that.
- We ask you to make this process a bit more fair for us.
C. J. Higley, Representative from Ruben and Junius
- The drat interim controls designate our client's property as part of the employment and business development area, the PDR area.
- We do not believe this designation is appropriate for this item and we respectfully request that you re-designate it for residential mixed-use so that the site can support productive transit oriented development.
- The project sits immediately adjacent to what will soon be the Islis Creek stop.
- The property is ideally suited for transit oriented development, where residents could step out of their homes and get right on one of the new trains.
- In addition, the property has southern frontage on the creek, which has long been planned for recreational use.
- There is already a boat landing directly across the creek from the project site; a sizeable public accessibility by the city immediately west of the site and there is money earmarked by the San Francisco Conservation Bay Development Commission to build more public access at the site.
- This particular site was once the location of a sardine cannery.
- The deteriorated buildings left on the site are now woefully under utilized - 133,000 square feet of industrial space.
- Limiting this site directly on the Third Street Light Rail to industrial uses when it is unlikely to materialize in the future would squander the extra ordinary recreational opportunities that exist at this particular site.
- It is for this exact reason that Planning Department staff has designated most of the lot headed north along Third Street with essential waterfront for mixed-use and not employment business development.
- At the property owner's direction, the architects have prepared preliminary drawings for a project at the site with 30 dwelling units, 24,000 square feet of ground-level retail and over 66,000 square feet of usable open space as well as public access from Third Street to the Islis Creek.
- In addition, the owners are working closely with Friends of the Creek who are also excited about the opportunity to provide access from Third Street to the Creek.
- For all these reasons we respectfully request you take a hard look at this site and re-designate it to a use, a residential use that makes so much more sense at this site.
Chris Durazo
- I am opposed to the current interim controls.
- This is about protections in civilization.
- And this is not protecting who we want to protect - the fabric of the neighborhood - these smaller businesses.
- Some are larger, but they have really made up the bulk of blue-collar businesses in the city.
- There is a lot of stuff [small businesses] you don't see unless you know the neighborhood.
- I think in particular these interim controls don't really protect those types of businesses.
- The ones that are not successful to market trends.
- They actually survive and have kept afloat the city during 9/11.
- These were the businesses that kept families going.
- The affordable housing concerns me, having everything grandfathered in.
- The renters that are invested in this.
- Those are the things we want real stronger protections on.
Michael Burke
- We represent several property owner who would be affected by the Interim Controls
- I want to address a number of discrete issues: 1) the grandfathering provision. I'm not certain whether it's intended to apply to entitlement applications or to application for environmental evaluation. I would hope that it would include the latter as well as the former. Otherwise you'd be turning CEQA on its head. 2) I would appreciate it if somebody would tell me what downtown office is so I could tell some of my clients what they can't do in their buildings.
- I don't know what that means.
- The limitation of 5,000 sq. ft. on office space does not really make a lot of sense to me.
- I hope you will have at least one session where we can talk about whether certain land use designations are appropriate.
- I would encourage you not to tie your hands with controls.
- If you adopted interim controls that imposed alley restrictions on their development, it wouldn't make any sense.
- If they were interim controls and not policies, you couldn't do anything about it.
Robert McCarthy, on behalf of the Gardens at Harrison, on behalf of McGuire Furniture and on behalf of Fred Snyder
- [He put a picture on the overhead]
- That is Fred's site to the east, to the north, to the south.
- It is completely surrounded by UMU.
- In fact, the block to the west has been designated EVD except for the corner, which has been designated UMU.
- I must tell you that this kind of zoning where you zone by the current use, and you do not zone by neighborhoods is not something that I have been familiar with in any planning process anywhere in t his State.
- In fact, if you want to look at the two most glaring examples where block by block uses have differed dramatically, I recommend you take a trip to Houston or Bangkok, where you'll see high-rise shadowing, existing housing and all kind of other things. They are the two worst urban planned cities in the World, and that is what is being proposed here.
- What I'd ask you is that Fred be treated like the surrounding neighborhood and get included in the UMU because unfortunately Mission Linen is going to leave because they can't afford to pay their water bill.
- Normally when planning is done, they first look to the natural boundaries - mountains, rivers, and creeks.
- If you don't have those, you look for things that generally divide like freeways, boulevards, or some other construction for a freak from the park.
- McGuire Furniture Factory is distinctly separate from the Eastern Neighborhoods. It is clearly in Western SOMA.
- It has always been treated as part of Western SOMA until suddenly this iteration of Interim Controls.
- Finally, a little bit about the Gardens at Harrison.
- This is under the topic of no good deed goes unpunished.
- The market value of the Clay Studio, which by the way is a commercial lease, is $14,000 a month.
- In order to help them with their transition, he did not raise their rent when the lease went up July 1st.
- They are currently paying $5,000.
- Similarly, the auto body people put $10,00- into their space and it is not going to get wasted because the brothers agreed to diminish their rent by an equal amount of money.
- So in essence, the owners of the building pay for those tenant improvements and not the individual business.
Jeffrey Leibovitz, Eastern SOMA
- I thought the discussion was going to be a definition of PDR but it seems to be expanded quite a bit.
- I thought there were going to be a series of workshops.
- I got the impression that handouts were given to elicit comments and further discussion about permanent controls.
- I would like a little explanation of that from staff please.
- I want to encourage that there be a discussion on meaningful retail, meaningful ground floor retail and not just this cookie cutter 5,000 sq. ft. retail that seems to go unused as one of you noted.
- We really need to make it start at 30,000 sq.ft. I am referring to the East SOMA neighborhood.
- 30,000 square feet, sub dividable so that we get some meaningful community serving retail to move in.
- I can take you around our neighborhood today and show you vacant spaces that go under or unused because 5,000 square feet just doesn't cut it in these neighborhoods.
- We don't have critical mass.
Tom Gilberti
- I live at 2 Townsend, the Marina Apartments.
- I have rented there for 17 years.
- Part of my issue is the noise.
- The buildings create noise when they are finished.
- Parking garages underground, ventilation systems, the remodeled warehouses, 625 2nd Street has ventilation systems on the roof. They hum, they buzz continually. Also, the emergency generators.
- Just this morning 88 Townsend lost their electricity for about an hour.
- It's about 100 plus decibels continuous noise.
- When you look at these projects being built, make sure that the ventilation systems for the garage and common areas are quiet.
- There is no sense in adding a bit of noise to the neighborhood where there once wasn't.
- Each project may need to define whether it is going o allow dogs in residential areas now.
- Unless a project of 400 or 500 units has its own private zone for its residents to walk their dogs, you're making the sidewalks and any parks in the neighborhood a dog park and a dog walk.
- This is the moment you have to consider noise and dogs.
- I wish you could take care of these problems.
Tony Kelly
- Commissioners, please do not be fooled. This is not community based planning that we're doing here on interim controls. These are City Hall based planning.
- The longer you consider interim controls - the City Hall based planning, you are hurting the real planning that is supposed to be happening in the neighborhoods that has been stalled for years and we are still waiting for interim impact reports.
- These Interim Controls don't stabilize the neighborhoods.
- They don't offer an existing Planning Code.
- They encourage speculation rather than protect existing businesses and existing jobs.
- The change in definition of PDR, specifically defining what it isn't rather than what it is, Planning staff admits that that is different.
- They are doing it because it is more flexible.
- They admit they want to encourage uses they haven't thought of yet or may be higher density uses than what is there.
- How is that operating within the existing Planning Code?
- How is that being more restrictive rather than less?
- You really have to think commissioners.
- It is because Planning Department staff is either choosing or has been instructed to specifically introduce higher density business usage into the definition of PDR.
- This would encourage more speculation in the neighborhood.
- If you want to continue to have hearings about the permanent controls and about the proper use of the Eastern Neighborhoods, go right ahead.
- But please for the sake of planning, you don't have to consider these interim controls to have the hearings.
- Ditch these interim controls and instruct staff to come up with a more honest process that really respects the community based planning process.
Sue Hestor
- I support Interim controls.
- But these are way far away from what they should be.
- I want to talk about less restrictive.
- From the map of residential mixed-use, a lot of this area is zoned SLI.
- Guess what SLI doesn't allow?
- Housing.
- Why do we have interim controls that say residential in the SLI?
- What we've had in the SLI over the last couple of years was 2,000 to 3,000 micro-based housing units that call themselves artist [units].
- What we built in the SLI and Mission and Potrero Hill is about 4,000-artist live/work.
- Now the developers are saying these artists workspaces are really housing.
- And now you are being told that their sites are surrounded by housing.
- Do you indulge a lie?
- Are we going to say that existing artists live/work that is an industrial use that is required to be only sold and occupied by artists has changed, and we now recognize the lie legally?
- That's is one of the issues the Department has not confronted.
- I will give you what I believe downtown offices are.
- Downtown offices per the Downtown Plan is, first you do a planning process and you invest about a billion dollars in infrastructure in transit, then you change the density and say, we have the super structure available to move people in and out of an area on transit.
- People don't have to and shouldn't be able to drive to downtown offices.
- When you switch that level of density to 2300 Townsend Street, for example, you are creating something that flies in the face of about ten years of planning that this Planning Commission wasn't involved in, but that the city was involved in.
- We do not encourage density in areas that don't have transit first.
- That means transit before the density comes in, as well as other parts of transit first.
John Barrett, representing the property at 1025 Harrison
- My family has owned this property for the past 60 years and I've managed it personally the last 25.
- We have always kind of adapted to the needs of the city through running different businesses and then trying to accommodate the best tenants for the area.
- We plan on building 572 housing units, 30% or which will be two and three-bedroom units.
- This will generate $12 or $18 million in estimated BMR housing.
- It will also increase property tax revenues to the City and County.
- The restrictions under the interim controls are counter to the city goals of encouraging housing.
- We ask the Commission to look at each development on a case-by-case basis and allow lot mergers where appropriate.
- We want to make this, which is one of the major gateways to the city, something that we can be proud of and also future generations can enjoy.
Alice Barkley
- Your PDR designation has gotten to the point that it means absolutely nothing, except for what is not defined as a PDR.
- 'But it is defined for everything else.
- But I don't know what that everything else is.
- This other control is not ready for prime time.
- It needs a lot of work and it needs a lot of clarification and clarity.
Hans Koch
- I'm a developer and a member of the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association.
- We are a neighborhood-first developer in that before a project we propose goes before you or even before staff, we present the property and the concepts to the neighborhood.
- That is really a gauge for establishing receptivity in terms of the general climate about a particular development.
- So we have this sort of mix with the neighborhood primed for a particular project, particular design that matches up with those things that have been identified in the Central Waterfront Plan and match up with the interim controls.
- But we don't have a basis for which to proceed.
- So we'd like to work together on solidifying that plan whether it is through the interim controls or through a quickly accelerated Central Waterfront Plan.
- We want to move that process forward.
- In establishing the Interim Controls in the short term, we also need to deal with things like density and height which are missed if we are moving towards the adoption of some of these permanent controls meaning that really address those issues.
- So working through the specific property issues about zoning and what properties fall under what categories is important.
- But working towards a greater goal, finishing up the plan, working with the neighborhoods and following the staff's plan of meeting and having these workshops to address some of the neighborhood issues is important, not only to the community, but also the city, owners and neighborhood, which are all pieces of the puzzle.
ACTION: Public hearing closed on today's discussions. Item continued to March 16, 2006 for further public hearings.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Olague and W. Lee
ABSENT: Bradford-Bell and Hughes


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))

Fred Snyder
- This has been a 16 year process in our neighborhood
- I would like to have the Planning Commission direct staff to work more closely with the neighborhood on these items.
- We just got this document last night.
- It rubs me the wrong way when I hear them say they held four community workshops.
- The neighborhood was not invited at the beginning of them
- When we got there we were told that the community had already decided what the plan was and was leading us in this plan B type situation housing.
- We were brought into this after the fact.
- That has been a problem from day one.
- This has been a very bad process.
- The community wants to work with the planning staff.
- We want to resolve this.
[Speaker did not state name]
- I want to back up what Fred said. This has been a long arduous process.
- It doesn't seem like we are getting anywhere. We're spinning our wheels.
- I like your definitions of PDR.
- How about definitions on a lot of other stuff?
- I've always followed all the controls, to only have this thing sold down the road and to me diluted.
- This is where it hurts.
- Define something and stick with it.
- I have a real issue with a lot of these grandfathering things.
- And don't forget parking.
- We're going to have an urban warfare out there.
- Have you ever tried to ride BART late at night at 16th and Mission?
- Bring your pistol. You might get killed.
- People need cars.
- We have to have someplace to put them.
- For Christ's sake, figure out something to do with it.
- We need legitimacy. It needs to be fair for everybody.
- It's not. It's out of control.

Adjournment: 9: 32 p.m.


ACTION: Approved
AYES: Antonini, Lee, Moore, Olague, and Sugaya

ABSENT: Alexander

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 discussion/consideration; a list of the 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 Under the heading Explore, the category Government, and the City Resources section, 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 10:00:22 PM