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Seal of the City and County of San Francisco
City and County of San Francisco
Public Hearings 

March 29, 2007 - Special Joint Meeting with Building Inspection Commission

March 29, 2007 Special Joint Meeting with Building Inspection Commission





Special Joint Hearing

Meeting Minutes

Board of Supervisors Chambers - Room 250

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, March 29, 2007

5:30 PM


COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Olague, Antonini, S. Lee, W. Lee, Moore and Sugaya



COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Walker, Lee, Murphy, Romero and Sattary

COMMISSIONER ABSENT: Grubb and Theriault


STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Dean Macris – Director of Planning, Larry Badiner – Zoning Administrator, Amit Ghosh – Chief Planner, Craig Nikitas, Neil Hart, Sarah Dennis, Linda Avery – Commission Secretary.

  • Discussion and possible action to establish criteria for requesting the technical expertise and input from the Building Department and Fire Department at the earliest stages of consideration for entitlements for certain types of projects such as tall buildings, steep slopes or difficult site conditions, limited Fire Department access due to narrow streets, etc.



- Planning Department has a very useful tool that is the Planning Code interpretations by the Zoning Administrator.

- He encouraged the new Director of the Building Department to use a similar tool.

Nancy Wuerfel

- I am gratified to hear that a cursory review of projects, including building inspection input, should happen before them going out to the public.

- Is in support of having a geotechnical engineer in the Planning Department.

Paul Gorman, Mount Sutro Woods Owners Association, Inc.

- Almost all of the Crestmont Hill project lies on high-risk landslide area.

- With the Telegraph slide area, there was no indemnification for damages.

Samuel Sobol, Crestmont Coalition

- Crestmont Street is very narrow and has double the population. It would be hazardous and dangerous.

- In any fire or emergency we would get trapped.

- This is a unique place and this project would not assure the safety that we need.

Jackie Pelavin, Crestmont Coalition

- This hillside is not the ideal place for this kind of density housing.

- We had a landslide that affected the rear of an apartment building.

- This area is unique geographically.

- You should gather the most information possible to continue having a safe city.

Walter Caplan, Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization

- There are big concerns about projects on Crestmont Street.

- I like the intention of a government agency alliance to develop plans for projects before making it public.

- It would be beneficial to find a way to incorporate neighborhood comments and concerns in that process.

Sue Hestor

- I appreciate the change of having government agencies working together and having a process for projects.

- Hillside issues are substantial.

- It is very important to consider disability access on all projects.


- I support these efforts between the Building and Planning Department.

- Cooperation is very much important.

- We want to make sure that we are building structures that are safe.

Informational only. No action needed by the Commissions.

  • Discussion and possible action to initiate changes to the Building and Planning codes and processes to make them more consistent with each other, by both DBI and Planning for demolitions, substantial alterations, conditional use and variances.


Nancy Wuerfel

- Urged both Commissions to consider having a united set of rules to govern actions on demolitions and repair procedures [fees, block book notification, signs, accessibility, etc.]

Sue Hestor

- Questioned whether the computer system is going to be the same or if there will be a new one.

- The system should be able to facilitate information within the two departments.

- How is our system compatible with other government agencies in order to communicate for emergencies services [earthquake]?

Shona Guchenair, Sanctuary Collectives

- The Medical Cannabis Dispensary permitting process is due on July 1.

- Asked the Commissions to consider applicants that have already started the process to be allowed to finish it.

- Requested help with finding a creative solution for rental facilities needing upgrades.

Marv Nolpa, Alternative Relief Coop.

- Medical Dispensaries that have started the process should be able to finish it.

- Buildings needing American Disability Act [ADA] upgrading would not proceed until getting the planning permit. And it is delaying the ability to comply with deadline of July 1.

Mira Ingram, Axis of Love

- Medical Dispensaries are trying to comply with new building construction standards.

- A lot of Dispensaries do not have economic resources to rebuild.

- Encouraged government agencies to find solutions with the community to keep Dispensaries open for patients and provide job opportunities.

Rev. Randelyn Webster, San Francisco Patients Coop.

- Supports re-examining the due date for Medical Dispensaries deadline of July 1.

- Dispensaries provide social services, health and support for the community.

- We do not have economic resources to upgrade buildings.

Naomi Fizkeistein, Axis of Love

- Requested extending the permitting process and timeline for Dispensaries.

- We have been working with the American Disability Act issue.

- Most Dispensaries are very accessible and have equitable facilitation.

Cathy Smith, Hopenet

- Requested to allow people who are in the process be extended after July 1.

- We had a preliminary permit and now the Police Department needs to sign off. We have not had success with it.


- Is in support of making codes more active and consistent within the two departments.

- There is a need for affordable housing and early identification of defacto demolitions.

Informational only. No Action needed by the Commissions.

  • Discussion and possible action to develop minimum submittal criteria that must be included on the permit plan submittal sheets for microfilming as part of the permanent record. Examples include copies of the 311 notification documents generated by Planning, conditions of approval, letters of determination, etc.



- Regarding 311 notice -- there is still some degree of comprehensiveness needed. But things are much more clear.

- Encouraged the departments to incorporate a requirement to include on the notices the proposed work.

Nancy Wuerfel

- In addition to the 311 notices and all other documents, any pertaining historic survey and references for other services should be retained with the permanent record.

Sue Hestor

- Historic documents are very important and should stay with the permanent records.

- It is very important to have written instructions for the 311 Notices.

- When the final permit is approved, records should have all attachments of the conditional use documentation as well.


- At the time of conclusion of a construction project, developers should certify or test that all conditional of approval have been met before an occupancy permit is released.

Tyrike Laris

- Offered help with all these processes, since he has gone through all of them.

Informational only. No Action needed by the Commissions

4. Report on DBI Seismic Safety Initiatives.



- Concerned with whether high-density projects are design for life safety standards rather than just for occupancy.

- What social and transportation impacts would these high-density buildings have in the city after an earthquake?

- I wonder what CalTrain would do after an earthquake if an adjacent building to a station has been damaged.


- Requested an explanation of Community Actions Plan and soft story terms.

Informational only. No Action needed by the Commissions.

5. (S. DENNIS: (415) 558-6314)

Community Safety Element Update- Informational report on the recently completed preliminary draft update of the Community Safety Element of the City's General Plan. This update was directed per the Mayor's Executive Directive 06-01 dated May 10, 2006, and was developed by an interdepartmental taskforce led by the City Administrator's Office and consisting of the Department of Building Inspection, the Planning Department, the Department of Public Works, and the Department of Emergency Management. The update is intended to incorporate any new information about hazards faced by the City, incorporate information on current programs dealing with disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and to better address the City's objectives of response, recovery, and long-term rebuilding.



- There is going to be a major seismic event in San Francisco.

- Small buildings are the most likely to be affected. Therefore, they need to be retrofitted.

Nancy Wuerfel

- Regarding today's presentations and topics, requested information on how to find this on the web site.

- I would like to know which agency would take care of garbage in an emergency.

Informational only. No Action needed by the Commissions.

Adjournment: 9:08 P.M.



ACTION: Approved

AYES: Alexander, Antonini, S. Lee, W. Lee, Moore, Olague, and Sugaya

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: 11/23/2009 12:17:56 PM