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

July 16, 2009

July 16, 2009



Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, July 16, 2009

1:30 PM

Regular Meeting

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Miguel, Olague, Antonini, Borden, Lee, and Moore



STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: John Rahaim – Director of Planning, Craig Nikitas – Acting Zoning Administrator, AnMarie Rodgers, Abigail Keifer, Angela Threadgill, Aaron Starr, and 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.

NOTE: Although there were no items proposed for continuance, it was announced that for item 7, the appeal of the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration was withdrawn and the matter was no longer before the Commission for consideration. The speakers shown under item 7 made their comments at the time of this announcement.


Adoption of Commission Minutes– Charter Section 4.104 requires all commissioners to vote yes or no on all matters unless that commissioner is excused by a vote of the Commission. Commissioners may not be automatically excluded from a vote on the minutes because they did not attend the meeting.

1. Consideration of Adoption:

  • Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of February 26, 2009.
  • Draft Minutes of Special Joint Meeting with the Recreation and Park Commission of May 7, 2009.
  • Draft Minutes of Special Joint Meeting with the Building Inspection Commission of May 7, 2009


ACTION: Approved

AYES: Miguel, Olague, Antonini, Borden, Lee, and Moore

ABSENT: Sugaya

2. Commission Comments/Questions

  • Inquiries/Announcements. Without discussion, at this time Commissioners may make announcements or inquiries of staff regarding various matters of interest to the Commissioner(s).
  • Future Meetings/Agendas. At this time, the Commission may discuss and take action to set the date of a Special Meeting and/or determine those items that could be placed on the agenda of the next meeting and other future meetings of the Planning Commission.

Commissioner Moore:

At a quarter to one an amazing email came in from the Mayor's Office announcing that the city was awarded $96 million dollars in housing and infrastructure funds by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. It will affect a large number of projects we've deliberated from Hunters View to 333 Harrison, to 5800 Third, 2235 Third, 178 Townsend, the Tenderloin YMCA, and 1000 Fourth Street. The money at this moment, as we all know, isn't quite there, and I don't think the city gets construction going based on IOU, but this money is apparently earmarked for the city and I think it's going to be a phenomenal jump start for everybody; for us having delivered the work, but also for the construction industry, for labor, and for everybody. I am absolutely thrilled to hear that. On another note, last weekend from the Farmers market, I went upstairs in the Ferry Building and I saw a phenomenal exhibit and I would like to bring it to the attention to the Commission. It's going to be here through the weekend. Rising Tides is a competition sponsored by BCDC to look at possible solutions of how San Francisco and other waterfront related cities in the bay region will deal with the proverbial rising sea levels. John King wrote about it I think today or yesterday, announcing the winners of that competition. There were 150 entries from 18 countries. It was a thrill to see that and if you haven' seen it, please go and do so and you can also go to Farmers Market and shop while you are there. On a slightly more somber note, I'm having a number of people call me and wanting to get my thoughts on CPMC and the Van Ness Street Campus. There are many many questions I cannot answer; many questions I have thought about for a long time – more than just that I am on the Planning Commission – and I'd like to ask President Miguel and the Commission to support me in asking that we schedule a joint session with the Health Commission. Jim Illic is their President. They are indeed in charge for policy and general issues regarding health care in San Francisco. This goes beyond just talking about the design of the hospital; it's a much farther reaching issue. I'd like that we do that soon so that when this project is in front of us we are informed to the best of everybody's knowledge. I know the public is very interested to participate in that discussion. Do I get the support from this commission?

Commissioner Miguel:

You very definitely do. It so happens that your comments are very timely. They came just before mine because I had the pleasure of having a very long lunch with Jim Illic at his request because he is also asking for a joint meeting. I think that would be excellent. I would like when that is scheduled, as soon as it could be conveniently scheduled, that one of the people I would like present will be Catherine Dodd on the Mayor's staff who is intimately knowledgeable about everything in health care in this city and very aware of everything from the building to the politics to the nurses. If we could get that on the books, that would be excellent.

Director Rahaim responded:

Commissioners, just so you know, I am meeting with Catherine and Mitch Katz next week to talk about CPMC and some of these issues that have been coming up.

Commissioner Miguel:

It's more than just Cathedral Hill; it includes the other sites as well.

Commissioner Lee:

Yesterday, the San Francisco Business Times had a meeting where we had guest speakers and Oz Erikson made a comment about the units costing each developer $80,000 per unit downtown. John you were there yesterday and I was wondering if you could formally ask Oz Erikson how he got the data that it cost that much money of city fees and taxes to build one unit downtown.

Director Rahaim responded:

I would be happy to do that. My understanding of his comments were that he was talking about the total impact fees including affordable housing, and that the number was from Rincon Hill. It wasn't for all of downtown; it was for the Rincon Hill Plan. It was from the first project of Rincon Hill.

Commissioner Lee:

I think it is important to see because it's out there being said to all the developers that no matter how much [ ] because of the down turn economy, that if you buy a condo at $600,000; $80,000 goes to the city. He made a recommendation to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors that we should waive all this for the next couple of years. Then apparently some labor people feel the same way so that we can create jobs downtown. Given that we have 25% unemployment in the trades right now, I can see things coming to a head regarding the fees that the city has instituted. But I need clarity. I don't have the data. He just made this bold statement.

Commissioner Olague:

I was there and I guess it just depends on who's listening and how people hear what's being said. I actually found some of the comments that I heard somewhat alarming because I had the sense that there was a pitting of labor against affordable housing advocates. I think the city needs both and in a down turn in the economy we should all be working together – labor and affordable housing and developers and everybody should look for a situation where we all can win instead of & I just found it very one sided. I would rather see us have a discussion maybe with the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development and affordable housing developers and the development community about fees and fee structures instead of just reacting or responding to the comments of one person at a Business Times breakfast. And you always have to consider your audience. I'm sure if I went to a breakfast of affordable housing developers the pitch might be very different. I agree that San Francisco needs to work also, but I think that when we start to make statements let's say at the expense of affordable housing, then we get into some dangerous areas. Right now I just went to talk to some tenants who are being evicted because their rent got raised by $1,300 a month and $800 a month because they don't live in rent controlled units. So I think that when we are talking about an economy where a lot of people who are earning six figures a year are facing long periods of unemployment we can't just dismiss the discussion on the importance of continuing to invest in affordable housing development. I think it needs to be a more robust conversation that involves the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, possibly the Supervisors and others; that it can't just be based on a knee jerk reaction by one comment made at one breakfast of the Business Times.

Commissioner Antonini:

I would agree with the previous speakers in that many jurisdictions are looking at this whole fee situation and they are waiving fees for a while or looking at ways that they can encourage building to go forward and I think that is certainly instructive. I don't know that it is necessarily an adversarial situation. I think that the more we learn about what other areas are doing and what can be done to help support labor, business, and affordable housing – I mean all those things can be done if something gets built. If nothing gets built, nothing happens and we don't get any benefits. I think that it certainly would be good to have some sort of hearing and bring in people who are knowledgeable on the subject so we can at least make decisions and we may be able to advise the Board of Supervisors and others as to what ways things might help to remedy the current situation where possible.

Commissioner Borden:

I had the good fortune yesterday of going on a tour with the Women's Initiative for Self Employment. They are an organization based here and throughout the Bay Area that trains low income women to become entrepreneurs. It was really an amazing experience to walk around the Mission and see these businesses that had been founded by these women who used to be on public assistance but now have thriving and flourishing businesses in that community. It just reminded me of our conversation we were going to have with the Small Business Commission and looking at economic development and storefronts and neighborhood commercial corridors because there are some amazing businesses. The statistics coming out of Women's Initiative, which has been around for twenty years, is actually pretty incredible. Within 18 months the women who come out of that program who start off usually negative as far as their assets, end up doubling their income. They make $18,000 more than they made the year before just from one year after the program and after that they double their income in such a short period of time. It's just such an amazing program and we always talk about economic development and we are looking at land use decisions and how we can support the flourishing of these sorts of businesses and support programs like this that really focus on micro finance. A lot of these women got money from the city through programs that allowed them to have their first months rent paid for. I know that fund has gone away because of the economic downturn, but we need to talk about that and figure out how we can help support that and maybe also work with some landlords to be able to help offer reduced rents for the first months or things like that.

Commissioner Antonini:

We are also in receipt of a correspondence from Mitch Katz. It's a health analysis of California Pacific Medical Center Institutional Master Plan. I don't know it that is calendared for discussion in the future; if it's just instructive; or how it fits into what we were discussing earlier?

Director Rahaim responded:

Commissioner, it is calendared tentatively on September 17. That report will be part of the presentation on the Institutional Master Plan.


3. Director's Announcements

Director Rahaim:

The announcement I wanted to make is just a quick update on the Market Octavia Survey process which I think some of you have been interested in hearing. There was a public meeting on that last week I believe on the 9th. There was some discussion on the implementation of the survey in light of the fact that it happened in phases. That discussion was had with the community at that meeting. My sense from staff is that there was an understanding of how we were proceeding. The basic schedule is that we will initiate the survey at the commission later this month; go to the Historic Preservation Commission in mid August meeting (the 19th); come to you for adoption in early September of the latest phase of the survey; and then the Mission Dolores draft survey is scheduled to be released sometime in the middle of fall. The remaining portion of the Market Octavia Survey – what we call the Augmentation Survey – is still about a year away and due to be released next fall. So that is moving along and we have committed to the neighborhood that the survey information would be incorporated/implemented into the Plan in phases over the next year to a year and a half.

Acting Zoning Administrator Nikitas:

I wanted to update you on a couple of aspects of the Department's Action Plan. First, Ms. John-Baptiste will be here next week to give you a quarterly report on the progress we've made on the many elements of it. I did want to let you know that last Thursday Mr. Sanchez hosted the second community meeting on the Universal Planning Notification effort. As you are aware, we have over 30 different kinds of notifications for different cases, entitlements, and processes. We are trying to condense those down. We received valuable feedback at that meeting and Mr. Sanchez will be here on August 13 to give you an update on that as that aspect of the Action Plan progresses.

4. Review of Past Week's Events at the Board of Supervisors, Board of Appeals, and Historic Preservation Commission.



  • Building Code Amendment – would regulate vacant & abandoned buildings; requiring owners to register, monitor & maintain the buildings or be subject to enforcement penalties. This commission approved this with 13 modification; two of which are establish a definition of  vacant and to set a timeline for registration of the building(s). The Committee continued the item 2 weeks so the sponsor and Board President Chiu could consider amending the legislation per the Commission's and public comment
  • Trinity Plaza Developer Agreement – The ordinance would add 5 years to the term of the agreement, allow construction of the garage in advance of the full development, and concentrate the BMR units on the lower residential floors of the building. This commission asked for an equitable distribution of the BMR units throughout the building and would approve the initial excavation of the garage but would only allow the garage to be built and occupied with the accompanying building phased. The developer has agreed to the staged access to parking. The developer also verbally proposed to this commission and the Land Use Committee to switch the ratio of studios and 0ne bedrooms provided as BMR units. Instead of providing 10 one bedrooms and two studios, they wanted to provide 10 studios and two one bedroom units. This was predicated including the 360 rent-controlled units in the calculation. However, the Development Agreement excludes the rent-controlled units from the calculation of the required number of spaces (units), prompting both staff and this commission to not support allowing the rent-controlled units to be considered in establishing the BMR unit mix. This week the Committee continued the item one week but indicated an inclination to approve developer agreement consistent with the Commission recommendation.


  • Landmark Designation of the Metro Theater at 2055 Union Street – In Committee the ordinance was amended to recognize the interior murals, the ionic columns, the grilles, and the urns in the auditorium as important interior features (but not part of the landmark designation). The ordinance notes that the property owner has represented to the community and to the Board that they are committed to the protection of these features as part of a future CU condition of approval. With that the ordinance was passed on final read this week.


  • Planning Code Fee Amendment – This ordinance would establish new fees, and make various rule changes related to project revisions, fee deferral and billing. The ordinance would create an option for  installment payment of bills and would add a fee for Code Violation Abatement. It would also increase the fees for monitoring of conditions of approval and the advertising sign maintenance annual fee. The Budget Analyst estimated it would result in an increase of $320 thousand in revenue per year. This commission recommended approval of the ordinance on June 25th of this year. W\This week the Budget Committee unanimously recommended approval of the ordinance to the Full Board.


  • 090906 Double Density for Senior Housing – Board President Chiu introduced an ordinance that would amend Planning Code Section 102.6.1 to create a definition of housing for seniors and amend Planning Code Section 209.1 to update the requirements for obtaining double density for providing senior housing and to require, in certain instances, a CU authorization.
  • 090909 Citizens Committee on Community Development – The Mayor introduced an amendment to the Administrative Code that would establish this committee (appointments by the Mayor and the Board) to make policy recommendations on community development strategies in the City & to make annual funding recommendations for the Federal Housing & Urban Development Community Development Block Grant & Emergency shelter Grant programs.




  • 1000 Great Highway, Golden Gate Park- Millwright's Cottage, request for a Certificate of Appropriateness – The commission required the project sponsor to regrade the site to the right of the entry to eliminate the need for railing and ramp, or the project sponsor is to provide a combination to regrading and a shortened ramp. Continued to 8/19/09 & the public hearing remains open.
  • 1000 Great Highway, Golden Gate Park- Park Aid Station, request for a Certificate of Appropriateness – The commission required the elimination of the ramp that accesses the multipurpose room; notations on plans are to reflect the sponsors intent to salvage and reuse the clay tile from the roof; repairs to deteriorated sandstone be made with the sandstone salvaged from the base of the foundations and the plans are to reflect the work; the handrail should reflect the minimal brass handrail shown at the hearing; and the ADA parking space is to be moved closer to the ADA ramp. The commission approved this C of A with these amendments.
  • 625 3rd Street This request for a Certificate of Appropriateness was required to allow for three options: 1) staff recommendation; 2) steel replacement; or 3) if unable to do 1 or 2, do a detailed cost analysis for an alternate proposal including analysis for 1 and 2. The Commission approved this C of A with these stated amendments.
  • 1969 California Street, review & comment on the nomination of the Tobin House, Landmark No. 260, to the National Register of Historic Places – The commission approved proposal  C with consideration of proposal  B
  • 3500 Jackson Street, review & comment on the nomination of the Roos House, Landmark No. 56, to the National Register of Historic Places – The commission approved proposal  C with mention that the kitchen is not original and that the architecture is not  Modern but rather  Arts & Craft.

5. (A. Kiefer: (415) 575-9065)

Update of the Land Use Index - The purpose of this informational staff presentation is to apprise the Planning Commission of staff progress in updating the Land Use Index of the General Plan in accordance with previously adopted General Plan Amendments. The Land Use Index is an index to the General Plan directing readers to sections that contain land use policy. The updates reflect recently adopted General Plan amendments including Balboa Park, Eastern Neighborhoods, and the Visitacion Valley Redevelopment Plan in addition to some corrections.


ACTION: Informational only – No action


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.


Eula Walters

Re: Ferry Park – requested that the Commission rescind its vote to expend $1.7 million to fix up the park.


6. 2008.0467AC (A. THREADGILL: (415) 558-6602)

1640-1648 PACIFIC AVENUE - north side between Polk Street and Van Ness Avenue; Lot 011 in Assessor's Block 0574 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Sections 723.21 and 723.81 of the Planning Code to allow a ground floor retail use (dba Firehouse 8) and an institutional use in excess of 2,000 square feet and to allow a community assembly space on the second floor as part of a proposed project to adaptively reuse and rehabilitate  Engine Company No. 8 Firehouse, San Francisco Landmark No. 188, to a mixed-use retail, personal service, and community space with accessory office use, within the Polk Street NCD (Neighborhood Commercial) Zoning District and a 65-A Height and Bulk District. A Certificate of Appropriateness was issued by the Historic Preservation Commission for the proposed project at their May 20, 2009 hearing.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

SPEAKERS: Teresa Nittolo – Project Sponsor: Samanen Nili – Carey & Co., Gavin Jeffries – co-Project Owner, Hiten Patel – owner of adjacent hotel, Frank Cannata, Patricia Sonniho, Dawn Trenner.

ACTION: Approved

AYES: Miguel, Olague, Antonini, Borden, Lee, and Moore

ABSENT: Sugaya

MOTION: 17921

7. 2005.1106E (J. BATTIS (415) 575-9022)

2655 BUSH STREET - Appeal of Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration. Lot 024 of Assessor's Block 1052, is located at the southwest corner of Divisadero and Bush Streets within the block bounded by Bush Street to the north, Divisadero Street to the east, Sutter Street to the south, and Broderick Street to the west, in the Western Addition neighborhood. The project is the demolition of the existing vacant two-story, 20-foot-high, approximately 48,000-square-foot, 116-bed convalescent facility with approximately 1,000 square feet of commercial space and a below-grade 22-space parking garage, and construction of a new four-to-six-story, 40-to-65-foot-high, 108,000-square-foot building with about 4,500 square feet of ground-level retail space and about 83 dwelling units above, and a below-grade parking garage for up to 99 vehicles. The 33,522-square-foot project site is within a NC-3 (Moderate-Scale Neighborhood Commercial) zoning district and a 40-X/65A height and bulk district.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of June 25, 2009)

SPEAKERS: Steve Ryan expressed that he had given money to the appeal and that one person should not have been able to withdraw the appeal. Andrew Junius representing the Project Sponsor expressed that the appeal was withdrawn. [The Commission in consultation with the Deputy City Attorney, Susan Cleveland-Knowles, determined that there was only one appeal filed on behalf of the Lower Pacific Heights Alliance signed by Monique Simons, Chairman. The appeal was withdrawn by Monique Simons, Chairman of the Lower Pacific Heights Alliance.]

ACTION: NONE – The Appeal of the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration was withdrawn and the matter is no longer before the Commission for consideration.

8. 2005.1106C (A. STARR: (415) 558-6362)

2655 BUSH STREET - southwest corner of Bush and Divisadero Streets, Lot 024 in Assessor's Block 1052 -Request for Conditional Use Authorization under Planning Code Sections 303 and 304 to allow a Planned Unit Development for the construction of a new four-to-six story building that contains 81 residential units, 99 parking spaces and approximately 4180 sq. ft. of commercial space in an NC-3 (Medium Scale Neighborhood Commercial) District and a combination of 40-X and 65-A Height and Bulk Districts. The project also includes the demolition of the vacant two-story convalescent facility that currently occupies the site.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

(Continued from Regular Meeting of June 25, 2009)

SPEAKERS: Warner Schmalz – Project Architect, Jane Winslow – Project Team, Anthony Kline – Lower Pacific Heights Alliance, (-) Norman Burns, (-) Steve Ryan, (-) Sharon, (-) Michael Steinberg, Andrew Junius – Representing Project Sponsor, Nancy

ACTION: Approved per errata document submitted by staff and urging the project sponsor to consider on-site BMR units

AYES: Miguel, Olague, Antonini, Borden, Lee, and Moore

ABSENT: Sugaya

MOTION: 17922


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

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


Adjournment: 4:20 P.M.

Adopted: August 6, 2009

Last updated: 11/17/2009 10:00:39 PM