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

April 14, 2011

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Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, April 14, 2011

* * * 1:00 PM * * *

Regular Meeting



COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:  Olague, Miguel, Antonini, Borden, Fong, Moore and Sugaya




STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  John Rahaim – Director of Planning, AnMarie Rodgers, Julian Banales, Delvin Washington, David Alumbaugh, Joshua Switzky, Corey Teague, Michael Smith, and Linda Avery – Commission Secretary.





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.



Jamie Whitaker

Re:  Gave an update of the Rincon Hill community improvements

Robin Levitt

Re:  Appreciates all the work of the Commission, but especially the action of Commissioners Moore, Sugaya, Borden, and Olague last week on their vote supporting the will of the community and upholding the integrity of the Market & Octavia Plan as it relates to the parking allowances on the 25-35 Dolores Street project.

Francisco Da Costa

Re:  The Redevelopment Agency, Bayview Hunters Point Project and Treasure Island Project - alternate funding sources – Developers are trying to re-invent themselves to build high-rise buildings and not pay attention to liquefaction, flooding and tsunami.

Manny Flores – Local 22

Re:  333 Harrison Street project funding has been approved and hopefully that project will be moving forward in Rincon Hill within 60 to 90 days.




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 Special Meeting of February 24, 2011

·         Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of February 24, 2011

·         Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of March 17, 2011

·         Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of March 24, 2011


SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           2/24/11 Special Meeting, 3/17/11 and 3/24/11 (both Regular Meetings) were approved as drafted; 2/24/11 Regular Meeting was approved with the correction of the VOTE on item 13 as follows:  AYES:  Antonini, Borden, Sugaya, and Olague; NAYES:  Antonini, Borden, Moore, Sugaya, Miguel, and Olague; ABSENT:  Fong

AYES:              Antonini, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Miguel, and Olague

ABSENT:          Borden


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

As follow up to Mr. Levitt’s acknowledgement of the Commission’s vote on Dolores Street, I’d like to add a comment to also thank the Department, which indeed prepared the recommendation to acknowledge and uphold the Market Octavia Plan.  So in addition to the Director, it is the entire Department who prepared the recommendation.

Commissioner Antonini

I want to thank the San Giacomo family.  I took a tour of the building that is now complete – I think its 1088 Mission, which is the first part of the Trinity Plaza.  I was very impressed by what has been done there and how well it was done.  One interesting thing that they do is that they are using steam heat, which I think is a very efficient method that is utilized quite a bit in Manhattan where the steam is produced off-site and it brought into the building.  I presume it will be brought into the other buildings there too.  They then return water back as it condenses and they get a credit for it towards the cost of the steam heat.  It is something we have to look at because it has been very effective in Manhattan where you can have a central site and you use that heating, particularly in our mild climate I think steam heat is ideal because it is an efficient way to do things and there might be a future for that.  I was impressed with the building and they have started on the second phase – demolition has begun. 

I also had a meeting on Tuesday night with neighbors and project sponsors for a project I believe is before us next week on Valencia Street.  It was good to see everyone getting together and answering a lot of the questions ahead of time that were raised.  Maybe we can do more of that in the future.  We had a good meeting with the parties involved.  I think it was successful.

I would also like to ask for sometime in the future for a hearing on parking in San Francisco.  I know this a rather large issue, but I think that we need to calendar something well advance in the future so the public can be aware of it and people can come and testify about their issues city wide.  What happens is we hear these issues with discrete projects or discrete neighborhoods and we hear just the area surrounding the particular project or the neighborhood and you end up getting people on either side of the issue that are just indicative of that particular area.  The impacts of parting are city wide and area wide.  I think that we really need to hear from people who normally may not be involved, but are the same ones that may have a lot of issues surrounding parking and would I think welcome the chance to express their views in general about problems they may have.  Particularly when I go to other cities that don’t have a transit-first policy like we do and it’s a lot easier to walk around and everybody seems to be able to park.  When you go around places like Sacramento or San Jose, or even San Diego for example, I just don’t see the problem.  So something is going wrong, especially with the comments about pedestrian injuries and everything.  Maybe our policy needs to be reconsidered or somehow structured so that we can work out something that can get results.  I would ask that the Commission consider scheduling a time to hear comments from the public and comments from commissioners about parking in general and perhaps revisiting our city policies and decide whether transit-first in residential parking are not necessarily mutually exclusive.  I think they can be worked out in a better way.  

Commissioner Miguel

During the week I met with people regarding 800 Presidio, and also yesterday, Commissioner Moore and I had an opportunity to watch the Department’s Residential Design Team in action.  We saw them review three projects.  This somewhat newly instituted situation was more obvious to us as how it works.  From my point of view, it works very well.  The group gets along well; has no compulsion against speaking out to each other as to how they feel on a project, but are very professional in the manner to which they do it.

Commissioner Olague

I would support calendaring something eventually.  Probably the full Commission would be best. We will only have one week where we are all here. Then we have the tourism request of Commissioner Fong.  It would be interesting to have a balanced discussion on that issue.

            Commissioner Moore

I missed the first part of what you're suggesting. You're talking about where the appropriate places for parking would be. This would have to be a discussion that is more balanced.

Commissioner Sugaya

If could we extend that discussion to include an update on where we are with our overall transportation infrastructure and the funding expected to improve these; and these are built not just on the existing infrastructure but also the Better Street Plan which reflects an attitude which is more biased towards pedestrians and is pedestrian friendly; and is a public forum environment. That would seem to be a balanced discussion.  And I would like to see which projects did or did not get the parking approvals; and where the additional garages are planned. We have a balance including where we are managing the excess and availability in downtown through electronic means, which creates a more efficient operation for those people  who come in and don' t know where to park. There is a whole assessment of supply and demand in order to have the discussion that Commissioner Antonini is looking for. Once we get past that, it will be nice to have some conversations about policy.  We have a great group of experts.

            President Olague:

We will propose some dates and make sure that you are all here. If the issue is going to be somewhat surrounding parking, I think there will be other innovative things going on that can be talked about. We can utilize the new smart meters. We can actually see what parking spaces are vacant. I don't think they have gone mobile with that yet, or if they are even contemplating.  There are other things that might be going on to address that in urban areas.

Commissioner Antonini

I think the broader the discussion, the better. In keeping with what Commissioner Sugaya suggested, keeping up with what has been cut in other cities, dense cities, where there is still a lot of traffic, can be somewhat analogous to our situation.






3.         Director’s Announcements


Director Rahaim: 

On the last topic, we will be happy to coordinate with MTA. It is managing the on-street spaces that will allow them to do variable pricing. The goal is to keep parking space. That will come into play very soon. We received an announcement regarding the Open Space Element. We have had to postpone that meeting. Just in terms of the project status, we have not set the new date for it yet. But we will let you know about that. There is an upcoming meeting that I wanted to tell you about. The Broadway Design Plan, this is for a streetscape designed for the Broadway Tunnel. We are working with the Community Development Center on this. The first workshop will be Wednesday, May 4 from 4:30 to 6:30. I just realized I don’t have the location in my notes. We will get you that information. It is the first of several workshops.

I attended the APA Conference the last few days. It took place in Boston this year. There were about 5000 participants, there were some sessions regarding regional planning.
The staff also attended some interesting sessions about social media that has become a very interesting issue among planning agencies. We heard a word of caution and words of support for that. There is increasing interest from the public for us to do that. We have to be careful about the legal implications as well. It was interesting to note, talking to my counterpart about the issues facing Boston.  Knowing that Boston was in many ways similar to San Francisco, it is almost the exact same size geographically. I had somehow thought it was larger. But the City's share a lot in terms of physical characteristics, the graphics, and the population is approximately 650,000. We are denser. They pointed out that they grew at a faster pace than San Francisco in the last census. Next year, the conference is in Los Angeles. Given the fact that it is relatively close, I have asked staff to consider proposing sessions on some of the recent planning efforts we have done over the past few years. We look forward to doing that.


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




§  110147 Mission Streetscape Plan. This item is a General Plan Amendment of the Mission Area Plan to reflect the Commission’s adoption of the Mission Streetscape Plan.  On January 20, 2011 the Commission adopted the Plan and adopted a resolution to amend the General Plan with this Ordinance.  While no Board action was required for the adoption of the streetscape plan itself, the Board does need to adopt the Ordinance to amend the General Plan.  This week the Full Board passed the ordinance on the first reading.

§  Urban Agriculture.  This week the Full Board adopted the ordinance that would ease regulations on gardening and farming in San Francisco.  At the February 17th hearing, the Commission voted to recommend Approval with 7 Potential Modifications of the proposed Ordinance. Most of these modifications were incorporated.  In addition, the legislative sponsors added some further modifications such as:

1)     Further clarify that sales of produce grown on site may occur.  This was incorporated into the ordinance.

2)     Modify the compost setback to at least three feet from structures. Again, accommodated.

3)     Renumber the Section for Urban Agriculture from 102.34 to 102.35.  Done.

4)     Clarify that the fencing requirement is optional and that should fencing be used that it need not be completely opaque.  In this case, Legislative Sponsor, Supervisor David Chiu, chose to expand the fencing options for agricultural uses to include chain link fencing WHEN the fencing is covered with plantings.

5)     Continue working to keep permit and change of use fees for urban agriculture minimal and to compare permit fee differences between short-term and long-term uses of land for Urban Agriculture.  Staff looked into this issue and shared the costs of temporary use fees with the Urban Ag. Working Group.  This group consisted of the Legislative Sponsors: Mayor Lee, Supervisor David Chiu, various city departments and various representatives of urban agriculture, and business operators.  In the end, the group did not feel the fees for temporary or seasonal use provided enough relief to warrant use and instead preferred the regular entitlement process.

6)     Consider looking into adding language into the proposed Ordinance to allow value added sales.  In this case, the Mayor amended the Ordinance to allow Limited Sales of value-added goods in all districts except “R” districts, and only then in the case where the primary ingredients are grown on site.

7)     Explore the use of soil testing to clarify concerns related to soil toxicity.  In this case, there are preemptive state and federal laws that govern the growing conditions for food to be sold to the public.

Mayor Lee also amended the legislation to incorporate the PUC’s amendments for Water Conservation.  Lastly, Supervisor Chiu changed the name of "Industrial Agriculture" use to "Large Scale Urban Agriculture."  With these amendments, Supervisor Cohen signed on as the third sponsor.  This week the Full Board passed the Ordinance on FINAL reading.



·         CEQA EIR Certification Appeal of 350 Mission Street— This case involved construction of a 375-foot tall office building with ground floor retail uses. The appellant’s concerns were centered on the granting of exceptions. These exceptions were alleged to result in impacts not analyzed in the EIR.  The appellant failed to provide evidence demonstrating that the project would result in a significant impact. The project was analyzed as proposed, and the exceptions were not found to be significant. Supervisor Kim acknowledged, in the only comment, that the issues raised by the appellant belong before the Board of Appeals and not in an EIR appeal. The Board of Appeals is scheduled to hear the project in a couple of weeks.  In the end, this appeal was rejected and the EIR Certification was unanimously upheld 10-0.

·         Appeal of the Cat Ex for 1653 Grant Ave.  This was a case that you heard as a Discretionary Review on February 24.  The appeal of the Cat Ex was filed by the Telegraph Hill Dwellers.  This hearing lasted over 2 hours and had a good deal of testimony on both sides.  The appellants argued that there could be potential cumulative health impacts from this antenna, plus pending antennas.  Supervisor Chiu made the motion to uphold the Cat Ex, citing the Federal Telecommunications Act as a limiting factor in the City’s ability to regulate potential health impacts. While he made the motion to uphold the CEQA work, he also asked the Department a couple of questions.  First, he expressed interest in a City-led "Master Plan" to guide the location of future antennas.  He requested that we outline a process and estimated cost for producing such a document.  Second, he believes we should make some changes to our current review process.  Specifically, he believes that all antenna installations in disfavored sites should demonstrate the necessity for this location: i.e., make the same findings we currently require for macro-cell antennas which need a CU before the Commission.  With those statements, he was able to garner a 9-2 (Mirkarimi & Mar) vote in support of the cat Ex. 


            No report



No report


5.                                                                                                (J. SWITZKY: (415) 575-6815)

CENTRAL CORRIDOR PLANNING PROJECT - Informational Item - Staff will provide a brief introduction to the new comprehensive planning effort to evaluate land use, urban form, and public realm issues in the Central Subway corridor south of Market Street.


SPEAKERS:     Tom Radulovich, Sue Hestor, and Jamie Whitaker

ACTION:           Informational only – no action


            6.                                                                                                       (B. SMITH: (415) 575-6835)

                        DemoNstration of new property information map


SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Demonstration/informational only – no action


1:30 P.M.




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.


7          2006.0428C                                                                   (D. SANCHEZ: (415) 575-9082)

                        2401 16TH STREET - south side between Bryant and Florida Streets; Lot 001 in Assessor's Block 3965 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Planning Code Sections 134, 175.6(e)(1), 215(a) and 303 to allow new construction of a 4 story 40 foot tall building containing 12 dwelling units and 12 off-street parking spaces utilizing its Eastern Neighborhoods Pipeline Status to elect to conform to the controls under the M-1 (Light Industrial) Zoning District and the 68-X Height and Bulk District, while conforming to Articles 1, 1.2, 1.5, 2.5, as amended by the Eastern Neighborhoods Controls, or requesting Conditional Use authorization to seek relief from those amended Articles.

                        Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

(Proposed for Continuance to April 21, 2011)


SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Continued as proposed

AYES:              Antonini, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Miguel and Olague

ABSENT:          Borden


8          2008.0081E                                                                             (D. JAIN: (415) 575-9051)

950 Mason Street - Fairmont Hotel Project - Certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report - The project site is located at 950 Mason Street (Assessor’s Block 0244, Lot 001). The proposed project includes: 1) renovation of portions of the landmark 1906 Fairmont Hotel building (City Landmark # 185), including consolidation of up to 60 hotel rooms; 2) reconfiguration of some existing hotel uses; 3) demolition of the 1961 23-story Fairmont Hotel tower above the five-story podium; and 4) construction of a new 160–unit, 26-story residential tower and five-story midrise residential component, both above a five-story podium, on the site of the existing hotel tower and podium (proposed to be demolished). The proposed project would include below-grade parking for about 350 vehicles.  The 113,400-square-foot project site is located in an RM-4 (Residential Mixed-High Density) Use District and the Nob Hill Special Use District (SUD), and in 200-E, 300-E and 320-E Height and Bulk Districts.  The proposed project would require Conditional Use (CU) authorization for height and bulk and for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) including exceptions to the 25 percent rear yard requirement, as well as require Planning Commission approval under the “Large Tourist Hotel Conversion Ordinance,” Administrative Code 41F.3(f), among other approvals. The proposed exterior changes to the historic 1906 Fairmont Hotel building would also require a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission. The Draft EIR found that implementation of the proposed project would result in a significant unavoidable environmental impact on cultural resources, related to demolition of the Tonga Room, which has been identified as a historic resource under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Preliminary Recommendation: Certify the Final Environmental Impact Report. 

Response to the Planning Commission Draft EIR questions.

(Proposed for Continuance to June 23, 2011)


SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Continued as proposed

AYES:              Antonini, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Miguel and Olague

ABSENT:          Borden




9.         2009.1163E                                                                 (D. LEWIS: (415) 575-9095)

17th and Folsom Park - north side of 17th Street between Folsom and Shotwell Streets; Lot 18 in Assessor’s Block 3571 - Appeal of a Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration. The proposed project would subdivide the 60,925-square-foot parcel, which is currently a 219-space surface parking lot, and construct a 34,300-square-foot neighborhood park that would front on 17th, Folsom, and Shotwell Streets. No structures, including restrooms, are proposed. The remaining 26,625 square feet of the lot would remain in its current use. The project site is located within the Eastern Neighborhoods Rezoning and Area Plans, a Public Use District, and a 50-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Uphold the Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration

                        (Continued from Regular Meeting of March 17, 2011)


SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Appeal was withdrawn prior to the hearing


10                                                                                           (D. Alumbaugh (415) 558-6601)

Infrastructure Finance District Partnerships - Informational presentation by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development on the idea of Infrastructure Finance District partnerships.

Preliminary Recommendation: Informational only, no action requested.


SPEAKERS:     In support:  Jamie Whitaker and Brad Paul; In opposition:  Sue Hestor and Joe Kilijian

ACTION:           Informational only – no action


11         2010.1044X                                                                                 (B. FU: (415) 558-6613)

45 LANSING STREET - south side of Lansing Street on a through lot that also fronts Harrison Street, between First and Essex Streets, Lot 059 in Assessor’s Block 3749 -Request under Planning Code Sections 309.1, 352, 825 and 827 to allow modification and re-entitlement of a project approved under Motion No. 17397 within the RH-DTR (Rincon Hill Downtown Residential Mixed Use) Zoning District and 65/400-R Height and Bulk District.  The proposal would increase the number of dwellings from 227 to 320 and number of parking spaces from 227 to 265, and require a determination of compliance under Planning Code Section 309.1, including exceptions to allow greater than one parking space for every two dwelling units, provide off-site open space in lieu of on-site, and allow dwelling units without Code-required exposure.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with conditions.

                        (Continued from Regular Meeting of March 17, 2011)


SPEAKERS:     In support:  Tim Tosta – representing the Project Sponsor, Armand Kilijian, Miguel Guzman, John Wang, Adrian Simi, Dan Beyer, Danny Campbell, Jamie Whitaker, Michael Theriault, Mr. Flores, John Huang, Russ Bridges, [Name was not clear], Martian Esposa, Andrew Brooks, and Ed Ryan; In opposition:  Joe Kinahan and Sue Hestor

ACTION:           Approved with the modification that the affordable unites are tied to the number of project units that are before the Commission today

AYES:              Antonini, Borden, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Miguel and Olague

MOTION:           18316


12         2010.1045C                                                                        (M. SMITH: (415) 558-6322)

401 TARAVAL STREET southwest corner at 14th Avenue; Lot 001 in Assessor’s Block 2411 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization, pursuant to Planning Code Section 711.81 to convert the existing two-story over basement, 13,666 square-foot office building into a church (dba San Francisco Bible Church), located within a NC-2 (Neighborhood Commercial – Small Scale) District and 40-X Height and Bulk Districts.

Preliminary Recommendation:  Approval with Conditions


SPEAKERS:     Albert Louie – speaking for the church, and Georgia Parsons – next door neighbor

ACTION:           Approved the project and encouraged the Project Sponsor to look into the possibility of relocating the front entrance

AYES:              Antonini, Borden, Fong, Sugaya, Miguel and Olague

ABSENT:          Moore

MOTION:           18317


13.        2009.0155                                                                           (M. SMITH: (415) 558-6322)

3987 20TH STREET - south side between   Sanchez and Church Streets; Lot 055A in

Assessor's Block 3605 - The hearing will be held to clarify a previous Planning Commission decision (Discretionary Review Action No. 0193 - adopted on February 3, 2011) for Building Permit Application No. 2010.07.06.6032, proposing to construct a roof deck and a three-story horizontal addition at the rear of a single-family dwelling, located in a RH-1 (Residential, House, One-Family) District, the Dolores Heights Special Use District, and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.


SPEAKERS:     Jeremy Paul – representing the Project Sponsor, Chris Bencher – one of the original DR Requestors, Pam Hemphill – neighbor, Jim – Project architect, and Jim - neighbor

ACTION:           Approved a motion to clarify and confirm that the three-foot setback notch extended the length of the west side [of the proposed deck?]

AYES:              Antonini, Borden, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Miguel and Olague

DRA No:           0205




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))


SPEAKERS:     None


Adjournment:    5:10 P.M.



Adopted:          April 28, 2011





Last updated: 4/29/2011 2:37:28 PM