January 5, 2006
Commission Chambers - Room 400
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
Thursday, January 5, 2006
President: Sue Lee
Vice-President: Dwight S. Alexander
Commissioners: Michael J. Antonini; Shelley Bradford Bell; Kevin Hughes;
William L. Lee; Christina Olague
Commission Secretary: Linda D. Avery
COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Sue Lee; Dwight S. Alexander; Michael J. Antonini;
Kevin Hughes; William L. Lee; Christina Olague
COMMISSIONER ABSENT: Shelley Bradford Bell
THE MEETING WAS CALLED TO ORDER BY PRESIDENT SUE LEE AT 1:40 P.M.
STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Dean Macris – Director of Planning; Larry Badiner – Zoning Administrator; Sharon Young; Michael Li; Sara Vellve; Lois Scott; Craig Nikitas; Linda Avery - Commission Secretary
- CONSIDERATION OF ITEMS PROPOSED FOR CONTINUANCE
The Commission will consider a request for continuance to a later date. The Commission may choose to continue the item to the date proposed below, to continue the item to another date, or to hear the item on this calendar.
B. COMMISSIONERS’ QUESTIONS AND MATTERS
- Commission Comments/Questions
Commissioner Sue Lee:
- Some of you may have noticed an item in the paper today about the status of our Planning Director.
- Mayor Newsom has conveyed his intentions to me to make an announcement. I told him that we would be very pleased with announcement and we are looking forward to it.
- I am receiving some phone calls regarding Trinity Plaza, and was just wondering if we could have a status on that.
Dean Macris – Director of Planning responded
- We are now in the final stages of the PDR process internally where we’re really still looking at some restriction issues and some shadowing issues on Civic Center Plaza. We expect those to be wrapped up in the next few days, and if things work the way we hope they’ll go, we would expect a draft EIR to be published in March of this year.
- Let me also add one other point to that. There are other things we need to be concerned about here.
- There is a Board of Supervisors agreement sponsored by Supervisor Daly that is encompassed in a development agreement. We do have a draft of that agreement, which we are now reviewing. We need to reconcile that draft with the SUD that we are responsible for moving forward to the Commission so that they are comparable in nature. The development agreement contains many of the issues that you read about over the time that it was negotiated at the Board, including some social issues and so forth.
- Our responsibility is the physical aspects of the development agreement. So we are also working on that, and we have worked closely with the City Attorney’s Office in preparing that draft. There is that added feature here. And you have to adopt the development agreement as well. Then it ultimately goes to the Board of Supervisor.
- The only other experience the City has had in a development agreement is with Mission Bay, which is also governed by a development agreement.
- Development agreements are long-term contracts that give the sponsor of a large project a certain certainty over time, and the certainty resides with us as well.
- There are some things we want to achieve out of the project, so you are going to see all of that probably as a draft in March.
- Following up on the same subject of the Trinity Plaza, I believe it is separate from the Mid-Market, any Mid-Market agreement. Is that true?
Dean Macris - Director of Planning responded
- I believe that it was not held to those particular standards.
- It is in the Mid-Market area.
- We are treating this as a separate project because of the history and what we’re trying to achieve there.
Linda Avery – Commission Secretary
- Just, so we don’t start the year off wrong, this is not a calendared item and we are starting to get into a discussion on this.
- Clarification is fine, but you need to be really careful, because the public that might be interested in this might not be here today, and discussion of this would be improper.
Dean Macris – Director of Planning responded
- I would end with one comment.
- We have looked at several architectural renditions of the project and we are pretty comfortable with where we are with that as well. You’ll see all of that as well in March.
- We would like to not only have the EIR and the DA agreement, but also some presentation of what you should expect as a physical presence of this rather massive project which is nearly 2000 units.
C. DIRECTOR’S REPORT
2. Director’s Announcements
- We will have some important things to say next week with the Eastern Neighborhoods and about how we’re going to proceed.
3. Review of Past Week’s Events at the Board of Supervisors and Board of Appeals
D. GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT – 15 MINUTES
At this time, members of the public may address the Commission on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Commission except agenda items. With respect to agenda items, your opportunity to address the Commission will be afforded when the item is reached in the meeting. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.
- I just want to advise you that every time you take away a housing unit it has to be built someplace else, and they come out as two instead of one.
- The other thing that has disturbed me is that a few weeks ago, or a few months ago, there was some legislation presented by Mr. Peskin’s office concerning relocation of billboards.
- The small business community and the small property owners objected to this vehemently.
- We were promised to see any legislation that was going to be presented in the future, and we weren’t.
- I have some very serious questions, 1) It looks like the billboard people are supposed to do their own inventory. The Department is going to be caught charged a lot of money concerning these inventory lists’ accuracy; 2) is that the large and powerful, it looks like it’s large and powerful corporations have the power in this legislation, and it’s an unequal advantage over a small property owner even though it says the property owner has to sign off for them to relocate.
- This legislation is going to cost you a lot of money.
- I’d like to approach 855 Sacramento Street, EIR major capital project, through the assessment graphics. I hope some of you are familiar with it.
- I spoke about it at the Landmark Preservation Board -- to view the structure at the time as architectural. I don’t think the swimming pool is going to hold very well on that type of terrain. It’s a sloped hill and there is masonry next to this particular open lot area.
- If an earthquake came by, I’m sure it’s going to crack and cause some leaks.
- Another point would be the SRO, the single room occupancy and the air quality.
- People are scoping documents for the Eastern Neighborhoods EIR.
- I’ve been reading it, struggling with the housing issues as well as the PDR issues in that scope document.
- And one of the things that I think you may have lost track of is we were supposed to have a presentation on affordable housing and housing in the pipeline in November, and it has not happened.
- As we embark on a serious EIR for an area that is supposed to provide serious housing resources, I think you need that presentation as soon as possible.
E. PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS WHERE THE PUBLIC HEARING HAS BEEN CLOSED
At this time, members of the public who wish to address the Commission on agenda items that have already been reviewed in a public hearing at which members of the public were allowed to testify and the public hearing has been closed, must do so at this time. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.
- Last year on September 15, I was before you for the project on 2110 Clement Street.
- You decided that you wanted to monitor us for three months and see if we were able to abide by the law and close at 11:00 p.m.
- At that time there was no evidence that I was able to present to you that we were open past 11:00 p.m.
- We had to go through another hearing.
- What we have done to control the noise and the parking is that we have instructed everybody that’s working the café to instruct the customers before they leave the restaurant, and also to monitor the people outside the restaurant, to keep them from making a lot of noise and also by putting up larger signs by the window so they could see them.
- For parking concerns, we’ve also put up signs for that and even bought another sign for the next-door neighbor who has been complaining about people parking there.
- We bought a sign for them, but they have denied taking it, saying that the landlord said that they were going to take care of it. But up until this day, there is still no sign there.
- The person who filed the complaint, Stephen Gee, has recently withdrawn his complaint and has mentioned that the noise in the parking has improved a lot during the past three months and he feels that we are trying to control the noise and the parking and we should probably get it if it was up to him.
- But the main reason for us to extend our hours is that since this is a dessert café, most of the business that we do comes after people have had their dinner—around 9:00 or 10:00 o’clock.
- But since we have to close at 11:00, that leaves us only an hour to do our business, which basically means we cannot survive.
Veronica Lee – regarding 2110 Clement Street
- I am speaking here on behalf of all the employees of the café and ask you to grant us the conditional use permit to expand our business hours.
- If not, we will go out of business for the next three months for sure.
- You are the business makers, and I hope you can help us to preserve the Chinese food culture as well as this nice place so that people can stay late at night and have fun.
- I am here to speak regarding 627 Vallejo.
- I am representing Telegraph Hill Dwellers today.
- I believe you have a letter in your file that states that we support the staff recommendation to deny the conditional use authorization in question.
Architect for the project at 627 Vallejo
- He thanked Michael Li and department staff for helping them craft a very reasonable compromise solution.
- We are basically replacing one restaurant with another and one market with another or similar such use.
- We have lowered the total square footage of the project.
- We accept all the conditions that the Planning Department is imposing on us.
- We will be good neighbors and we feel that this is a very valid application.
- In response to comments last week about the lack of a hardware store, there is one around the corner.
- I would very much like to request your support and your understanding and comprehension for my client’s application.
No name stated – regarding 627 Vallejo
- I’ve been in North Beach since March 4, 1960, and there used to be a beautiful market in the ‘60s.
- I would appreciate if you would consider just what I said.
- CONSIDERATION OF FINDINGS AND FINAL ACTION – PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED
4. 2005.0565C (S.YOUNG: (415) 558-6346)
2110 CLEMENT STREET - north side between 22nd and 23rd Avenues; Lot 009 in Assessor's Block 1411 - Request for Conditional Use authorization under Sections 717.27, 186.1(b) and 303 of the Planning Code to legalize the extension of the hours of operation of an existing nonconforming full-service restaurant (“My Favorite Cafe”) from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the Outer Clement Neighborhood Commercial District (NCD) and a 40-X Height and Bulk District. No exterior modifications will be made to the existing building envelope.
Preliminary Recommendation: Disapproval
(Continued from Regular Meeting of December 15, 2005)
NOTE: On September 15, 2005, following public testimony, the Commission closed the public hearing and continued the matter to December 15, 2005, by a vote +4 –0, to allow the operator to comply with the existing conditions. Commissioners Hughes, W. Lee, Olague were absent.
(Proposed for Continuance to January 5, 2006)
ACTION: Adopted a motion of intent to approve a nine-month Conditional Use that at the end of which they would/could reapply for a Conditional Use that would then become permanent. The neighbors would be re-noticed and we would have another hearing, giving us and the neighbors an opportunity to see whether or not there have been any problems with the extended operating hours. Final Language on January 19, 2006.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, W. Lee
ABSENT: Bradford-Bell and Olague
5. 2005.0999C (M. LI: (415) 558-6396)
627 Vallejo Street - southwest corner at Columbus Avenue, Lots 019 and 020 in Assessor’s Block 0146 - Request for Conditional Use authorization to establish a full-service restaurant (dba “King of Thai Noodle House”) of approximately 1,850 square feet. The subject commercial space was previously occupied by a small self-service restaurant of approximately 940 square feet that operated within a now-vacant supermarket. The space will be enlarged to accommodate the proposed restaurant, but there will be no physical expansion of the existing building. The project site is within the North Beach Neighborhood Commercial District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Disapproval
(Continued from Regular Meeting of December 8, 2005)
NOTE: On December 8, 2005, following public testimony the Commission closed the public hearing and entertained a motion to approve 1000 sq. ft. + 250 sq. ft. for ADA compliance by a vote +3 –2. Motion Failed. Commissioners S. Lee and Olague voted no. Commissioners Alexander and Bradford Bell were absent. The item was continued to January 5, 2006 by a vote +4 –1. Commissioner Olague voted no. Commissioners Alexander and Bradford-Bell were absent.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Hughes, Olague and W. Lee
G. REGULAR CALENDAR
6. 2004.0027ACEK (M. SNYDER: (415) 575-6891)
900 MINNESOTA STREET - the north half of the block bounded by Minnesota Street, 20th Street, Indiana Street and 22nd Street, Lot 027 in Assessor’s Block 4106 - Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish four structures, partially demolish and rehabilitate a fifth structure, alter and rehabilitate a sixth structure, and construct four new structures in the Dogpatch Historic District. The resultant project would include up to 142 dwelling units, approximately 168 off-street parking spaces, approximately 6,300 square feet of office space, and approximately 2,100 square feet of restaurant / commercial use, configured around two inner courtyards. The subject property is within an M-2 (Heavy Industrial) District, a 50-X Height and Bulk District, and the Dogpatch Historic District. The southeastern portion of the site, which is comprised of a private open space and would continue to be used as private open space, is located in an RH-3 (Residential, House, Three-Family) District and a 50-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions
(Continued from the Regular Meeting of December 15, 2005)
ACTION: Approved the Certificate of Appropriateness
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Bradford Bell, Alexander
7. 2005.0666D (S. VELLVE: (415) 558-6263)
3020-3024 BUCHANAN STREET - east side between Union and Filbert Streets, Lots 034 and 035 in Assessor’s Block 0531 - Mandatory Discretionary Review, under the Planning Commission’s policy requiring review of dwelling unit mergers, of Building Permit Application No. 2005.07.05.6780 proposing to merge two dwelling units into one dwelling unit in a structure located in an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District, and 40-X Height/Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and disapprove the permit.
(Continued from the Regular Meeting of December 15, 2005)
No name stated, Architect for the project.
- We’re here to help get approval for the merger of two units into one home.
- Gave a short chronology and description of the project.
- I live in one of the units.
- The point I’d like to make is we love living in this neighborhood.
- We’ve had a daughter there. We’ve lived there about 12 years.
- All we are asking is that we should not be forced out of the neighborhood just to accommodate this, but we’d like to continue living there.
- We’re a moderate-income family and honestly, we appreciate your help with this.
- I really have nothing else to add except I’d like to keep my neighbors in the neighborhood.
- They are good neighbors. They’re middle class, they’re not wealthy, and I’d like to keep them in the neighborhood.
- I support what they want to do.
ACTION: Did not take Discretionary Review and approved as proposed
AYES: S. Lee, Antonini, Hughes, and W. Lee
ABSENT: Bradford-Bell and Alexander
8. (L. SCOTT (415) 558-6317)
INFORMATION HEARING ON CODE ENFORCEMENT AT THE PLANNING DEPARTMENT – Review of a background report on enforcement work including staffing, sources and types of complaints, enforcement of Commission Conditions of Approval, Commission priorities for enforcement and general advertising sign enforcement issues.
Preliminary Recommendation: No action required
Mylo Hanky - San Francisco Beautiful
- We very much appreciate the spirit of cooperation and encouragement that we’ve fostered with the Planning Department.
- I’ve become personally angered by this. Every time you go down the street and you see one or more billboards that are apparently illegal. And I’ll give you and idea how to stop this.
- I take it personally, because it mocks you and this Board and our City and the whole rule of law.
- There is a disincentive for operators big and small to come into this town and reap thousands of dollars for illegal billboards that go undetected. And there is no action on it.
- It is in your hands to perhaps create a dedicated position, to give priority to this so it does not keep going to the back burner.
- Also, at San Francisco Beautiful, we do want to encourage all the proposals that have been laid out today.
- Four years ago, 79.2% of San Franciscans said in Prop G, no new billboards.
- Let’s start with the billboards. It was Cal Hollow Merchants. It was an appeal at the Board of Appeals where a neighbor didn’t like the fact that his neighbor put up a billboard that actually was one foot over the height limit. It wasn’t a big egregious issue.
- He proceeded to get it pulled down and proceeded to put an illegal billboard next to where this one was.
- San Francisco Beautiful, San Francisco Tomorrow and myself, took the first inventory.
- In order to find out the history of these billboards, you have to go into a room in the Department of Building Inspection that has stacks of piles as high as this room almost.
- Most of the billboard applications prior to the new computer system recklessly got lost in the only Y2K breakdown we had in the United States.
- Unless we set up a hard fine system on all these grievances, you’re just wasting your time.
- And there has to be something to end the legislation.
- I was with the Civil Grand Jury last year and we spent a lot of time on enforcement.
- I am not sure, how this works.
- We want to make sure, and maybe we are getting a jump on this, but we are going to be faced very shortly with dealing with two legislative changes.
- One has to do with 610, which you’ve heard abut and other has to do with the relocation of billboards.
- It’s very important, that we take advantage or what we’ve learned from our experience rather than having history repeat itself, which is of major concern to us.
- There are three really important issues that the initial distribution of drafts of those two new legislative changes did not put proper emphasis on and I’d like to focus on those specifically. Specific non-appealable discretionary penalties for violations.
- You have to understand that the laws are only as good as the will of the people to abide by them.
- And part of the way you get them to abide is to recognize that when they break it, crime does not pay, and that there are severe penalties that have to be paid.
- You don’t want those penalties to be vague and squishy and a lot of wiggle room in them.
- I agree with what’s been said, but I want to talk about other things.
- First, question for Lois Scott, I don’t know how or where the district supervisors are on this.
- Second thing is the paperwork in the Department continues to be a big problem. I am hoping that with your new Chief Financial Officer, Administrative Officer, that Ms. Scott is working to get the historical file to be the definitive repository.
- Once the case is closed and the files go off to Hayward, only the documents that are in the historical file or some computer database that people can readily find are available for everything on enforcement.
- I am tired of finding entire files that are lost.
- I know that if the paperwork and the tracking is not resolved and is not a high priority for all of the staff in the Department, Lois’ job becomes impossible.
- I would like to say, I think her reports which I read every month, or whenever they come, are not only informative, but they are also entertaining.
- I think that part of the responsibility is the responsibility of the Commission. When you make conditions on a project, if it does not go into the historical file and if Lois does not know about it, it makes it a lot harder to track.
- I have observed over several decades the enforcement process in the City and, of course, with illegal units, it is a joke.
- Maybe through that, that has been encouragement and incentive for violators of our code for the lack of enforcement that is happened there.
- Then what happens is we also have actions that reinforce that perception. You hear of situations that have been described to you.
- You have applicants who are professional architects; professional developers; or lawyers, and they have to now be tutored by the Department on how they do their job?
- If an application comes in, it should come in under the door with no negotiation.
- Does it stand? Does it fall? You send it out and that’s over.
ACTION: Meeting held. No action required
9. (C. NIKITAS (415) 558-6306)
UPDATE ON THE REVIEW OF RESIDENTIAL DEMOLITIONS - Informational presentation regarding proposed changes to criteria for the review of applications to demolish dwelling units, including future initiation of Planning Code amendments to require Discretionary Review for those demolitions not presently subject to Conditional Use authorization.
Discussion only -- No action to be taken at this hearing
ACTION: Without hearing, continued without objection to January 26, 2006.
AYES: S. Lee, Alexander, Antonini, Hughes, Olague, W. Lee
ABSENT: Bradford Bell
H. PUBLIC COMMENT
At this time, members of the public may address the Commission on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Commission except agenda items. With respect to agenda items, your opportunity to address the Commission will be afforded when the item is reached in the meeting with one exception. When the agenda item has already been reviewed in a public hearing at which members of the public were allowed to testify and the Commission has closed the public hearing, your opportunity to address the Commission must be exercised during the Public Comment portion of the Calendar. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.
The Brown Act forbids a commission from taking action or discussing any item not appearing on the posted agenda, including those items raised at public comment. In response to public comment, the commission is limited to:
(1) Responding to statements made or questions posed by members of the public; or
(2) Requesting staff to report back on a matter at a subsequent meeting; or
(3) Directing staff to place the item on a future agenda. (Government Code Section 54954.2(a))
Architect for the project at 627 Vallejo
- I believe that we have done an injustice to this family.
- I believe that the process is unfair.
- If indeed the neighborhood is pressuring the Planning Department not to allow any more restaurants in North Beach, then let it be a moratorium.
- Let it be known to everybody going to the Planning counter asking for simple information that if you want a restaurant in North Beach, forget it, don’t spend your money
- This has cost my client over $100,000.
- He now has to get rid of his lease, which will cost him a huge fortune.
- If he only knew.
- I want to talk very briefly about the Marina DEIR that you’ll be hearing next week.
- A report said the Marina Green and the Marina Seawall, which defines the northern edge of the green, are the defining historical and cultural characteristics of the Marina District and are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
- I received a message from Mr. Luellen and he said it had not been considered.
- Through the Chair, I’d like to ask if you’ve received anything back from the Landmarks Board?
- Number two – as you are reading the Draft EIR in preparation for the hearing next week, I’d like to call your attention to the fact that the project description is highly misleading. It causes a renovation.
- According to the Chief Building Inspector Kornfield, the word renovation does not appear in any code.
- This is an expansion plan and it is an expansion plan because it adds 3,335 linear feet of dock along 365 feet of the shoreline, which is now open water.
- It is doing this for the benefit of placing 60 yachts in that area north of the Marina Green.
- When this staff deleted the Marina Green from the project boundaries, they then said that there was no impact on the Green from anything that was happening in the water.
- The General Plan has only one mandate about the Marina Green.
- It says maintain the quality and character of the Marina Greens.
- If you check the land grant from 1935 when the state transferred this land and water area to the city in trust for the citizens of California, they didn’t mention a use as a harbor, even though a small harbor has been traditionally on that site.
- They listed five uses. They all pertain to land side uses and the value of that open space for the citizens.
- When you expand a harbor over the shoreline, you’re basically privatizing that shoreline because you have to have your infrastructure under lock and key.
- What many of the neighbors have asked for is that the Commission requires staff, when the SEIR is done, that the repair and replacement alternative of the existing harbor be considered in addition to the expansion plan.
Adjournment: 5:23 p.m.
THESE MINUTES WERE PROPOSED FOR ADOPTION AT THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE PLANNING COMMISSION ON THURSDAY, MAY 4, 2006.
AYES: Alexander, Antonini, S. Lee, W. Lee, and Olague