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
Public Hearings 

August 30, 2007 - Special Meeting

August 30, 2007 Special Meeting



Special Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, August 30, 2007

1:00 PM

Special Meeting

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



STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Dean Macris – Director of Planning, Larry Badiner – Zoning Administrator, Amit Ghosh – Chief Planner, Aaron Varat, Jonas Ionin, Ken Rich, Sarah Dennis, Nannie Turrell, Mathew Snyder, 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.

1. 2005.0490E (J. NAVARRETE: (415) 575-9040)

3500 19th STREET - northwest corner of Valencia and 19th Streets - Appeal of Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration for the construction of a 5-story, 50-foot-tall building totaling approximately 29,829 square feet, with 17 dwelling units, 17 off-street parking spaces, and about 2,852 square feet of retail space. The project site (Block 3588, Lot 012) is in the Valencia Neighborhood Commercial District and a 50-X Height and Bulk District. The project site is in the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan Area and is subject to the Housing/Mixed Use Guidelines. The proposed project would require a Conditional Use Authorization.

Preliminary Recommendation: Uphold Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration

(Proposed for Continuance to October 25, 2007)


ACTION: Continuance as proposed

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


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.

2. Consideration of Adoption:

· Draft Minutes of Special Meeting of August 13, 2007.

· Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of August 9, 2007.

· Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of August 2, 2007.

· Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of July 12, 2007.

· Draft Minutes of Special Joint DBI of December 7, 2006.


ACTION: Approved

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

3. 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

- I would like to inform the Planning Commissioner that San Francisco has based three projects on LEED Neighborhood Development Registered Pilot Projects.

- That is good news. I got from an informed source that what we have for San Francisco is 55 Laguna Street and I am not sure who is sponsoring that because it would give another twist to planning this project.

- We have also in Bayview Hunters Point a project whose name I do not recognize.

- Lastly, we have Schlage Lock, of which I think the Planning Department submitted.

- I think this is very good news - that we would access how quickly we will move in the green planning principle in the City.

- I received notification from a group called The San Francisco Coalition for Responsible Growth. While I am very interested to be in dialogue with a group of people like that, no individual is identified in this particular letter.

- I tried to google it and nothing comes up. Whoever this group is, I would greatly appreciate that they will disclose to the Planning Commission who they are, unless somebody in this room already knows.

- We got an urgent plea from the Sierra Club and The Clean Action Group to hold a special hearing regarding the draft EIR for the SFPUC border assistant improvement program and I suggest we discuss that and consider doing it.

- I am sure we all got that letter and I just want to make sure that we do not forget and postpone it.

- I just want to acknowledge receiving a letter from the Education Coalition for Responsible Developments to the mayor. We were copied on it. It is expressing great concern about the City College building plan for Chinatown.

- We should look very carefully at this project and take into consideration what they are writing to us.

Commissioner Antonini

- First, in yesterday's Examiner - and I'm sure published elsewhere - the income levels of San Francisco's residents.

- The average and the median both increased in 2006, which is good news. And the bad news was that the gap between what it costs to buy a residence in San Francisco and the income levels continue to be a sizeable one.

- I think we have to look at that in terms of our inclusionary policies and make sure that they are reflecting and addressing that gap as this income level increases and the percentage of people that are covered under the inclusionary housing ordinance becomes lower and lower.

- I think hopefully that there are steps being taken to bring that policy into one that benefits the greatest percentage of San Franciscans that seek both rental and homeownership.

- Second, I was fortunate enough to attend the 49ers kickoff launching yesterday. Senator Feinstein and Mayor Newsom spoke passionately about keeping the 49ers in San Francisco.

- The point was not so much about that issue but the issue they made that the team has brought San Franciscans together under a common bond regardless of their background and I think that is a very good point and I hope that is a point we always keep in mind as we move forward on planning uses.

- Let us try to work together and always be welcoming of new businesses and new residents as well as trying to retain old residents and old business with the same fervor.

- We should always welcome residents and businesses in all neighborhoods and not say that certain neighborhoods are reserved for certain income levels, or certain tenancies, or things like that.

- Let us be inclusive of everyone as long as people abide by the law and are respectful of each other.

- I think that same sort of spirit that was simplified in their remarks is what we should by.

Commissioner W. Lee

- I do not know who can do this, but given the recent issue of housing prices have dropped down throughout the United States except for us being fortunate in the Bay Area because it remains steady.

- In 2002, we had a huge budget deficit because when people moved out of commercial space and left the City, no one is paying the taxes.

- My question: is there is a way that we can get information regarding sales of large buildings; the number of homes that are being sold in San Francisco; the average cost of a home?

- I think it is important that we have some database so we can track trends and I do not know how to get that information.

- We found out that some developers decided to pull out. Is there a way that we get more information about the state of the economy regarding real state?

Amit Ghosh, Chief Planner

- We can get that information for you and perhaps prepare a memorandum with those items and send it to you.

Commissioner W. Lee

- If we could do that every six months it will give us more information to say if things look good in the future or do they just look moderate.

Commissioner Olague

- I just want piggyback off Commissioner Moore's comment on the water project.

- I noticed that the water is in some improvement program and we do have it scheduled for the 20th [September] to hear the draft EIR and maybe we can discuss having it at a time certain.

- It is 4000 pages of text and I just feel that we do need to sort of set a special time if it is okay with the other Commissioners.

Commissioner Alexander

- In general if there are a lot of members that want to participate, we try to accommodate them by having a specified period of time. But given this particular item I do not know whether or not we are going to have an overwhelming amount of public participation.

Commissioner Olague

- I heard from people that they estimate over 50 people want to testify on this. I anticipate several people that would like to speak on this.

Commissioner Antonini

- I am not against it but it is often hard to anticipate how much time it is going to take.

- If we set a time certain, let us assume that we say 6 o'clock, as long as we allow the calendar to be resumed after the end of testimony. If for some reason we anticipate that fifty people will come but we are done in an hour then we should continue on with the items that we were not able to take up prior to the set aside. Because otherwise what happen is that we end up shrinking the calendar and we may or may not have an item that needs as much time as we anticipate to set aside.

- That is one solution. The other would be to calendar it at a time like 8 o'clock or something where hopefully the whole calendar is finished before then.

- I do not have an objection to it but those are the two possibilities that I would like to see.

Commissioner Moore

- I assume that if we have 50 people times 2 minutes makes it 100 minutes and that would be more than an hour. If it is 3 minutes [per person] is 150 minutes.

- I think we should perhaps consider making the time certain or do a special meeting.

- If we receive a letter that is already supported by three of four major organizations really asking us to pay attention to it, I think we need to find a way to accommodate that.

- We should set a time certain within a Commission meeting to start at 5:30p.m. and anticipate it being over at 8:30p.m., or set aside a special part of the day and just dedicated it to them.

Commissioner S. Lee

- If I could make a suggestion on the Water projects. This project has been going on for many years with many hundreds of thousands of hours put in the EIR process.

- Maybe if staff could consult with PUC staff, they would have a better handle on the amount of public concern and the number of people who may appear at the hearing.

- That way we can schedule it more effectively so we get a better idea of what to anticipate rather than just expostulating.

Commissioner Alexander

- Let us take this up at the beginning of our next meeting to consider a time certain.

Commissioner Sugaya

- Have we had a presentation on both Geary Boulevard and Van Ness BRT [Bus Rapid Transit]? Not to crowd the calendar but can we consider having an informational presentation at some point?

- A while back I asked the question about UC Extension, there is a contract between the City and some people from SF State in conducting community assessment programs or a study of some kind.

- Is that on the way at this point? Maybe we can get a status report some time in the next couple of weeks.

- Thirdly; in the current Business Times, there is an article in which Christina [Commissioner Olague] is mentioned. I have copies and will pass them out.

- It says that activist take aim at okayed office projects and it has to do with the presentation we had from staff the other week with respect of all the pipeline projects under the beauty contest.

- Lastly, on Commissioner Moore's LEED list, Hunters View is a San Francisco Housing Authority project that was in the paper today as being the worse project of all of San Francisco Housing Authority Development projects.

- We were contracted to do a historical report on it. We had a staff person out there the other week and heard that the building is not really in a bad condition.

- I think it has to do more with details. She admitted that the windows were broken and that kind of thing but structurally the buildings were all right.

- It is slated for demolition and I think there is a proposed replacement project.


4. Director's Announcements


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

Board of Supervisors


Larry Badiner and Craig Nikitas reported on:

Board of Appeals

A- 1844 Market Street – Sue Mills Site. Previously there was an unsuccessful Conditional Use appeal at the Board of Supervisors. There was a court case. One of the court issues raised was the Resident Element. The project appellant was making the case because the 2004 element has been overturned and this project and had some legal issues. The Court held that it was not a significant issue and that the 1991 Housing Element was relevant. This was raised at the Board of Appeals and they rejected taking jurisdiction on this item and issue.

B- 943 Church Street – This was a jurisdiction request because when it came out and the question was raised, I asked DBI to suspend the permit which is my standard action. The appellant asked for a late jurisdiction claiming that they did not receive the letter at their address for suspension. Continued

C- 2616 Irving Street – One of the Quickly cases. This was a rehearing request. The appellant claimed there were new items brought forth at the hearing that they had not had a change to respond to and that there was a language barrier also. Granted the rehearing request to October 3, 2007

D- Crescent Height Project -10th and Market site. There were many issues raised by the appellant and the Board settled on the two main issues of wind and parking. Upheld both variances.


Tom Radulovich, Livable City

- Please read the transcript or listen to the tapes of The Board of Appeals from last night.

- I feel that the Department put forward a lot of information and some of it was misleading.

- Section 309 of the Planning Code allows granting access parking to projects downtown.

- According to Section 151 two findings need to be made and one is to make the project a better project.

- The other finding is that you must make a formative finding that the vehicle movement at or around the project site associated with the accessory parking does not unduly impact the pedestrian safety and the overall traffic movement in the district.

- We are building a whole body of reviews and approvals around a very flat model that has very serious consequences for traffic movement in this town.

Sue Hestor

- One of my arguments is that the Department does not know where people work and that is a continuing problem.

- I hope it comes through when you start to talk about transportation because we are assuming that everyone is a downtown worker. In the real world that is not true.

- The second argument I made is that the Department does not give you a comprehensive overview of how all the exceptions, variances and conditional use aspects work together in determining the form of the project.

- You were given five resolutions stapled all together and there is no analysis.

(A. VARAT: (415) 558-6405)

Leland AvenueStreetscape Design Project- Informational only - Staff will provide an update regarding funding and implementation for the Leland Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project. The Project creates a conceptual design for detailed pedestrian, streetscape, and traffic calming improvements to Leland Avenue, the main street of Visitacion Valley.

Preliminary recommendation: Informational only, no action requested.



Larry Badiner, Zoning Administrator

- There is informational material in your next week's packet related to four items.

- The first one is Commissioner Sugaya's that asked for a status report on a San Francisco Business Times article in late June that published a list of projects that were under construction.

- We did that and it is self explanatory.

- Commissioner W. Lee asked for a report on medical cannabis – what the numbers are and what other cities are doing across the state in terms of limiting the number.

- We emailed it to you about two weeks ago because we had them ready and we recognized you want things in writing so it also is in your packets.

- Also, the question that Commissioner Sugaya had on 3052 Pacific Avenue.

- There was a discussion about the alterations and I believe there was public comment at the Landmark Board. We have determined that some of the alterations were not substantial because it [they] was not publicly visible.

- The analysis that you have would indicate that was not the reason for our decision. But we looked at the project in terms of significant façade and those that are less significant or the alterations would not affect the significance.

- You will find the detailed analysis in that memorandum and we ultimately determined that the alterations were in conformance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards.

- Commissioner Antonini asked us about affordable housing projects and whether they would be subject to springing conditions or fees in general. We did provide an analysis today for that.

- The essential fact is that State law allows the Commission in the City to impose impact fees when there is a demonstrated nexus.

- It is arguable that probably in affordable housing projects there is a similar impact or nexus that market rate has. The City does not have to impose that fee or it can reduce it.

- We believe that it is in the city's interest to not impose those fees on affordable housing, but rather to encourage it.

- If the Commission has a different policy, or we've misinterpreted the Commission policy, those fees or similar fees could be applied to an affordable housing project.

- It is just in a memorandum and we look forward for further direction on how staff should apply them.

- Next week, I will make a brief presentation because in answer of the Commission's Action List.

- If the Commission desires a calendared discussion on that issue, inform us either at this time or after reviewing the memorandum but we will not as a matter of course put a calendar item on every Action List item because your calendar is very full.

Commissioner Alexander

- We also have on the Action List to schedule a hearing regarding First Source Hiring and apparently that is in the process.

- In the meantime, can you give to us a list of all the projects that have that as a condition?

- I want both things done but while we are waiting I would like that list of projects.

President Alexander instructed to put on next week's agenda discussion time regarding housing projects subject to springing conditions


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.


Francisco Da Costa

- For the last six months I have been reviewing a lot of projects all over the City.

- I want to address the tendency from this Commission or the staff to favor large developers.

- Looking at the history of Mission Bay, this Commission has not paid attention to toxicity and millions of tons of soil has not mediated and not taken away from Mission Bay.

- We need to get down to the bottom of this and find out why a waiver was given to Catellis and why the jurisdiction was transferred to the Regional Water Board.

Espanola Jackson

- You made a report about the meeting with Dianne Feinstein and the 49ers. I requested before and I am challenging today to request that Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi set aside a one time amount of $10 million dollars to clean up the shipyard.

- You will have a hearing at Bay View Hunters Point on October 4 and the community is having a summit with all the City Departments on September 25.

- I am requesting to have staff from the Planning Department on September 25 from 10a.m. to 5p.m. and to bring the maps and plans and allow the public's input.

- I also request that you revisit items voted on regarding the Bay View at the hearing of October 4.

Julie, Owner and occupant of 420 Maury Way

- I am here to speak what I believe to be a failure to provide a reasonably accessible pre-application meeting of a project next to me at 414 Maury Way.

- We received information about this project less than a week before the meeting happened. We called immediately to let the architect know we would not be able to attend.

- At his point, it will go under discretionary review and my fear is that at that point the statement might be made saying that we had the opportunity to speak about it and we did not go.


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.

Item 6 was taken off consent and followed #7

6. 2007.0534C (Tape IB) (J. IONIN: (415) 558-6309)

1641 FILLMORE STREET - west side between Geary Boulevard and Post Street, Assessor's Block 0702, Lot 002 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization under Planning Code Sections 186.1(e) and 712.45 to relocate an existing liquor store (d.b.a. Fillmore Market) from 1669 Fillmore Street to 1641 Fillmore Street in an NC-3 (Neighborhood Commercial, Moderate Scale) District and a 65-A Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions.


Ale Washin

- We are just wondering if you can give us clarification of what the conditions are.

- The community misses the store and we've got plenty of community support.

Norm Wada

- I live right next to the store and I just want to cover four points: the type of stores that this represents, my experience, location and density, and my recommendation.

- The store is a core business liquor store straight out. There is loitering and noise late at night that is very disturbing and the area is no longer safe. This is the third store in the area within three blocks.

- Is this in the best interest of the area? Please do not approve any more of these kinds of stores in that area.

Emilia Lee

- We have the store on 1969 for 12 years and we do not know of any problems. We are just moving to the next door.

- We have a lot of community support and 1,600 petitions wanting us to stay.

John Lee

- We support the community and we have not had any problems.

ACTION: Approved as amended to not allow a security gate outside the establishment.

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

MOTION: 17480

7. 2007.0668C (M. Li: (415) 558-6396)

627 Vallejo Street - southwest corner at Columbus Avenue, Lots 017 through 021 in Assessor's Block 0146 - Request for conditional use Authorization to (1) establish a small self-service restaurant of approximately 950 square feet inside a principally permitted retail grocery store (dba  Piazza Market ) of approximately 5,940 square feet and (2) add a Type 20 ABC license (off-sale beer and wine) to the retail grocery store. The restaurant use will not be under separate ownership. It will operate as an integrated component of the retail grocery store. 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: Approval with Conditions

(Continued from Regular Meeting of July 26, 2007)


ACTION: Approved

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

MOTION: 17479


8. (Tape IB) (L. AVERY: (415) 558-6407)

COMMISSION'S RULES AND REGULATIONS - Discussion and possible action to amend the Commission's Rules and Regulations to address imposing time constraints on submittal of documents and material for review by the Commission and the public; discuss and possibly establish rules or policies that address other areas of interest of the Commission. (Continued from Regular Meeting of July 26, 2007)

Commissioner Sugaya

- I think that we originally thought of this in terms of perhaps we were going to have the new director on board by this time.

- The other approach is that maybe if the President can think about having a small sub-committee to work with the new director when ever he/she gets hired.

Commissioner W. Lee

- What is the subject matter?

Commissioner Alexander

- Part of it is addressing of what we get in our packets - how and when we get it.

- Sometimes we get things later rather than timely. We want to make sure that all Commissioners have adequate time to review the case materials they are getting. Some have expressed a concern that they do not always have that.

- We want to try to set forth some clear rules whereby if we do not have certain things by a certain time they would automatically be continued or place in continuance.

- Just so staff knows that if we do not get certain things in a certain amount of time, we will not go forward with the item.

- I think that was one of the big pieces that we were having problems with.

Commissioner Antonini

- In terms of timeliness and materials, I would probably like to see most everything in the packets.

- If you wish to send an email that is fine but sometimes it is hard to trace things because you may pick up an email but if it is only the source of information you may not see that.

- Email could be supplemental but not a replacement for material that is important to have in our packets.

- Informational material, calendars, correspondences between members in regards to issues that have to do with schedules - that is my issue on that end of it.

- In regards to the issue of requests, how is that going to be handled? I have a few of the request sheets and that is helpful because it basically shows the request and the date and staff responded.

- When there is a request and the answer comes forward, it would be helpful to have it somehow added to the calendar as a consent item or some kind of notation that the answer has been provided to the Commission.

- The individual Commissioner can say I am happy or not happy with it. If the Commission so agrees, the item can be discussed further.

- That sounds like a plan to me and I do not know how the other Commissioners feel about it. It sounds like it would be relatively simple to do and not add a lot to our calendar.

Commissioner W. Lee

- In response to Commissioner Sugaya, it does not matter if we have a new director or not. These are issues between the Planning Commission and staff.

- I think staff needs more direction. From my perspective, we are dictating staff on what we want.

- We need some more consistency so staff can deliver to us what we need as a whole and not individually.

- Our case reports are getting thick and we are putting 3 dimensional figures together and we are getting more plans.

- Each one of us has a certain sensitivity to certain areas of planning. I think what is really important is that staff is doing a good job and if there are certain things that we need we should tell the Director or the Secretary of the Commission what we want as a whole.

- We need to let staff know as a Commission in general what they should provide to us.

Commissioner Olague

- I want to request that all documents including those from the developers be given to us on the Thursday prior to the hearing.

- If there are any revisions or changes to that information, we need to consider continuing the hearing to a different date.

- We get a lot of things here half an hour before the hearing and that is just not enough time to review the information and make a good decision.

- I think this information should be available, in the cases of discretionary review and cases like that, to the public at least a week in advance.

- Hopefully, the staff person can sort of gage whether or not that material is complete or not. If it is not complete I do not think we should move forward and calendar the item.

- When we continue items we check in with project sponsor and staff so everyone knows that they have enough time.

- Categorical Exemptions; I know they are not always required but when there is a historical resources report available, I would like to start seeing copies of that with the project if it is coming to us.

Larry Badiner, Zoning Administrator

- If the case is coming to you, we should include the HRER [Historical Resource Environmental Review] in there but you do not want to see every HRER.

Commissioner Antonini

- In regards to Commissioner Olague's comments, I really appreciate them.

- The only danger here is that further continuances in trying to get everything together a week ahead of time. There are many issues that we end up modifying on the spot as we are going through and changing conditions to reach an approval.

- I think this is all part of the whole process. I understand needing the documents ahead of time but a week is a little excessive. I am happy with 24 hours but every Commissioner feels a little bit differently of how long it takes to digest the changes.

- You have to have the flexibility to be able to talk about a project, consider the testimony from the public, and come up with a decision based upon all these elements.

- Some of these elements may come in a couple of days before or a few hours or actually during the hearing itself. I think it is all part of the process.

- I think having things complete as much as possible before we actually begin to consider them is a good thing. I do not think one week is reasonable.

Commissioner Moore

- I actually want to comment on the other way. I want to extend this to two weeks.

- I think it becomes extremely confusing to read something and 24 hours before the meeting you get something else that pretty much invalidated all the stuff you worked on.

- I would rather have a complete package and increase the approvability of a project rather than playing like a dog that is chasing its tail. I never really understand what else is new.

- I am really approaching this from a conservative practitioner. Let us get it ready, make sure it is complete and basically send it out.

- We are getting into more complicated pieces, particularly when it comes to DR [Discretionary Review] requests.

- I think that the addition of 3D [dimensional] images should not be given at the time of the hearing but be put in the advance package. That is more and more important.

- Then if somebody wants to top it with a model to further explain it, all power to them.

- I think that at a minimum a 3D presentation needs to be part of these types of submittals.

- I think one of the real problems is the larger packages - which we are really having difficulties with. They are so complex and so difficult to read.

- The package that we got a couple of weeks ago on the Mission Street project, we had to go back and dig out the old EIR [Environment Impact Report] and we had to dig out something about the historic preservation.

- What we get should be as complete as possible.

- Again, I am repeating myself but I think it greatly facilitates our ability to not drag a project out but approve it because it is complete.

Commissioner W. Lee

- Our Commission is democratic and engages in a deliberative process. The question is that we need to give guidance to staff on how much information is enough.

- With the DR [Discretionary Review], we get both sides to come and turn in new information that sometimes the applicant and the requestor do not tell each other and in that situation we do not have the information.

- We are trying to say that if we do not get it one or two weeks ahead we should not hear the case?

- The question is how much information is enough? Everyone is going to have a different opinion by the time they get to us.

- With large projects, I do not disagree. 10th and Market is a huge project and we usually get the EIR much earlier.

- The question is that we need to give staff direction and be flexible because I do not want them to hold the hands of the DR requestor and sponsor.

- We need to giver some concrete guidelines to staff.

- I said before that we've set a policy of $1.2 million dollars as the threshold for demolition permits. It will come up again. If we vote to continue it, we violate our own policy.

- What are we going to tell the staff to do? I really do not like the Commission criticizing the staff when we have set the policy and they bring it to us based on the policy we set.

- These projects are code compliant. They bring it to us and then we chastise staff for not providing enough information - but this is the Planning Code.

- I am a little lost form an efficiency management perspective and frankly, from a leadership position in setting policies. What are we going to tell staff?

- I think we need to have this discussion. Tell us what we should tell staff.

- If you want two weeks, we will do it but how much information is enough?

Commissioner Antonini

- I think we also have to be careful as we do this because it has the possibility to indefinitely continue items.

- For example, if a project opponent brings new information or what they feel is new information a couple of days before, does that mean it is new to the Commission and we can not hear the thing on the Thursday?

- The potential is for someone to delay a project indefinitely and the same could apply to a DR requestor.

- Conversely, let us assume that an opponent comes up with something on a Monday, does that mean that project sponsor can not answer it before the Thursday in fear that the material was not complete?

- I think we have to be careful about what the rules are unless it has as much flexibility as possible.

- We have a calendar that has the tendency to get stretched already.

- We want to stay away from that type of things.

Commissioner Moore

- I generally like to say that the submittals we get from staff are competent and comprehensive. Sometimes they are not consistent when I look from one to the other.

- I really would not chastise staff. I think it would actually be in support of staff to not push them to deadlines that are not doable.

- In the end, staff facilitates developers and their architects.

- If staff is given enough time to know that we need a complete package in order to put it on the calendar and move it, I think they have the ability to negotiate and put enough pressure on developers to get what they need.

- I want to give staff some room and credit that they know what they are doing.

- Consistency with the smaller projects - not as much as scrutinized - but that is a topic that we can talk about independently.

- I think there has to be a certain give and take when we bring something to the room and when we talk about it.

- I am saying again that something is more approvable when the record is clear and complete.

- It is extremely difficult to walk into this room and see a package on my chair here that something has just miraculously changed. It is impossible to basically do justice to what I am looking at.

Commissioner S. Lee

- I was going to suggest that perhaps we should do a subcommittee group and have 3 of us sit down and really work through of what we expect in terms of project packets.

- I think that the DR cases are one thing. The long range and large projects are other issues as well.

- One of my frustrations that I share with all of you is that we have long agendas. Half way through we end up having to continue cases because some of us did not get the information or whatever.

- If we did better work up front in whatever manner we need to get it - whether is one-to-one meetings with staff planners, in written form, or any another way we would be better prepared and have more efficient meetings and really understand these projects.

- One of the things that I think Ms. Hestor mentioned in public comment was that many times we do not understand the exceptions in large scale projects and we do not get those visuals.

- Sometimes I sit down with somebody that is not a staff planner to understand those exceptions. I think that I should be getting that understanding from staff.

- I am part of the Planning Commission that oversees the Planning Department so I consider planning staff to be part of my team.

- I should not have to rely on the project sponsor to provide that information to me.

- There is something not right to me about that process. The staff should be providing me with objective information with all of their professional capability.

- I should, as a Commissioner, rely on the expertise of the department's staff.

- I would like to get to a place where our staff reports reflect that professionalism where we can rely on that information in that report to make our decision.

- I would suggest that may be three of us, I do not know which three, sit down over the next month or so and figure out what it is in the case reports and refine the templates so we get to a place where we have more efficient meetings.

Commissioner Olague

- I think a process like that is long over due.

- Again, the reason that I bring up the issue of deadlines is that it does in part have to do with the content of the reports.

- I think we do need to have more clarity and staff needs to have more clarity of what our expectations are.

- I was reviewing some reports from the 90's and a lot of them seemed to be more complete and have more analysis.

- It was not something that was not accomplished by staff in the Planning Department before.

- I just think that maybe there is no clarity and we need to establish that clarity so staff knows what it is that we are requesting.

- I think when we see DR what ends up happening is that when information is delivered the last day, sometimes the DR requestor does not have information that we are receiving that same day from the project sponsor and I think it puts the DR requestor at a disadvantage and that is not fair.

- If the DR requestor has information made available to them at the same time we get it from project sponsor, I think that will curtail a lot of delay.

- What I am trying to do is avoid continuances, not create more.

- I think that if there is clarity in terms of deadlines and documents that is going to avoid continuances.

Larry Badiner, Zoning Administrator

- Commissioner Olague raised a good point and I think a little history is important. In the 90's, we had very detailed case reports and motions.

- The Commission at that time - I think we revisited this in 2001 - given the staff resources at that time we found that the case reports were very duplicative of what was needed form a legal point in the motion.

- We can go back to that and try to make it less duplicative.

- The reason why you have the case report that you have is because essentially of the Commission's direction at that time.

- Given the limited staff resources back then, and maybe we have different resources now, but they just wanted a quick summary and essentially an executive case report.

- I recognize it is very brief but that is how it was developed from that process.


Alice Barkley

- There is a rule right now and that is that Project Sponsor and DR applicants have to submit a packet by Wednesday the week before the hearing.

- We are told that to get certain documents like plan elevations and attachments; 20 sets by Monday the week before the hearing.

- If the DR requestor does not submit the package, the project sponsor should not be punished by continuing the project.

- I do not think that is fair that the project sponsor is punished because people raise new points at the last minute.

Silvia Johnson

- What is misunderstood is the new way of the project.

- I think this needs to be in writing and send it to the address to be better understood.

Sue Hestor

- I support the committee of the Commission.

- Staff's practice is to withhold documents form the public until they are given to the Commission and with the one week rule it is frustrating because it gives you no ability to see what the developer is submitting.

- I strongly encourage you to give two weeks. Having rules that makes sense will move the cases and prevent continuances.

- These rules should be in place before you go into the Eastern Neighborhoods.

Richard Hart, Developer

- We do submit materials on time because if we do not staff will propose it for continuance.

- If we have a DR applicant who is very concern with our project, we do meet with them.

ACTION: The president is to appoint a sub-committee and they are to get back to the full Commission in six weeks

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

2:30 P.M.

9. (Tape IB; IIA; IIB) (K. RICH (415) 558-6345)

EASTERN NEIGHBORHOODS PROGRAM - The Eastern Neighborhoods Program encompasses the Mission, Central Waterfront, East SoMa and Showplace Square. Planning staff, along with staff from the Mayor's Office of Housing will present an information-only progress report on the following elements of the Eastern Neighborhoods Program: 1) Draft Socio-Economic Impact Analysis Report findings and implications for the planning process; 2) Development of a public benefits package to accompany the Eastern Neighborhoods rezoning, particularly including strategies and zoning proposals to address the need for affordable housing.

Preliminary Recommendation: No action requested (informational item)


Alvaro Sanchez, Coleman Advocates

- We had a schedule changed prior to this presentation and now one and half hour recess where the community members had to leave without being able to give their public comment.

- Leave public comments open for those people to be able to comment on this matter.

- The plan is no where near adequate for our community and it is not addressing our needs. Who is this plan for? Not for the people that most need it.

Sandra Fewer, Coleman Advocates

- I bring to your attention some serious issues: lack of strategy for developing affordable housing in the Mission, not enough affordable rental housing even though it is the biggest need in the community and the plan favors market rate development.

- If the City is serious about developing affordable housing, it has to be aggressive.

- I remind this Commission that the Eastern Neighborhoods resolution passed by the Board of Supervisor early this year requires that the Department adhere to the goal of creating at least 65% affordable housing through new housing developments at all levels.

Steve Vettel

- [Submitted a comparison of impact fees and various affordable housing costs.]

- The first column shows what the developers are paying for Rincon Hill - $62.84 per square foot. The second column is the base for the Eastern Neighborhoods - over $71 per square foot for projects with no up zoning.

- I urge you to be extremely cautious in thinking that there is more capacity to impose more fees and affordable housing exceptions on projects that are getting no up zoning or it is very modest.

Silvia Johnson

- I think a lot of this increases the amount of rent.

- It is what unbalances the industries with horrible housing.

Shawn, Potrero Hill resident

- Without using the state redevelopment agency model to allow using tax to finance, you can not do that because you do not have the money to do that.

- The bottom line is that it will take a lot of money to implement all this stuff and I do not think that the revenue strength is there to do it.

Deborah Walker

- It was interesting to hear the socio economic piece of this presentation.

- We need to keep rental housing here and maybe the Eastern Neighborhoods is the place to think about that and be creative on how to encourage the creation of that.

- This is a heavy area on job production and PDR jobs and I think that having protections for those jobs is a priority.

Joe Bass

- I would suggest that you take each one of the projects that have applications in and compare the existing zoning with what those projects are asking for and see if there really is up zoning.

- It would help to guide what affordability there is.

Sue Hestor

- I really appreciate today's presentation.

- People have thought that a conditional use is an entitlement. Staff has to start thinking about how they process these projects now. You are still having projects coming through in areas.


10. (Tape IIB; IIIA; IIIB) (S. DENNIS: (415) 558-6314)

CONSIDERATION OF ADOPTIONof a COMMISSION POLICY for the review of building permits and approvals in the Eastern Neighborhoods prior to the adoption of the Eastern Neighborhoods area plans and code amendments.

Preliminary Recommendation: Adopt policy resolution as proposed.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of July 26, 2007)


JH Kostelni, General Manager of Farina at 3560 18th Street

- I am pleased to report that since opening in June this year we have been very successful. We currently employ nearly fifty people and 50% are from the Mission area.

- We are very supportive of development in the Mission but very reluctant to support any impact fee particularly retroactively.


- The State Law is very explicit on this that there needs to be an identification of what the impact is that the development is causing.

- And then there has to be a nexus study to show where it comes from.

Silvia Johnson

- A lot of this contribution has to do with a lot of radioactive activity. I want to make the world a better place and not make it worse.

Julie Leadbetter

- Impact fee is very interesting and the earliest date that we can get it the better because developments have impacted our community.

- It does not make sense to approve projects before the plan is in place.

- In addition to impact fees, we need to look very closely at project designs because there are also other incentives we can do to meet some of the goals of the future neighborhood plan.


- The first time we heard of impact fee was in the September 3rd notice and it stressed the need to pay for district wide improvements in the area where value is added by the rezoning.

- Projects in the pipeline should go ahead and automatically get at least 1200 units of affordable housing.

- We can sit here and argue about rezoning for the next year and those units will be built and ready to occupy and nothing will be done.

Dave O'keefe

- I disagree with the dates that staff has promoted for implementation of the impact fees.

- If the Commission feels that is necessary to adopt the public benefit fee, it should only apply to projects that are submitted after the policy is adopted and not apply retroactively.


- Exempting projects in the pipeline of these fees reinforces the sense of fairness.

- We believe that planning should be done proactively with the sight toward the future and not retroactively.

- Resolution 16727 does not have any reference regarding any type of fees.

- If February 12, 2004 is a significant date; why did the Planning Department continue to process and approved projects in the Eastern Neighborhoods without imposing impact fees?


- I want to speak about the three dates of Market Octavia. These plans are different and I do not see how they are related.

- Director Macris in a memorandum mentioned that the Commission might adopt fees similar to those in the Market Octavia plan.

- If we are going to have springing conditions, you decide it tonight and that would be a good date to start.

Joe Durby

- As members of the community, we are asking for due process - something that the City has always stood for.

Angus McCarthy

- I do not think that anybody is opposed to springing conditions as part of doing business. We understand change and transition but not retroactively.

- The small developer community is here to ask you to protect us. We have waited patiently for six years and now we are having springing conditions.


- This is very important for the projects that we are going to see in San Francisco.

- I find thinking about retroactively applying impact fees a little bit faulty.

- If you are going to apply impact fees retroactively, you should also benefit those developments that are going to be charged.


- Something that I have learned at The Planning Department in the process of the Eastern Neighborhoods is that it was meant to give certainty to the development community in San Francisco.

- The springing conditions started in April of this year and now staff is asking to go back to 2003.

- It should be made fair and apply to those proactively from now on.


- The community impact fees that are proposed today are unfair.

- Changing the rules in the middle of the process is a real hardship for us. Exempt projects in the pipeline from these fees.

Richard McCarthy

- I used to have 75 workers and now I have 0 because there is no work for them.

- Exempting projects in the pipeline brings fairness and certainty. It is important to bring certainty.

- You have to understand that nothing will be built here if you keep imposing more fees.

- If the Commission feels they need to adopt the impact fee, it should be applied to projects submitted after it is adopted and not apply it retroactively.


- It is impossible to know what is going to happen when things change in the middle of the process.


- None of the dates refereed to resemble a notion that a developer could reasonable expect such impact fee forth coming.

- The projects in the pipeline should not be subjected to retroactive fees. If the Commission feels it is necessary to adopt such fees, they should apply only to projects submitted after the formal adoption.

Sue Hestor

- A conditional use is not an entitlement. All of the projects that are requesting a conditional use are supposed to be measure against a whole set of standards.

- You have a need in the Eastern Neighborhoods for 64% affordable housing.

- There were springing conditions in the Downtown Plan. Do not approve grandfathering.

[No name stated]

- I disagreed with Ms. Hestor's comments. We follow the rules.

Leo Cassidy

- I think that the City should buy a lot, build and pay all the fees and see how much is left.

- It is time for you to stand up on your own two feet and grandfather all these projects in the pipeline.

Joe Cassidy

- We have to build rental housing in the Mission and it could be done with some serious bonuses or it will not get built.

- It seems that the small guys are going to be exterminated.

Connie Carter

- It would be unfair to make any new fees retroactive.

- I have seen the uncertainty in the development community. I have not sold one development site this year with the current climate.

John O'Connel

- The Board of Supervisors always acknowledges the grandfather clause. It would be fundamentally unfair if you impose a condition now on projects submitted many years ago.

- There are so many fees and the construction costs have gone up almost 100%. The way it is going these projects would not be feasible.

- If you feel it is necessary to impose these fees, it should be effective when it is adopted, which is today if you decide to do so.

Shawn Keekran

- I feel that the dates suggested are unsubstantiated. Planning should be proactive and not retroactive.

- We attended all the hearing for the Market Octavia. We submitted plans and paid application fees and it was never mentioned about springing conditions and community impact fees.

Alice Buckley

- When a developer calls about buying a piece of property, I go over all the resolutions and advise them.

- Many of these small developers buy a piece of land and construct with every dime that they have saved and they risk everything that they ever make.

MOTION To adopt with amendments:

-To impose $3 cap for residential projects that came in before April 19; 2007.

-All projects after April 19, 2007 to impose $10 for commercial and $4 for residential as a cap.

-All caps are pending the completion of the nexus study.

AYES: Alexander and Olague

NAYES: Antonini, S. Lee, W. Lee, Moore and Sugaya


ACTION: Adopted as amended:

-To impose a $3 fee for residential projects that came in after April 19, 2007 to August 30, 2007.

-$10 fee per residential and $4 fee per commercial on projects that come in after August 30, 2007.

-All of this is pending the completion of the nexus study.

AYES: Antonini, W. Lee, Moore and Sugaya

NAYES: Alexander, Olague, and S. Lee


11. 2005.0351E (Tape IIIB) (M. JACINTO: (415) 575-9033)

700 VALENCIA STREET - Lot 001 of Assessor's Block 3588, bounded by Valencia, 19th, Lapidge and 18th Streets - Appeal of Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration. The proposed project would include demolition of an existing building and construction of a five-story, 50-foot-tall mixed-use building totaling approximately 22,662 square feet. The building would include nine dwelling units, nine parking spaces and one commercial unit. Vehicular access to the garage would be via 18th Street. Access to the commercial unit would be at the corner of Valencia and 18th Street and along Valencia Street. The project site in the Valencia Neighborhood Commercial zoning district and is within a 50-X height and bulk district. The project site is in the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan Area and is subject to the Housing/Mixed Use Guidelines.

Preliminary Recommendation: Uphold Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of July 26, 2007)


Alice Buckely, Project Sponsor Representative

- I want to conquer with staff's remarks made 3 or 4 months ago that the issues raised by the appellant are socio-economic issues and not related to physical impacts on the environment.

- The cumulative impact of market rate housing on the neighborhood and the demographic is not sustainable

- This site is in a NC District where housing is permitted as a matter of right above retail a ground floor area.

Julie Leadbetter, Appellant

- In addition to the concerns in the appeal I entered into the record last time is that the cumulative impact is also on the mural of the Women's Building. There is no mitigation offered for it.

- Another thing is the cumulative impact on land use along the Valencia corridor.

- There are 8 or 9 projects in the pipeline and they all have one-to-one parking. We need to look at cumulative impacts from all of them and it was not analyzed in the negative declaration.

Silvia Johnson

- The impact that was put on that street I think should be put into a chart. I think this needs to be revised.

Sue Hestor

- I would like to reiterate what Julie said that there are changes going on at this block. There are 3 projects on the same block with one-to-one parking.

- How do we look at dramatic changes on one block? How do we look at excessive parking on one block?

- You need to be looking at the cumulative change in housing as well as transportation and traffic impacts

Angus McCarthy

- If this project was approved in a timely fashion, this project would already be there. It is a good project and meets all the criteria that the Planning Department asked for.

- The reality of this project is that it will meet the needs of the community. Approve this project.

[No name stated]

- No one will be displaced with this project.

- Regarding the mural, the view will be preserved from the only street it can be totally seen from.

ACTION: Upheld Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration

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

MOTION: 17482

12. 2007.0297D (Tape IIIB; IVA) (M. Snyder: (415) 575-6891)

700 Valencia Street - southwest corner of Valencia Street and 18th Street, Lot 001 in Assessor's Block 3588 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2005.04.14.0087 proposing to construct a new 50-foot tall structure where a small car sales structure currently sits. The new structure would contain nine dwelling units, nine off-street parking spaces and approximately 1,700 square feet of ground floor retail. The property is within the Valencia Neighborhood Commercial District, and a 50-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and Approve the project as modified and with conditions.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of July 26, 2007)


Julie Leadbetter, Valencia Neighborhood for Community Development - Requestor

- There are significant problems with this project because it really violates codes in the General Plan and does not meet design guidelines.

- We do not think that the department did everything in its power to incentive affordable housing on a commercial corridor.

- Eliminating the parking can free up space to provide affordable units or lower the floor for the concern of the mural of the Women's Building.

- We have 50,000 people that come to visit that building and it is a very important institution in the neighborhood.

- The building design is not consistent with neighborhood character and design guidelines.

- On the ground level, we know that these developers are taking advantage of loop holes and they are not working with the community.

- We had a tremendous amount of difficulty in meeting with the developers.

PhaPha Hamilton

- These proposed changes made us come together because of common concerns.

- We want to make sure that plans for our neighborhood are appropriate. That they make sense and are careful and thoughtful.

- We know that buildings will go up on Valencia Street but we would like the cooperation of the Planning Department and developers to work with us.

Mercedes Weatherford

- One of the goals of the San Francisco General Plan is to project, preserve and enhance social cultural and economic quality of the City.

- We are requesting that you help us keep affordable housing in the Mission.

Corrin Buchanan

- This project would block the view of the mural at the Women's Building and it is an important resource in our neighborhood.

- It would change the character of the neighborhood.

Dan Hoyle

- This proposed project and the others waiting to be approved our going to change the Valencia corridor for ever.

- The design of this building towers the Victorian buildings. This is a historic district and Mission Dolores is only two blocks away.

- Any new development needs to respect the existing character of the neighborhood. This project should be reduced at least two stories.

Wendy Hoyle

- Height, bulk and shape should be related to what exists in the neighborhood. 95% of existing buildings are three stories or less in a one block ratio.

- We are here to request you to think about this very carefully before approving characteristics like this in our neighborhood especially before the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan is adopted.

James Riseman

- Two or three stories are predominant in this area and with three to five projects on the way with five stories, it is going to change the neighborhood significantly and not for the better.

- The Women's Building is a tremendous monument within the neighborhood. People from around the world come to visit it.

Dr. Razzcue, Project Sponsor

- This site is an empty lot and we believe that the Valencia Street commercial corridor provides an appropriate context for a structure of this size.

- The design incorporates family size units with parking for the residents. We feel this project enhances the current housing stock.

- On the ground floor we are proposing 2,000 square feet of commercial retail space to divide it into three spaces.

- We are providing bicycle racks for the residents and an area dedicated in the garage. There is a car stacking system.

- We think the project is appropriate on an urban, pedestrian and neighborhood scale.

Ron Mallia

- I am in support of this project. There are plenty of buildings that are even higher than this.

- If you are not bringing more people to the Mission, you will not have anybody to support PDR and/or any business.

Philip Lessef,

- This area is where we want to have people. There are parks and schools.

- We do not need to have empty lots and I strongly suggest that you deny the discretionary review.

JH Kostelni

- I encourage the Commission to proceed with this project as soon as possible.

Dennis Solomon

- I am speaking in support of this project. This is the kind of project that you want to approve for this neighborhood.

Joe Cassidy

- You should support these kinds of projects. They are good for this neighborhood.

- People need their cars to travel with their children to go to the park.

Leo Cassidy

- This project is an as of right project. This is an empty lot.

- It is close to transit and the mural is on the next street.


- This developer has made concessions to the neighborhood and has worked with the Planning Department.

- I urge you to approve.

[No name stated]

- This project is an as of right project and complies with the General Plan guidelines.

- It is an empty lot and there will not be displacement of anybody.


- This is an as of right project and I just want to remind you that nobody is going to be displaced.

- There is only one place that you can see the entire mural and that would be preserved.

- The project will enhance the pedestrian experience and will bring more people to patrol streets and shop in local shops.

John O'Connel, Project Sponsor

- Corner buildings are meant to be a little bigger. That is on the planning guidelines.

- The project is as of right and the building would be with family units and we tried to maximize commercial space.

ACTION: Took Discretionary Review and approved the revised design and required a lighter color.

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


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))


Dan Hoyle

- The whole process of pretending to take public comment is sort of ridiculous.

- Expecting people to take the day off to come down here and take only three minutes to decide on something that is going to change the life of everybody is not fair.

- There is no public input in the process and we just get stuck with whatever you decide.


- The developer reached out to the Commissioners rather than the neighborhood. It is really a broken process.

- Our neighborhood group represents homeowners and business owners and we were not heard. We need to fix this.

Silvia Johnson

- Last time I never got to say what needs to be changed on these projects. It should be only one side to be changed.

Adjournment: 11:31 P.M.



ACTION: Olague, Antonini, S. Lee, W. Lee, Moore 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: 11/23/2009 12:17:56 PM