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 

December 20, 2007

December 20, 2007



Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, December 20, 2007

1:30 PM

Regular Meeting

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



STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: Adam Light – Acting Zoning Administrator, Amit Ghosh – Chief Planner, Delvin Washington, Sharon Young, Mary Woods, Tara Sullivan-Lenane, Scott Sanchez, David Lindsay, Elizabeth Watty, and Jonas Ionin – Acting 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.

1a. 2004.0773E!MTZC (L. KIENKER: (415) 575-9036)

55 LAGUNA STREET (aka 218 - 220 Buchanan Street) - most of the blocks bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets, Lots 1, 2 and a portion of Lot 3 in Assessor's Block 870 and Lots 1 and 1A in Assessor's Block 857 - Certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report related to the proposal to construct seven (7) new buildings and adaptively reuse three (3) existing buildings to create approximately 330 dwelling units, a large institutional residential care facility to accommodate senior residents (operated by  open-house ), approximately 12,000 square feet of community facility space, no more than 4, 999 occupied square feet of commercial/retail space, and approximately 310 off-street parking spaces. The project would include construction of an approximately 25,000 square foot publicly-accessible park on the former Waller Street right-of-way and a community garden of approximately 10,000 square feet. The existing University of California Extension site is located in a P (Public) Zoning District and 80-B and 40-X Height and Bulk Districts.

Preliminary Recommendation: Certify EIR

NOTE:The public hearing on the Draft EIR is closed. The public comment period for the Draft EIR ended on May 2, 2007. The Planning Commission does not conduct public review of Final EIRs. Public comments on the certification may be presented to the Planning Commission during the Public Comment portion of the Commission calendar.

(Proposed for continuance until January 17, 2008)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

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

1b. 2004.0773E!MTZC (S. VELLVE: (415) 558-6263)

55 LAGUNA STREET (aka 218 – 220 Buchanan Street) - most of the blocks bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets, Lots 1, 2 and a portion of Lot 3 in Assessor's Block 870 and Lots 1 and 1A in Assessor's Block 857 - Adoption of CEQA findings related to the certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report for the project described in Item 1a.

Preliminary recommendation: Adopt the CEQA findings

(Proposed for continuance until January 17, 2008)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

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

1c. 2004.0773E!MTZC (S. Vellve: (415) 558-6263)

55 LAGUNA STREET (aka 218 – 220 Buchanan Street) – most of the blocks bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets, Lots 1, 2 and a portion of Lot 3 in Assessor's Block 870 and Lots 1 and 1A in Assessor's Block 857 – Request for General Plan amendments related to the project described in Item 1a. The General Plan amendments consist of changes to the Market and Octavia Area Plan element of the General Plan to amend Map 1 – Land Use Districts from "P" (Public) to RM-3 (Mixed, Medium Density) and NC-3 (Moderate Scale Neighborhood Commercial) and Map 3 - Height Districts from 40-X and 80-B to 40-X, 50-X and 85-X, amendment to the Housing element, Residence element and Land Use Index of the General Plan to amend Map 2 – Generalized Residential Land Use Plan from Public/Open Space to Residential and Mixed Use and Map 3- Residential Density Plan from Public to Moderately High Density.

Preliminary Recommendation: Adopt the resolution

(Proposed for continuance until January 17, 2008)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

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

1d. 2004.0773E!MTZC (S. Vellve: (415) 558-6263)

55 LAGUNA STREET (aka 218 – 220 Buchanan Street) – most of the blocks bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets, Lots 1, 2 and a portion of Lot 3 in Assessor's Block 870 and Lots 1 and 1A in Assessor's Block 857 - Request for Planning Code text amendment related to the project described in Item 1a. The Planning Code text amendment consists of adding Section 249.23 to the Planning Code to create the Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets Special Use District. The specific provisions of the Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets Special Use District would (a) establish maximum parking standards (b) generally impose performance standards for residential and non-residential off-street parking (c) impose a maximum off-street loading standard (d) generally impose a unit mix standard for residential density and (e) acceptance of community infrastructure improvements.

Preliminary recommendation: Adopt the resolution

(Proposed for continuance until January 17, 2008)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

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

1e. 2004.0773E!MTZC (S. Vellve: (415) 558-6263)

55 LAGUNA STREET (aka 218 – 220 Buchanan Street) - most of the blocks bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets, Lots 1, 2 and a portion of Lot 3 in Assessor's Block 870 and Lots 1 and 1A in Assessor's Block 857 - Request for zoning map amendments related to the project described in Item 1a. The zoning map amendments consist of (1) reclassifying the height and bulk districts for the project site shown on Map 7H of the Zoning Maps from 40-X and 80-B to 40-X, 50-X and 85-X and (2) reclassifying the use district on Map 7 from P (Public) to RM-3 (Mixed, Medium Density) and NC-3 (Moderate Scale Neighborhood Commercial) and (3) adding the Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets Special Use District to Map 7SU.

Preliminary Recommendation: Adopt the resolution

(Proposed for continuance until January 17, 2008)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

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

1f. 2004.0773E!MTZC (S. Vellve: (415) 558-6263)

55 LAGUNA STREET (aka 218 – 220 Buchanan Street) - most of the blocks bound by Laguna, Haight, Buchanan and Hermann Streets, Lots 1, 2 and a portion of Lot 3 in Assessor's Block 870 and Lots 1 and 1A in Assessor's Block 857 - Request for Conditional Use authorization to (1) locate a community facility in an R (Residential) District and (2) to develop lots in excess of 10,000 square feet in an NC-3 District and (3) to develop a non-residential use in excess of 5,999 square feet in an NC-3 District and a Planned Unit Development for (4) exceptions to modify the location of the required rear yard and (5) to modify dwelling unit exposure for approximately 8 dwelling units and (6) to modify compliance with the dimension provisions for common open space for the project described in Item 1a.

Preliminary recommendation: Approval with conditions

(Proposed for continuance until January 17, 2008)


ACTION: Continued 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 December 6, 2007


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 Antonini

- I have a few items and the first is that maybe some of you noticed in today's Chronicle about California population figures. I have made copies and I went to the website.

- As we have discussed in the past there are two agencies - Federal and State - that report figures for San Francisco's population. There is a large disparity between the two.

- The State seems to be the one with the higher number. In fact they came up with 817,000 as of July 1 of this year which is the second largest increase of any county in the Bay Area after Santa Clara.

- The claim is that they were within 2% of the 2000 census, which was an actual count, and they give some of the methodology.

- I provided that to some of the Commissioners and I think it is interesting.

- One would expect that we would probably see more growth with the amount of new units coming on line and might be mitigated to some degree by the family sizes getting smaller or perhaps units being kept off the market.

- Second thing, I made reference last week during the presentation of the Eastern Neighborhoods and have some questions for Doug Shoemaker.

- I made copies of the December 12 Chronicle article about the affordable housing landscape. What that particular author did was to take all the subsidized units of various forms and describe their numbers and then added to that rent control unit.

- Of course, we had a discussion that not all rent control units are affordable and it could be very expensive.

- I think what is instrumental and very important to me is that when you add those together you come up with a figure of 225,000 units out of possible a 350,000 units in San Francisco.

- One thing that you can say about all of them including the rent control units is that they are not going to be purchased, or only a very low number of those are going to be purchasable at any given time.

- Only those that would be allowed to convert to condominiums, or perhaps TIC and various other ways.

- As we consider the whole issue of housing prices in San Francisco, this is something often overlooked because what you are doing is taking the whole segment of the housing stock and it is not available for purchase.

- Of course, we tend to drive prices up on what is remaining of the 26 – 36% of the housing stock that is purchasable.

- It is a fact that we should acknowledge and there are probably political reasons on why we have what we have.

- Two other things about the Eastern Neighborhoods without going really into it - when we spoke about the Central Water Front area we talked about a particular zone to be reserved for knowledge- based or technology uses.

- It would be really important to make sure that the industry is interested to be in that particular area for that specific purpose because it sounds like a wonderful use. I would like to see some background around that.

- And finally, existing businesses in the Eastern Neighborhoods: We have to go a little bit more into the parameters for existing businesses that are compliant but with the new zoning would make them non-compliant.

- What protections do we have for these particular businesses? We have to ensure that they will be able to stay.

Commissioner Moore

- I wanted to see if the Commissioners read an article in yesterday's papers about the luxury units currently being built in San Francisco.

- While it is very upbeat about the strength of San Francisco's economy attracting high density housing, there is a sour note that reminds me of what we are doing on the other side.

- There are 3,000 dwelling units coming on line and three large projects approved by this Commission bringing units that are between $600,000 and $1.8 million dollars, which is very high.

- On the other hand, there is a very small number of units coming on line that are market rate and affordable units which we all struggle with each time we are sitting here.

- What was positive about the article is that restaurants and the cooking industry are kind of joint venturing with these apartment buildings to provide services to those buildings, but also establishing interesting ground floor uses. The retailers would be on the ground floor and taken care of for a long time.

- There is a positive and somewhat of an alarming note in all of this and I just wanted to see that the Commissioners have read this and wanted to share it with the others.

- Another positive note: we are always using Vancouver as an example of the ideal city where density is really increasing its stability as a City.

- I have made some contact with people in Vancouver and their Planning Department to get a better feel of how they are really doing it and perhaps this Planning Department already has done that.

- I've been talking to a professional who is participating in, what in this particular case, the great emphasis on place making; that is something that I really want to share with the Commission and this Department as we get more into it.

- I think that ultimately the challenge for us is not to bring more density, but use it for increasing livability and place making.

Commissioner Sugaya

- Recently as everyone knows, there was a proposal on the table in the Presidio to perhaps construct a new museum funded through Dan Fisher.

- I was wondering what kind of contact the City has had from the Presidio Trust about this issue.

- They seem to be relying quite a bit on statements like public transit and plenty of parking.

- It seems to me that something of this magnitude should have some communication back and forth from the City and the Planning Commission giving certain planning input.

- It is not against the project but it is large enough and we should be in communication.

- Secondly, I would like to inquire of the Zoning Administrator if he could get back to the Commission on the issue of his ruling on TDR for the Rincon Annex.

- I believe that there were two hearings at least that were held or two considerations given by the ZA [Zoning Administrator] with respect to TDR. At the first meeting TDR were allowed and the second they were not allowed.

- I would like to know why there was a change of heart between the two opinions.

Commissioner W. Lee

- I would like to ask staff for the next Eastern Neighborhoods' hearing to give some options regarding non-confirming use and not just for office or PDR space but also illegal living units.

- What is going to be our policy regarding illegal units? We got a lot of illegal units throughout the City and the Eastern Neighborhoods covers about 15 – 20 percent of the City.

- I want staff to provide the Commission some options once we adopt the whole Eastern Neighborhoods to figure out what to do if they are non-confirming for commercial and rental.

Commissioner Sugaya

- Requested that staff check with the Real Estate Department about the status of Waller Street and whether or not it is owned by the City or the State.


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.

Commissioner Alexander

- Because this was an addendum, there would not be any action but there are a couple of things that we want to discuss with regard to our rules and some of the things that we want to do.

- One of the big issues that it seems we are having is the last minute submission from projects and project sponsors.

- [We want to] look at our rules to allow us time to review them [material] critically. We want to institute a policy that we are not going to accept anything at the Commission if we do not have it a week ahead of time.

- If we do not have the materials, the item would be considered for automatic continuance -- for projects with last minute drawings or changes -- because it throws off the whole process.

- There are a few others things that are worthy to discuss.

Commissioner Moore

- There are two developer-types of submissions that we were concerned about; one was a regular size and the other one was large.

- Among ourselves there were some comments saying that the short one really should have been given to us two weeks before the hearing and that would include all documents.

- The larger one takes time because we looked at them parallel to what we have in a regular week's packets. We would like to have those four weeks ahead of time with all documents.

- Another thing that comes up over and over again is to push more for 3-dimension renderings in the packages because the quality of submittals is hugely different from one to another and we need more consistency for a fair public process.

Commissioner Alexander

- I think that is something that we need to work on together in conjunction with the new director and staff to have a standardized set of project submittals.

Commissioner Moore

- The most important part is that projects need to be shown in context.

Commissioner W. Lee

- My concern is that we should also rely on staff and gain directions from their input.

- We need to delineate it for staff because I do not know that we want 3-dimensionals for every single project like DR [Discretionary Review]

- I want us to rely more on staff to see what can be done and what not.

Commissioner Antonini

- I am in agreement that if possible to have 3-dimensionals. They are helpful.

- I would like to add that if possible the project sponsor should produce renderings of the façade and the finish structure, preferably in color. That would help to see what it is going to end up like.

- The other issue was context and I do think that it should be prepared and placed in context.

- The question would be that if it is in the context of what is there or what might be there.

- On the other issue of timeliness, I am concerned that we could have endless continuances if we are too strict on the rules of having things submitted ahead of time.

- On a lot of these projects as we go through things we have many things that are worked down and changes are made. This is a process that is constantly evolving.

- I am fine with getting the materials as we are at the present time.

- The other thing that bothers me is the 11 by 17 format on every single item. I have various sponsors come up and say that it is bothersome for small projects.

Commissioner Olague

- I would like to see more work done with the advance calendar and there may be a dateline.

- There should be a minimum amount of time to be placed on that calendar.

- Sometimes we get duplicate items on the advance calendar then all of the sudden a new item appears on a day that is considered full.

- It would help us if the advance calendar was more accurate and thought out than rather use it as a database entry.

- Regarding EIR for projects, it would be helpful to receive them 30 days ahead of time. And sometimes they are in the packets without any attention called to them.

- It would be helpful to have some general information on the EIR.

- About the drawings, I think just getting clear drawings and renderings on some of these projects would be very helpful.

- I am not comfortable with last minute information being presented and it is not just for us but for the public also.

- If we create a culture of certain expectations, it should not be a big deal and hopefully everybody is going to be better prepared.

Commissioner Alexander

- I think that answers part of Commissioner Antonini's question, and any last minute submittals would be the project sponsor's responsibility for that continuance.

Commissioner Sugaya

- I object to having things handed to us here because I read the material that we get in our packages and then I expect to talk about that when we get up here.

- The advance calendar would help if there was some indication, if we know, of what is being proposed for continuances.

- I have other comments on the rules and have more to do with procedural things and how much time is allowed for certain kinds of testimony and I will pass them to staff and the president.

Commissioner S. Lee

- I want to echo some of the comments of my fellow commissioners.

- I was at and just scrolling through other commissions in the City. The Port Commission has an item on their agenda where they lay out their advance calendar as an agenda item under Commission Matters.

- They have a listing of their pending large projects and their status as they come up on their agenda. I think we should incorporate that.

- We should learn from other commissions. That is a way to keep track of large projects and be aware of things that are happening.

- They've got a list of pending projects that is on the agenda and as they go through the calendar they can talk about it or just skip it. It does not prevent them from discussions where many times we can not have discussions because the items are not on the agenda.

- In the old days, the burden was on the DR requestor to make their case and not our staff to massage the case to make it presentable to the Commission.

- If we make it clear to the requestors of what we want, schedule it to come before the Commission, it should be done.

- I am concerned with how much time and burden some DR cases are on our staff.

- On the EIR, it would be very helpful to have a memorandum from staff. We get notice of preparation in our packages but they get buried.

Commissioner Moore

- I have another thought on the advance calendar; I think the format in which it is done is rather dead.

- I'd rather see a dynamic format like an Excel kind of data base sheet in which we can ourselves move things and be part of our weekly agenda and see how it is tracking to make it an active document.

- Second thing -- amendments to resolutions. Last week we approved an important project at 55 Ninth Street.

- While we basically create amendments to resolutions, we do not see the exact wording as a final document or track its implementation.

- I would like to see a periodic reporting on follow up and implementation including the revised wording – have that given to us one more time to actually see what we really say.

Commissioner Antonini

- Just to elaborate on some of my concerns, I think that it would depend on how we are interpreting this and how rigid we are.

- There are some cases where the project is in process and people oppose it. If they meet the same week and agreed on something that project should not be continued.

- I think that it would have to reach a level of change to continue a project because it would add cost and our time for constant continuances.

- The other thing is that I think that the entire Commission should be involved in the calendar process. I think that the President, Vice-President and Secretary generally put together the calendar.

- It would be good if there was some mechanism where by we are made aware of things being continued or proposed for continuance to allow us to weigh in because many times it's a done deal when it comes to us.

Commissioner Alexander

- I just want to answer to some of your concerns on continuances. I think that there is some threshold but the aim is to create a different culture to address concerns early and that way we are not forced to make decisions on last minute changes and make them have a reasonable negotiation.

Commissioner Moore

- Just to comment on Commissioner Antonini's question: if a project is sent back for revisions, I think the documentation that comes back to us should clearly indicate the change including what is revised. Now we do not know if it is the old or new version.

- Indeed in the package that we get, we understand what the revisions are and I am not saying that needs to add 6 or 10 weeks to the project, but at least we have an indication of what has been changed when it comes back for approval.

- My preference would be that the developer present and state its changes rather than staff having to fill in the gaps.

- There needs to be a clear record and disclosure to us in our packages ahead of time.

- Many of us do practice and are not always at our fax or computers two hours before the meeting and many times drawings come in with false expectations.

- The Commission should have the changes a week before they come in.

Commissioner Antonini

- I see this is being problematic and I think that one of the problems we have in the government is the process where costs are added because it drags out.

- I just see it adding to the paper work, process and we should be able to recognize these changes and the public should be able to see it.

- There is a way that it should be presented, but I would be very careful to add additional process and make sure that we are gaining something.

- The message should go out to all parties involved to make the settlements early, but in reality often things happen down in the process and if both parties agreed on something, it is a problem if we keep moving things forward.

Commissioner W. Lee

- A couple of comments: I do not mind having the advance calendar but this Commission meets more hours than any other commission in San Francisco.

- The more that we add to our agendas we delay projects coming forward and we have to balance.

- Sometimes we get stuck with too much of analysis and we've got to give staff some way to present those projects to us.

- We should say that if we do not receive anything within 48 hours of the hearing do not send it to us.

- The other issue is like with a Conditional Use that sometimes is difficult; if I was a developer maybe I do not want to negotiate until we get a sense from the Planning Commission where it is coming from.

- There has got to be a balance because I am very concerned. We are really back load with a lot of cases and yet many commissioners do not contact staff.

- I think it has to go two ways asking staff to be more efficient and on the other hand contact staff with questions we have before the hearing.

Commissioner Olague

- I think these rules would help us create more efficient meetings. It is inconsistent sometimes with what we ask staff and the public.

- If we would just have a sample list when it comes to DR's stating what we expect, that will clear up the expectations and there would be no guessing and save a lot of time.

- If we work on the advance calendar every other week, there would be a transparency for everybody knowing what is coming up and what to expect for that hearing.

- It would help to have some basic standards and everyone to have the same expectations.

Commissioner Moore

- I want to echo that sentiment and I do think that this discussion is a breath of fresh air to simplify and to make more consensus and useful the information we have.

- We often get more than what we need and we could stay united working together with staff, new director, and with our own expectations.

- It is up to us to simplify and streamline the process as well as give the public simpler instructions of what is really needed and what is not.

- I see we are stepping into the right direction rather than making things more complicated.

Commissioner Sugaya

- One last comment: I think that if you look at the Board of Appeals regarding its submittal process they have specific deadlines when things get submitted and a responding time.

- They are very strict about those deadlines and if that kind of thing could be instituted when you get your packages ready, everybody should give the input and it should reflect that.

- Of course there is always some last minute happening and we need to be flexible on that depending on circumstances especially on DR cases and last minute agreements.

- Thinking in a little larger context, I personally would like to start working with the new director on revamping the entire DR procedure and avoid them coming to the Planning Commission at all.

Commissioner Alexander

- I think that would be echoed by a lot of us on how to work with the DR process to make it less cumbersome on staff and the Commission.

Commissioner Antonini

- When preparing for hearings, I think there is a combination of reviewing and reading the paperwork in addition to speaking to project sponsor, requestors, neighborhood groups and staff.

- The two are equal and I would be lost if I did not have a chance to have all the parties involved on a project.

- You have to have a balance on all these things and not rely only on paperwork.

- A lot of times issues surface the day of the Commission hearing and to have a better understanding it is good to talk to staff.

Commissioner Olague

- I just want to clarify that I do talk to project sponsors and staff. It is important to engage with everybody to the extent as we can.

- Again, that does not really speak about having a more efficient approach of calendaring and staff reports that benefit everybody.

Commissioner Alexander

- I want to try to get a date on the calendar for next year to come back to take action and discuss this.

ACTION: Although the Commission could only engage in discussion today, they have decided to calendar this item on February 24, 2008 as a workshop format for staff/public feedback and possible action on their Rules and Regulations.


4. Director's Announcements

Amit Ghosh, Chief Planner

- Director Macris sent his regrets for not being able to be here today because of a family illness.

- He asked me to convey his best wishes to all for the holiday season.

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

Tara Sullivan-Lenane

- I am here to report to you what happened regarding last week's events. There is no meeting this week or the next one due to the holiday recess.

Land Use Committee


Full Board

A- Institutional Master Plan Review for Medical Institutions Passed It was heard by this Commission on October 11 and you recommended approval with amendments to the Board.

B- Interim Moratorium on Institutional Uses in the Western SoMa Plan Area Passed. This item is calendared for today and it will be explained later when it is reached on the agenda.

C- Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Project Area  C' Passed. These controls would require a conditional use for most projects. Excepted would be principally permitted projects on the ground floor of neighborhood commercial districts and expansion of existent legal uses. Area  C' is the shoreline area near Indian Basin.

D- 90-day extension for the shading of solar energy system ordinance. It will be coming before you within the next few weeks.

- I believe that you are well aware or read in the papers a few weeks ago that the Federal Government sent out letters to the Medical Cannabis Dispensary owners about their dispensaries.

- We are getting word that many of those dispensaries have closed voluntarily and some of which you already approved.

- The Zoning Administrator wanted me to let you know that three institutions are closing as of this Friday and we expect to see a lot more in the near future.

Adam Light, Acting Zoning Administrator

Board of Appeals

A- 331 Clement Street Notice of Violation for the operation of a formula retail use without conditional use authorization. Withdrawn

B- 770 18th Avenue Subject stop work order request was issued after this Department determined that plans approved under the subject application were inaccurate. The permit holder subsequently filed a building permit application to revise the project and correct errors contained in the plans and it is going to be before you today as a DR request. Upheld

C- 772 Columbus Street The Planning Commission denied a Medical Cannabis Dispensary for lack of outreach, overwhelming opposition, and nuisance. Continued to March 5 and requested additional evidence from the Planning Department on whether the Dispensary is a nuisance.

6. (M. SNYDER: (415) 575-6891)

CANDLESTICK/49ers PROJECT - Informational presentation on the integrated development of Candlestick Point and Parcels A-3 and B-E of the Hunters Point Shipyard. (Continued from regular Meeting of December 13, 2007)


ACTION: Without hearing, continued to January 10, 2008

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. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.


Sue Hestor [Regarding Chinatown City College Campus]

- Because representation was made about the extensive meetings and discussions with the Planning Department, I filed a public record request.

- There are no records of those meetings. What is the department's practice regarding meetings, taking notes and providing records?

Commissioner Olague requested a report on some of the meetings and nature of the meetings during Director's Report.


7. 2007.0922C (Tape IB) (S. Young: (415) 558-6346)

1926 LOMBARD STREET - north side between Webster and Buchanan Streets; Lot 006 in Assessor's Block 0493 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization under Sections 186.1(e), 712.45, and 303 of the Planning Code to allow the transfer of ABC License Type 21 from 1600 Lombard Street (previously Goldmine Liquors) to 1926 Lombard Street (d.b.a. Luigi's Delicatessen) in an NC-3 (Moderate-Scale) Neighborhood Commercial District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District. The proposal is to add off-sale liquor sales to an existing grocery store (with accessory deli) for the sale of beer, wine, and distilled spirits. The proposal will not involve an expansion of the existing building envelope.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

(Continued from Regular Meeting of December 13, 2007)


Justine Alamano, Project Sponsor Representative

- We have been trying to open for over a year now. The applicant was an employee of the former Goldmine Liquors and inquired about purchasing it when they went out of business.

- Based on inaccurate information given by the Planning Department, he borrowed money and got into an agreement for purchase.

- Shortly after opening of the store without selling liquor, he got a letter of determination saying that his application would be denied and he filed an appeal but after consultation he decided to pursue this Conditional Use instead.

- This is not a new liquor store; it is simply transferring.

- Taken together - the hours of operation, the conditions of providing a liaison and keeping the streets clean - it addresses the concerns of the neighborhood.

- This is a deli store wanting to be able to sell liquor. It is not just a liquor store.

ACTION: Approved with conditions as amended

-To move liquor to the back and Deli or grocery toward front of the store.

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

MOTION: 17523

8. 2007.0971C (Tape IB) (M. WOODS: (415) 558-6315)

3571 SACRAMENTO STREET - south side between Locust and Laurel Streets; Lot 023, in Assessor's Block 1019 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization under Planning Code Sections 303 and 724.52 to establish a foreign language enrichment program for children, in the Sacramento Street Neighborhood Commercial District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District. The proposal is to convert a vacant retail use (formerly a women's clothing store) to a personal service use for a language enrichment program (dba Language at Play) offering classes in French, Mandarin and Spanish to children ranging in age from 1 to 10 years, as well as a retail sales component for its language program products. The proposed project will occupy the ground floor and a small portion of the basement (approximately 2,100 square feet) of a two-story building.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

(Continued from Regular Meeting of November 15, 2007)

SPEAKERS on the consideration for continuance

John Adams, Sacramento Street Neighborhood

- We called multiple times to the Planning Department and were told to bring our comments on the request for continuance to the meeting.

- We are requesting continuance for different issues on unclear notices, advertisement, miscommunication, and overwhelming opposition.

Joel Yodowitz, Project Sponsor Representative

- This application has been in the process for some time already and I was just handed these concerns a few minutes ago.

- We are ready to present this case today and the opposition party is here. Therefore I request that you proceed and do not continue it.

In the absence of a motion for continuance, this item was heard as calendared


Joel Yodowitz, Project Sponsor Representative

- Language at Play is a language enrichment program for children aged 1 – 10 to teach Mandarin, Spanish and French.

- Currently it is in Fort Mason and seeking to relocate to a better location.

- The program features 50 minutes classes emphasizing small class sizes to have a personalized learning environment.

- The immediate area has many children related retail and service businesses. Language at Play would compliment and not compete with those businesses and there is much existing parking.

- There would be 72 children in the morning and in the afternoon making 144 students per day.

- Most of the parents would stay on the premises playing with their children or in the neighborhood and then leave right after the class preventing traffic congestion with drop-offs.

- The conditions of approval limits the size classes and includes staff monitoring loading and drop-off to make sure that the store front is appropriate.


- We support children and their education but not in our block because the reality is that we do not have much parking in the neighborhood and this would increase traffic congestion.

John Adams

- Submitted letters opposing the project and a petition with 126 signatures.

- It is a great project but this is the wrong location because of existing traffic and parking issues.

Janice Platt

- In reviewing the documents, there are no investigations that can be shown in the planning report and it does not stand any of the tests of due diligence investigation and accurate reporting.

- The traffic data shows that parking is horrific in that area. Staff has not visited the site and there is no independent documentation on any of the report done for you.


- As a parent of Language at Play and merchant of Sacramento Street, I support this project because increasing traffic is good for businesses and the parking situation is not a big issue as some of the opposition makes it out to be.


- Parking is not really the problem as it is being presented by the opposition and this is the opportunity to have a multicultural community.

- Any retail space is going to take up parking and this project is a good use and would not take much of it.


- This is a wonderful program and makes the city so unique and exciting with sensitivity to the needs of the community.

- It would be very convenient to schedule things in the area while your child is at class.


- Regarding the For Lease sign mentioned before, this item was on calendar for November 15 and the opposition filed a CEQA appeal the day before and it was continued.

- That was the reason that we put the place on the market because we were not sure of our ability to continue on with this case.

- We work from small economic resources and are not able to drag this process over a long time.


- We take very seriously being good neighbor and have tried to address concerns raised.

- Petition circulated was radically misrepresentative of what we really want to do.

- We are just two families trying to stay in business by helping other families.

ACTION: Approved

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

MOTION: 17524

9. (Tape IB; IIA ) (T. Sullivan-Lenane: (415) 558-6257)

Interim Moratorium on Institutional Uses in Western SoMa Planning Area - Informational presentation of the urgency ordinance approving an interim zoning moratorium to prohibit the establishment of new institutional uses in the Western SoMa Planning Area Special Use District for 45 Days.


ACTION: No action is required of the Commission. This was an Informational presentation only.

10. (Tape IIA) (S. SANCHEZ: (415) 558-6326)

INDUSTRIAL ZONE - POLICIES AND PROCEDURES - A review of policies and procedures for development proposals in industrial zoning districts as contained in Planning Commission Resolution No. 16202 and consideration of adoption of a resolution establishing additional policies and procedures for development proposals in industrial zoning districts


Sue Hestor, Attorney for the Growers of the Flower Mart

- This whole legislation package was trigger by a dialogue about two months ago from the first discussion of the Flower Mart.

- The Planning Department has the ability to permanently zone this site so that institutional uses are inappropriate. Adopt the policy so there is something in writing to prevent any confusion.

Mr. Burke

- The Commission should do what if feels is appropriate with the draft resolution because you can take DR [Discretionary Review] on any building permit request.

- I would suggest you wait until the Citizen Planning Task Force, appointed by the Board, meets tonight and takes some position on this.

- We are not insensitive to the situation and we are looking for solutions.


- Clarified that the remainder of the Flower Market will stay open and we are making attempts to accommodate the tenants being displaced.

- I recommend that this Commission take into consideration any changes to PDR use because it is very important and difficult to stay in the City.

ACTION: Continued to January 10, 2008

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

ABSENT: Sugaya

11. 2007.1193D (Tape IIA; IIB) (D. LINDSAY: (415) 558-6393)

770 18TH AVENUE - east side of 18th Avenue between Fulton and Cabrillo Streets; Lot 028 in Assessor's Block 1660 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2007.09.24.3528, proposing to revise previously-approved and issued Building Permit Application No. 2005.10.06.4962 by reducing the depth of the first and second floors by 4 feet. The originally-approved project, which is under construction, included horizontal and vertical additions and the conversion of the building from a single-family house to a two-unit building. The subject property is in an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve the project as revise


Eileen Cufino, Discretionary Review Requestor

- I have copies of an e-mail communication with Mr. Lindsay where it says that the City Attorney's Kate Stacey has researched this matter and that this Commission can consider the entire project and not just the rear wall extension.

- We were not given proper notice of this and do not agree with the Planning Department that the project is within the scale of the neighborhood.

- It is extremely obtrusive from the side and the rear.

- [Showed photographs of the project and the buildings in the area]


- Community outreach required by the DR policy probably did not occur and many of the neighbors are here to testify for not receiving such.

Charles Walker

- I am opposed to the project for lack of notification and the drawings need to be corrected.


- Construction of four floors over the garage is way out of scale and there was no outreach communication or meeting with the neighborhood.


- The project is too big. The developer claimed that we did not complain before, but we did not know about it because of lack of communication from the project sponsor.

Ed Libbie

- The project is monstrous and out of character. It would block my view and there was no notification to the neighborhood.


- From the Residential Design Guidelines this appears to be in violation of the side space, blocking light and air, and invading privacy.

- Project Sponsor has been a licensed building contractor in San Francisco since 1989. In the last six years he has had 18 building permits. He was cited in 2001 for violation of Planning Code Section 188.

- If possible, we would like to request that you respond to the letter requesting that the Planning Commission review the entire project.

Tracy, Project Sponsor Representative

- There was a pre-application meeting but by Commission Policy it was only sent to the eight joining owners so none of the requestors would have gotten those.

- 311 notices went out and there is record of it. In addition, there was a poster put up at the property and a building permit was issued on February 13 and another poster went up.

- We followed every step giving the chance to the public to file a Discretionary Review or appeal the permit and they did not.

- The project is almost done and it should be allowed to be completed. It is stated in State Law.

Silvia Johnson

- I have some drawings of houses to remodel and construct but right now they got wet.

ACTION: With public hearing closed, continued to February 28, 2008 for professional and accurate drawings.

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

12a. 2007.0448DDDV (Tapes IIB; IIIA) (E. WATTY: (415) 558-6620)

456 Urbano Drive - west side between Alviso and Moncada Way; Lot 010 in Assessor's Block 6916 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No.'s 2006.05.09.1110 proposing to construct a one-story vertical addition, a horizontal front addition, and a two-story horizontal rear addition to the existing single-family detached dwelling, and of Building Permit Application No. 2007.10.18.5822 proposing to legalize a rear addition made to the noncomplying detached garage. The garage expansion is pending approval of Case No. 2007.0448DDDV requesting a rear yard and noncomplying structure variance. The property is located in an RH-1 (D) (Residential, House, One-Family)(Detached) Zoning District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and approve with modifications.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of December 13, 2007)


Irene Carter, 1st Discretionary Review Requestor

- The height and design of the proposal would not allow sufficient solar access to my adjacent one story property where the solar panels have been installed on the southwest part of the roof.

- My solar panels are protected by State Law and I have attached copies of those codes.

- The solar panels are 20 feet away. The solar survey by a contractor neutrally agreed upon by the parties would be the only reasonable solution to prevent permanent damage from the proposal.

- The illegal garage addition encroaches on my property approximately 3 feet and must be abated immediately.

- The owner of the property has alleged that a third party specialist was hired to evaluate the concerns of the discretionary review parties.

- In checking with the third parties licensees, there were problems with the first party who has complaints lodged against him. I would not accept this third party as a specialist witness.

- Furthermore, I would like to review whether written production was rendered as a result of this third party specialist.

Pat Daley, 2nd Discretionary Review Requestor

- I object to the load being placed on the retaining wall between the two properties that runs behind most of the houses on Urbano Drive.

- The wall is failing and it is exacerbated by the weight of the illegal addition to the garage.

- Evidence of the failure can bee seen in three ways: a large crack in the wall, displacement of the utility pole at the corner of the illegal addition to the garage, and the displacement of the fence between my property and the next property.

- At a neighborhood meeting, we brought the issue of the wall to the owner and requested a soil analysis study. I provided a name of an engineer.

- I concluded that no study was done because it would be needed to be reviewed from my property and nobody asked for permission to do so.

- The displacement of the utility pole at the garage must be mentioned. It is leaning and is bringing significant safety concerns.

Silvia Johnson

- This brings issues with the solar system safety and health care. These procedures take years.


- Requested an engineer study with soil and structure expertise to benefit the public and the owner with calculations of what the retainer wall should be.

- I am concerned that construction was done illegally demonstrating a disregard for the permit process.

Tracy Clagett

- My concerns with the proposed changes are: out of scale; retaining wall and utility pole are falling; needs soil and engineer study; and the legalization of the existing illegal addition to the garage.

Barry Clagett

- I urge the Commission to consider the character of the neighborhood, street parking impacts and burden on the soil infrastructure before making any decision.

Lonnie Lawson, Ingleside Terrace Homes Association

- Spoke in support of Ms. Carter because she did follow the rules to complete her project.

- Another reason for my support is because we want to make sure that plans for construction in our neighborhood are legitimate with a licensed contractor and soil engineer.

Kathleen Bahamongas

- I support the efforts of the residents expressing various concerns about possible illegal and questionable building construction around the neighborhood.

Christina Chang

- I support the Association's residents in opposing the illegal construction and we would like to have our neighborhood quiet and decent without these kinds of monstrous homes.

Tad Nguyen, Project Sponsor

- I have tried many times to modify our plans. We need the space for our growing family.

- Most of the houses in the area are 3 stories in height.

- We have worked with Ms. Watty and have changed the plans about ten times.

- When we bought the house, it already had the garage extension and we are trying to legalize it.

Kim Nguyen

- When we bought the house, it already had the garage extension and the storage on the back.

- As far of professional engineer, we would consult with one if it is needed.

- Our house would be smaller than our neighbors and I have pictures to show it [showed photographs].

Sophie Vu

- I ame in support because it is within the character of the neighborhood and as a homeowner in the area, I would like to have the freedom to improve my house.

ACTION: Took Discretionary Review and Approved with modifications: Height – a maximum of 12 feet; Depth – reduce it by 5 feet; Width – reduce it by 5 feet on both sides.

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

12b. 2007.0448DDDV (E. WATTY: (415) 558-6620)

456 Urbano Drive - west side between Alviso and Moncada Way; Lot 010 in Assessor's Block 6916 - Request for a Variance from Planning Code Sections 134 and 188, to legalize an addition made to the rear of a legal noncomplying detached garage, located in an RH-1(D) (Residential House, One-Family) (Detached) Zoning District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Note: To be decided by the Zoning Administrator.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of December 13, 2007)

SPEAKERS: Same as those listed on 12a

ACTION: Acting Zoning Administrator closed public hearing and has taken the matter under advisement to the ZA.

13. 2007.1194DD (Tape IIIA; IIIB) (E. WATTY: (415) 558-6620)

1959 OCEAN AVENUE - south side between Ashton Avenue and Victoria Street; Lot 020 in Assessor's Block 6915 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2007.07.27.8065, which seeks to modify the hours of operation limited under the original approval for Ocean Acupuncture and Health Center. The new hours are proposed from 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m., 7-days a week. The property is located in the NC-2 (Neighborhood Commercial – Small-Scale) Zoning District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Take Discretionary Review and disapprove the application.


Paul Conroy, 1st Discretionary Review Requestor Representative

- We are concerned with the hours of operation which are inconsistent with the great majority of businesses on that street. It would increase noise and activity disrupting the neighborhood.

- The extended hours are unnecessary for a true medical use.

- In your packets, there is a police report noting that on the front of this establishment is posted the hours of operation up to 10 o'clock ignoring the condition from a previous permit.

Dan Weaver, 2nd Discretionary Review Requestor

- The current hours of operation for this establishment are adequate because a medical office does not open on nights or weekends.

- This business has not followed the existing closing hours established by the Planning Department as part of its permitting process.

- This business has advertised regularly in the newspaper [brought the most recent article].

- Extended hours is inappropriate for a residential neighborhood and they should not be rewarded for not following the current hours.

Olga Wu

- I'm opposing the extended hours because of noise and traffic.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd

- I urge you to accept staff's recommendation and deny the extension of hours.

- The various community groups have a consistent concern about this establishment.

Sarah Tobin

- I did a goggle search and the business advertises itself on a site under the heading of erotic massage parlor.

- By looking around on the internet, it advertises this parlor under many different names.

Lonnie Lawson

- I'm concerned and I'm asking you to help keep quality of life on Ocean Avenue.

David Supe

- There are other neighborhoods in that area that have businesses and we are looking at a business that does not fall in line with the standards of the neighborhood.

Silvia Johnson

- The main problem on this is that everybody needs to work together.

Ralph Kerstetter, Project Sponsor Representative

- I believe that what we have here is a great cultural misunderstanding made by members of the community.

- There were no attempts from the requestors to communicate and work out the issues.

- This establishment has been under a great deal of scrutiny by the Planning, Health and Police Departments with not even one inappropriate activity of sexual activity.

- I assure you that if it was occurring, we would know about it.

- My client invites the community members to come to her clinic and address their concerns. The communication in this community has not happened.

- Regarding the after 8:00p.m. hours of operation, the permit says no service but it does not say do not do cleaning, sterilization and bookkeeping.

- My clients have been threatened to be taken to jail if they stay pass 8:00p.m., even if there are no clients there. And also there have been graffiti, camera destruction and vandalism.

ACTION: Took Discretionary Review and disapproved

AYES: Alexander, Antonini, S. Lee and W. Lee

NAYES: Moore, Olague, 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))


Silvia Johnson

- Massage parlors are permanently questioned but still do not get rid of the real issue and that is something that you need to really look into.

Adjournment: 7:40p.m.



ACTION: Approved

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

NOTE: Per Section 67.18 of the Administrative Code for the City and County of San Francisco, Commission minutes contain a description of the item before the Commission for discussion/consideration; a list of the public speakers with names if given, and a summary of their comments including an indication of whether they are in favor of or against the matter; and any action the Commission takes. The minutes are not the official record of a Commission hearing. The audiotape is the official record. Copies of the audiotape may be obtained by calling the Commission office at (415) 558-6415. For those with access to a computer and/or the Internet, Commission hearings are available at Under the heading Explore, the category Government, and the City Resources section, click on SFGTV, then Video on Demand. You may select the hearing date you want and the item of your choice for a replay of the hearing.

Last updated: 11/17/2009 10:00:31 PM