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

March 5, 2009

March 5, 2009



Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, March 5, 2009

1:30 PM

Regular Meeting

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


STAFF IN ATTENDANCE: John Rahaim – Director of Planning, Larry Badiner – Zoning Administrator, AnMarie Rodgers, Tara Sullivan-Lenane, Kelley Amdur, Tina Tam, Tim Frye, Michael Smith, Viktoriya Wise, and Linda Avery – Commission Secretary.


The Commission will consider a request for continuance to a later date. The Commission may choose to continue the item to the date proposed below, to continue the item to another date, or to hear the item on this calendar.

1. 2008.0940C (M. WOODS: (415) 558-6315)

2250 VALLEJO STREET - north side between Fillmore and Webster Streets; Lot 009, in Assessor's Block 0557 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Sections 303(c) and 317 of the Planning Code to allow the merger of eleven dwelling units into two dwelling units in a three-story over basement residential building, within an RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions, including Modifications to Retain More than Two Dwelling Units

(Continued from Regular Meeting of February 5, 2009)

(Proposed for Continuance to March 26, 2009)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

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

2. 2009.0021D (M. SMITH: (415) 558-6322)

4024 26th Street – between Noe and Sanchez Streets, Lot 006 in Assessor's Block 6553 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application No. 2008.10.03.3318, proposing to construct a one-story vertical addition, a front horizontal addition, alter the front façade, and enlarge the rear deck of a two-family dwelling, located in a RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and Approve.

(Proposed for Continuance to March 12, 2009)


ACTION: Continued as proposed

AYES: Miguel, Olague, Antonini, Borden, 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:

He reported on a SPRU presentation in the latest issue of the Urbanist that dealt with sustainable planning to bring jobs back to the city. They did a marvelous job of pointing out what we have in San Francisco, which is one of the densest and most well served by transit business districts in the United States. There is over 85 mission square feet of office space in downtown San Francisco. The regrettable part is that in the last 10 years in downtown San Francisco only about 5 million square feet of office space has been developed and in suburban areas there has been about 40 million square feet. The point they make is that in SF well over 50% of the people that work there reach their destination by transit, another 10% walk or ride bicycles to work, while 30-35% take autos. In suburban office parks less than 5% take public transit and places like Bishop Ranch, they take less than 1% public transit to their jobs. They had an overlay that showed inefficient land use in suburban office parks vs. San Francisco. He requested a hearing on this because it is such an important subject because if you really want to protect the environment, this is one of the biggest possible things you can do to keep pollution down is to have people work in areas where they can take public transportation to their work and not have to drive and/or be closer to where they may live. Finally, I think that as a national policy it would behoove us to give tax incentives to companies to locate their businesses in center cities that are served by transit to save the environment, to not duplicate services, to give people more leisure time, more time to exercise and not sit in a car.

Commissioner Moore:

As SPUR members, I'm sure we have all received this document I really glad that SPUR is shaping policy. I would be interesting to have a presentation that gets into the nuts and bolts and looks at the caring capacity of the City as densification and greening are issues which find a balance somewhere else along the line. I hope that together with the Department we can have this great work discussed in front of the commission and the public so that it helps us create policy that is informed and looks at all the issues in a balanced way.

Commissioner Lee:

I share those same comments of the two commissioners, but parallel to this, I think Mayor Newsom announced this past week that we have another biotech hedge fund moving to San Francisco. With Alexandria slowing down or stopping their development, what I would like to have is maybe Michael Cohen a list of all the biotech companies that have relocated or are now in San Francisco. Second, do we have an estimate of how much space we have left for biotech companies that would include lab and office space? We need to get a break line of where we are with the biotech. Through the President to Director Rahaim, could we get a letter to Michael Cohen asking for a snap shot view of where we are and how many companies, etc.

Commissioner Borden:

I too read the SPUR report, and what I thought was interesting was the discussion about people taking transit when it is close to their job, not necessarily their homes. That people were willing to walk farther, even drive to a BART or MUNI station as opposed to when they get close to their jobs they want to be within a couple of blocks. I thought it was very interesting and illuminated the transit effect of this project. It would be great if we could have a hearing with MUNI to look at that because the report did also address the capacity issues at the Embarcadero and Montgomery stations. When you talk about densification issues, right now we are not at a capacity level to increase ridership to those stations. I think from a planning perspective we need to make sure we are aligned with MUNI on this. I also want to bring up again these hearings on the neighborhood commercial corridors. As our calendars are kind of shout it gives us an opportunity to look at the various neighborhood corridors and how we can look at planning issues and potentially bring in landlords and others (like the Property Management Association). It would be interesting to bring all those people together because I think there is a disconnect between people who own property and people who occupy property as far as commercial space, and having them understand the needs of the city.

Commissioner Lee:

When we have a joint hearing with the Small Business Commission we should discuss the NC zoning and how that applicable to what we can do in the city to help out not just the business, but also the property owner.

Commissioner Sugaya:

The Piazza St Francis or St. Francis Piazza, which is something being promoted by North Beach residents. It said in the article that the Mayor and the City Planning Commission are in favor, and I don't know that the Piazza has been before the Commission, at least not since I've been here.

Director Rahaim agreed that it had not been before the Commission.

Commissioner Miguel:

He attended two meeting this week hosted by the Department. One was on 1650 Broadway, which was not totally successful. The other was for 100 32nd Avenue, which was much more successful. It just proved that if we go through our pre-application process and maybe intensify it, a lot of the problems that could come up later could at least be aired in the beginning and clarified. I also attended a Potrero Hill Democratic Club meeting at which the Hope SF project on Potrero Hill was viewed.

Commissioner Olague:

She apologized to the neighbors of 1650 Broadway for not being able to attend that meeting. She was sick. She did attend a meeting today on the 20th and Valencia project.

Commissioner Lee:

I heard a rumor today that A.F. Evans declared bankruptcy. Can someone verify that?

Commissioner Miguel:

He confirmed that A.F. Evans filed Chapter 11 and further stated that the company expressed their intent to complete the two major projects (including 55 Laguna) they have started in San Francisco.

Commissioner Antonini:

He participated in the 1650 Broadway meeting.

Commissioner Moore:

She participated in a meeting with Department staff and Director Rahaim on the next generation of neighborhood residential guidelines. She is very happy with the way it is going.


4. Director's Announcements

Director Rahaim:

Regarding the SPUR report, perhaps will bring that to you injunction with our next briefing to you on the Transbay project, which is responding to kinds of issues as well. We have been planning for that in the next couple of month anyway and will ask SPUR to attend. Also, we have an informational briefing on transportation planning in the city scheduled for March 26th and MTA and TEP is part of that agenda. In your packet is a memo on Articles 10 & 11 and our work on that. It outlines the proposal we outlined for you last week. We had the first meeting of the advisory committee yesterday. There was about 15 people and a very good discussion. In terms of my activities, I will be attending a meeting with the North Beach Neighbors Monday evening. Finally, I want to give you some recent staff changes and re-assignments. As of March 16, Kelley Amdur will take over as Neighborhood Planning Chief in the Department. In addition to the entitlement reviews, she will also be responsible for the code enforcement and the public information counter. Mark Luellen will move over to head up the northeast quadrant. Tina Tam will take over as Preservation Coordinator. These are the latest phase of a number of re-organizations going on in the Department.

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

AnMarie Rodgers reported on Board of Supervisors activities:

At the Land Use Committee:

  • Repair of inadvertent errors 2008 – initiated by Planning and approved the Commission on 12/4. The ordinance would correct 7 errors that exist in the Code. It cleans up incorrect chart references, sectional cross references and removes references to defunct zoning categories such as C-1. This week the Committee recommended approval to the full Board and Chair Maxwell signed on as the sponsor.
  • Massage in SoMa RSD – this ordinance would allow massage by CU in a block sized area within SoMa when the massage is provided in conjunction with a full service spa. Although the Committee expressed some concern, they recommended approval due to the limited potential uses that would be allowed as well as the ability of this Commission to provide oversight through the CU process. In addition, the Committee requested that sponsoring supervisor Dufty introduce trailing legislation to define  full service spa as that is not currently defined in the legislation

At the Full Board:

  • The Board unanimously approved the first reading for text amendment and zoning map amendment for the India Basin Industrial Park. The legislation will change the zoning from light & heavy industrial to light industrial buffer and PDR-2 zoning district
  • Interim Zoning Controls on tobacco paraphernalia establishments in the Haight Street NCD. The current definition of tobacco includes only stores with 15% or more floor area dedicated to tobacco paraphernalia products. The interim CU control for Haight St would require a CU for the sale of any tobacco paraphernalia products for a period of up to one year or until permanent controls are adopted. The interim control did not require Planning Commission review, but the permanent controls will.
  • Rezoning of 483 Bosworth Street (aka 1 Lyell Street). This was former Caltrans property which would be rezoned from P to RH-2. The item was finally approved.


  • Supervisor Mirkarimi introduced a pilot project requiring amended Certificates of final Occupancy for Existing Buildings in the RTO and MCT zoned portions of the Market & Octavia Area Plan within the boundaries of District five. This would be a pilot project to allow buildings that are otherwise conforming with controls to legalize secondary units. If the Commission wishes to review this non PC amendment, we have a limited 30 day window to do so.
  • Supervisor Alioto-Pier introduced legislation that would amend the Union Street NCD controls to allow a limited number of small self-service restaurants and self-service specialty food uses subject to CU

Next Week:

  • Six members of the Board of Supervisors, including President David Chiu and Supervisors Bevan Dufty, Sophie Maxwell, Carmen Chu, Eric Mar and David Campos will go to Washington DC for the Chamber of Commerce's annual City Trip. Supervisors will meet with Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and key members of the new Obama Administration to advocate for interests key to San Francisco. As such, the Land Use Committee and the Full Board will be canceled next week.

Zoning Administrator Badiner reported on Board of Appeals activities:

  • 1140 Potrero Ave – a DR item heard by this commission on 2/28/08. The Commission took DR and approved the project but set the third floor back approximately 12 feet. Your vote was 4 to 2, with Commissioners Moore and Olague dissenting. The appeal to the Board of Appeals was filed on concerns about excavation. However, what was expressed at the hearing were privacy concerns related to the deck on the third floor. With the modifications to require smaller windows and a solid door instead of a glass door, the Board of Appeals upheld your determination 4 to 1 with Commission Go dissenting.

Commission Secretary reported on Historic Preservation Commission:

  • There were two items on their calendar: a request for a Certificate of Appropriateness on a rear addition to City Landmark #29 at 1348 10th Avenue. After Commissioner Martinez expressed concern about proposed material to be used on two windows in the rear, the item was approved 4 to 0.
  • The other item was an informational discussion on the revisions to Planning Code Articles 10 & 11.

Sue Hestor:

RE: The property at the Board of Appeals last night – 1140 Potrero Avenue. Urged the Commission to go back to the procedure in the past that if there are revisions they are presented to you as an informational item which has the affect of telling the public what and requiring that things be in the files.

Mr. Gomez, owner of 1138 Potrero and appellant of 1140 Potrero Avenue

RE: 1140 Potrero Avenue

5. (a. ben-pazi: (415) 575-9077)

301 Mission Street - south side between Beal and Fremont Street, Lot 019 in Assessor's Block 3719 - Informational Presentation of Public Artwork. On July 31, 2003 the Commission approved a mixed-use building at the site. The conditions of approval include a Public Artwork requirement pursuant to Planning Code Section 149. The conditions of approval also require that the final art concept and location be submitted for review by, and be satisfactory to the Director of the Planning Department in consultation with the Commission. This site is within the C-3-O Zoning District, and a 450-S/550-S Height and Bulk District.


Philip Aarens, representing Project Sponsor

  • We have tried to provide public art that is uniquely based on San Francisco. [Mr. Aarens and two of the selected artists presented the selected artwork and described how it represents San Francisco.]

Sue Hestor

  • Has staff reviewed this with the Audubon Society?

ACTION: Informational only – no action


At this time, members of the public may address the Commission on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Commission except agenda items. With respect to agenda items, your opportunity to address the Commission will be afforded when the item is reached in the meeting. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.


Calvin Welch:

  • Describe what may be at work on the Housing Element. We either are leaning toward favoring affordable housing, or we are not.

Sue Hestor:

  • Expressed concern about notice issues for plan areas


6a. 2005.0267CV (T. FRYE: (415) 575-6822)

180 JONES STREET (181 TURK STREET) - southeast corner of Jones and Turk Streets, Assessor's Block 0343; Lot 014 - Request for Conditional Use approval to allow the construction of a building over 40-feet within a residential zoning district with reduced parking. The project is to construct an 8-story, mixed-use development on the existing surface parking lot. The project includes 37 residential units, ground floor retail commercial space, and a reduction in required off-street parking for a total of 8 off-street parking spaces. The Zoning Administrator will hear a related exposure variance and rear yard modification. The subject property is within the Uptown Tenderloin National Register District, the RC-4 (Residential-Commercial, High Density) District, the North of Market Special Use District, Subarea #1, and an 80/120-T Height and Bulk District.

Recommendation: Approve with Conditions


Tony Kim – Representing the Project Sponsor

John Nulty

  • wanted to know the total height with roof fixtures

Tim Colen – SF Housing Action Coalition

  • endorsed the project

ACTION: Approved as modified to replace the stucco or spec it at a higher level; require the project sponsor to continue working with department staff on material; and add boilerplate language on Planning Code Section 315

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

MOTION: 17838

6b. 2005.0267CV (T. FRYE: (415) 575-6822)

180 JONES STREET(181 TURK STREET) - southeast corner of Jones and Turk Streets, Assessor's Block 0343; Lot 014 - Request for Variance for exposure and a rear yard modification. The subject property is within the Uptown Tenderloin National Register District, the RC-4 (Residential-Commercial, High Density) District, the North of Market Special Use District, Subarea #1, and an 80/120-T Height and Bulk District.

SPEAKERS: Same as those listed for item 6a.

ACTION: The ZA closed the public hearing and granted the variances subject to the standard conditions of approval

7. 2009.0061C (M. SMITH: (415) 558-6322)

1511 SLOAT BOULEVARD- south side between Everglade and Clearfield Drives, Lot 002 in Assessor's Block 7255 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Planning Code Sections 703.4 and 780.44 to establish a new formula retail small, self-service restaurant (d.b.a.  Nubi Yogurt ) in the tenant space previously occupied by  T-Mobile within the Lakeshore Plaza Shopping Center, located within a NCS (Neighborhood Commercial Shopping Center) District, the Lakeshore Plaza Special Use District, and a 26 - 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approve with Conditions


Karen Luonag – Representing the Project Sponsor

  • Described the project

Grace Kwong – Owner of Baskin Robins in Lakeshore Plaza

  • Described her business & asked for Commission assistance to be allowed to stay in current location

Sybreea Dorton – Employee of Baskin Robins

  • Urged the Commission to keep Baskin Robins at current location

Jorge Maldonado – Co-owner of Baskin Robins

  • Does not oppose Nubi Yogurt, but appealed to the Commission that they (Baskin Robins) not be forced to close

ACTION: Following testimony, this item was continued to April 2, 2009. The public hearing remains open.

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

8. 2006.1703E (V. WISE: (415) 575-9049)

Piers 15 & 17– THE EXPLORATORIUM RELOCATION PROJECT - east side of The Embarcadero at Green Street; Lots 15, 15H, and 17 in Assessor's Block 9900 - Public Hearing on the Draft Environmental Impact Report. The Exploratorium proposes to relocate to Piers 15/17. The Project Site, owned by the Port of San Francisco (Port), is comprised of the 136,145-gross-square-foot (gsf) Pier 15, 110,615-gsf Pier 17, 11,773-gsf Connector Building, a paved parking area ( Valley ), a 1,579-gsf office shack in the Valley, and a 235-gsf office addition on the Pier 17 north apron. Piers 15 and 17 are contributing resources to the San Francisco Embarcadero National Register Historic District. The Exploratorium proposes to lease from the Port Pier 15, Pier 17, replace the Connector Building with a New Bridge Building and remove portions of the Valley. The Exploratorium proposes to expand the museum program into Pier 17 in the future. Until then, the Exploratorium would lease Pier 17 to commercial, light industrial and restaurant or other retail users.

Preliminary Recommendation: No Action Required

Note: Written comments will be accepted at the Planning Department's offices until the close of business on March 16, 2009.


Ernestine Weiss

  • I've been involved from the beginning and am excited about this project. We need this.

Bob Mittelstadt

  • Here to represent RENEWSF, which is Revitalize and Energize the North Eastern Waterfront to San Francisco. This falls right into our area. I'd like to add my strong support for this project. It's going to be a world class resource for San Francisco
  • I think there is a potential problem with the bus drop off for the children and recommend that it not be moved from the front of the building because children safety is important.

Morton Beebe

  • Many year resident of Telegraph Hill on Lombard Street
  • In terms of traffic flow, drop off, and all those factors that the consideration of this project will draw a lot of traffic, both with kids and adults. I think it is a very positive impact on the area. I hope you endorse their efforts in the future.

Sarah Delaney

  • I'm a science teacher in San Francisco
  • I support the findings of this report. I think it is important to focus on the safety of children and accessibility for children and the enjoyment of people going there. If people are stressed with other factors, it will decrease the enjoyment and the learning experience. I support that the bus drop off continue to stay on the same side as the museum.

Peter Winkelstein, representing SPUR

  • This project has come before our committee that reviews projects and we are very supportive of the project. I understand there are some concerns with the connector building being changed to an observatory building. We looked at that and felt that it did not have any negative impacts on the area. The concerns about the material have been addressed because it's been changed. The elevator shaft has now been moved out of the view corridor. We don't see any negative impacts based on the current design. We feel it is a good project and should move ahead.

Tim Roche

  • I'm an avid bicyclist and don't feel the bus drop off being on the same side as the Exploratorium should have any serious detrimental affect to the flow of bike traffic on the Embacadero.

Andy Katz, Co-Chair of Telegraph Hill Dwellers Waterfront Committee

  • We have submitted some of our detailed comments on the draft EIR to all of you and will be meeting again with members of the Exploratorium group next week.
  • THD is very excited about this project at Pier 15 and 17. We do have concerns about the design of the project and the adequacy and accuracy of the DEIR to describe and consider several important environmental impacts. There are no detailed drawings of the proposed structure of the bridge building in the DEIR that clearly show the materials, architectural details or scaled height measurements in comparison to the historic pier sheds. Some of the proposed materials are incompatible with the historic resources of piers 15 and 17 and the National Register Historic District. Those would include the glass curtain wall system on the east and west façades, and the glass bridges. We are also concerned about the height and bulk of the bridge building. We want to understand why the mechanical apparatus room needs to be in the bridge building causing it to extend further north into the view corridor between the piers. Also, the three possible restaurants totaling 17,000 square feet in piers 15 and 17 which could be consolidated and located so as to reduce the mass and height of the bridge building. How does the design of the proposed bridge building including glass and steel material is necessary to meet the needs of the Exploratorium? Why did the DEIR not consider alternative designs and materials more consistent with historic materials, features, scale, size, proportion, and massing of piers 15 and 17? We urge that the final EIR include an alternate project that would decrease the percentage of proposed new structures and obstructions within the valley between the two piers. The current proposed plan calls for the bridge building to extend north 75 feet from the pier 15 sheds and two bridges to span the valley. This will greatly impact public view corridors and limit restoration to open bay water.

Gerry Crowley, former President of Telegraph Hill Dwellers

  • We disagree that the end of the pier shed is the rear of the shed. These sheds are by their nature viewed from the water, from above, and from the land. The addition of the bridge building will be highly visible from the water and people driving in from the Eastbay. There are no examples of piers anywhere in the National Register Historic District or elsewhere on the San Francisco Bay that has a sizeable new building constructed at the waters edge with an elevator penthouse. It is also our understanding that there are no other examples along the California coastline where buildings appear at the end of a pier. A significant adverse affect of the proposed bridge building on birds and biological resources is not considered. The DEIR fails to consider the potentially significant impact of birds flying into the large expanses of glass that comprise the structure proposed to be build at the end of the pier shed. The glass railings proposed to enclose the roof deck will increase these impacts further as with the glass bridges. We are concerned that there is no plan for pier 17.

Alec Bash

  • I serve on the Ports Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group.
  • In the no project alternative, it (the DEIR) does mention that either the buildings are red or yellow tagged. The Port is dire financial straits in trying to preserve all if its piers, which all are now within an historic district. As project come before you, one of the things they bring with them is a public private partnership which acts to preserve those buildings and those historic resources for the city. I would urge that there simply be some mention in the no project alternative that could increase the likelihood of the piers ultimately deteriorating over time.

Jon Golinger

  • San Francisco's waterfront is a unique and historic resource. We only have one. Even with project that we like, we have to make sure that we get it right. In the DEIR there is not an adequate analysis of the inconsistency between the project proposal and the Waterfront Land Use Plan. This project is being proposed as a single project, but the DEIR doesn't require that they be analyzed as a single project under CEQA. The fully fleshed out details for pier 17 should be considered.

ACTION: Hearing held to receive public comment on the DEIR only. No action was taken by the Commission at this time.


At this time, members of the public may address the Commission on items of interest to the public that are within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Commission except agenda items. With respect to agenda items, your opportunity to address the Commission will be afforded when the item is reached in the meeting with one exception. When the agenda item has already been reviewed in a public hearing at which members of the public were allowed to testify and the Commission has closed the public hearing, your opportunity to address the Commission must be exercised during the Public Comment portion of the Calendar. Each member of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes.

The Brown Act forbids a commission from taking action or discussing any item not appearing on the posted agenda, including those items raised at public comment. In response to public comment, the commission is limited to:

(1) responding to statements made or questions posed by members of the public; or

(2) requesting staff to report back on a matter at a subsequent meeting; or

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


Adjournment: 4:40 p.m.

These minutes are proposed for adoption at the Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission on Thursday, May 14, 2009.


ACTION: Approved

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


Last updated: 11/20/2009 3:54:01 PM