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City and County of San Francisco





Meeting Minutes


Hearing Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



12:30 P.M. 




Regular Meeting




COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:         Wolfram, Martinez, Matsuda, Hasz, Buckley, Chase

COMMISSIONER ABSENT:             Damkroger




STAFF IN ATTENDANCETim Frye – Acting Preservation Coordinator, Aaron Hollister, Shelley Caltagirone, AnMarie Rodgers, Linda Avery – Commission Secretary








Katherine Howard, Golden Gate Preservation Alliance Group, had filed Beach Chalet scoping letter for Environmental Impact Report and read it to HPC.

Ross Woodall, Co-chair of Mayor’s Disability Council, asked HPC to ratify and move the discussion for equal access to City’s owned buildings; and invited HPC to celebrate the 20th anniversary of American Disability Act.

John Paul Scott, Deputy for the Mayor’s Office of Disability (MOD), expressed dismay that the proposed policy on access for persons with disability was not on today’s agenda.  He stated by definition wheelchair lifts is not part of the accessible routes and MOD’s intent is to prohibit use of wheelchair lifts in alteration and additions in City owned buildings and facilities.

Zach Stewart, Landscape Architect and Resident of North Beach, thanked HPC for serving and doing a great job.

Joseph Butler, Architect and Member of Save St. John’s First United Methodist Church, suggested a design opportunity for addition of an accessible ramp could be provided at the back of the North Beach Library’s large playground.

Sarah [Clevan], long time Resident of San Francisco, thanked HPC for their service and commented that HPC could do just as well in renovating old buildings than tearing them down and build new ones.

Sue Cauthen expressed respect for Commissioners’ service and their enunciating Proposition J to protect architectural heritage.




1.         Articles 10 and 11 codes clean up.


Planning Director Rahaim proposed these steps :

        Recognize HPC by replacing Landmark Preservation Advisory Board and to reflect the difference between HPC and Planning Commission (PC) work in the Charter.

        Prepare a series of policy HPC and PC could adopt that help direct Planning Department’s work regarding to preservation activity.  They could be done at the policy level and not requiring code changes at this time.

        Gather interested individual and commissioners for the Preservation Summit to discuss preservation topics in San Francisco – how to do a better job and address the intent of Proposition J and the larger issue of preservation issues.

        Actual amendments to the code to Articles 10 and 11 could probably be early next year.  Phasing of the amendments could be determined at the Summit and testing of the policies would take place over the next few months.  He committed staffing for this work.


NOTE:  In addressing the concerns from the Commissioners, Director Rahaim stated the PC has adopted interim policies, as opposed to amend the code at this time, in several occasions, e.g. the Eastern Neighborhood Area Plan Interim Policy.  These policies direct work at the interim period during the planning phase.  HPC could do the same regarding Articles 10 & 11.  He reassured HPC that Board of Supervisor (BOS) had took an action to keep Articles 10 & 11 alive.


The HPC found the proposal agreeable and made consensus to move forward Director Rahaim’s proposal for Articles 10 & 11 codes clean up.


SPEAKERGee Gee Platt suggested for a focused discussion, it would be helpful if HPC could review the last two drafts and the one before the BOS.


2.         Summary of Planning Commission actions regarding 1601 Larkin Street.


Acting Preservation Coordinator Frye:

1601 Larkin Street – The request letter by the HPC to PC for continuance of the project was not granted and the entitlements were heard at the June 24th PC hearing with a motion to certify the DEIR failed by the vote of 6 to 1 disapproving the project.  The PC found there was a lack of maintenance of the building; the lack of a feasible alternative by owner to reuse the structure; and the project’s incompatibility with the established neighborhood context.  A rare yard variance was also disapproved by the Planning Department.


NOTECommission Buckley wanted to clarify that under state law a religious institution has potentially the rights not to landmark a building could apply for a demolition permit to tear down a building.  He further asked if there was a policy (to safeguard) buildings that could potentially be let fall down and then become an imminent safety hazard?  Mr. Frye responded that the DEIR was not certified by PC and if the owners were to move forward, it would be re-evaluated under California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) review.  DBI has the jurisdiction over the demolition permit if it’s an imminent threat to public safety.  The Planning Department’s Zoning Administrator would review the demolition permit.  For buildings that were purposely let fall down, the blight ordinance and vacant building ordinance were the only new mechanisms.  Director Rahaim supplemented that under CEQA the Department must determined whether a project is a historic resource and even if it is a historic resource, the Department still has to determine whether a demolition is appropriate given the factors weighed in the EIR.   Planning Staff recommendation was that it was not appropriate to demolish the building for a replacement building.  The PC agreed with Staff.  There is a distinction to be made between whether a building could be landmarked vs. the CEQA process.  The CEQA process is still in place. Commission Chase added that property owners of religious institution still have to meet zoning requirements based on property location and zoning district.


SPEAKERS: Dawn Trennert, Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, brought to the HPC’s attention that the protective fencing around the church was removed, leaving the building without any lights and protection at the site.  She would like to see the site protected and to hear HPC formal position at this time.   Joseph Butler, Architect representing Save St John’s United Methodist Church, stated that demolition could be possible and an emergency order would need the signature of the Zoning Administrator.  He suggested that HPC should ask for and assign an engineer experienced with historic building to report whether or not there is imminent danger at 1601 Larkin Street.  He would like the HPC to make a statement that asks the City to put this building on the list and be subjected to all of those requirements.




3.         President’s Report and Announcements


Commissioner Chase reported that he have had the opportunity to speak to reporters of San Francisco Business Time and the Chronicles concerning the activities in the last 18 months of HPC work in reference to general preservation matters in the City.  He thanked the member of the public who spoke to the issue on S.F. Business Time.


4.         Consideration of Adoption:

              a.        Draft minutes of Regular Hearing of May 19, 2010

              b.        Draft minutes of Regular Hearing of June 2, 2010


ACTION:            Approved for adoption the two sets of minutes

AYES:                Buckley, Hasz, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Chase

ABSENT:           Damkroger


5.         Disclosures


Commissioner Wolfram had phone conversation with Carolyn Kiernat from Page and Turnbull regarding 211 Sutter Street; received numerous emails from people in opposition and in favor of the North Beach Branch Library; and a letter regarding the CEQA appeal.

Commissioner Martinez had conversation with Johanna Street about Sutter Street; and received emails about the library.

Commissioner Matsuda received a phone call from Supervisor Chiu and Mr. Ginsberg on agenda item E.8 (the North Beach Library); and emails supporting and opposing that measure.

Commissioner Buckley had the same contact as Commissioner Matsuda.

Commissioner Chase received emails on the library issues.


6.         Commissioner Comments/Questions


Commissioner Martinez asked to schedule a discussion on American Disability Act and asked Commissioner Wolfram to work with him to discuss the language.

Commissioner Buckley asked to agendize 1601 Larkin Street, as clarified by Commissioner Chase, to discuss the process of defining blight, the process to put that on Department of Building Inspection (DBI) list, requirements for emergency order, and ways to objectively acquire and identify structural condition of the building.

Commissioner Hasz asked is there any precedence for the Department to warn the neighbors of 1601 Larkin Street who didn’t know the case to be attentive and watchful of the site’s current status.


NOTE: Commissioner Martinez reconsidered Item 6, Commissioner Comments/ Question.


Commissioner Martinez commented that Planning Department’s impartiality on controversial items shouldthat was brought to the HPC before should be brought back to the HPC for discussion.  He felt there should be a discussion on Planning Department’s impartiality if needed.

Commissioner Hasz wanted the Commissioners and the public to know that he has started preliminary work to legislate emergency demolition and intentional blight.  He asked the HPC for support and would conference with fellow members of the commission and staff before it is submitted.




7.         2010.0441A                                                                     (A. Hollister: 415/575-9078)

463 PACIFIC AVENUE - Assessor’s Block 0175; Lot 025, between Sansome and Montgomery Streets, the subject property is a non-contributory structure in the Jackson Square Historic District.  A request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for new tenant signage.  The subject building is located within a C-2 (Community Business) Use District, the Jackson Square Special Use District and the Washington-Broadway Special Use District #2 with a 65-A Height and Bulk limit.

Recommendation: Approval


SPEAKERS:      None

ACTION:            Approved

AYES:                Buckley, Hasz, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Chase

ABSENT:           Damkroger

MOTION NO:    M0071




8.         2008.0968L                                                                           (T. Frye: 415/575-6822)

APPLETON & WOLFARD LIBRARIES – North Beach Branch Library, 2000 Mason Street: Assessor's Block 0074, Lot 001;Adoption of A Revised Resolution Recommending Designation to the Board of Supervisors of the North Beach Branch Library as a San Francisco Landmark under Article 10 of the Planning Code, and Making Findings in Support of Such Recommendation.  The property is zoned P (Public) and/or Open Space (OS).  The item was heard on June 16, 2010, and the Commission passed a resolution recommending to the Board of Supervisors landmark designation under Article 10 of the Planning Code, without findings.  Accordingly, the item is now before the Commission to make the required findings.

(Continued from regular hearing of 5/19/10 and 6/16/10)


PRESENTER:  Jill Bourne, Deputy City Librarian, gave reasons why the Library opposed designation of the North Beach Branch Library (NBBL). Karen [Montebroderick], Planner with S.F. Recreation and Park, asked HPC not to landmark NBBL and allowed the environment review process to evaluate expansive alternatives along side with community needs.


Susan Weidmer, June Fraps - Friends of Joe-Demangio, Lee Goodin - Friends of Joe-Dimangio, Howard Chasner, Cathy Cormier – Resident of North Beach & Librarian, Ellen Egbert – Resident of San Francisco, Julie Christensen – Friends of Joe-Demangio, Jenni Vazquez, Meghan Monahan – Council of Neighborhood Libraries, Lisa Garbus – Yick Wo PTO, Scott Lewis – Landscape Architect and Resident of North Beach, Frankie Lewis – Resident of North Beach, Jane Winslow, Clarice Moody – Member of Library Citizens Advisory Committee, Laura McErlane, Elizabeth Diaz, Emma Dunbar – President of Yick Wo PTO, Gianna DeCarl – Resident of North Beach & Teacher, Fay Darmawi – Resident of North Beach and Parent, Linda Sobuta – Designer of Libraries and Resident of North Beach, Marsha Maytum – LMS Architects, Pat Tura – Friends of Joe-Demangio,

Penelope Clark – Russian Hill Neighbors, Jewelle Gomez – President of SF Public Library Commission, Adam Newcomb – Resident of San Francisco, Lillyth Keogh, Orlando Diaz – Student of SSP, Brent McDonald – Architect, Keith Saggers – Resident of North Beach, Carolyn Blair – SF Tree Council and Resident of North Beach, Walter Park – Member of Access Appeal Commission, Peggy Coster, Bob Planthold, Mindy Linetzky


Sarah Kliban – Resident of San Francisco, Joan Wood – Coalition for a Better North Beach Library, Joseph Butler – AIA and Neighbor, Inge Horton, June Osterberg, Sue Cauthen – Telegraph Hill Dwellers and North Beach Resident, Howard Wong – Friends of Appleton & Wolfard Libraries,



ACTION:            Motion to adopt staff findings for designation

AYES:                Buckley, Martinez, Matsuda

NAYS:                Hasz, Wolfram, Chase

ABSENT:           Damkroger

MOTION FAIL: (+3 and -3)


ACTION:            Continue item to September 1, 2010 for full Commission participation with public comments closed.

AYES:                Buckley, Hasz, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Chase

ABSENT:           Damkroger


9.         2010.0448H                                                                          (T. Frye: 415/575-6822)

211 SUTTER STREET - Assessor’s Block 0293; Lots 001, located at the southwest corner of Kearny and Sutter Streets and historically known as the Sherman Clay & Company Building. The subject building is a Category I Building within the Kearny-Market-Mason-Sutter Conservation District.   It is located within a C-3-O (Downtown Office) District with an 80-130-F Height and Bulk limit.  The proposal is a request for a Permit to Alter to replace the terra cotta cornice and selective spot replacement on the 8th and 9th floors with glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC).

Recommendation: Approval with conditions.


PRESENTER:   Carolyn Kiernat – Principal of Page and Turnbull

SPEAKERS:      None

ACTION:            Approved with amendments to staff recommended condition -changing terra cotta to GFRC, and Commissioners to review glaze and color samples when they become available.

AYES:                Buckley, Hasz, Matsuda, Wolfram, Chase

NAY:                   Martinez

ABSENT:           Damkroger

MOTION NO:    M0072


NOTE: Commissioner Chase had to leave early for business travel and asked Commissioner Martinez to chair the balance of this hearing


10.       2010.0336U                                                                    (A. Rodgers: 415/558.6395)

Amendments to Administrative Code Concerning CEQA Appeals and Notice.  [BOS File No. 10-0495].  Hearing of a proposed Ordinance that would amend Administrative Code Chapter 31 to provide for appeals to the Board of Supervisors of environmental decisions and determinations under the California Environmental Quality Act, and provide public notice of such decisions and environmental documents. The Commission will consider an Ordinance introduced by Supervisor Alioto-Pier that would amend the Administrative Code as described in the Ordinance with additional modifications as recommended by the Planning Department. The Commission will consider making recommendations on the proposed Ordinance to the Board of Supervisors.

(Continued from 6/16/10 hearing)

 Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Modifications


PRESENTER:   Bill Barnes on behalf of the sponsor Supervisor’s Alioto-Piers Office went through additional information requested by HPC.

SPEAKERS:      Joe Butler, Architect, commented that CEQA appeal is an imperfect process but asked the HPC to try to make it better.  He had no comment on the language of this item.

ACTION:            HPC recognized what Planning Commission had approved; and the addition of HPC comments that supports the idea that the legislation should strike the prior participation requirement for appellant of statutory ­­­­­Categorical Exemption (Cat Ex) and Community Plan; that HPC referrals be codified in the Administration Code; that the legislation includes languages that help to publicize the process by which the public is notified of the CEQA findings and all CEQA activity, and informs them how those actions have the right to appeal; that HPC supports broad dissemination of the information of Cat Ex and encourages the City to have information posted on the internet; that HPC supports language that would state any landmark or historic district hearing pending during an appeal and required the hearing recommence once the environment document is certified.

AYES:                Buckley, Hasz, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram

ABSENT:           Damkroger, Chase

RESOLUTION NO:        R649


11.       2009.1029E                                                               (S. Caltagirone: 415/558-6625)

1268 LOMBARD STREET, north side between Polk and Larkin Streets. Assessor’s Block 0500, Lot 015 - Request for Review and Comment on a project undergoing environmental review by the Planning Department. The project proposes to construct a new 4-unit, 5-story residential building on an existing vacant lot. The property is located within the vicinity of the potential West Slope of Russian Hill historic district.  The site is zoned RH-3 (Residential, House, Three-Family District) and is in a 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: The Commission may direct staff to draft written comments of the Commission.


PRESENTER:   Joe Butler – Architect for the project

SPEAKERS:      Alexandria [Kinkert]


NOTE:  This item was for review and comments only, no action was taken.






The minutes was proposed for adoption at the Regular Meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, August 4, 2010


ACTION:           Approved

AYES:              Buckley, Hasz, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Chase

ABSENT:          Damkroger



Last updated: 8/5/2010 2:20:56 PM