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February 18, 2010

New Page 1

SAN FRANCISCO

PLANNING COMMISSION

Meeting Minutes

 

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, February 18, 2010

1:30 PM

Regular Meeting

 

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

 

THE MEETING WAS CALLED TO ORDER BY PRESIDENT MIGUEL AT 1:43 P.M.

 

STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  John Rahaim – Director of Planning, Larry Badiner – Zoning Administrator, AnMarie Rodgers, Elaine Forges, David Alumbaugh, Bill Wycko, Kevin Guy, Sharon Lai, Corey Teague, and Linda Avery – Commission Secretary.

 

A.            CONSIDERATION OF ITEMS PROPOSED FOR CONTINUANCE

 

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

               

1.         2008.1072C                                                                             (K. GUY: (415) 558-6163)

1111 California Street - southwest corner at Taylor Street, Lot 020 of Assessor’s Block 0253 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization to change the existing nonconforming entertainment use of the "Nob Hill Masonic Center" to a conditionally permitted Other Entertainment use pursuant to Planning Code Sections 182(b)(1), 303, and 723.48 within the RM-4 (Residential, Mixed , High Density) District, the Nob Hill Special Use District, and the 65-A Height and Bulk District.  The requested Conditional Use Authorization would also authorize alterations to the main floor of the Masonic Auditorium to remove the existing fixed seats and provide a flexible range of audience configurations (tables and chairs, fixed seating or general admission) which would increase the maximum capacity of the Auditorium from 3,282 persons to 3,500 persons during general admission events (the fixed seats in the balcony would be retained). The requested Conditional Use Authorization would also add permanent food and beverage service for patrons of entertainment and assembly events, pursuant to Planning Code Section 238(d). No exterior modifications are proposed by this project.

Preliminary Recommendation:  Approval with Conditions

(Continued from Regular Meeting of February 11, 2010)

                        (Proposed for Continuance to March 4, 2010)

 

SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Continued as proposed  

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

 

2.         2009.0845C                                                                           (E. Watty: (415) 558-6620)

2535A TARAVAL STREET - south side between 35th and 36th Avenues; Lot 043 in Assessor’s Block 2390 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization, pursuant to Planning Code Section 303, to modify the hours of operation restricted in the conditions of approval for Case No. 2005.0861C, Motion No. 17154, for the existing massage establishment (dba Natural Health Care) located within the NC-2 (Neighborhood Commercial, Small-Scale) District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Pending

(Proposed for Continuance to March 25, 2010)

           

SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Continued as proposed  

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

 

B.         CONSENT CALENDAR

 

All matters listed hereunder constitute a Consent Calendar, are considered to be routine by the Planning Commission, and will be acted upon by a single roll call vote of the Commission.  There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the Commission, the public, or staff so requests, in which event the matter shall be removed from the Consent Calendar and considered as a separate item at this or a future hearing

 

3.          2009.1111C                                                                                 (S. LAI: (415) 575-9087)

373 WEST PORTAL AVENUE - east side between 14th Avenue and 15th Avenue; Lot 016 of Assessor’s Block 3012 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization, pursuant to Planning Code Sections 729.62, 790.6 and 303, to convert a retail establishment into a new animal hospital (dba “Four Paw Veterinary Hospital”), within the West Portal Neighborhood Commercial District and a 26-X Height and Bulk District.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions

 

SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Approved  

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

MOTION:           18032

 

C.         COMMISSIONERS’ QUESTIONS AND MATTERS

 

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.

 

4.         Consideration of Adoption:

 

·         Draft Minutes of Regular Meeting of February 4, 2010.

 

SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Approved as corrected under Commissioner Antonini on page 2 vulcanized balkanized ; and page 3 from for

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

 

 

5.         Commission Comments/Questions

·         Inquiries/Announcements.  Without discussion, at this time Commissioners may make announcements or inquiries of staff regarding various matters of interest to the Commissioner(s).

·         Future Meetings/Agendas.  At this time, the Commission may discuss and take action to set the date of a Special Meeting and/or determine those items that could be placed on the agenda of the next meeting and other future meetings of the Planning Commission.

 

Commissioner Moore:

-  I would like to ask the Director to briefly take us through his progress report on the Academy that is in today’s commission packet.

- I wrote a letter to Scott Sanchez to update us briefly, including the public, or share with us regarding the Academy’s shuttle busses – they are totally out of control. I am also getting an increasing number of comments from the public about this.

- I am sure it is being approved under a jurisdiction outside our own, but if this institution continues to take the largest bus in its fleet, without having the ability to turn the corner easily and clog up major intersections during critical hours of downtown traffic, that goes beyond the patience of anybody who is moving around the City.

Commissioner Miguel:

-  It is not on calendar.  We can’t have a robust discussion, but I wanted to point out that there was a letter we sent to the Academy a couple of weeks ago.  In it we outline specifically the enforcement strategy that we intend to pursue with the Academy and outlined specific dates for submission of material that they have to submit.  If those dates are not met, then we will close the case and schedule items for denial.

-  Part of the enforcement strategy is to focus on any of their properties that were purchased after the application was submitted in May 2008.  There were two properties, perhaps three that we know of that were purchased and started to be used since that date. 

-  Part of the whole analysis with regard to transportation is that we are discussing that with them and getting detailed information about how the buses run, how much they are used and that sort of thing so we can work it into the analysis. 

- I am chairing monthly meetings with the CEO of the Academy and our staff to make sure we keep on schedule and that we are doing what is necessary to move all of this forward as well.

Commissioner Antonini:

- Many of you watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last Friday night and saw the shot from above Vancouver. I am sorry to say I have not been up there for a long time. When I was there, it was in the 1960’s, it was very flat.  There were not many tall buildings at all except for a couple of residential buildings out by the ocean.  You can see what has happened there.  They have a liberal parking allowance for their residential buildings, and they may have found a way to build them without casting any shadows.  In any case, maybe we should talk to Vancouver a little and see how they are doing it and if they are having traffic problems or other kinds of problems.

-  The other item I wanted to bring up was in regards to CEQA appeals.  As most of you know, effective January 1, 2003, the appeals from CEQA decisions were, in my understanding, to the Board of Supervisors or to the county in which they are. 

-  I talked a little bit to the City Attorney on this, but it strikes me that San Francisco is a unique situation because we are a City and County.

-  In most instances, and I have been familiar with one particular environmental process I follow in another county, there was no appeal to the county Board of Supervisors.

-  It was all held within the City where there was jurisdiction.  It seems to me this is a little different situation, because you have with our Board of Supervisors, elected officials who are part of the entitlement process themselves, whereas Boards of Supervisors in other counties are usually not involved in the entitlement unless it happens to be unincorporated land of a particular city.  Perhaps the way this is being handled is not proper for San Francisco since our situation is different.

Commissioner Borden:

-  I want to thank all those people who reached out to me for what turned out to be an extended leave with their words of concern.

- I want to talk about an article in the paper about historic churches or churches that are abandoned and what is happening to them.

-  I know we have seen in the past other churches mentioned, and maybe staff could put together a little report on some of these churches.  Some of them are already in the Planning Department queue, and some of them are not.

-  I know there was an extension at the state level related to historic resource, but maybe there is something we can do.

-  I don’t know if there is anything we can do locally to kind of help them get tax credits through other things.  That would be something great to look into.

-  The third issue is not really a planning issue.  The America’s Cup has come back to America, and I would love to put a word out there. I myself have spent a lot of time sailing on the bay and have done a bit of racing, and I think it would be a great engine for the economy.  A lot of great working-class jobs come with the shipping and sailing industry, so I really hope that we put our best foot forward to help make that happen and work with the agencies necessary to kind of help make that a reality.

Commissioner Olague:

-  I would like to understand a little bit about the scheduling of the hearings, because I will be gone for a week in April, and I want to make sure I am here to participate in some of those hearings.

Commissioner Sugaya:

-  I seem to recall – is there some city action going on with respect to Mid-Market planning?

- The Mayor has asked us to look at the possibility of rethinking the proposed redevelopment plan so we are just starting to look at that.  Are we trying to scope out what would be necessary?

-  Obviously it is a big development area and the preservation issues are really important in that corridor as well as looking at how we could help just in general revitalize that corridor. I think we went through that before and it just kind of skipped my mind.

- I was reading Planning magazine the other day on an article about digital billboards and messaging signs and those kinds of things are taken under consideration as we move forward in the planning effort.

- I think with respect to Vancouver, you did have a director from Vancouver, I think he said something like it was not quite what people thought it was.  One of the questions that I get about Vancouver, and I think I have mentioned this before having lived there for many years is  “why can’t you [San Francisco] be more like Vancouver?” and I got a little tired of it.

- Finally, my response was it is not the 51st state.  It is a different country.  One of the interesting things, the problem that is happening, is that virtually every single high-rise that you see is residential, which is a great thing in the sense that they have attracted a huge residential population, including families.  The irony is that they have built virtually no commercial space in their downtown for 25 years, so they have developed this very odd pattern.  It’s a huge problem with traffic congestion because people are actually living in downtown and working in far away areas.

Commissioner Lee:

-   I am actually aware that since they have a different form of government there, in the middle of actually figuring out who owns all of this residential, I think I mentioned to you in a private conversation because they are getting concerned that too many people with second homes who really do not contribute to the day-to-day viability of the city legally, in that form of government, you can have that kind of study.

-   Also, regarding the improvement, their system is a little different.  If you look at the demographics, they do not have the homeless issue that we have, the health care issues, but more importantly, the takeover of Hong Kong. If you are a Hong Kong citizen, you have a right to the Vancouver tons of money left by Hong Kong in the mid 1990’s.

-   A lot of Hong Kong people could not get into the USA.  Instead, they went to Vancouver.  You can get the funding you need to build in that city.  There are a lot of corporations, a lot of people who came from Hong Kong and have the money.  They had funding sources so they could become citizens.  The USA has a similar program.  If you bring $1 million and hire 10 people for three years to help the economy that will help you to expedite your citizenship application. 

-   Also, I noticed this week that Berkeley is trying to expedite their permits for more development.  Given that we have the high unemployment rate, I would like the staff to give the Planning Commission updates on San Francisco’s unemployment rate.  The State puts a report out.  Statewide unemployment is 12.4%.  We need to know exactly what the unemployment rate is.  Second, I saw the title of the newspaper this morning’s business section.   The assessed values of properties has gone down 24%, that means that the general public needs to know if their property value goes down by 24%, we lose 24% of our property tax.

Commissioner Olague:

-  I guess when we are talking about shadows, part of the issue comes up because we are forcing so much density into the downtown areas because that seems to be where a lot of the issue regarding shadowing concerns are.

-  We should look at ways where we might be able to absorb more density in areas other than the east of the City.

-  I know that Commissioner Lee has raised several times the issue of in-law units, so we should look at the RH-1 district and where maybe that is not longer working given the kind of focus and direction.

-  I think in many ways, the CEQA process is broken.  If we look at the numerous appeals that we have, we have to turn the mirror and look at ourselves and what we could be doing better. 

Commissioner Sugaya:

- It would be interesting to see something – maybe I guess the logical place is out of the economist’s office, to let us know what may be the case, because I read a separate article, and it said that San Francisco’s drop was only 12% compared to other counties, where they were falling by up to 40%.

Commissioner Miguel:

-   I wanted to mention that I have had some meetings this week regarding the discretionary review reform, and for a project on Arkansas Street.  I was also able to get some neighbors and Safeway representatives in a series of conversations regarding the possible re-do of the Safeway store on La Playa out at Ocean Beach. 

-   In particular talking about other countries, specifically Canada, the February issue of The American Planning Association’s magazine, I found what I thought for San Francisco was a very interesting article regarding the area.

-   Often the case in the US, the process of creating such a huge project is what they are doing there – covering 325 acres has been the worse for some time (almost 30 years). It is complicated and controversial and has changed the way major developments have typically been undertaken in Paris by institutionalizing a citizen committee that remains in place after the project is completed.

-   I am thinking of our committees that are working on Octavia Street or Eastern Neighborhoods.  The article goes on quite a bit and says that the decision to drastically alter the rules by which Paris conducts planning an Administrative Court Judge ruled in the community group’s favor, giving them more than they had hoped for. Public forum reworking the project plan - the judge called for the creation of a committee made up of representatives of community groups and city officials to oversee the project construction.  The concluding paragraph says that the one indisputable success of the participation process, first formulated in Paris, has become a standard throughout France.  While the law has been trying to value the direct citizen involvement in every major development project, Paris has become a model for incorporation of the public ideas in the planning structure.

-   San Francisco was a little ahead of this. It sort of shows that there are other areas of the world that has understood that public process, although condemned in many circles, probably is the correct way to go.

 

D.         DIRECTOR’S REPORT

6.         Director’s Announcements

           

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

 

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

No Report

 

BOARD OF APPEALS:

           

No Report

 

Historic Preservation Commission:

 

·         Budget

·         2750 Vallejo Street

·         680 Divisadero Street

 

8.                                                                                                     (K. GUY: (415 558-6163)

TRINITY PLAZA  Market, 8th and Mission Streets, (Assessor's Block 3702, Lots 039, 051-053, and a portion of the former Jessie Street); Informational  Presentation for the Zoning Administrator to gain the Planning Commission's input on whether revisions to Building "B" (8th and Mission Streets) are in General Conformity with the project approvals associated with Case No. 2002.1179.

 

SPEAKERS:     Jim Reuben – Representing the Project Sponsor;  - Project Architect; Tom Radulovich – Livable Cities; Rick Hillis – Office of Economic and Workforce Development

ACTION:           Informational only – no action

 

D.         GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT – 15 MINUTES

 

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

 

SPEAKERS:    

Kelly Watts – re:   Beach Chalet

Tom Radulovich – re: transportation planning in Vancouver

Jack Steward – re:  over building in San Francisco

Jim Meko – re:  Western SOMA

Sue Hestor – re:  the public should have access to the same material the commission has access to; a new policy on retention of email records; there should be a joint hearing on public participation; requested an update on 1407 Market Street

 

E.            REGULAR CALENDAR 

 

9.         2009.1172T                                                                     (A. Rodgers:  (415) 558-6395)

Amendments to the Planning Code Sections to create a Green Landscaping Ordinance [Board File No. 09-1453] -  Ordinance introduced by Mayor Newsom, Supervisors Carmen Chu and Bevan Dufty amending various sections of the Planning Code to address screening, greening, street tree, and permeability requirements; creating definitions for “vehicle use area,” “ornamental fencing,” and “permeable surface;” amending the Public Works Code Section 805 to create requirements for the establishment of new street trees and replacement of dead street trees; adopting findings, including environmental findings, Planning Code Section 302 findings, and findings of consistency with the General Plan and the priority policies of Planning Code Section 101.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Modifications.

 

SPEAKERS:     Alan Grossman

ACTION:           Approved as modified that would allow building modifications that would not require nexus study 

AYES:              Borden, Lee, Moore, Olague and Miguel

ABSENT:          Antonini and Sugaya

RESOLUTION:   18033

 

10.        2009.1119T                                                                    (A. Rodgers:  (415) 558-6395)

Amendments to the Planning Code Sections to create a comprehensive set of street frontage Controls for most use districts [Board File No. 09-1271] - Ordinance introduced by Supervisor Mirkarimi amending Planning Code Sections 145.1(Street Frontages), 201 (Classes of Use Districts), 243 (Van Ness Special Use District), 253 (Review of Proposed Buildings and Structures Exceeding 40’ in R Districts), 261.1 (Additional Height Limits for Narrow Streets and Alleys), and 270.2 (Special Bulk and Open Space Requirement) to create a comprehensive and consistent set of street frontage controls for most use districts that allow a mix of uses; adopting findings, including environmental findings, Planning Code Section 302 findings, and findings of consistency with the General Plan and the priority policies of Planning Code Section 101.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Modifications.

SPEAKERS:     Tom Radulovich

ACTION:           Approved as modified  

AYES:              Antonini, Borden, Lee, Olague and Miguel

ABSENT:          Moore and Sugaya

RESOLUTION:   18034

 

            11.                                                                                                (E. FORBES: (415) 558-6417)

FY2010-11 Budget Development: Review and recommendation of a balanced FY2011 budget for submission to the Mayor's Office. (Action Item)

 

SPEAKERS:     Cynthia Serventnick –

ACTION:           Approved with the modification to increase Preservation staff by .7 FTE and allocate at least .5 FTE for cultural preservation work in Japantown

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

 

12a.      2009.0583D                                                                      (C. TEAGUE: (415) 575-9081)

251 ARKANSAS STREET -  east side between 18th Street and Mariposa Street; Lot 024 in Assessor's Block 4004 - Mandatory Discretionary Review for Building Permit No. 2009.05.20.8829 to demolish the existing single-family home in a RH-3 (Residential, House, Three-Family) Zoning District and 40-X Height and Bulk District. 

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

(Continued from Regular Meeting of February 4, 2010)

 

SPEAKERS:     In support of DR:  Raquel Jimenez – DR Requestor and Boyd McSparran – Attorney for DR Requestor; Withdrawn DR:  Phil Baily; In support of Project:  Warner Schmaltz – Project Architect

ACTION:           The Commission did not take DR and approved the demolition

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

NAYES:            Olague

DRA#:              0138

 

 

 

12b.      2009.1165DDDD                                                           (C. TEAGUE: (415) 575-9081)

251 ARKANSAS STREET - east side between 18th Street and Mariposa Street; Lot 024 in Assessor's Block 4004 - Mandatory Discretionary Review and three separate requests for Discretionary Review for Building Permit No. and 2009.05.20.8827 to construct a 4-story, 3-unit residential building with 3 off-street parking spaces provided in a ground floor garage as a replacement to the home proposed for demolition under Case No. 2009.0583D in a RH-3 (Residential, House Districts, Three-Family) Zoning District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.

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

                        (Continued from Regular Meeting of February 4, 2010)

 

SPEAKERS:     Same as those listed for item 12a.

ACTION:           The Commission did not take DR and approved the new construction project as proposed

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

NAYES:            Olague

DRA#:              0138

 

F.         PUBLIC COMMENT

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

SPEAKERS:     None

 

Adjournment:    6:25 p.m.

 

Adopted:       January 20, 2011

 

Last updated: 2/7/2011 1:16:34 PM