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Meeting Minutes

Hearing Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

1:30 P.M. 

Regular Meeting


COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:  Chase, Damkroger, Hasz, Johns, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram


STAFF IN ATTENDANCEKelley Amdur – Director of Current Planning, Moses Corrette, Richard Sucré, Tim Frye – Preservation Coordinator, and Linda Avery – Commission Secretary






1.            Preservation Coordinator Frye gave a Review of Past Week’s Events at the Planning Commission (PC).

·         March 22, PC and the Department of Recreation and Park held a joint hearing regarding Conditional Use authorization for 8 Washington Street.  The project was approved

·         March 22, PC heard a Discretionary Review (DR) filed to legalize window replacement for the non-historic aluminum clad double-hung windows at 62 Collingwood Street.  PC upheld Planning Department’s determination and did not take DR.


2.         President’s Report and Announcements

President Chase announced that the California Preservation Foundation Conference would be held on May 3 from 10 AM to 3 PM in Oakland.  The Office of Historic Preservation would host a Board and Commission Forum as part of the conference and urged anyone who is interested to attend.

3.         Consideration of Adoption:

              a.        Draft minutes of the March 21, 2012 Regular Hearing


ACTION:        Approved as corrected on page 4, to change [Getti] to Ferlinghette; and to strike MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

AYES:             Hasz, Johns, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Damkroger, Chase

4.         Disclosures

Commissioner Wolfram received emails related to the Gold Dust Lounge; and met with Chris VerPlanck

Commissioner Martinez received emails regarding the Gold Dust Lounge; talked with friends about the Gold Dust Lounge; and had a verbal interchange with Bob [Churney].

Vice President Damkroger received emails regarding Gold Dust Lounge.

Commissioner Johns received one email.

President Chase received emails regarding the Gold Dust Lounge

5.         Commissioner Comments/ Questions

Commissioner Wolfram would like to invite Recreation and Park Department to report on the redevelopment plan for Dolores Park.

Commissioner Martinez would like to meet at 11:00 AM at the next HPC hearing to discuss whether there should be one or two Commission Secretary position(s).  President Chase would like to see if that conversation could be scheduled before the next joint hearing with the PC.

NOTE:            Commission Secretary Avery announced that after roll call, item 6, 301 Geary Street, would have a public comment category just before the item.

SPEAKERS in favor of the Gold Dust Lounge initiation (item 6): Mr. Hinkle; [A person sang the Gold Dust Lounge song; [Unannounced Speaker]; Chris VerPlanck; Chloe Meyer, Concierge at Ghirardelli Square; Christina Olague - Supervisor for District 5, Lee Housekeeper.


6.         2012.0118L                                                   (MOSES CORRETTE: 415/558-6295)

301 GEARY STREET aka 247 POWELL STREET, on the southwest corner of Geary and Powell Streets, Assessor's Block 0315, Lot 001.  Consideration to initiate Landmark designation for the Gold Dust Lounge - This item was calendared at the HPC’s request following public comment at the Commission's regularly scheduled hearing on February 1, 2012.   It is a consideration of initiation of the Gold Dust Lounge as an individual Article 10 Landmark and Departmental review of a case report/application submitted by a member of the public.

(Continued from February 15, 2012 and March 21, 2012 hearings.)

NOTE: On March 21, 2012, following public testimony, the Commission closed public hearing and the following took place:  1)  motion to continue to 4/18/12 with suggested new/different considerations failed on a tie vote of +3 -3 (commissioners Hasz, Johns, & Chase voted against); 2 motion to disapprove initiation of landmark designation failed on a tie vote of +3 -3 ( commissioners Martinez, Matsuda, & Damkroger voted against; and 3) a motion to keep the PH closed and continue the item to 4/4/12 to allow the absent commissioner the opportunity to participate in the final action of the proposal to disapprove initiation of landmark designation passed (+5 -1) Martinez voted against and Wolfram was absent.  Commissioner Wolfram, as the absent commissioner, will be allowed the opportunity to participate in the final action.

ACTION:        Motion to disapprove landmark initiation for Gold Dust Lounge

AYES:             Hasz, Johns, Wolfram, Damkroger, and Chase

NAYS:            Martinez and Matsuda

MOTION:       M0152

NOTE:            Commissioner Martinez proposed and Vice President Damkroger agreed to assist in writing a letter from the Historic Preservation Commission to the Board of Supervisor to explain why the majority of the commissioners felt that the Gold Dust Lounge didn’t meet the criteria as outlined in the case report and to also express the Commission’s opinion that the Lounge is a valuable operating bar, a cultural institution, and an asset to the cultural life of San Francisco.

SPEAKERS in favor of sending a letter to BOS:

Mario Benfield, Catherine Hill, Letty [Liechfield], [Unannounced Speaker], Stefan Costolado, John [Murray], Dawn [Vechicalupe]

SPEAKERS in opposition of send a letter to BOS:

Merv Silverberg

ACTION:        Motion to send a letter to BOS was approved.

AYES:             Hasz, Johns, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Damkroger, Chase

MOTION:       L0012


7.         2012.0179U                                                     (RICHARD SUCRE:  415/575-9108)

527 7TH STREET, located on the west side of 7th Street, Assessor’s 3780, Lot 004F.  Request for Review and Comment on the nomination of the subject property to the California Register of Historical Resources. The subject property is located within the UMU (Urban Mixed Use) Zoning District, Showplace Square Special Sign District, and a 68-X Height and Bulk Limit.

Recommendation: Send resolution of findings to the Office of Historic Preservation recommending approval of the nomination of the subject property to the California Register of Historical Resources.

PRESENTER:   Nancy Goldenberg with Carey and Company


ACTION:        Approved per staff recommendation

AYES:             Hasz, Johns, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Damkroger, Chase

MOTION:       R674

NOTE: For Items 8a & 8b, President Chase considered a request by a member of the public, and decided to hear and take public comments on both items together.

8a.       2011.0420A                                                     (RICHARD SUCRE:  415/575-9108)

VETERANS BUILDING, 401 VAN NESS AVENUE, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue, Assessor’s 0786A, Lot 001.  Request for a Certificate of Appropriateness for exterior alterations including, but not limited to: rehabilitation/repair of the existing steel-sash windows; replacement of the roof membrane, roof panels, and mansard roof; replacement of the existing skylights; repair of terracotta architectural elements; and installation of new rooftop equipment. The subject property is Landmark No. 84 and is also a contributor to the Civic Center Historic District. It is located within a P (Public) Zoning District, the Civic Center Special Sign District, and a OS/96-X Height and Bulk Limit.

Preliminary Recommendation:  Approval with Conditions

8b.       2011.0420U                                                     (RICHARD SUCRE:  415/575-9108)

VETERANS BUILDING, 401 VAN NESS AVENUE, located on the southwest corner of McAllister Street and Van Ness Avenue, Assessor’s 0786A, Lot 001.  Request for Review and Comment, pursuant to Article 10, Appendix J, Section 8 of the Planning Code, on the interior alterations associated with the proposed project. The proposed project consists of exterior and interior alterations, including a seismic upgrade, facility modernization improvements, accessibility improvements, upgrades to the Herbst Theater, reorganization of existing offices and meeting rooms on each floor, and renovation of the fourth floor to accommodate the San Francisco Opera.  Proposed exterior work is subject to Historic Preservation Commission Review and Approval under Case No. 2011.00420A. The subject property is Landmark No. 84 and is also a contributor to the Civic Center Historic District. It is located within a P (Public) Zoning District, the Civic Center Special Sign District, and a OS/96-X Height and Bulk Limit.

Recommendation: The Historic Preservation Commission may draft comments to the San Francisco War Memorial Trust regarding the proposed project’s interior alterations.

PRESENTER:   Tara Lamont, DPW Project Manager for Veterans Building Seismic Upgrade and Improvements Project, provided an overview of the project; Nancy Goldenberg addressed how the project complied with the Secretary of Interior Standards.

SPEAKERS:  Jerome Sapiro, represented himself, the American Legion War Memorial Commission and America Legion Post 333, addressed these issues: 1) the lack of notice. It was not mailed to the American Legion Post or the War Memorial Commission; 2) stated the Post is the only beneficiary owner of the Veterans Building and the Building is subject to a trust.  The City holds title subject to that Trust; 3) objected to the inclusion of seismic upgrades and interior alteration in Item 8a which is proposed for exterior work; 4) asked to delete from the case report all reference made on Pages 2 – 3 in Item 8a; 5) provided the Commission a copy of the Trust [Agreement]; and 6) requested that the sponsors obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A) for work proposed as major alteration in Item 8b; Paul Cox, Civil Engineer, Members of Post 315 and the War Memorial Commission of the Veterans Building, stated that the proposed design reduces the veterans’ space in the Building from 17% to 10%; asked HPC to consider the needs of returning veterans in the future; and requested HPC consider a C of A for Item 8b; Nelson Lum, Chair of the American Legion War Memorial Commission, explained why the veterans spaces were under-utilized; asked the HPC to deny C of A for the exterior work until a C of A for interior work is applied; and delete from the case report all reference made on Pages 2 – 3 for interior and seismic work in Item 8a; Alexandria Crichlow, Member with several Veteran Organizations, American Legion Commission with Veteran Affairs for City and County of San Francisco, and is a Veteran of the United Air Force, stated that the Legion has used the space for various functions that helped veterans, and would utilize it more in the future.   She urged the HPC to continue the Items until the veterans’ voices could be heard; Merv Silverberg expressed the needs of veterans when they return; urged the HPC to support the voices they heard today; and reminded the HPC that the Building was designated back to the 1st World War in 1919; Commander Mario Benfield, Commander of the American Legion in San Francisco, the 8th District, stated the building is a sacred place.  Veterans from WWI, II, and the Korean War had walked down the halls.  It is important not only to the veterans but to families and children to go there. He said the Veterans’ Building needs restoration and retrofit but the [sponsor] needs to work with the veterans and their desire for future generation of veterans who are returning from the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars; Michael [LaVingh] was not a veteran but encouraged the HPC to take careful consideration of all the comments by Commander Benfield; Beth Murray, Managing Director of the War Memorial Department and reports to the War Memorial Board of Trustees; 1)  stated that the notice was posted in the poster case at the office of the American Legion; 2) gave a brief history of the Trust Agreement and stated that there are three trust beneficiaries – the American Legion Posts, the Museum of Modern Art, and the SF Symphony; and 3) addressed the space allocation for the veterans; Gene Morris, Veteran in the City, suggested the approach [proposed design] is to reduce the veterans use of the Veterans Building; Leo Madrid, Artist, believed the future of the Veterans Building is both the veterans and the arts community working together; Rob Veldsquez, referred the HPC to the January 12, 1933 City Attorney Opinion No. 33-651 and made quotations; Roger Dong, 4th Generation San Franciscan, 32 year veteran, and past Chairman of the War Memorial Commission, stated the Veteran Building now houses the Veterans Resource Center and the Veterans Media Center to provide transition assistance to returning veterans, and anticipating others from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  He asked the HPC to take into consideration that the American Legion serves the veterans and would work harder in the future.

ACTION:        Continued to June 6, 2012 with public hearing remaining open.  The Commission requested staff to provide a flowchart/summary of the ownership, beneficiaries, and trustees of the Trust Agreement; information on the applicant; and to explain whether a C of A for the interior is appropriate.

AYES:             Hasz, Johns, Martinez, Matsuda, Wolfram, Damkroger, Chase

NOTE:            Commissioner Hasz reminded everyone that the Commission’s scope was about the remodel.   President Chase added that this Commission was about the physical character and the effects on historic resources and it was not a judicator of utilization of the facility.  He reminded the parties who are involved to present facts that would enable the Commission to render an objective opinion.


The minutes was proposed for adoption at the Regular Meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

ACTION:           Approved

AYES:              Hasz, Johns, Matsuda, Wolfram, Damkroger, Chase

ABSENT           Martinez

Last updated: 5/3/2012 2:47:57 PM