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

March 1, 2012

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Meeting Minutes

Commission Chambers - Room 400

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Thursday, March 1, 2012

12:00 PM

Regular Meeting

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:  Miguel, Antonini, Borden, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Wu




STAFF IN ATTENDANCE:  John Rahaim – Director of Planning, Scott Sanchez - Zoning Administrator, Aaron Starr, David Winslow, Rick Crawford, 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.         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:

Some information in the news, some good, some are not as good. But those who know the San Francisco Business Times, it verified what most of us have known for a while, and that is that the stock of vacant condos needed to be sold has fallen drastically. That is good news because there are not too many of these buildings that have a significant number of condo units that are available. We know of one project that is ready to move forward soon that we just approved, or basically just reviewed the design at 201 Folsom.  There are others that I am hopeful will move forward soon. Another piece of news was in the San Francisco Business Times – not in the Times but rather, I believe was in The Examiner, a Business Times survey, Chamber of Commerce Survey, that asked people about how [what] they felt about what was going on in San Francisco. The good news is that a much larger number felt this year that we were moving in the right direction. The bad news was that a larger number felt the quality of life was failing in San Francisco - sort of a dichotomy of opinions. But part of it may have its origin in the fact that they felt the number one problem facing San Francisco was homelessness, followed quickly behind were the economy and jobs. Perhaps that explains to some degree the differentiation of opinions. They also favored, by a large margin, real runoff elections as opposed to ranked choice. Almost no one in the survey had an interest in raising any new taxes in almost any form, and that is an important thing to keep in mind. As we look forward for ways to make capital improvements in San Francisco, I think we have to be realistic and acknowledge the fact that while there appears to be a small interest in traditional means of financing, we probably have to look for public-private financing, or in-kind ways to finance capital improvements. This may be the method of the future to be able to do this, especially with the end of redevelopment. This is going to have to be something we look increasingly at. Also, especially in terms of housing, I do not think we are going to be able to find funds for in the vast public expenditures for housing. And I think we're going to have to find ways to incentivize builders to be able to build these. Perhaps some housing might need some funds to be set aside for the housing at the lowest income level that might not be feasible to build even with incentives, but building a lot of middle and upper-income housing, I think there are ways we can find to fund that. Finally, in terms of the whole idea of the public-private partnerships, and in-kind, and benefits given in return for creating public good, I think as commissioners and as public officials, we always have to look at decisions based upon the greatest good for the greatest number. I mean obviously we always have to weigh neighborhood interests, certain interests that are very important interests and our decisions against what benefits the greatest number and benefits the City the most. Those are always difficult choices to make, but I think it is important that we be able to make those decisions and try to look at what benefits the greatest number when we make our choice.

Commissioner Miguel:

The articles in the papers this week have been very interesting. There was also the announcement regarding the Grand Theater at Mid-Market. Many projects that affect Mid-Market and its revitalization have been before us, and I think this is a very, very positive sign with A.C.T. coming in with a small theater with food service in the lobby.  There was also a very interesting article by John King regarding the about to be 10th and Market configuration.  There was a very good noontime forum at SPUR that was extremely timely this week regarding redevelopment. Fred Blackwell and Tiffany Bohee were in conversation. This was not the usual PowerPoint presentation. This was an actual conversation with questions and answers regarding redevelopment. Fred Blackwell did a beautiful job of contrasting Oakland and San Francisco, and there are vast differences. There were a few things I was not aware of: There have been about 400 redevelopment districts in the State, 70 alone in Los Angeles County, if you can imagine that. If you think we have got a lot to deal with, they are very confused down south as far as I can tell. There were comments regarding infrastructure, finance districts, alternative means, and no solutions necessarily in sight at this time. It was very, very well done. I just want to mention to anyone who would like to be involved in the re-districting of San Francisco's Supervisor districts, the deadline for submissions is tomorrow. There is a very excellent interactive website, by the way, if you get on there.  I had a comment come to me by a very active and interested member of the public that actually had not come to mind before, so I do not know, but I will direct this more to John. We approve EIR's and they have mitigations in them. The question was, does anyone monitor, I presume, whether those mitigations are actually taking place and are there any reports? Since we are the ones who are passing on this, if we had a report back – you know, is it 99% done? Is a 50% done?  Or whatever -- but it is something that once we get through it, it is out of our mind again. I think we owe it to ourselves and the public to have some type of report on that.

Commissioner Borden:

I just wanted to announce that I am actually on the Board of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. Tomorrow, on Union Square, from 11:00 A.M., to 2:00 P.M., is a game on Pep Rally.  This is year two of a four-year initiative called Ready Neighborhoods. We're focusing on the most vulnerable communities around the bay area and getting them prepared. Chinatown and Bayview Hunters Point have been part of this initiative. The event tomorrow will have Mayors, Fire, and Police Chiefs from around the Bay Area and there will be free disaster preparedness training and disaster starter kits will be available there. Anyone who wants to get prepared; be informed; and make a plan, tomorrow is your free opportunity to do that in Union Square.  You cannot miss it. It is in the clear tent that is on top of the square.




Commissioner Moore:

I wanted to remind everybody that this weekend is the first of five or six open streets in San Francisco on The Embarcadero. I hope the weather is good, because it will be very interesting to do that at this   particular time with so many new things coming up regarding streets and bicycling. I want to put a plug in for SPUR. On Tuesday they held a meeting on bicycling in the Peninsula. SPUR is looking more at regional issues of transportation and connectedness. That comes in handy for us when we're looking at intensification of housing.  With the new office for a SPUR in San Jose, we will have more of an ability to weigh in on issues which are local but also equally as important, on the regional scale. I am not saying anything new. But, I have to say this because I was shocked to read the paper that Salesforce has disappeared. I remember us two weeks ago with big smiles and a lot of encouragement from the applicant anticipating that this project would really be a fantastic opportunity for the City. When the article came in at first I thought I was not reading it correctly. I made a couple of phone calls, only to hear that it, indeed, was, as far as we know, real. I assume we will pick it up later. But it was a huge shock. I hope we will find something else which will take its place very soon.

Commissioner Sugaya:

I was going to comment on Commissioner Miguel’s mitigation monitoring.  I think monitoring is really hit and miss [and] all over the place and it really depends on the staff of the department.  I would give you an example, but there is a conflict of interest and I can’t talk about it.

Commissioner Moore:  

I felt that the Ethics and Sunshine Training was actually good. It was straight and to the point. I appreciate that it was held. There were parts of it which I was not quite sure why we had to listen to, but that is an altogether other question. I will ask our attorney about that later. It was otherwise a very good meeting.

Commissioner Fong:

There were two functions I attended this week that I thought were relevant to this Commission. The first one was the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, which was focused of course on growth in San Francisco. In particular, this breakfast focus was on tech growth and the numbers of people these companies are looking to hire to bring into San Francisco. What struck me was the fact that in their hiring of intelligent, imaginative people with ingenuity, part of that hiring allure is the lifestyle of San Francisco. Beyond just housing, schools, parks, athletics -- whatever it is, it all comes together. This Commission is one where we have the opportunity to touch a lot of that and affect the life styles. I also went to an event last night called the California Music and Culture Association, which was very interesting – a collective of entertainment venues, mostly after dark, evening entertainment venues.  This is a brand new association that has come together. It really shed some light on San Francisco and the opportunity for evening entertainment and business socialization to round out activities in the City. I rarely make mention of activities of that nature, but I thought they were relevant this week.

Commissioner Sugaya:  

Following the President's comments, there was an article in The Chronicle or the Business Times about a firm moving from Emeryville to San Francisco.  One of the reasons was that the engineers and people he was looking to hire and already had on staff were living in San Francisco or would like to live in San Francisco; and also that the talent pool, he thought, from the Peninsula was greater than the East Bay; and it was easier for people to commute back and forth.  I thought that was interesting.

Commissioner Antonini:  

I should have weighed in earlier on the Salesforce issue. It is not entirely bad news. As we know from reading, it has been verified that they have a rapidly growing work force, and almost all of them are going to be working within San Francisco. It would appear that a lot of their work force is able to conduct their business in a more traditional style of building as we have in our downtown area, which probably may be working very well for them, but there will be someone else, I am sure, who will be able to take advantage of the great site in Mission Bay. So it may work out in the long run to be a very good development.

Commissioner Wu:  

I also wanted to comment on some of the activities happening at SPUR. On Tuesday, unfortunately I missed the Ethics Training but will be watching that CD very studiously. SPUR did a joint planning process around Stockton Street. It included pedestrian safety issues. I think it was a great community planning meeting to link transportation, housing, open space, all of the different elements of what really makes this trade vibrant but also makes it challenging. -- makes that street vibrant but also makes it challenging.




2.             Director’s Announcements


Director Rahaim:

A few announcements:  I do want to introduce an intern visiting with us this week. She is a planning intern at the University of Michigan. Her name is Chaerin Jin. They have a program where they spend their spring break visiting planning agencies in other cities. She is attending today's meeting. She has attended other meetings in the Department and will be headed back to Ann Arbor over the weekend. It has been a pleasure to have her here.  The next meeting on the work in the Central Corridor for the fourth straight quarter is Tuesday at SPUR, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. We will be talking about some recent proposals there and also talking about some of the ideas that we developed working with the PUC and the Department of the Environment on creating an eco-district along that corridor, which I think is very interesting as well. Third, I wanted to announce that a couple of hours ago I was sworn in, along with 30 other people to various commissions; but I was sworn in as well as six others for the Oversight Board to the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency. I still do not know what the name is. That is quite a mouthful.
So we will be meeting for the first time on Tuesday at 3:00 P.M. down the hall in room 416 and we will be taking up a number of -- our initial growing pains, if you will, as we get started as an organization. Finally, in your packet, which I think you already have for next week or part of it, now that we have a Communications Manager on board, I have started a new procedure of actually giving you a written director’s report to give you an update on some of the activities in the Department. I have asked Joanna to do that every other week. I will still be giving a verbal report like this, but this gives you a little more information and it is given to you in writing. We thought that was a great way of letting you know and the public know about some of the actions in the department. That concludes my report, unless there are questions.  Thank you.


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



·         Car-Sale or rental in NC-S District.  This Ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Elsbernd, would allow this use in the Neighborhood Commercial Shopping District by CU.  Last week this Commission recommended approval of the Ordinance.  This week the LU Committee reviewed the Ordinance and also recommended approval to the Full Board.

·         Student Housing. This Ordinance, sponsored by the Planning Commission, would create a land use definition for student housing and develop controls to regulate this new use throughout the city.   Supervisor Wiener has signed on to the Ordinance as the Board Sponsor.  The Supervisor is considering amendments to the Ordinance which are still in-progress.  Depending on the scope of the proposed amendments, the City Attorney may advise that the Planning Commission re-review the Ordinance with the amendments.  For this reason, the item was continued to the Monday, March 26th Land Use hearing.

Issues of concern include:

·         Whether or not the conversion of housing to student housing should be prohibited – as recommended by this commission – or allowed by CU;

·         If the Commission recommendation for existing housing is maintained, should there be exemptions from the prohibition of converting existing housing to student housing such as 1) for certain institutions and/or 2) on those lots owned by existing educational institutions for 10 or more years.

·         How this new use should be treated in specific areas within the Eastern Neighborhoods which do not currently allow housing; and

·         Whether Student Housing should be exempted from FAR in the C3 district.

Supervisor Wiener encouraged interested parties to contact him with their thoughts prior to the next hearing at Land Use on or after March 26.

·         Public Art Fee.  This Ordinance is sponsored by May-or Lee and Board President Chiu.  It would amend the public art requirement to allow certain projects to pay into a new fund instead of providing on-site art.  The Planning Commission considered the ordinance on October 27.  At that time you made a number of recommendations which could be summarized into three issues: 

1.     Ensuring the continued production of permanent, monumental art is balanced with the new possibility of ephemeral art.

2.     Updating the requirement so that it applies to all large development, not just that within the C-3.

3.     Ensuring that public open spaces are activated and identified as public with physical works of art.

Since the Commission action, the Board President and the Mayor’s Office have conducted further outreach with interested parties and developers.  The Ordinance has been amended a couple of times to address the Commission’s concerns. The primary outstanding topic is how the requirement should be expanded beyond the C-3 district.  This week Supervisor Chiu introduced amendments that would apply the requirement to projects over 25sf in the districts shown in this map. With those amendments, the item was continued one week.



·         Balboa Park CAC.  The Board heard a resolution establishing a Balboa Park Station Area Plan Community Advisory Committee or CAC.  This CAC would  provide input and community oversight for transportation and other public improvements in the area.  During the hearing on Tuesday, the resolution was approved with one amendment. As approved, the CAC shall sunset two years after the date of the first meeting, unless the Board of Supervisors the CAC. 

·         Extension Resolution.  The Board approved Supervisor Chiu’s third resolution extending the Commission’s time period for review of the two Ordinances on your calendar for later today.  This extension provides a 30-day extension, legislating that the new deadline for action is next Friday, March 9.


·         120193 Public Works Code Ordinance. Amending the PW Code to modify the permissible distance between mobile food facilities and schools. Wiener & Olague.  While this Ordinance is not currently scheduled for a specific discussion before this commission, it will be discussed in the context of a related Ordinance.  On April 10, we have advertised a hearing for you to consider an Ordinance amending the Planning Code.  This Ordinance would allow mobile food facilities at certain types of institutions in RH, RM, RED, and RTO Districts under certain conditions.

·         120188 Small Business Month - Fee Waiver Program.  This Ordinance would  recognize Small Business Month in May 2012 and amend Planning Code, and the San Francisco Business Code, to waive fees for the month of May for certain façade improvements;. Wiener


The Board of Appeals met last night. There are no appeals the planning-related actions. We have decreased the number of appeals to planning actions. There has been an increase of the appeals and other departmental actions. Appeals of DPW permits for wireless facilities and public rights of way, also for mobile facilities. Appeals of denial of two permits last night. The Department denied is based on grounds of food, a provision they have to consider. Finally, there is the first appeal of an injured in the commission permanent decision in quite awhile an appeal of an extended hours permits for 4649 Geary, which is the Jack In The Box. It prints a bleak permits extended our users. The Entertainment Commission has purview over extended hours. Even if there is no entertainment, and the Board of Appeals ultimately upheld the Commission's decision that required that there be a six- month report back to the Entertainment Commission so they can consider the effectiveness of the conditions of approval. There were several conditions added by the Entertainment Commission. One interesting fact that we found out last night, there are 120, approximately, extended hour permits in San Francisco. About 80% of those are food only. So we offer no entertainment. You mentioned about the late-night eating activities. That is all I have to report on that.


No Report




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:     Katherine Howard

                        Re: Water Treatment Facility in the western area of Golden Gate Park

                        Linda Chapman

                        Re: Conditional Uses with Alcohol Licenses




            4a.        2011.0532T                                                                    (A. STARR:  (415) 558-6362)        

Uses, Signs, Building Features, Floor Area Ratio, Parking, and Compliance in Specified Use Districts - The Commission will consider a proposed Ordinance [BF 110548] amending the San Francisco Planning Code by repealing Sections 136.2, 136.3, 158, 187, 249.15, 263.2, 263.3, 602.25, 602.26, 607.3 and 607.4 and amending various other Code sections to as well as additional recommendations by Planning staff.  Specifically, the proposed Ordinance would (1) increase the amount of principally permitted parking spaces for dwellings in RC-4 and C-3 Districts; (2) make off-street parking requirements in the Van Ness Special Use District and RC-3 Districts consistent with those of RC-4 Districts; (3) eliminate minimum parking requirements for the Chinatown Mixed Use Districts and North Beach Neighborhood Commercial Districts; (4) allow exceptions from required parking under specified circumstances; (5) amend the restrictions on off-street parking rates and extend them to additional zoning districts, (6) revise sign, awning, canopy and marquee controls in specified zoning districts; (7) increase the permitted use size for limited corner commercial uses in RTO and RM districts, and allow reactivation of lapsed limited commercial uses in R districts; (8) revise the boundaries of and modify parking and screening requirements in the Washington-Broadway and Waterfront Special Use Districts; (9) modify controls for uses and accessory uses in Commercial and Residential-Commercial Districts; (10) permit certain exceptions from exposure and open space requirements for historic buildings; and (11) modify conformity requirements in various use districts; adopting findings, including environmental findings, Section 302 findings, and findings of consistency with the General Plan and the Priority Policies of Planning Code Section 101.1.

(Continued from Regular Meeting of February 9, 2011)

                        NOTE: On October 20, 2011, although informational only and no action was required, the Commission continued this item to 12/15/11

NOTE: On December 15, 2011, following public testimony, the Commission continued the matter to 2/9/12 by a vote of (+7 -0).

NOTE: On February 9, 2012, following public testimony, the Commission continued the matter to 3/1/12 by a vote of (+6 -0).


SPEAKERS:     Hiroshi Fukuda and Caroline Gilbert

ACTION:           For Phase 1 (Clerical Modifications; TDRs; LCUs; Bike Parking; & Signs, Awnings, & Canopies):  approved as modified by staff & the Commission; for Phase 2 (Automotive Uses (except for clerical changes; Accessory Uses; LCCUs, Non-conforming Uses; Washington-Broadway SUDs; and Van Ness SUD):  without hearing, continued to 4/5/12; for Phase 3 (Various parking provisions; Open Space for commercial; Gross Floor Area; Floor Area Ratio (some in C-3 compromise); Streetscape Improvements; Transportation & Congestion Management provisions (except 155(g)); & Zoning Administrator:  without hearing, continued to 4/12/12

AYES:              Miguel, Antonini, Borden, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Wu

            RESOLUTION:   18553


            4b.       2011.0533Z                                                                       (A. STARR:  (415) 558-6362)        

Zoning Map Amendments – Washington-Broadway Special Use District 1; Waterfront Special Use District 2 and 3; Special Districts for Sign Illumination; and Special Districts for Scenic Streets - The Commission will consider a proposed Ordinance [BF 110547] introduced by Supervisor Chiu concerning Sheets SU01, SS01 and SS02 of the San Francisco Zoning Map as well as additional recommendations by Planning staff.  Specifically, the proposed Ordinance would amend the San Francisco Planning Code by 1) adding blocks and lots to the Washington-Broadway Special Use District 1; 2) adding blocks to the Waterfront Special Use District 2; 3) deleting blocks and add lots to the Waterfront Special Use District 3; 4) making the boundaries of the Special District for Sign Illumination on Broadway co-extensive with the Broadway Neighborhood Commercial District; 5) deleting the Van Ness Special District for Sign Illumination; and 6) adding The Embarcadero from Taylor Street to Second Street to the Special District for Scenic Streets; 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 101.1.

                        (Continued from Regular Meeting of February 9, 2011)

                        NOTE: On October 20, 2011, although informational only and no action was required, the Commission continued this item to 12/15/11

NOTE: On December 15, 2011, following public testimony, the Commission continued the matter to 2/9/12 by a vote of (+7 -0).

NOTE: On February 9, 2012, following public testimony, the Commission continued the matter to 3/1/12 by a vote of (+6 -0).


SPEAKERS:     Dean Hershell, Steve Rodgers, Jim Patrick, Mac Starri, Bruce Colender

ACTION:           Approved a motion to move forward the mapping of the Embarcadero series sign issues

AYES:              Miguel, Antonini, Borden, Sugaya, Wu

NAYES:            Moore  

RECUSED:       Fong



5.         2011.1423B                                                                      (D. Winslow:  415 575 9159)

SALESFORCE - east side of Third Street between South and 16th Streets; Lot 001 in Assessor’s Block 8722 - aka Mission Bay South Blocks 29-32 - Request for Allocation of Square Footage pursuant to Planning Code Sections 321 and 322 (the Annual Office Development Limitation Program). The proposed project is to construct four new 6 to10-story-over-basement buildings containing approximately 1,254,551 square feet of office uses, approximately 41,363 square feet of retail space, 6,000 square feet of childcare space, and 1,394 parking spaces. The project has an existing allocation for 1.1 million square feet of office, and is seeking an additional 154,551 square feet of allocation. The project site is located within the Commercial - Industrial-Retail (MISSION BAY SOUTH) Zoning District and HZ-5 Height and Bulk District. 

Preliminary Recommendation:  Approval


SPEAKERS:     None

ACTION:           Without hearing, continued indefinitely

AYES:              Miguel, Antonini, Borden, Fong, Moore, Sugaya, Wu



6.                     2011.0794D                                                                (R. CRAWFORD: (415) 558-6358)

70 SECOND STREET - west side between Market and Mission Streets; Lot 009 in Assessor’s Block 3707 - Mandatory Discretionary Review for a Medical Cannabis Dispensary, pursuant to Planning Code Section 217(k) of Building Permit Application No. 2011 0714 0239, proposing to develop a Medical Cannabis Dispensary (dba Seventy Second) on the ground floor of an existing building.  The building is listed as Category IV (Contributing) in Article 11 of the Planning Code, and is within the New Montgomery-Second Street Conservation District.  This project lies within a C-3-O (Downtown, Office) District, and within the 150-S Height and Bulk District. 

Preliminary Recommendation:  Take Discretionary Review and Approve the MCD with Conditions


SPEAKERS:     Steve Rodgers

ACTION:           Took DR and approved with conditions recommended by the staff and the Commission

AYES:              Miguel, Borden, Moore, Sugaya, Wu

NAYES:            Antonini and Fong

DRA #:             0263




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))




Adjournment: 3:25 PM


Adopted:  March 22, 2012        

Last updated: 5/11/2012 9:18:40 AM