tv [untitled] November 2, 2010 9:30am-10:00am PST
very soon under the care of my canaan ecovered very soon under the care of my canaan lutheran church. it's been eight years since then and i'm very healthy now. i go to our church four times a week, including the sunday service, sunday worship and the prayers because these are the times i meet my god face to face. i visit those who are in need once a week and pray for them because i believe that we'll actually help. on saturday i often help the garage sales to raise the funds to build our new church. i fully support our church and i hope i can see our church moved in the new building in my life time. thank you. commissioner sugaya: thank you. charles wong, benita hu.
>> hello, commissioners. my name is charles long. i've come to the united states nine years ago from hong kong, china as a nonbeliever. i live two blocks away from 495 anza street, the site -- the site of the church and where canaan lutheran just resided for the past decade. recently they have reached out to the community and i become a beneficiary to the involvement in the chinese population. eventually i have had the chance to grow up in gospel and i am now an active member to canaan lutheran church and i have my contribution in my church and i'm trying to pass it onto the
community. i'm sure my background and experience can inspire and encourage loss of newly emigrated youth and families. with the building of our own chinese ministry, our work can become more organized, the effectiveness of our missionarry would be maximized and the most importantly, all of our brothers and sisters in god will receive a stronger sense of belonging to our spiritual family. as the mentor and committee to our youth fellowship, i try to provide positive influences to teenagers and youth in my community, and i strive to use my stories, what i've gone through and what god has given me as a tool to bring god's work to whomever needs it. i strongly believe that our existence means to the community as much as we need our new church building, and i urge you to consider on approving our project. thank you. commissioner sugaya: thank you.
>> i'm here to read his testimony. i came to san francisco in 2001 by myself from china. i had a liver transplant two years ago due to liver cancer. although i walk through the valley of death, god is there for me. in times when i was hospitalized , brothers and sisters at the church come pray for me and help me, and then i was back at home and they come and help me on my daily chores. the pastor always comes to pray for me and encourages me because i'm here all by myself.
i really think these encouragements help me a lot. i realize the importance -- i realize how important the church life is for me, and i really hope that i can see a new church is going to be built as soon as possible. thanks. commissioner sugaya: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i'm the secretary and member of canaan lutheran church. i'm here to make a public comment on this item on behalf of the benita hu, who is unable to come due to time conflict. aim a 12th grader at george washington high school and i have been to canaan lutheran church since eighth grade. i go to this church every
saturday from 4:00 to 6:00 to learn mearge and help other students from grades four through eight in their homework. i also come to get help on my homework for school by our tutor, mr. chan, a member of canaan lutheran church. during the school time, there are many students that come to get help on their homework for school that needs to be turned in by monday. others come to get worksheets done that would greatly help them prepare for school. even during the summer, many students return to a lot of math that will surely prepare them for their n-students return to h that will surely prepare them for their next school year. my first subject was math but by going to tutor class each saturday to get help, it has improved my math skills and has helped me throughout high school. by building canaan's own church, we would have more room for the students who come to learn math for those that need help. our time when learning math also overlaps the time of the fellowship at 5:00 p.m.
with the many kinds of parties that occur in different rooms and basketball games that happen in the gym, it's hard for the fellowship group to find a quiet room. therefore, with the house converted into a church, it would provide foreroom for the fellowship group. thank you. commissioner sugaya: thank you. >> i was raised by my foster parents in china and came to the united states with my family at the age of 10. before coming to canaan lutheran church, i always felt lonely. sometimes i even had suicidal thoughts and there were occasional times when my wrists were injured. they helped me and introduced me to a doctor. after that i went to canaan and started to hear about god's words and gospel.
gradually god changed my attitude on life and society and helped me find a way when i was lost. it was the first time in my life that i felt warm and being cared for. now i know how to love and treat people around me and deal with everything that happened to me. i would never feel this happy in my life if i had not been to canaan at that time. now i attend youth fellowship every saturday and worship every sunday because i can always find some answers to my life each time i come here. the brothers and sisters in our church feel like the family i never had. i can talk to them about everything and they helped me find my true volume in this room. i love canaan and i love my church to have its own building forever. thank you. commissioner sugaya: thank you.
>> good afternoon, i'm jenny chang. 25 years ago i came to san francisco as a single mother with my two young children. i live on the field route away from canaan lutheran church so i sought to attend church worship but they helped me send my kids to the mother church school, the lutheran school. now both of my children have their own families and i live all by myself, but i still have my brother and sister in our church, canaan lutheran. they are like my family who keep
me company and i can feel free to share my life with because of them. i never feel lonely again. the church has made a lot and it's now a part of my life. i hope our church -- our new church building plans will get passed and we can worship in our new church in the near future. thank you very much. commissioner sugaya: thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i came to the states two years ago all by myself as an international student. now i am a member of canaan lutheran church. since then the church has become my new family in this continent. i was confused and afraid when i
was first came to the united states at age of 20. then my church helped me in both physical and spiritual ways. i began to feel warm and safe being a member of our church fellowship. god has provided me this church in which i can grow and build my perspective in christ, which was one of the most wonderful gifts god has ever given to me. god once said, for i know the plans i have for you, plans to prosper you and to home you, plans to give you hope and future. i need this community as a baby needs his family, and i wish god can also provide our church a larger place for us to share our worship in together so that the community can be there forever and they spread more and more of god's will. thank you very much. commissioner sugaya: thank you.
>> i came to the canaan lutheran church, when he my family first came to america, we relocated to san francisco. since my mother could not get a job in las vegas. i was then introduced to canaan lutheran church by my mother's colleague. i have never had a chance to know about jesus christ until i attended a sunday service at canaan lutheran
church. i have decided to follow the steps of jesus and spread his word to the world. people in my church care about me and encourage me to do what is good. i have focused on my schooling. i love my church and hope to see
my church in its own new building in the near future. thank you very much. commissioner sugaya: thank you. >> ladies and gentlemen, my name is henry chan. i'm the chairman of the canaan lutheran church. our ministry already in here on this location at the corner of ninth avenue and anza street for more than 40 years. in all of these years we have never received
any complaints from the neighbors about parking, noise or cause any disturbance. all proposed project f. approved, will not cause or increase any of these problems. the conversion of the building next to it will only give us more convenience and allow us more spaces to carry out our
various programs. such as class to appear for the citizenship, help in class, math and english class for the stuventes, particularly for the newcomers. these classes are all offered free. and we not only benefit our congregation but the community as well. for the last 15 years we have kept looking for a place to build our spiritual home. we have tried several attempts to purchase a property but all failed. about ten years ago we successfully purchased a property which used to % property which used to be the theater that is located at the corner of 25th avenue in the richmond district. we wait patiently for the lease to expire -- to come to expire
in five years. at the end of five years, when the lease expires, to our surprise we could not take possession of our property because the owner of the theater refused to give back the property and the community supported him. the reason was at that time there was only two one-screen theaters left in the district and the community wished to keep it. because if it's gone, there will be only one such because if it's gone, there will be only one such theater left in the richmond district. we finally saw our dream broken. our long awaited years gone in vain. financially we lost thousands of dollars. even if we can locate another similar property after seven or eight years, the price will be
much higher than before. we suffer and sacrifice this all for the community. now, we purchase this property 1814, 1816 anza street. this is our new home. though much smaller property than the theater but the location suits us and it is the only place we can afford. we humbly and respectfully request the san francisco planning department grant us permission to go with our friends for the sake of god. thank you and may god bless you. commissioner sugaya: thank you. pastor eric bochas. >> hi, good evening. my name is pastor eric. i'm the pastor and school
superintendent for zion lutheran school that you heard so much about where canaan is currently worshiping. there are a couple of things i would like to point out to you as commissioners. there are some things that were pointed out originally in the basis for the current recommendation but the project would remove two residential units subject to the rent stabilization and arbitration ordinance that may be according to the ordinance but i would also like to point out to you that this property was vacant two years prior to canaan purchasing it and unless i'm mistaken, and this is not to cause argument or frustration, but canaan currently owns this property, so if they chose to use it as box storage, they could. am i mistaken in that? and --
[ [inaudible] ] so if that is the case since they currently own that property and it was vacant6 c1 they currently own that property and it was vacant two years prior, one of the concerns is that it's going to be remove two residential units. i don't believe that that's the case. also the proposed project is in conflict with the city's desire to maintain sound, existing housing. again, it speaks to that. housing two churches directly adjacent to one another would create a traffic problem. these two churches have been housed with each other for the past 42 years and no one has complained about traffic or noise on either counts. so it seems that for them to move some or all even into the future of their use of their space or their time as it is related to their church service or any of their tutoring programs or their community
outreach, we just spread it out on ninth and anza and give them more availability for that -- for that option. currently it is impacting what zion is able to do in our own facility because we do have a school there. although we are working together with our time that we both have service, as well as the parking situation is being coped with. i also want to point out that in the back of the booklet that you were probably provided with the order of speakers for canaan church, that currently on average they have 64 members that are in attendance. and 40 of those members are not in need of any parking at all, leaving 24 members that would be in need of parking. again, the ordinance states, as i heard the first speaker say, that there's only a need for parking if you have 200, and we
don't have that. thank you very much. commissioner sugaya: is there additional public comment on this item? >> good evening commission president miguel and members of the commission. my name is albert chan. my family owns the building next door to the subject property for about 40 years and i lived there for about 20 years. i have great respect for pastor tim, whose congregation and devotion to their religion and their community. but i echo mr. store's concerns around the infrastructural impact to the neighborhood. respectfully i have made some complaints, though not to the level of the city regarding the traffic and parking and noise to both zion and to both -- and canaan lutheran churches. i have -- but that's not the majority of my concern.
again, i respect their need to congregate and i think their bible study and other community services are valuable to the community, but what we're talking about is adding 120 venue -- seat venues with amplified sound in an existing residential neighborhood right next to my bedroom. it's already a very busy neighborhood street, and i've seen zion lutheran church grow for the last three decades of my life. most impactfully the building of their gym, which despite as many reassurances as possible, it's just veryc1 reassurances as possible, it's just very difficult to create a congregation for hundreds that has very little impact on noise to the surrounding residents. those at the south side of the block already have to know hear
the congregation of children early in the morning, which as a pediatrician i'm completely fine with. but, again, if you build it, they will come. i think what the planning commission will need to take into account is not only the needs of the current, very quiet, respectful congregation of the canaan lutheran church but what the future generations and future occupiers might be doing with that 120-seat venue with amplified sound. please if you will consider these bullet points, i invite any questions should any member of the commission which to hear more of a personal account of what life on the southeast -- southeast side of ninth and anza is like. thank you very much. president miguel: thank you. is there additional public comment on this item? if not,
thank you very much. president miguel: thank you. is there additional public comment on this item? if not, public comment is closed. commissioner? >> i might be wrong. it could be we have seen the architect before but something tells me we've seen projects from this congregation before here. and i think that though probably what i would -- i don't know how to get around this because it sounds like a wonderful congregation. you have some incredible stories, you know, we admire really a lot of the stories that i hear today and -- but it just, you know, this is really in violation of the intention of the planning code and don't think we can make any exceptions to this. even despite the wonderful stories and -- that i'm hearing about the congregation. i wonder if there's a way -- if there's a need to expand this institution, if the planning department might crs working with -- i believe it's
supervisor mahr to look for some kind of ways that are within the intention of the planning code to help this congregation expand because i know we've seen some of project proposals in the past, i believe, that were met with a lot of challenges from this commission, i think, because of, you know, the design and other impacts of the project. so i think there has to be a way that the city can sort of look at some reasonable ways of resolving these -- the issues of the congregation and the expansion of the congregation and that it fall within the code and attention of the planning code. because, you know, this recently we've heard some projects where -- mine it seems the intend i know the board of supervisors has been very much in favor of preserving rent-controlled housing because housing is built after '79, then it's no longer subject to rent control.
there's a real strong commitment on the part of the city to maintain this housing and so i know that this contradiction of that, i just wonder if there's any way of looking for solutions of working with the supervisor to try to come up with some kind of reasonable solution. >> commissioner, i was going to subject that we -- given there has been i know some frustration over finding an appropriate location, i think we would be more than happy to meet with the project sponsor before they purchase property so that we can guide them where an appropriate location might be. i think the challenge has been that they have chosen to buy property before coming to us so it's been a challenge that way. if we can try to have that discussion before you make acquisition decisions, i think that would be a big help to both of us and try to guide you in that direction. but i would be happy to have staff meet with you and talk about that. >> i currently support the recommendation of staff for the
reasons stated in the staff report, you know. sflm commissioner antonini? >> i too, am sympathetic and it's important you find a place but i don't think this is the right place and hopefully by working with the staff, they can locate a site for you and there are a lot of vacant store fronts there and that are commercially zoned or perhaps even older churches that are sometimes vacant and might be interested in, you know, selling. and you have a valuable piece of property there. you've got a couple of units and i think you can certainly realize funds out of those to be able to, you know, buy another place that would be more suitable under the code. so i think that might be the way to do it. i agree with staff recommendation. president miguel: commissioner borden? commb i just want to reiterate what my other colleagues said and encourage you to work with
the city and staff. it sounds like you have an amazing congregation and i understand your desire to have your own space and, you know, fully support that effort. but i think that it's pretty clear under the planning code and under, you know, our priority principles related to rent-controlled housing, and this is a 1915 building if i'm not mistaken, that this isn't the right place for this, even absent the housing issue. and also i've been noticing that there's a lot of vacancies along clement street and california street and within the richmond district. i'm sure it would seem there might be something you could find in fairly close proximity that might be available as commissioner antonini said is a commercial space or even a church. we've seen a lot of churches looking to have dwindling congregations that are trying to figure out what they can do with their buildings.
i know maybe there's not one in the richmond district but something just to consider there. this is not at all opposition to your congregation having a space or being independent but it's really just an issue of, you know, the priority principles and policies that this commission must uphold for the city and then overall respect for the neighborhood and the impact from them. so, you know, we apologize but i also do agree with staff recommendations. president miguel: commissioner moore? >> i appreciate the staff's thoughtful analysis and comments made by the commissioners. i think we all feel that this particular church and this growth needs support except the support does not come by us doing what which we really can't do. the recommendation to us comes from the law in anticipation of the development rules which govern the city. what i would suggest, and that is within support of what all commissioners are saying, to work with the supervisor, we find ourselves with access to
church properties, vacant properties we're struggling with to maintain and there's no taker for one either remission them or use them for their intended purpose. i can only remember the church in my own neighbor, clay and larkin. very beautiful building. that might be too far away but the city has many church properties which are underutilized or in the process of being abandonned. so i would look for everybody to help identify those properties and help this congregation to find an alternative location. >> absolutely. i think the testimony regarding the community itself was wonderful and greatly appreciated. my own congregation started out in shared space twice, and then bought a church building that congregation had left, which
later proved too small and then took over a commercial space and redid it into our present congregation. so this is the natural progression that happens all the time. i appreciate the director's comments on checking with the department prior to purchasing any properties . i was dismayed when i saw the fact that they purchased the property because i don't know if their architect was on board at that time but certainly any practicing architect in san francisco would have known of this problem. and i feel bad that they were not advised that this is a very, very major problem in the city. >> move to dace prove. >> second.
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