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tv   [untitled]    May 5, 2011 9:00am-9:30am PDT

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>> second. >> ok. all in favor. motion to approve and a second by commissioner walker. commissioner walker: yes. >> any public comments? seeing none, all those in favor. >> aye. >> ok. opposed. the minutes from june 16, 2010. >> motion to approve. >> ok. >> public comment. no public comment. >> ok. all those in favor. >> aye. >> and the minutes from july 21, 2010. president lee: motion to approve. commissioner walker: same call. >> ok. public comments. all those in favor. aye. we may now move into item number d. new appeals.
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item, case number 6745. 557 howard street. owner is robert guggenheim. and the agent for the owner is robert noelke. the action requested by the appellant, the appellant has requested more time to comply and wants reduction of the investigation fee imposed for work without probable permit. the department will have seven minutes to present its case. then the appellant will have seven minutes. there will be discussion and then at the end we'll have three-minute rebuttals. >> good morning, commissioners. allen davidson, department of owners inspection. illegal use of the occupation with a store at the ground -- occupancs with a store at the ground floor. it has a ground floor fronting howard and the second floor has
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been illegally converted into residence of two dwelling units established without proper permit. this stems from the city attorney task force inspection which was initiated following the reform from the san francisco police department. -- referral of the san francisco police department. a dwelling on the howard street side consisting of two bedrooms and one kitchen and the rear occupied approximately 2/3 of the second floor consisting of five bedrooms, one kitchen, one full bath and a separate tolet room off the pantry. there was wire and plumbing throughout. a little history of the case is on april 2 we received notification from the city attorney's office. on may 4, the inspector participated in the task force inspection. on june 10, a notice of violation was issued with the requirements of compliance. on november 18, 2010, there was a first hearing and with the
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hearing officer of the property was given a 30-day continuance. the hearing officers gave which was on july 13, 2010, they gave them a 20-day advisement period to file the requisite permits or the directive order would be issued. following on february 11, 2011, there was an office visit where the owner -- where the -- vivian day, the director, met with the property owners and reviewed the nature of the illegal second floor construction. the work was performed was rudimentry and did not continue construction. she reduced it from $93,000 to $20,000. february 11, 2011, the a.a.b. appeal was filed. on march 25, 2011, a building permit was filed. number 201103252827 to comply with this notice of violation.
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the outstanding violations, department records indicate that the requisite permits have not received final clearance to legalize or remove the second floor residential use. the reason for the appeal, the appellant is requesting one more time to comply and a reduction of nine times investigative fee required by the san francisco building code. remedies to require to abate the violations, owner must obtain building, plumbing and electrical permits, inspections and return the property to its last permitted use or legalize current use and alterations. recommendations are as follows -- the notice of violation was issued on june 3, 2010, for illegal conversion and has been unabated for 10 months. the property owner did not file the requisite building permits to legalize or remove the second floor residential use until march 25, 2011, nine months after the notice was issued. the property owner did not
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address the illegal residential occupancy on the second floor until eight months after the notice was issued. the property owner's failure to comply notice of violation has prolonged life hazards and therefore impacting the safety of the occupants and the neighboring properties. imposing and enforcing the order is necessary to ensure that the property owner follows through and complies with the notice of violation issued by the department. and the findings are as follows -- pursuant to section 107-a.5 of the san francisco building code, the abatement does not have jurisdiction to reduce the investigation fee for work without permit. and the recommendations are to uphold the hearing officer's decision to impose and enforce the order of abatement with the estimated value of work from $93,000 to $20,000 as reduced by the director. also to ensure the property owner reimburses commission provided by section 102-e of
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the san francisco housing code. president lee: question. commissioner. commissioner walker. commissioner walker: i have a couple of questions. what was the permit applied for in march for? is it for legalizing the residential use or is it for returning it to its original approved use? >> i believe -- i don't have the information in front of me. i believe it was to put it back to its original use. commissionerwalker: is this occupied? >> yes it is. commissioner walker: how many tenants? >> seven people the second floor and i believe five the rear property. so a total of 12 if my math is correct. commissioner walker: do you have any indication of how long this tentants is? >> i do not. president lee: so the tenants are still there? >> as far as i know, that's correct.
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president lee: commissioner hechanova. commissioner hechanova: how long has this -- the two units been rented? >> as far as our history shows, the inspection was done on may 4, 2010. so our history starts at that point. hoich but there could be a track or history of when payments were made by the tenants to the current owner, correct? >> that's correct. commissioner hechanova: and so there could be a tracking mechanism by which that could be investigated? >> not from the department of building inspection. that would be more from the owners and tenants, i would assume. commissioner hechanova: ok. it could be the rent board because that would indicate if there was also an increase of the rent if they were renting before the work was done or
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when -- what the rent was before the work was done and then the subsequent and current rent? >> that would be probably correct. commissioner hechanova: is there any valuation that determined the drop from $93,000 to almost 4 1/2 times to $20,000? >> just dating from our date receipt it was -- looks like on february 11, 2011, the agents and owner met with the director and found that the work was rudimentry and not finished construction and therefore reduced from $93,000 to $20,000. commissioner hechanova: of that amount, is there a timeline associated with the work that could be done within a certain president of what the permit and the work that could be accomplished? >> the director's motion in
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order was to be issued to have 10 days to file, 10 days to get the permit. 10 days to pick up the permit and 30 days to get the work done. commissioner hechanova: if gone through the normal process, how long would it take? >> probably -- you have to file the permit, get the occupants out of the property and commence the work to revert back to its normal use, estimate maybe two to three months. commissioner hechanova: thank you. president lee: commissioner romero, do you have a question? commissioner romero: i have a question. it is a commercial building? >> yes. commissioner romero: and the two units that are there are illegal units? >> correct. commissioner romero: has there ever been an application to legalize these units? >> from the records here, it doesn't indicate that. i'm not aware of any permits
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that have been issued. to legalize it. commissioner romero: ok. thank you. president lee: commissioner clinch. commissioner clinch: in the chronology here, march 14, 2011, the attorney was hired and it says for acquiring possession. are they trying to evict the tenants? commissioner walker: maybe we can hear from them. commissioner elsbernd: let's go to commissioner walker. -- president lee: let's go to commissioner walker. commissioner walker: do you know if the zoning allows for residential use? >> i don't have it. commissioner walker: maybe if you could get that somehow. >> sure. commissioner walker: and i think my other questions probably will be best for the landlord. >> thank you. commissioner romero: i'd like to ask the same question that
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commissioner walker asked but maybe deputy sweeney, maybe he can answer that question. >> the only information i have on this building is it is the legal use of the building is a b occupationy which would be commercial. -- occupancy which would be commercial. i believe you have to -- definitely have to go for change of use, change of occupancy. president lee: how much time are they asking for? i know they're asking for time but how long? >> i believe they are asking for more time to comply. i have a copy of the appeal here which i will look over. i don't know if there is a specific time.
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>> ok. maybe we'll leave it up to the appellant to specify a time. or did i miss it? >> i think the problem that the owners are having is he has tenants up there that are not leaving. you have residential use occurring and you have tenants up there. until the tenants leave you won't be able to do the work. president lee: ok. thank you for your time. >> the inspector is here to speak as well. >> good morning, commissioners. i'm alex fong, deputy inspector and did i the inspection and was at the meeting with the director and the agents of the owner so i can probably answer some of these questions.
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at the meeting with the director, director day not only reduced the estimated cost from the approximately $93,000 down to $20,000 and she made that valuation based on the photographs that i presented. she also provided extra time to the -- for compliance. she stated that as long as the attorneys for the owners provided documentation that they were in progress towards evicting the tenants so they could proveed, we -- proceed, we wouldn't go forward with code enforcements. there is no verbal official extension that they already have. we already received a document following that meeting stating that they would be proceeding with that action. however, they couldn't do it right away after the meeting because i believe the eviction
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proceedings couldn't happen until a permit to actually dismantle the illegal units is issued. so we have no eviction proceeding documents at this time because it wasn't possible -- until they get that permit issued they couldn't go forward. they said that's what they would be doing. and asry said, i've been doing the task force inspections for about 14 years for our division, and in this particular case, as in many, the city attorney instigates these task force inspections because they have probts with the complaints from the neighbors that go to the police. in this fick case the tenants upstairs in the illegal conversion area have been having parties on the weekends -- i believe it's on the weekends -- and cause quite a disturbance that resulted in multiple police reports being filed which we have copies. that's how the police got word of it in the first place and
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disturbance of the neighborhood and the commercial resident below, i believe, who is here to answer any questions you may have. so that's the background on what's been going on. president lee: did the director >> they have to have seven minutes to present their case. president lee: did the director ask the owners to submit an application to possibly change the use or legalize the units? >> you mean a building permit application? commissioner romero: yeah. >> don't believe she asked them to do that. i mean, my notice of violation already directed the owners do that so there wasn't any need to it was up to the owners to
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legalize the units or legalize it -- excuse me. revert back to commercial or legalize the residential use. whatever they chose to do is up to them but they just needed to take some action. commissioner romero: so the extra time and the reduced cost on the fine was to get in there and tear out the existing kitchens and bathrooms and bring it back to original use which was commercial use? >> if that's what they chose to do they could do but the main thing was to get moving and put -- file an application. if that's what it lead to. commissioner walker: so this was instigated with a police department responding to a complaint? >> i believe that's true, yes. commissioner walker: this is one of those that i will probably ask the landlord. i'm trying to figure out how long this has been going on that people have been living there.
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i need to know that. president lee: hechanova and then romero. commissioner hechanova: of the pictures that are shown it also looks like to be an upper bunk with a ladder going up to it. and is that condition essentially a dangerous commission? >> that was typical of four of the rooms in the back of the room. when the partitions were put up, i don't know if the tenants created those but they looked pretty sturdy. it's not flimsy wood. bunk bed. a tiny loft maybe seven feet above the ground where the tenant has put mattresses on top and stored things below. commissioner hechanova: but it was built in place as opposed to furniture that was brought
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in? >> yes, definitely. commissioner hechanova: and the second question that i have is, there are exposed wires on a photograph exhibit noted number four up at the right which is exposed wires on the ceilings and no cover plates on the switches. so that wasn't corrected right away >> i haven't been back for inspection to see if was corrected. i don't have photographs showing more extensive problems. there was wiring hanging the roof rafters and up and down the walls commissioner hechanova: this was a fire condition and safety issue that should have been taken care of right away?
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>> yes. commissioner walker: let me ask a question about my own question about zoning so everybody's edification. it's a c-3 downtown office special development with a 350 height. >> i am going to wait until the landlord comes up. >> can we have the appellant come forward now, please? >> my name is bob noelke. i am representing the owner of the property. what we're asking for today is approximately 90 days. we have the building permit issued. it takes -- we have a notice of termination to the tenants that
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was just filed a week or so go by an attorney, clifford freed, and at that point he's giving a 60-day notice of termination. we have the permit. the permit's fine and we want to revert it back to office space. it should be noted that in the history of this that when this space was rented it was a commercial space. i can get a copy if you wish. the work that was done without the approval of the owner or his authorization or knowledge. the other thing involved is that there are approximately seven people who are there. what we want to do is take -- i
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want to go from 1993. part of the problem of the time that it's taken is that the $93,000 was based upon an estimate. we went through the permit history and there were some partitiones that were put in the 1930's and 1940's and some bathrooms were put in the 1920's. this was originally a warehouse and the top floor was used as warehouse space. it was a shifting and windling to determine which things were done with permit and which things weren't. we were shown that there was a fair amount of work done with partitions. there was an elevator put in over the course of the years. so what happened was there was -- it took time between that $93,000 to bring it down to $20,000. that was -- we had to do research. we had to go out to the
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property. that type of thing. we can go into this with more questions. however, what we're asking for today sf 90 days which -- so that the tenants can vacate and we can remove what sill legally put in, put up an up-to-date, code complying access -- handicapped access compliant bathroom and simply then leave the space the way it is and the way it was originally intended to be. in terms of our investigation fee, it was never our reason to talk about the fee. what we are talking about is the assessment of costs that are attended with an order of abatement. that was the intent on this application to file this appeal.
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we're not asking for that. we need time because of the legal issues involved and the work. and that was the -- the cost done without the permit. the $93,000 was critical before we had to have that ironed out before we could file the permit. so that took some staff. by the way, the staff from the director, chief inspector were very cooperative. very cooperative. very helpful to us in this whole process. so working with staff for the last three, four months to clear this. we simply want to clear it and make the building code compliant. thank you. and mr. sessinger is here. president lee: commissioner murphy. commissioner murphy: does any of the tenants, do you have any
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-- do any of these tenants have leases? >> here's mr. sessinger. he can answer that. >> there is the original rental agreement which is a commercial rental agreement which we have copies of and that was from 2005 and it's month to month. and the tenants have been given a 60-day notice by clifford freed who specializes in landlord tenant. this is a contentious issue in san francisco when you have a residential unit that's a nonconforming. they still have tenant rights under the residential rent stabilization ordinance. so it's a very tricky situation , and any gas thrown on this fire will exacerbate it. and we have this fire well under control and a definite timeline to complete this. commissioner murphy: can you be a little more specific?
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i understand there is a commercial on the lower level and possibly there was a commercial lease for that. the original residential leases for the other units? >> no. commissioner murphy: ok. that's all i wanted to know. commissioner murphy: thank you. president lee: commissioner walker and then mar. commissioner walker: this residency began in 2005. looking at the shower, etc., it looks to me that these are much older than that. i could be wrong. >> yeah. those were there but, remember, you can have showers in a commercial unit in the event that you're dealing with toxics. so the fact there is a shower in there to me doesn't dictate -- commissioner walker: i'm curious what you're renting this out for. >> it's commercial. multimedia arts. i have the lease. commissioner walker: so you've never been there inspecting your property? >> yes.
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you can't tell the people living there, depending on when you're there and what type of camouflage is being used. in is a 3,500 square foot large commercial space. commissioner walker: what were you renting at a rate of? i'm curious. >> $4,500 per month. commissioner walker: 3,500 square feet. president lee: commissioner mar. commissioner mar: i want to follow-up on commissioner murphy's questions. was it all seven of the tenants or was it just one person and everybody sublet from him which was mentioned in the report? >> the original lease in 2005 was with -- was with the one master tenant. commissioner mar: and that person is still there? >> no. that person is no longer there. commissioner mar: none of the existing seven people living
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there was part of that lease? >> correct. commissioner mar: and some of the illegal work that was done, was it done by the tenants or -- >> to my knowledge, yes. and if you look at the quality of the work, you can tell by the pictures it certainly wasn't done by a general contractor that i would have hired. commissioner mar: but it wasn't anything that the property owner -- you as the property manager was aware of? >> i've been the manager for 15 years and no, no. not our work. >> as a matter of fact, in the kitchen area there are cabinets that are not attached to the water. it has a very, very temporary nature to it. something like you'd -- something at ikea or something like that, goodwill, kind of put it there and secured it to the wall. it's very temporary. some of the things. not all of them. particularly in the kitchen. president lee: commissioner
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hechanova. commissioner hechanova: at the time it was rented out, would there have been, because of its commercial space, a need for at certain points potentially fire extinguishers? >> yeah. there's fire extinguishers in there. indeed -- and mr. fong can testify to this. when we had the city attorney come through with the task force, the fire department was there. it was the vermin -- what do they call it -- the woman with the -- you know, for the cockroaches and the rats -- what's that -- the city attorney was there, the fire department was there, alex fong was there, i was there. there was eight or 10 of us going through. the fire department did nothing. there are fire extinguishers in there. commissioner hechanova: isn't there a requirement to have on an annual basis to get the fire extinguishers checked?
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>> according to my information, the only compliance on -- and i'm not sure on commercial -- but on residential on three units and up the city is supposed to come through every three to five years and check that. unfortunately with cuts they don't do that anymore. in commercial i have no knowledge that they have to come through and make you comply with fire extinguishers, no. that's my understanding. >> this is not in our two occupancy. commissioner walker: it's a c-3 ? >> it's an r-3. it's one unit not legally in there. >> at some point in time that you visited over the five years the unit by which you could have determined and who would -- was paying the rent? commissioner hechanova: was it the former company? was it the former business organization? >> no.