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tv   [untitled]    September 4, 2013 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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neighborly because the property with the two-foot setback, is that all that drawing does, set it back two feet on that side? if i can show the site plan, i can respond to that, commissioner hillis. thank you for your question. the proposal that -- if we can zoom in, please, at the center here -- that alternate proposal -- >> not quite that much, thanks. creates an l-shaped room for a family room, which is just not a functional design. it doesn't work with a craftsman interior and frankly doesn't work well with the way a family, specifically a young family, lives. and if there is anything that we can say is truly uniform behind the facades of these arts and crafts style homes is
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a pattern of setbacks that goes all the way down the block. the side setbacks are absolutely -- >> that i get. i mean, my question is to that drawing that you gave to the neighbor, it shows -- i think it basically shows an addition, you've got additional two-foot setback on mr. zucker's property line. that is what we had proposed in trying to reach a negotiated resolution. >> what's your opinion on that? my opinion on that is that i don't think it's actually going to improve the living experience for either person if that gets built. with the setback as it is now along the side, it gives room for plantings. we can do an attractive exterior. and, yes, the zuckers will see this and they may prefer not to see this. [multiple voices]
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if it's setback only two feet, it's not going to add a lot to their experience. >> right. how much is the building setback now from the property line? i believe that is three feet. >> the only thing there i would entertain is a setback on that, but i'm open to commissioner comments. >> commissioner antonini. >> yeah, i don't really see anything that's unusual and extraordinary. and the three-foot setback on a detached home and i'm not sure what the zucker side is, but the three foot setback is very standard for detached homes in san francisco and i don't really know why they should have to set that back further than three feet. and given the dimensions of the house, as you move further back, you're trying to have a room that's fairly good size there. if you start making it smaller, it kind of defeats the purpose. and i would move not to take
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d-r and approve the project. >> second. >> commissioners, on that motion to take -- excuse me, not take d-r and approve the project as proposed, commissioner antonini? >> aye. >> commissioner borden? >> aye. >> commissioner hillis? >> aye. >> commissioner moore? >> aye. >> commissioner sugaya? >> aye. >> and commission chair wu? >> aye. >> so moved, commissioners, that motion passes unanimously 6 to 0 and places you on item 18 for case no. 2013.0757d for 300 winfield street, request for discretionary review. this is also an abbreviated discretionary review.
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>> good afternoon, planning commissionerses, erica jackson, planning department staff. you have a discretionary review proposing to construct a new roof deck on top of an existing two-story addition at the rear of a single-family dwelling. the proposed deck would measure 21-1/2 feet by 12 feet with a 42 inch open wood railing. the proposed project is located at 300 winfield in the bernal heights special use district. because the proposed deck is located on a legal nonconforming portion of the existing house and within the required rear yard a 10 day notice to the adjacent neighbors was required. the d-r requestor whose lot is adjacent to the subject lot along the rear property line has concerns regarding privacy into their bedroom which is located at the rear of their single-family dwelling. both parties have discussed several alternatives including solid planter boxes on the deck raising the fence height, and reducing the size of the deck. however, the two parties were
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unable to find a compromise. the residential design seem has reviewed the proposed project and found no unusual privacy impact and determined that a reasonable loss of privacy is expected from the dense environment in san francisco. ~ team therefore the department recommends the commission not take discretionary review and approve the project as proposed. this concludes my presentation. i'm available for questions. >> thank you. d-r requestor, you have five minutes. good evening, everyone. my name is melindabergener. my husband and i live at 301 prospect ~ -- >> i'm sorry to interrupt. you have a soft voice. can you speak into the microphone so it picks you up? i'll start again. my full five minutes? sure. my name is melinda bergener. my husband and i live downhill from the [speaker not understood]. we lest lived in our home for
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33 years. during that period the horners house has changed hands many times. owners have come and gone and all of them have made changes to 300 winfield, to the house and to the garden. we never objected to any change and have always been on friendly terms with all previous owners. the last owners decided to regrade their steep garden so their children could play outside. to this end we allowed them to pour a retaining wall and raise the height by four feet of the wooden fence separating our lots. we discussed their reasons and we saw no obstacle to helping them. we even allowed them to stage the construction from our side of the fence since we are downhill and it was easier for them. the consequence of that change for us was that we lost so much light from the increased fence height that the vegetable garden we had was no longer viable. still, we don't regret helping them. but this time it's different. the large decks, 21-1/2 by 12
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feet that the horners propose would directly affect our bedroom privacy. and the fence height addition that they offer would make us feel like we're living at the bottom of a well. our house is only 1 150 square feet and has one bedroom. 2-1/2 years ago i was diagnosed with a serious lung disease, a cousin of tuberculosis which requires years of dee bill dating treatment. consequently i spend much of my time in bed. feeling as sick as i do, my activity many days is lying in bed staring into our small pretty flower garden as this is our only bedroom. i can't move my bed somewhere else. this is my rest bed for my sickness. what the foreigners proposed raising the fence between our properties is not a compromise on their part. it would still have a huge deck overlooking the city. the fence would not impede their view at all. but if they merely look down while standing near the railing, they will see directly into our bedroom.
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that is exactly what we objected to back in march when we first saw the drawing of the proposed deck. the only difference is they are willing to pay for raising the fence height, a solution which will give us even more shade and not nearly enough privacy since the fence can only be raised less than a foot before it exceeds the 10 feet maximum. the horners took measurements from their side of the fence without asking us and the measurements are wrong, which we can -- i'll answer questions about that if you have them. if they add the legal amount to the fence, but still build their 12 foot deep deck, they would still see into our bedroom. be proposed among three compromises [speaker not understood] in the d-r that they simply set their deck dwelling back five feet giving them a 7 foot by 21-1/2 foot deck. when we stood together on their roof, we stepped back until we could no longer see into our bedroom. a 5 foot setback was the point that blocked that view. their unimpeded views over the
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city won't change with the setback, but we will maintain bedroom privacy. i want to make very clear that we do not object at all to the horners adding a roof deck off their master bedroom. what we object to is the depth of that deck. i hope that the horners might be satisfied compromising the depths of their deck in order not to destroy the privacy of a sick neighbor. i'll end my plea for compromise with comments about the horners' d-r rebuttal idea of a 30 degree desired view. we believe this is a totally arbitrary invention. one would have to wear blinders to eliminate the dine sider view which includes our bedroom. but from my bed, i clearly see anyone standing within five feet of the edge of the proposed deck. the horners' undesired view, the view into my bedroom, is there when it's desired or not and merely have to look down. there is absolutely no evidence that a 30 degree view plays a role in sustaining visual behavior.
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if this were true, tourists standing at the rim of the grand canyon would risk seeing precisely what they came to admire because they would be constrained from ever looking down. thank you for your time. i hope a neighborly compromise can be reached and that the planning commission might favor a roof setback of 5 feet. thank you. >> thank you. speakers in opposition to the project, i have a number of cards. joram altman, [speaker not understood]. evelyn [speaker not understood]. good evening, [speaker not understood]. i'm an architect speaking here as a friend of melinda and arnie. they're asking me to look at this project and advise them on the performance of the planning code and general fit within the neighborhood. now, compared to one of the problems i have with this project is the documents we
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have prepared. we generally prepare for submittals to the planning department. these ask for very basic information that kind of make it hard for me to evaluate it. there's no setback line indicated, the adjacent neighbors for width of lot and footprint of the building is not shown. [speaker not understood]. and i didn't see any rear yard photos. they weren't part of the packet that i filed for you. and also if you assume the rear setback line which i'm estimating to be about -- at the line of the rear of the next door neighbor, the rear wall line, the main two-story line, the proposed planter which they show on the deck goes beyond that so that line, therefore, requires -- i believe would require a variance. this is not an open railing design. beyond these efficiencies, i think the commission should really look at the overall size
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and scale of this deck given its location in bernal heights. the buildings are small and [speaker not understood] and tightly spaced. with overhead drawing, if you could focus on this. we did a survey of various elevated decks in the neighborhood. there's about 20 of them. and they range in size from about 60 to 150 square feet an average of approximately 100 square feet. the proposed deck here is 250 square feet which i think is excessive. it's accessed from a bedroom in the third level. so, functionally it doesn't seem to need to be that size. for a bedroom that's only 180 square feet. and also the house has a large rear yard with a deck at grade which is accessible from the main living. so, i think you should look at this deck in terms of scale in
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the neighborhood and consider pulling back the guardrail away from the edges as you've done in other projects, including a recent project of mine in telegraph hill where the fact it was reduced in size from the edge for a similar type neighborhood issues and scale. so, if you pull back the railing 5 feet, [speaker not understood] the owners still have a functional deck that's 150 square feet, 7 foot deep which is fairly -- which can still be functional in terms of using full view. and arnie and melinda would receive some privacy. thank you. >> thank you. good evening, my name is evelyn rankin and i'm a
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neighbor and friend of [speaker not understood]. i'd like to present -- read three out of the six letters written in support of the bergener's concerns with the project. the first one is written by beth roy, ph.d.. i have lived across the street from melinda and arnie bergener for 20 years. i know them to be friendly neighbors, reasonable and socially minded [speaker not understood]. they sought advice from me about ways to resolve the conflict in a collaborative and fair way. i highly respect their inclination. in the event they felt the necessity of appealing for adjudication. as a caring neighbor and counselor, [speaker not understood] my greatest concern is for the well-being of melinda. she has suffered for a number of years from a serious respiratory ailment and is under long-term treatment that is very [speaker not understood]. she therefore spends many hours resting in bed. the function of the bedroom therefore goes beyond a place to sleep. it is a place of respite for
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melinda as she suffers the debilitating consequences of her disease and treatment. the bedroom looks out on a lovely sunny garden. i can only imagine [speaker not understood] derives from that view. as a mediator, i think i'd like the better resolution to be reached that would satisfy both neighbors' needs. i hope your commission provide substantive relief. the second letter is from myself and [speaker not understood]. it's to the planning commission. the bergenerses have lived next door from us for 32 years. they are always thoughtful, considerate and reasonable and we feel lucky to have them as neighbors. we are familiar with the backyard in relationship of their bedroom window to the roof deck the horners proposed to build. in fact, our two homes were built as mirror images of each other so we have in effect lived in their home. some years ago we had a second story addition to our house and altered the design to respond to neighbors' concerns.
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we voluntarily pulled back our second story so as not to negatively impact anyone. we understand the process while and consider it part of the normal give and take. bernal heights is a densely populated community with smaller lots that san francisco neighbors build and consider this delicate bernal relationship when making changes to their homes and try to avoid stepping on anyone's toes. were we in the bergener's position now, we would be as much concerned about conextrusion as bedroom privacy as they are. we would be requesting the same approach in order to maintain that privacy. a roof deck of smaller proportions would satisfy everyone, raising the fence between the two properties is in our view a mistake since the fence is already very high on the bergener side and already significantly cuts down sunlight into their garden. we feel we should add that melinda's lung disease ha her spending a good amount of time
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-- >> thank you. thank you. >> we do have a copy of the letter. good evening, commissioners. my name is arnold bergener and my wife melinda and i live at 301 prospect. i'd like to emphasize some of the points we've made. we live in a house with a single rear bedroom and we have already experienced firsthand the privacy impact of the project sponsor's proposed roof deck. as it's happened with construction people several times over the last six months, my wife has been resting in bed, looked out the window and seen a worker peering down at her from the roof. we have made it absolutely clear that we do not oppose our neighbors having a roof deck off the master bedroom. on the other hand, there is no
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compelling reason why our bedroom needs to go from the most private room in our house to the most public. we know there is a simple solution in the form of the rolling setback which would be highly effective and we know that this commission has imposed the same remedy on other projects. the project sponsor in addition to wanting to capture views, citeses a single goal for the development of the roof deck. make it as big as it can be in order to maximize the use of the property. however, when we compare the size of other roof decks in the neighborhood, the deck the project sponsor wants to
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construct is fully 0% larger than the largest existing backyard deck we could find anywhere within the surrounding eight blocks. with a five-foot railing setback, the proposed deck would be consistent with the size of other decks in the neighborhood. they're still at the top of the list. it would also avoid the privacy issues of the maximum deck design creates. as you've already heard, we cooperated six years ago with the previous owners of 300 [speaker not understood] address the shortcomings of their sloping backyard as a play area for their two children. that is why they build a four-foot retaining wall which we like to construct on the property. that is why the raised elevation in the backyard is up five feet. and that is why they added a 200 square foot deck to the backyard. with the current owners we are again addressing the same issue, but this time the remedy is in the form of a new deck.
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this compensation they offered to raise the fence another two feet bringing between the two winfield owners a total increase of six feet. that would put us at 11 feet height for the variance to construct -- >> thank you. any further public comment? okay, seeing none, project sponsor, you have five minutes. good evening. thank you for hearing us. my name is mason kirby and i'm the architect working with the owners of 300 winfield on this particular project. i think the point of consideration that i would ask you to acknowledge is whether or not there is an extraordinary circumstance that's being asked of us in this particular situation. i know that you have it in your
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packet. i wonder if you're able to see this. is that as far as you're able to do that? if not -- i'll try it here. what i want to provide for you is the quick description of the common block and lot pattern that exists in this particular area. but we'll see in the slightly shaded area is the common block and lot separation from one, the rear of one house to the rear of the other house. in this case it's 34 foot 5 inches. it's a consistent pattern that exists and is repeated two or
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three or four houses down the block. the rear yard separation that exists between the d-r requestor and the project sponsor's home is 43-1/2 feet. the suggestion also would be brought that there are a variety of other rooftop decks at the same elevation that would also have the same opportunities to look into somebody's bedroom window in that respect. the other point of consideration that i ask you to hear is the idea that in addition to having a wider rear yard separation between the dwellings, there is, in fact, the better part of a four-story drop between the elevation of the deck and the elevation of the subject bedroom. it's 38 feet. so, really what we're looking
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to try and identify is a situation where somebody's privacy can be considered without recognizing there being a hardship on behalf of our project sponsor, either by making the railing solid which would require a variance, or by raising the fence in this particular instance. i think the opportunity to raise the fence with a trellis or some of the light permitting device might make sense. it's just as reasonable. that this is reasonable would suggest the d-r requestor might consider getting a shade or something like that. again, that's not my business in that respect. i'd ask you to consider that there are no exceptional circumstances in the block or lot pattern we are considering. there is no expansion of the envelope. it allows our client to make the best use of an existing
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flat existing extension that is in place. and i think we've gone through a back and forth with the d-r requestors. they have ranged from solid railing to a planter to pulling it back. to be quite frank, i'm 6 foot 3 and 6 foot 4 with heels. when i stand on the deck five feet back, i can still see into melinda's bedroom. i just wonder at what point the precedence might suggest that this is a [speaker not understood] condifficulttionv and this is a reasonable expectation of privacy, but not an absolute expectation of privacy. ~ condition if i could turn the last few minutes to the owner. hello, good evening. my name is lee horner. i am the owner of 300 winfield
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and, first of all, i would just like to say we sympathize, we sympathize with melinda with the illness. that's just no question about that. so, on our behalf, our architect started discretions early this year and i first met with our neighbors at 301 prospect mid april to discuss an appeal on another permit which was related to the reroofing of our house. and later on, our neighbors withdrew that appeal. 301, our neighbors at 301 prospect have been on our roof to assess and measure various things on three separate occasions. no agreement was reached. we suggested many times if we could raise the fence and they were unwilling to even consider it.
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many e-mails were exchanged and we still reached no agreement. after the final meeting, we measured the lots and the fence, and we determined we meet san francisco planning guidelines with our existing dimensionses and our open design ~. we feel there are no exceptional circumstances and there's no unusual privacy impact here. a reasonable loss of privacy is expected and -- from living in san francisco. and i'd just like to end with our neighbors at 302 winfield have -- are impacted the most by this deck, and they are in complete support and they were supposed to be here today, but circumstances beyond their control mean they can't be here. but i think you have their letter in support. thank you. >> thank you. members of the public in
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support of the project sponsor. hi, i'm julian glass. i live at 214, a block away from the project. i'm also mrs. horner's sister. i am here in support of curtains or shade. i live in bernal heights. if i didn't have my shades down they could see in my window. they water my window when they water their plants. society has a way to combat this. we have window coverings. i just don't see how you can say you're allowed to live in the city and not cover your windows. you know, this is basically a frivolous request. you know, they're wasting everybody's time here when they could buy curtains and just sort of concerns me as a resident. so, that's all i'm here to say. thank you. >> other members of the public?
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okay. so, d-r requestor, you have a two-minute rebuttal. >> thank you. thank you. ~ what i'd like to show you is a bar chart that was created in conjunction with evaluating the size of the rose decks, roof decks in the area. so, if we can take a look at that. i found that 21 roof decks and raised decks in a laid back area, i was able to measure. the blue one at the top is the project sponsor's proposed roof deck. measures, i think it's 258 square feet. if you look at the other 20,
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you'll notice that they average around 107 square feet. with the second-largest deck on the order of 160 feet. so, there's almost 100 square feet difference between the horner's deck proposed deck and what anyone else in our neighborhood has actually built. i think that the take away from that is this deck is [speaker not understood] in context. and in order to have a functional deck as indicated with what 20 other people had done, that this deck could take a five-foot setback with the railing which would leave it near the top of this list. plus, it would also mitigate
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the privacy issue that we're facing. thank you. >> thank you. project sponsor, you have two minutes. i'll be quick. the simple idea is that when i stamped in my heels at five feet back, i can still see in the bedroom window and i don't think that's going to solve that. that's the concern basically that we have. we played the sectional game back and forth to retrieve the edge of the deck and make the edge of the deck solid. and somebody who is shorter than i am is perfectly cut off at the five foot length. somebody who is as tall as i am or taller has a straight shot. and i think there's just a simple question of what is a reasonable approach to this, what