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tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  January 6, 2018 12:00am-1:01am PST

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>> good evening, commissioners, again. my name is mike o'cassidy. i'm a visitor. i built two two-unit buildings at 56 and 58 lower terrace which is just a little bit up the street from this site. a lot easier to build on that lot because you have relatively level lot likely. this lot here, it's great. we fought as years for builders to get more units in buildings, and nobody wanted to listen. now it's a policy. it's great. but it's kind of very hard to be genuine about what -- like this man said, the neighbor, if he wants to maximize the use. well, if he does, why not put two more floors on it from the street up top? it would match the buildings on lower terrace. if you take away square
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footage, don't expect more units. it doesn't even make sense. and as for the other neighbor who was happy having a family of three, i have a family of five. i mean, i wouldn't -- i'm -- i mean, we need three bedroom units. two bedrooms may work for him or something like that, i suppose, but i hope that you would actually increase the square footage, and if you can fit in two units, that would be great. thank you much for your time. >> president hillis: thank you. any additional public comment? >> good evening, commissioners. i'm actually the project sponsor. my name is kieran hardy. >> if you were the project sponsor, you had to speak during the presentation time. >> okay. >> president hillis: we may have questions for you. any additional public comment? seeing none, commissioner johnson? >> commissioner johnson: yeah,
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i can't be supportive of this. if you look at this lot -- if you look at the buildings adjacent to this lot -- to the left, i'm not sure if that's east or west, they're multiunit, and clearly, there's -- some excavation had to be done to get some units in there. that hill isn't just there by itself. so i'm open to whatever other commissioners have to say, but i really feel like this is a time to sort of look at these lots and really make sure that if the zoning is rh-2 that we're actually doing everything we can to get two units. and because this is -- there is a large residence sort of restriction in corona heights, it may even be advisable to look at, can we provide a variance on height or something to be able to get the two units in there and make sure that they both are livable and light and air and all of that. i think that would be a
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preferable solution than to just saying -- to putting up our hands and saying we can't do two units here. so i'm not supportive of the project as is, and we'll see where it goes. >> president hillis: commissioner moore? >> commissioner moore: staff analysis is quite clear that the project has a gross area of 3,000 square feet and less than 40% open yard within an rh-2 zoning district. that alone speaks to itself that a single-family building even with a cu is not necessary and desirable, but that, indeed, it also basically does not meet the corona heights interim residential requirements. that said if you really look more closely at the drawing set, the plans are highly unconvincing. there's excessively large areas dedicated to uses that don't really quite create what is
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supposed to be a family home. the master -- the first floor has a master bedroom, a huge master bath outside of the common area. you can go in and do a forensic on the plans, they don't really quite add up. in addition, i think this project looks as if it's purchased to be flipped for something else. it makes disclaimers about certain aspects that an architect would think about when he submits the drawings. we don't need to go into details. i make a motion of intent to deny with the possibility of the project to come back and present itself with a more appropriate building configuration in the zoning district. >> second. >> commissioner moore: that means two units. >> clerk: commissioners, there's a motion that has been
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seconded to take a motion of intent to disapprove with the option of the sponsor reconfiguring the project. commissioner, when would you like to have it continued to? i would imagine reworking the project may need some time? >> commissioner moore: it needs some time, yeah. >> clerk: march? >> commissioner moore: yeah. >> clerk: march 8th? >> president hillis: that works. >> clerk: very good. to the maker and the seconder, march 8th? >> commissioner moore: that would be fine, yes. >> clerk: very good. so there's a motion of intent to disapprove and continue the matter to march 8th. on that motion. [ roll call. ] >> clerk: so moved, commissioners, that motion passes unanimously 6-0. that places us on item 15 for
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case 2016002914 c dlsh ray at 2297 folsom stre2at -- c-ray at 2297 folsom street. this is a conditional separation. >> good evening, commissioners. michael christiansen, department staff, presenting for kimberly durandet. the item before you is a request for conditional use authorization for two dwelling units located at the ground floor of a three unit residential building. the two units proposed for merger were legalized and approved by the planning department in 1975 and received a certificate of final -- completion and occupancy cfc for that scope under permit
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application 449293 from the department of building inspection on june 30th, 1976. the commissioners and sponsors have received multiple letters of opposition from neighbors and interested parties. merger of the units would result in the displacement of one or more of the existing tenants and the direct elimination of a unit subject to the residential rent stablization and arbitration ordinance. the project sponsor alleges that the cfc issued in 1975 was done so in error and that the work under permit application number 949293 was never completed. however, the building department did issue an inspection in 1976 and deem that work complete for
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occupation of the three dwelling units. paragra subsequently, another application was issued stating three units for dwelling units. the existing units are habitable and there's been no action by the building inspection deeming them to be an imminent hazard or that they're not in compliance with the housing code standard. although the proposed merger would bring the property especially cloner into conformance with the rh-2 zoning, the city has allowed additional zoning in all districts to help in alleviating the current housing crisis. therefore there's insufficient rational in this criteria to support the merger of the units. department conducted a site visit of the property, and during the inspection, two additional unauthorized units
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were discovered. one was in the attic, and the second unit was in an accessory structure or cottage in the rear yard. department staff directed the property owner to proceed through ddi review to determine if there was a path to legalizing those unauthorized units. under section 106.3.3.a of the buildi building code. the property owner subsequently filed a permit to remove those unauthorized units and a subsequent site inspection confirmed there were no tenants in those unauthorized units. therefore, the only matter before the commission today is
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the merger of the ground floor units within the main building under section 317 f of the planning code, units that have been determined to be legal units. nard for the project to proceed, the commission must grant conditional use authorization to allow the merger of the two dwelling units within the rh-2 zoning and 40-x height and bulk. as i said, planning department recommends denial of the project. this concludes my presentation, and i'm available for any questions. >> president hillis: okay. thank you. project sponsor? no project sponsor? all right. we'll open it up to public comment. is there any public comment on this item?
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>> good evening, commissioners. my name is shawn westbrook. i've been a resident of san francisco for about 15 years. you may find i'm repeating all of the same things that the commission staff has said 'cause that was part of my prepared comments. i did say a lot of this very accurately and convincingly. i do appreciate the recommendation to disapprove of this and i urge you to accept it. i gave you my history. my long time partner has been living there over a decade as a master tenant of the unit, and member of the community and employee of the city and county of san francisco, and my front neighborhood and friend, he is a member of the night life and service community and also the art life of san francisco. i wouldn't like to see any of us displaced. i just think it flies in the face of our current situation of housing, so apart from going
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through a lot of stuff that would probably oppose what the project sponsor would have said, let me just go back to reiterate what i'd like to approve in conjunction with the planning department. thank you so much. >> thank you. next speaker, please. >> i'm a 20 year resident of the mission. i'm scott cowgill. i'm a resident in the unit. the constant meetings and whatever, and i just want to say i'm very against being displaced for no apparent reason other than they need to knockdown a wall. when i was there originally, there was no stipulation that think wall was going to be knocked down at some point in time when i built a life here living and working, getting through the community, and that's it. i'm just basically opposed, and not very well, but thank you so
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much. >> president hillis: thank you. any additional public comments on this item? >> hey, good evening. my name's eddy steel. i live at 2847 folsom street. i'm here in solidarity with my neighbors. i just want to speak a little more generally. i wrote a letter, but i want to speak in public. this conditional use didn't require a preapplication meeting, so for neighbors and other interested people in the community, we don't get any heads up on this kind of stuff until 20 days before you guys hear it, so i feel like that's a reform that your department could do is to require a preapplication meeting for those residential mergers. i'm on the residential notification list, so i see the notices. i see the permits for people
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that are building decks. i don't go to those, but when my neighbors might be getting kicked out of their house because the landlord wants to build more units, i'm interested in that. the second issue i have, and this may not be directly to your department, but it came up in this -- on this project is the dbi path to legalization. this is new to me. but there's a cottage in the back yard of this property that people have lived in for as long as the cottage existed, and now, no one lives there, so i don't really understand what the standard is for the path to legalization is? because the property owner doesn't want to legalize it, so he encourages dbi to deny legalization, but if it was already empty, and he might want to put a tenant in there,
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it'll qualifying for legalization. somebody liveds in this property until about a year ago. i'm not exactly sure on all the details, but i feel this is an agency where city agencies -- i feel this is a situation where city agencies are working at differences with each other, where developers are now making laundry rooms and stairways, and who knows what into legal units, that when there's a cottage in the back yard, people should be living in there, and there should be a set standard where dbi can't just sort of arbitrarily decide or because they're encouraged by the property owner to illegalize a unit that could otherwise be lived in. so thank you for your time, and i look forward to your decision. >> president hillis: thank you so much. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is eric, and i'm with callente cuatro.
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we're posi we're opposing this project. it doesn't make any sense, losing this rent controlled unit and make it into some sort of monster home. it's against what we're trying to do in the district and the mission, which is create more housing, so please deny this issue. >> thank you. any other public comment on this issue? seeing none, public comment is closed. commissioner richards? >> vice president richards: i just want to say the project sponsor saw me in the 4 all during a break. he said he wasn't allowed to come in and present the project. there was no disrespect to us. i guess to the director, you do understand the path to legalization. >> staff might be able to help here, but there is a pretty rigorous process here. this came came up when we defaulted and tried to legalize units that were previously not
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authorized. karl can probably give you more specifics, but it is looking at the physical characteristics, what would it take to legalize the unit and how -- both financially and physically what it would take to legalize, so karly can probably fill in the details. >> sure, and this is one of the first removal of an unauthorized unit. there's been a handful, but none of them have actually reached this no path to legalize issue. there was some inconsistency of how dbi was applying the standard and how planning was applying the standard. there was some confusion that the commissioners would actually be evaluating the construction cost or the cost to legalize. dbi also believed that the scope of work was so extensive that the -- it would be infeasible for the property owner to legalize. since this issue has come up on this project. we've been working with dbi to clarify those standards and actually make them a little more arduous and closely related to life safety issues
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more so than a scope of work that may seem too extensive or to expensive because that's what you're going to be consider considered. >> vice president richards: sure. what bothers me is the property owner -- i'm not singling this property owner out was okay taking money from a renter in a unit that was maybe substandard but still liveable, and now we're applying a different standard and saying it costs too much to upgrade, and so therefore, you know, bye-bye tenant. >> and that's part of the findings that you would make that dbi didn't make this call, that it was able to be legalized, is evaluating the cost of legalization versus the gain in property value. >> did you do the site visit? >> i didn't. kimberly durandet did. it's a converted shed.
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>> i think this request is wrong on all levels, and i'd love to have any one of my commissioners make a motion to disapprove. >> president hillis: commissioner melgar? >> second. >> i make a motion to disapprove this project. >> president hillis: commissioner johnson? >> commissioner johnson: we don't have good guidelines for what makes a legalization infeasible, and sometimes i've also been a little bit challenges when we hear some of the cases where there is some detail provided around what the work would take to legalize a unit, but because the current property owner states that they can't afford it or can't do it, you know, we're looking at some sort of action that would make that unit not a legal unit anymore and there it was taken
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out of the circulation for housing. and i do -- i don't have any answers right now, but i do want to echo that i think that's something that we as a city need to contend with. i don't know that it's okay to say -- especially when you have units where people are living in them, and we've seen them before, that we're kind of saying there's nothing we can do. i think we need to look more closely at what financially infeasible mean or have some kind of stopgap measure in our planning code that allows livable but substandard -- i think we need to create another standard, because again, i think we've got kind of a loophole. we've got units that people live in, and units that landlords say they can't afford to fix it, but then, people live there. how much fixing does it really need? it's definitely a thorn owe
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problem, a -- thorny problem, and it's not just the building department. it's puc and all the other departments that have anything to do with the physical infrastructure of housing. >> president hillis: commissioner moore? >> commissioner moore: i think it would be a good thing to add to our discussion with dbi. most important metrics are lights, safety, and standard requirements by which livable homes are designed and these units have to follow the very same metrics, and in many cases, it's not achievable, but again, i do believe that in order to be very clear about, that discussion could be an ongoing discussion with dbi, but when this particular piece in the back yard is identified as a former shed, i think there are already many, many things that come immediately to mind because in the definition of shed, it is not a small home, it is a shed. i can only take that word game here, but i think it requires
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a -- definitely a better understanding of what codes apply and in what form do they need to be applied equally to all, including these questionable units? >> president hillis: commissioner richards? is. >> vice president richards: interestingly enough, when i saw this, i didn't really read the packet, because it was a no right off the bat, but if you look at tab g under mr. gladstone's brief, you can see why they said there would be no road to legalization. it would cost $230,000 to bring it up. it's incredible what -- the way they decided it, more for the list of dbi stuff. >> clerk: commissioners, if there's nothing further, there's a motion to disapprove and a second the conditional use authorization. on that motion.
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[ roll call. ] >> clerk: so moved. commissioners, that motions passed unanimously
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project complies with the planning code and existing structure was determined not to be historic resource and the project increases the amount of housing on the site and maximizes density. staff recommends the project with conditions. this concludes my presentation. i'm available for questions. >> president hillis: sponsor. since this is the second time we've heard this, we'll limit to 7 minutes and public to 2. >> i'm lucas eastwood. before we get into specifics, i would like to introduce myself. i'm a general contractor.
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foreign war veteran and member of indian tribe. after being with the 82nd airborne, moved here and started working as a laborer. the robust market allowed me to rise the ranks of the firm and getting my constructor's license and start my own company. now i employ 20 personnel. our office is in the mission. my son goes to school in the mission. my wife and i started our family in the mission of the neighborhood is very important to me and i'm proud to be a member of the community and continue to get to shape the changes that are happening. >> brett gladstone, architect, will represent the changes, as
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requested. up to now, we don't know of any adjacent neighbors who are opposing this project on either of the three sides. one of the commissioners asked us to look at the alternative, one that keeps the front area of the nonhistoric facade. what does it do? it creates a three-unit building and removed the two family-oriented units. it removes one because the rest station alternative is a smaller building. it removes the other because while remaining three bedrooms, bedrooms are small and there will only be one bathroom left and real families of two kids, two parents, just don't buy or rent with one bathroom. it downgrades to what was originally a studio. and, finally, it keeps two
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unusual open side yards, which are a wasted space, but have to be kept to keep the interior to the ground floor unit that will remain in a renovated building. the problem here involves economics. the economics of three fore sale units first the appraisal and planning department file shows that the building was worth $1.45 million. today it's worth about $1.65. it's likely -- it's rented by a person who rents at $7,000 a month on a short-term lease the owner-occupant vacated upon closing of escrow. it's oversized at 3 bedrooms and inefficient, but a new, four-unit building would mean that none of the units would have a value close to $1.6, which is not a surprise since dwelling units are smaller, more efficient and share the cost of the land. as rental units, same thing.
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$7,000, right now, could be worth $8,000 soon to rent. none of the units will rent for that. two units in a brand-new building would rent for that. finally, i wanted to talk about the fact that the mayor'sive -- mayor's directive, "whenever possible, high-density units be approved." the reasons for opposing demolition or reduesing the units, according to the mayor's directive, should be based on an explicit regulation, such as affordable housing resource. we don't have one. historic resource. don't have one. with that, i will turn it over to our architect. thank you.
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>> commissioners, i'm jeff gibson. two months ago when we were last year, your discussion of the project centered on two topics. is there a way to save the existing building and build something new behind it, even though the planning department has stated that the existing building is not historic or in the historic district. if that doesn't work, can we make the new building less modern and fit into the context better? first, what you are seeing on the overhead is a sort of re rendering of what the project would look like. your design guidelines call for new additions to be set back 15 to 20 feet. to do so, would only provide enough space for a 1-bedroom university i. to squeeze in a 2-bedroom unit, we have a setback of only 5 feet. it overwhelms the existing facade and doesn't look too good.
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this is a cross section of that proposed building. if we were to add a unit in the basement, the basement unit would be a studio and mostly underground. the existing three-bedroom unit is pretty inefficient and really a wasted resource for the city. even though it's oversized, two of his bedrooms have windows that don't beat egress or building code. it will fail to cover his land or construction costs due to the need to excavate and create a seismically safe top floor. it would have less square feet it. would make more sense to renovate the existing family house and sell it as a premium. if we retain the existing building, we can only add two new units.
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the existing facade would be retained, but the new addition would overwhelm it. i will show you that view again. structural requirements would probably post us past the scope and he would be back for a tantamount to demo project. let's look at the changes we've made to the proposed building, taking into account the feedback that we got from you all at the last hearing. here you can see a before and after. the upper image is the project that you saw at the last hearing. below, the changes that we've made. swapped stucco for siding. using some profiles commonly found in the area. we changed the windows to double hung encasement windows. and street rendering showing the building in context.
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i think it really blends incredibly well with the context, material, style and function. >> president hillis: thank you. we'll open it up for public comment. >> greetings, planning commission. thanks, again, to each of you for your time. i'm leveon contreras. i've returned to speak for the neighborhood who cannot attend. since october 12, the neighborhood has continued open and objective dialogue about this proposal. those voices come from all sides of the spectrum, homeowners, residents, long-time and newcomers, neighbors, local merchants, friends, even
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tourists that visit the block for photos. the voice of the people is clear -- no to demolition. no to luxury condos. as a mission district native, resident and co-owner of a home, i reject the plan to demolish this and replace it with a luxury complex. for environmental health, quality and safety, it puts us residents at risk of exposure to chemicals such as asbestos and lead paint. without an environmental impact review or containment plan in place, we're left it suffer from short- and long-term health risks. sunlight blockage. the plan will block sunlight
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because it encroaches on already packed, dense housing. no design changes were made to remedy this obvious, severe flaw. noise and public health nuisance. they're home to several sick, elderly and special-needs residents. the proposal to demolish 792 capp will have adverse effects. we cannot over look the needs of our citizens to indicate tore a luxury condo project. >> president hillis: thank you. your time is up. >> if the owner would have spent any time in the neighborhood in the last 2 months, he would know the pulse and we say no. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please? >> yes. my name is dorothy graham. i'm a resident of capp street. i can't come last time. i wasn't aware of the project at that time, so i would like to have 3 minutes to speak, but i
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have very severe lung disease. i was a hospital planner at alameda health system for 23 years and worked on many environmental impact reports. i was shocked in reading the report about this, that there was no analysis done about the contents of the structure. no mention of if it contains lead paint or asbestos or mold. without any examination of the current structure, it makes the unfounded claim that the project will not be detrimental to the welfare of persons residing in the vicinity. there is no basis for saying that without examining what is actually inside the building. and i wanted to let you know that i came to a meeting of the board of supervisors land use committee in november where they discussed a different project with a similar demolition and the neighbors came by and said
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their residences were covered with flakes of lead paint after a demolition. how can you do a demolition on a residential street without knowing what is in the current structure. even if specific toxic materials are not existing in that structure, there's no mention in the report of any kind of construction mitigation on the dust that would be contained. we had a project on our block at 711 capp that's gone on for the last few months, a tiny construction project, where they put a giant pile of dirt in the street, covered it with a tarp, which blew off and asthma-producing dust has been blowing around the street for a month and that's for a tiny, little project where they just jack hammered the sidewalk. this is the entire demolition of the structure. >> president hillis: thank you, ma'am. your time is up. thank you very much. next speak, please.
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>> i'm robin stukow and i live across the street from the project. in 2010, 792 capp had a family and several day laborers that were all eviction. one of the men died on our street, homeless last winter. to quote the architectural review, to destroy architecture is to dissolve the identity of communities. the east side of our block has some protection because it's historically protected, but the westside's fate has yet to be determined. if 792 capp street, a home from 1865, is demolished, it will set a precedent so every building sold can do the same thing. the plan has practical problems in terms of density, parking, traffic and rats on our block because of the construction happening. the mission district has
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received many, many large structures built. we have the huge one on mission street a block from our house. we've had fires. it's affecting us disproportionately. if 792 is going to be altered to create subsidized deficiencies to accommodate the lady that sleeps outside the church that compliments my home or the man that sleeps outside with his feet sticking out, maybe it would be justified. today is the first day of winter and every year the healthcare for the clinics across the nation go outside and read the names of the homeless people who have died in the prior year and decisions made here will influence the numbers those dead for generations to come as more and more people from our street will be evicted based on the decision,
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precedent, that is set here. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i have a business about a block from this development and i've lived in the mission for nine years and i want more housing because it allows me to keep my friends and customers in the neighborhood and it seems like a lot of the density on mission street and the bigger sites is politically trapped, so we have to rely upon these smaller, underdeveloped lots in order to create the housing we need to be an inclusive neighborhood. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> dear commissioners, my name is edwin horalsco. i'm a resident of the mission. i grew up in the mission. after high school, i reached out to lucas eastwood who used to
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employ my mother. he has treated me fair and given me an opportunity to expand my knowledge base and given me constant raises. i came here today on my own time because i wanted to address the building on capp street that my boss is attempting to get permits for. this project is important for me because i cannot afford to take time off work. i feel strongly about this project because it's close to where i grew up and i enjoy the opportunity to work close to home, as i have a young son and it's really hard to get childcare. i ask that you think of me and my family when you consider the fate of this project. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i'm real ramone garcia since
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2013. lucas is a good boss. he has helped me to support my family. also my brother is working for him. i really like working for lucas, because he's a really good boss. he has given me an opportunity to grow up in the business. i would support capp street. i really want it have the chance to work in the city again instead of having to drive across the bridge. we need these jobs to keep us busy because we cannot afford to go without work. please think of us when you guys consider approving this project. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please.
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>> dear commissioners, good evening. my name is tony sivlon. i live in the mission for 10 years. several years ago, lucas gives me a job. over the years, he's promoted me from carpenter to superintendent. i no longer work for lucas. he helped me to get a very good job with another construction company. it's important to me and my family that builders continue to build apartments in the city in the mission so that there is local work for me and my friends. we don't like driving across the bridge or anywhere else. we like to work in the city. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> dear commissioners, i'm clemente.
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i live in the mission and i have been here for many years. i work as a carpenter for lucas. i work with the company and i like working in san francisco. this year it was hard to drive across the bridge every day. i really want to work on capp street. it is close to my home and i enjoy working to make my neighborhood nicer. this project is very important to my job and my family. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i'm joshua gold. i'm a resident of the mission for the last two years. i'm originally from puerto rico. and i was attracted to live in the mission because it reminded me of home, but we need more housing. we need all kinds of housing in the city and a project like
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this, i think, adds to it. housing in the mission is a positive thing, so i support this project. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hello, commissioners. i'm andrea contreras, i'm 37, born and raised on capp street my entire life. if our project manager is such a great person, i would love to see that the workers are included in low-income housing on our street. and we would welcome people that are from our neighborhood. as you can see, it's obviously a temporary fix or a temporary solution and people who will only temporarily benefit from it. the long-term goal is to keep good people here in our city and if this project manager really spent time on our street, he would see the community impact that he is going to cause the detriment to the -- of neighbors across the street. there's a lot apartment complex
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with the same type of people in my community that you will be jeopardizing. one house down to the left is also affordable housing. you will put a big, red flag mark on my street for people like me that have low-income housing from big monsters to come into our city and take us all over. this is not right. if you are looking at excelsior and trying to protect the community, you are not doing that in the mission. you all have failed. you are our only hope, to preserve what we have now. i'm so sad to see that this is what it's come down to, people paying off people to come up here and say that they're part of our community when you're not. you are only here for your cash out. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hello, commissioners. let's be real about this. build housing for who? yes, there's a housing shortage.
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clearly, there's not a housing shortage for the people that can pay so much money, the top 1%'er rs that come here. housing for who? my people will build that housing, but will it be for them? this is a temporary fix. i'm sure the developers of this project -- if this proposal doesn't get passed, they will have no trouble moving on to the next and providing work for their workers. please this has come to a breaking point, please don't set the precedent for the cultural genocide of our community. born and raised on capp street. born and raised in san francisco. it needs to stop. it's out of control. seriously. what is it going to take? this is just one example of a worldwide issue. whether it's the tax break. it's all connected. and it needs to stop.
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we implore you. do the right thing. it's clear what the ethical issues are. forget laws and loopholes. what is real. please do not approve this project. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> john jimenez, former pastor saint charles church, a few blocks from the capp street project. i would like to address, first of all, what the woman spoke about people being evicted from this particular building even that has died on the street. keep that in mind. second, to the construction workers, one who i played basketball with, i think you may know the gallardo family, who
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the father -- who was a construction worker, they got evicted. what is causing this eviction is when you allow luxury housing, it causes pressure for owners to evict or find a way to get the tenants out. there's a lot of construction work. how about here in the city, many places. we don't need to have people evicted from affordable housing. the third point, what happened to the tenants before in this building? from what i understand, whether they were evicted or there is some pressure, even paid money to leave, but they were tenants from this neighborhood that could afford it. and that pressure to push them
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out is why we should not allow this kind of project to go forth. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> victoria pierce, legal advocation and education fund and i'm here to inform the city of san francisco that you have the issue to obey laws and housing accountability act in particular. this is zoning complaint and you have an obligation by the law to approve the project. and i think that the concerns raised here today are valid and legitimate and there are ways to go about that, for example, requiring regulations to prevent demolition of rent-controlled housing. this is not rent-controlled
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housing. i don't see how this is affordable now. it's $7,000 a month. it's already luxury housing i don't think it really matters a whole lot. please approve this. we're here to enforce housing lows as a 501c3 organization. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker. >> i'm mary mendoza and here to speak on the next thing on the agenda, but when i was waiting outside, my friend elsa, who i have known for several years, both danced in the same group for 15 years for carnevale, the distress that i saw on her face is something that i've never seen before. and i think that has to do with the quality of life that's happening to the city.
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and when you talk about the -- there are some things mentioned about what real families -- how real families live. and i think that term when it was used earlier, you know, versus what? how many people in a family can use one bathroom? to consider it a real family or not a real family? that's outrageous to me. that kind of terminology, that speech is super racist. i'm just going to call it out. and that's something that i've heard time and time again. i don't know if that's even in the mind-set of the developers, but when they bring people up here to speak that use verbage like that, it's insulting. that's what people are talking to in terms of the stress factor that happens, you know, when we
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hear that there's another development happening in the neighborhood and the effects that it has. when you were talking about the evictions of the people previously, i went to the funeral at duggan's of the man killed on the street. we left the hunger strike we were doing when we were fighting against police brutality happening to people of color and the hunger strikers that i was coordinating. and we went across the street during the hunger strike to go to his funeral. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon. i think for me, yes, we need to build housing, but there are so many other circumstances surrounding building housing, what kind of housing? who will live there? will it benefit the community?
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i'm hearing that this particular building paying $7,000 in rent will stay at $7,000. sounds like it wasn't good at the beginning and that's part of the problem because rents are so high. so we're not really losing anything or gaining anything. we're just staying in a pretty bad space. i hope that these gentlemen that came up here to support the project are going to be able to live there. it's temporary benefit for them. that's what we've seen with a lot of construction. they come from the outside to work. they need jobs, but they're building for wealthier people, not for them or their families. so i just wanted to mention that. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, if there is any additional public comment. seeing none, we'll close public comment. commissioners?
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>> commissioner melger: you are looking at me. i will start first. i'm still opposed to this project. i think that, you know, i've received a lot of correspondence from folks about it, both in the community, on that specific block, who are against it, and folks who refer to the housing accountability act and our obligation. and so i think that i heard about the asbestos and the lead and it, frankly, doesn't sway me. i understand that environmental issues are what folks are zeroing in on. i think that the city is completely full of older houses full of asbestos and lead.
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anything that involves demolition will create that. i think that demolitions are not appropriate when there's a sound structure. and, you know, i think that the proposed project will affect the neighborhood character. i think it's out of line with neighborhood character. it's not just buildings. we as humans have attachments to places and spaces in this city. we love the city because of the building, configuration, the streets, things that make up our environment. so it is within the cultural district. i think that that neighborhood does have a character. but the most important part for me is the precedent we're setting under the housing accountability act, actually. because it seems that there are structures and lots all over the
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city that are underbuilt and this structure in itself is not rent-controlled, there are all over the neighborhood, three- to five-unit buildings that are older. if we set a precedent that it's okay to demolish, it will be the end of -- not just the end of that cultural district, but a lot of what makes this city wonderful. >> commissioner johnson: i have a question. did the city attorney leave? >> right here. >> commissioner johnson: were you in the back? watching downstairs? they're probably going to ask for me. okay. we talked about this a little bit.
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i asked about it last time. can you talk a little bit again about the housing accountability act and how it affects this project or not? >> kate stacy, city attorney's office. the housing accountability act applies to housing that complies with objective general plan and zoning standards and criteria including design review standards. when the city is going to disapprove housing development project, whether it's affordable or market rate, certain findings are required. those findings are --
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sorry. i'm looking for the specific statutory language. the planning commission must find both that the project would have a specific adverse effect on the public health or safety. that there is no feasible method to satisfactorily mitigator avoid the adverse impact with disapproval. the housing accountability act defines a specific adverse impact as a significant, quantifiable with health and safety standards and conditions that existed on the date the application was deemed complete. the decision makers findings must be in writing and supported by substantial evidence in the record. >> commissioner johnson: okay. thank you.
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i think commissioner melgar makes a great point. policy-wise, we should be focused on true opportunity sites. we just approved one in the case before where it was literally a lot with some shrubs and trees on it. all things considered, we look very partially at demolitions. but, you know, i want to hear what other commissioners have to say. it's problematic to me to set precedent of denying housing projects. so i think this one is a smash-up of a lot of issues we've talked about over the years, coming together in one project. and, yeah, i'm really on the fence with this one. so i would like to hear what you have to say. >> commissioner fong: yeah. it's a tough one.
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but i'm leaning to not being in support of it. it's a habitable structure. it's midblock. if it was the corner, it feels like you would get a larger project out of it. i don't see it as a necessary demolition. if it was falling down, of course. we just had a discussion about the excelsior and the character and this to me is part of the character of the mission. while it's tiny, it plays an important role. >> commissioner richards: mr. eastwood, we heard that people were living in the house before and they're no longer there. when you purchased the property, was there anybody living in there? >> when i purchased it, it was owner-occupied. and that owner vacated when they sold it to me. >> commissioner richards: and there were no additional tenants?