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tv   Government Access Programming  SFGTV  November 16, 2019 4:00am-5:01am PST

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maintaining. we of course look at who will benefit from or be burdened by this project. there is a potential for with design guidelines that there could be a slight increase to the cost of a retained element, but we believe that would be mitigated by looking at the project overall, reviewing the benefits and balance and making sure there are other public benefits that could be established that simply help with that and ways to reduce costs. there may be additional public participation burden on individuals. as long as we make sure there is a well-known process and this can be started early in the process of something proposing development that everyone can be informed about what's happening and be streamlined into that conversation rather than thinking that it has to be above and beyond.
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>> it's also important to note that the use of these guidelines are discretionary. unlike other guidelines that are triggered by a particular zoning or petition, these are voluntary by the applicant and would be requested by the staff or one of the commissions. i'll get into a little more detail about the design guidelines themselves. i think it's important to note that the retained elements design guidelines are focused on the how, how you do something. once you weigh the options and consider whether there is something existing that should be maintained, then the next question is how to do it so that it'sful, both to the existing material and the new development. there are two sections. this plays off of the urban design guidelines which is our larger guidelines in the city. there is site architect and urban realm.
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you see reference of an s 1.1, that references s 1. these take those as a basis and get into deeper detail around this particular topic, which is why it's called a special topic design guideline. so there's site design, retain existing features. under architecture, modulating new development to support retain massing and facade edges. articulating a clear relationship between new development and retained elements. harmonizing new materials with retained elements. restoring and highlighting existing features and reviving and animating retained ground floor elements. i'm going to show some examples of what these look like. they get into the specifics around how these things come and play a role in future development. at the site scale, of course
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sustaining features, what kinds of features would they be, what's important about why you would keep them, how it works. articulating a clear relationship new development and retained elements. this is getting into a level of architecture, where you're starting to think about how the new and the old pieces go together. there's a lot of detail that's very important about the qualities of material, qualities of scale and massing. we defined hyphen in here, there is a glossary, that gets into detail about the meaning and purpose and how it can be achieved. harmonizing materials. this is a complicated conversation because sometimes it is really about finding conformity and finding materials that really directly relate to each other. there are instances where differentiating the old and the new, it's important to contrast
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those materials. i find that usually you want to find certain things that align. the geometry might work with the existing geometry, but maybe the materials are quite different or vice versa. so really finding ways that there can be synergies and combatabilities and also distinguishing markers and that is really a case-by-case basis. restoring and highlighting existing features. this is to recognize that what you are keeping you should keep with respect. understand its own core sense of esthetic value. find ways to bring its history back. there may be other qualities such as interior spaces or other relationships that it needs to have. those can be reformed, so sometimes windows have been filled in. storefronts this happens quite a bit. finding ways to bring it back to its highest and best qualities. so guideline applicability,
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there's three main issues to highlight. the first, as i mentioned, this is a discretionary application. these guidelines are to be used voluntarily by the sponsor when requested by the planning department staff or the preservation commissions. that would be through some process it's going through in the department. this simply increases options. so these guidelines establish more a handful of respectful options for the use of existing fabric in new existing. those have to be weighed side by side whether those really do provide the larger benefit. this does not change or reduce process. so these guidelines do not change the decision-making process around demolition of a historic resource. this has been one of the most challenging parts of this conversation is to understand how these could be used in situations of a historic resource demolition. so we have started to within the guidelines themselves articulate that as clearly as we can.
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we have other members of the department here to help get into details on that, as you may -- as may warrant. so note that these are not rehabilitation projects. this is not preservation as is established here. there may be proposals in which demolition of a resource is being proposed and this could be potentially used for alternatives development, but that does not achieve the standard. such an alternative standard would not be considered rehabilitation. the use of these guidelines would not result in a less-than-significant impact to historic resources for the purposes of review. so as i mentioned, we're on a faster timeline, seeking adoption of the planning commission in the beginning of december. we're seeking public comment and
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of course comment from the historic preservation commission today, to make sure we can be as clear as we can about when and how these would apply, what they would do and what's the best outcome for the guidelines themselves, so we can get the best outcomes of individual projects. of course i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you. any questions, commissioners? open to public comment. >> good afternoon. i'm the vice president of advocacy and programs at san francisco heritage. i want to express my appreciation to planning staff for sharing earlier drafts of these retained elements guidelines with heritage and for their willingness to address some of our concerns, mostly centred on possible impacts to historic resources in the city.
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on the last slide we saw under the subhead resource demolition, the first sentence reads: the historic preservation commission or planning staff may request, in rare cases, application of these guidelines during the alternatives development process as part of an environmental impact report or as part of impact mitigation for a project that proposes demolition of an historic resource. so in these guidelines, there's no specific criteria to explain the circumstances under which this commission or the planning staff would deem the application of the guidelines appropriate or desirable. so that's where we're concerned still, about the unforeseen impacts that would result from the use or abuse of these guidelines after they're adopted. so to address this, not just to
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complain, but to offer a solution, we urge the department to further prohibit application of the guidelines to historic resources that are individually listed in or eligible for the california register of historic resources or the national register of historic places. thank you. >> thank you. any other public comment? i'll close public comment and bring back the commission. >> i'll go first. this was a little bit difficult this presentation for me because in the packet there was really no information about this. so in a way, it's rather peculiar to ask for anyone to comment on it, since the only
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thing that at least i have seen is this slideshow. so i don't know if it was a serious effort to get commission comment. if so, i think it could have perhaps been organized in a different way because i am personally not in any position to say anything other than it was a colorful presentation. >> commissioner pearlman. >> yeah, i was a little surprised there was nothing to look at. [ indiscernible ] -- i mean typically there's a lot of text coming from the department to define what it is that is getting adopted. that's what i'm not sure. we're not adopting your presentation. >> did you not receive a copy of the guidelines last week? >> i didn't get them and it wasn't active on the site -- you
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know, on the agenda. >> we -- >> it wasn't an active link. >> that's interesting -- >> that was given as part of the package. >> i received it as part of my packet and i downloaded it from the link on the site. i was able to get it. >> i couldn't. >> [ overlapping speakers ] -- >> sorry. >> and i didn't get it because i don't get the text. i always go to the web -- to the site. >> i worked with commission -- i'm sorry if you weren't able to get that in advance. >> i need to get it so i can comment some other time. i think you have other questions -- well, i need to read it. >> we have two additional copies here. >> that would be great, if i could get a copy. i did have a question about -- if there are other cities that you know of, other major cities in the country that are doing and looking at this. what are they doing? because of course a lot of the examples that we looked at the last time and these are all -- you know, seem to be all san
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francisco examples. but i know last time there are many other examples from around the country. i wonder if you've come across other places that are looking at this policy? >> i know the team had known of some going on looking at context, but we don't know any design guidelines that are tailored in this particular way. i think there is a conversation around it, but this may be one of the first that is adopted and directly addressing it as far as we know. we've been focusing on the san francisco ones because of the ways we wanted to articulate it in the guidelines. it's challenging to find examples that have come out that the bulk of the community is being supportive of. we're continuing to look for some. >> i had just sort of a confusion about what mr mr. labounty was talking about. it's not a question, but a comment about when we look at
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the alternatives for an e.i.r., you know, the only reason we're looking at it is it's a historic resource and there is an impact to that. one of the impacts could be full demolition. so we often run into the fact that we don't want it to be fully demolished because there are some elements that could contribute to retaining the context of the site. so i'm not quite clear -- you know, because it seems like heritage is requesting to then say we can't use this -- maybe you could come up here and explain in more detail. it seems like you're saying heritage is requesting looking at saying you couldn't use a retained element in an e.i.r. if the building is in a particular level of recognition.
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>> right. and the thing that is concerning for us is that in the guidelines itself, it is mentioned these are not to be used for rehabilitation projects and it will not result in a less-than-significant impact to resources. then we have mention of article 10 and article 11. so that's terrific. so then you start getting into the question of when would these guidelines be applied that would not impact a historic resource. this is talking about finding difficult examples in which we apply these guidelines. we have the same issue. when would these apply and not impact what would potentially be a historic resource. the example that is put here is there are rare conditions when the planning staff would ask them to be applied. that's vague to us as to what example would that be.
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>> the church on eddie street -- the christian science church seems to be one -- >> [ overlapping speakers ] -- >> thank you. that seems to be a good example of what you're talking about because that building certainly was eligible. and it will certainly be gone. one solution would have been potentially to save that porch element so there would still be -- and respond to that architecturally. i don't know what the deal was, but i'm just trying to understand because it is curious where this would really apply, because otherwise it's a building that doesn't happen to be a historic resource, but happening to be old-looking and contributing to the context of the street. are we eliminating a group of buildings that we would potentially want to look at? >> commissioners, if i could, i
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was going to wait until my fellow comirgetsed had their turn. i do have a lot to say on this. turn. i do have a lot to say on this. i personally have been dealing with this for 30 years. this is not something new to me. first off, i think staff has done a phenomenal job pulling this together from where we started. this is about a two or three-process that we've undertaken here. i'm sorry that some of the commissioners didn't get the actual guidelines, but we have reviewed this three times at least and then one time at a joint hearing. i have some specific comments and i think the challenge is when it applies we are reviewing an e.i.r. or a draft e.i.r. or a
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scoping of that so that we can actually make sure if there's a portion of the project that has been determined to demolition, if a portion of it is retained, that it's done in a meaningful way. i mean, that's ultimately the goal of this. so there's this struggle between is this a preservation guideline or is it not. i think that's what staff has been having a really difficult time articulating. and i think you're almost there. i think this is really much better than it has been. so some of the specific comments that i have, i would take out the "in rare cases." say the historic preservation commission or planning staff may request application of these guidelines. i'm not sure. i think that in your summary side, there's a contradiction
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here. it's discretionary or voluntary by the sponsor, but we can request it as applied if that's part of the the community benefit negotiations on a demolition of a potential resource. right. so that's where -- >> we wouldn't see it if -- >> we do see it. >> if it's not a resource. >> if it's not defined as a resource, we would not see it and we don't see it. so -- but we have seen dozen, if not more, of developments over the last since i've been on the commission now, six or seven years, where auto row projects were being built above. there's the one on fulsome, i don't know if it came before the commission. it's the housing project between 7 or 8 on fulsome, where it is the brick facade -- >> on to 9 and 10.
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>> yes. we as a city has been struggling with this. this is to help us help the designers in doing something more than just keeping. we saw one a couple weeks ago where the new design has no relation to this historic building that was being retained. because of that, we had this whole struggle of are we designing it for them or not. this is to provide some meaningful direction to those projects. so i would take out "in rare cases" because i think when it comes before us, it comes before us. if they're keeping the resource and mitigating so it complies with the standards, then this wouldn't apply. so on the -- one last comment.
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i lost my notes. on the imagery of the guidelines, i actually think graphically designed it has achieved what its goal was, but i think it's missing a piece and that's what's kausing the challenge. most of the photographs but one i think are detailed shots of the intersection of the old and the new. it's not the scale and the matssing of the new with the existing. i know in the earlier iterations we were trying to do some pencil drawings of showing -- and i guess you do have some 3-d models that show it pretty well in these corners. those are good.
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the challenges is there are not very many good examples. what we're forging here is something that needs to be done much better than we've been doing it. so we just don't have the zoomed-out scales to pick from. anyway, i hope i made some sense. that's what i have to say. >> thank you, commissioner. i really appreciate it because being new on this commission, this is actually -- what was it, like, seven days ago when i got this on my doorstep. thank you for delivering it. i was looking at it and looking for some clue in the little meeting minutes or the agenda to kind of have -- if the staff would remember what are we looking -- >> a staff report or analysis. >> it was informational only.
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now we're looking to approve this in this month. so i better be on this crash course. thank you for telling me -- you actually answered a lot of my questions. in general we had talked more and debate more about the actual content on each criteria, but then the overall picture is that i -- wouldn't it be helpful if someone like me or someone less -- or someone, anyone, would see a flowchart in terms of how this will be applicable. when we have sequa if we know this project belongs to this and it will get the arrow and know this needs to be taken care of in a mitigated way, it would be nice for everyone to understand when the project sponsor or the staff or us could tap into these resources to make some decision
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or using it as our guiding principle to complement the general plan and also the city plan. i'm not sure that will be achievable. really i think it's a roadmap. a flowchart would help because we can all refer to a single source of references instead of what my interpretation of when we can use this and what my fellow commissioners when we can use it and also our fellow planning commissioners. my other comment i wanted to bring up is you created a really good image of a mural in the front page of the guideline, but haven't really talked about how you -- or if there's any process that you would recommend to evaluate murals. that is like another -- another
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silo, another huge avalanche of subject matters that could be very interesting and invigorating to discuss. i would love to learn more about how us as a planning department and also coming from the arts commission world, and i would love to hear how can we do something to help the city do things more efficiently and impactful and meaningful. yeah, that's all i wanted to add on to the comments. other architectural stuff i think my fellow architects have taken care of. >> commissioner black. >> i get how hard it is to prepare something like this in an environment like sb-330 or whatever the number is. because you're trying to solve a
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problem and communicate solution s to foster the objectives of trying to blend the new with the old, and it's very hard when there is legislation that essentially says you can't regulate this. you can encourage good waying of doing it. so i get it, it's very hard. and i appreciate the efforts that have gone into it. i didn't have a staff report -- i didn't get one. and because it was an informational presentation, i didn't know there was one. i didn't check to see if there was online. so i would have appreciated having had a chance to read it through and think about it. i did get heritage's letter. this is very difficult to do. i think it does communicate w l well. you can't legislate good design
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ever. you can do your best to encourage and promote it, and a lot of it is going to fall on staff to tell you the truth in working with developers and applicants. so best of luck. [ laughter ]]. >> thank you. i think it's important to recognize that this is -- the way we are seeing this and i think the president hit it on the head. we have been struggling with this for a long time. we have okay examples out there. we have really poor examples out there. the one thing we can agree on, this does not meet sector interior standards. because of that actually, we are not asking this commission to adopt these. i realize that's a judgment call that we have made. we see this as part of the urban
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design review process that we go through with any projects. we love your comments, but the idea is to emphasize that this is part of the design review process and not part of the preservation review process. the vast majority of cases i think that we will see here, not all of them certainly, but the most of them will likely be, gee, the neighborhood really likes this mural or, gee, there is a facade we think will be interesting to keep. here is a way of meeting certain standards and that has integrity to it. it's going to be done according to the design process. this is to emphasis the point that this would not be adopted here but by the planning commission, ancillary to the normal review process. just on sb-330, i appreciate that you're raising that it's --
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because that takes effect january 1, it basically says if you do not have guidelines already in place that are not objective, and typically that means quantitative or quite specific in terms of materials, you can't do new ones. the thinking being they don't want -- this bill was intended to keep communities from -- for us to move these forward. so i really just want to kind of emphasize and reinforce that idea, that we see this as part of the design review process, outside of the normal preservation review process, if you will. >> commissioner -- mr. joslen.
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>> not a commissioner yet here or anywhere else. to build on the comments just a little bit and address commissioner pearlman's question about how this is being managed in other places, the reason we don't have other documents from other places to look at this in the context of is because other cities, to the extent they've addressed this, have done it within the context of the preservation framework. so we are unique in that we've created this bright line between this practice and what we can consider preservation. that direction came directly from the commissions over the course of the past year. so i think we've landed in the place where they were directed to and that that's quite a bit comfort around it, but it is an
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evolving story, both here and elsewhere. this is a unique aspect of the preservation realm or related to the preservation realm, where we've struggled with this in different ways over time. when we first started this conversation, it was in the context of this commission and preservation practice. how perspective solutions and approaches evolve in practice as we move forward will be able to be captured in subsequent modifications to this document. i mean, once we've got it in place, it will still be capable of being amended. it does just important at this time to get the base document in place prior to january 1. >> commissioner pearlman. >> thank you. that was well timed that i got behind you, mr. joslin.
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i appreciate specifically what director ram just said and what mr. joslin just gave me the ah-ha moment of, oh, of course, this isn't actually preservation. i appreciate that very much. my comment was going to be why isn't this just incorporated into the urban and residential design guidelines, just as a chapter of those, because that's exactly where it makes abundant sense. i appreciate that very much. i was still kind of dealing in my mind of the cloud of preservation and how does this fit in. that's what i was trying to understand what was being talked about. >> because you didn't get the document, there is a diagram that shows how that fits in. >> yes, i didn't get that document. sorry for the first comment and thank you for the recent comment. >> commissioner foley.
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>> it seems to me it allows the planning staff and the developers to work earlier in the process to come out with a better project versus a lot of the ugly stuff we've seen earlier. so from my perspective it puts the developer on notice that you're going to have to deal with this. we're not going to accept ugly. it makes a lot of sense to me. one of the things is communication. if they're on notice, they have to make things pretty and good-looking. it's a good tool. >> i do have a few more comments. i wanted to pick up on some of the things director ram and mr. joslin said. i do think we're going to be seeing this a lot. it's not just on buildings that we're keeping a facade. i think it will be on all the vertical resources that will have an addition to them. when i say i've been dealing
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with this for a long time, one of the conversations we had internally at a.i.g. was standard nine and how this need to design vertically over historic buildings is just going to become more and more of an issue. we had this constant argument around -- i wouldn't say it's constant, but when it came up, we had this disagreement and weather standard nine needed to be revised or if it's good enough as it is. and whether it's up to the local jurisdiction and city to develop the guidelines that make it apply more meaningful to that community or if we as, you know -- when can the standards be revised, right? i mean, that was kind of -- and it was all around this vertical addition. so just since i've been on this commission -- well, there's four major projects.
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one i worked on long ago and that's the williams building at 3rd and mission. it has the new -- i forget what hotel, but the hotel right behind it. and then diagonally across the street is the aaronson building. our own new city building at 12th and mission, right, another s.o.m. building. the plant which they lopped off the end which is against what we would have preferred. another s.o.m. project here between 1st and 2nd on harrison, that nice long, low-rise with the big building. with all of the development south of market, we're going to be seeing a lot of these projects and they will come
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before us during the e.i.r. process. so we will have an ability to help guide that in relation to these guidelines. >> i think a couple of examples you mentioned, though, were, in fact, resources that would have met or did meet the guidelines. like the aaronson building, that was the restoration of a landmark with a new tower attached to it. it wouldn't use these guidelines. >> that is correct. >> the aaronson we lopped off one bay. >> it was a later addition. >> yeah. and on the williams building, the new addition was adjacent to it. >> and that one had an addition to take off for the new tower. the original building was more intact. >> commissioner black, did you have a further comment? >> i'm just going to mention one
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last thing and it follows commissioner foley's comment about how developers approach these things. i think to the extent that you can augment the photograph, the dos and don'ts photograph, that's a really helpful tool because it's been my experience over the years that there are designers who get it and designers who don't, who really don't understand it. especially when it comes to a guideline. they've got their square footages and their capitalization rate. they've got all these things figured out on the economics and the design is what they're going to be told to do in their minds. to the extent that there are photos that help direct that, i think that would be helpful. >> i think the auto row building, since that comes up
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all the time, certainly would be one that should be noted one way or another for whether the department thinks that's a reasonable approach or not. we had our own disagreements about it, but it's one that's prominent in terms of traffic flow, a lot of people see that. and it's one where there were four buildings and sort of got incorporated. we had our -- that's where a lot of the facade conversation started back in 2014. so i don't know -- and i agree. i think that the visual examples are so critical. i appreciate it because i work with a lot of developers. as you know, i've sat with you many times. it's be great for me to be able to say, no, it's really important that you save this building, rather than how -- the first question to me is how do we demolish this.
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so this is really very helpful in that regard as well. >> two other questions. on sb-330, so -- and you kind of addressed it i think. i just wanted to get a clarification. so once we adopt these guidelines, we can amend them? or once they're amended, does that throw us out? >> it will depend on how we amend them. for example, if we're adding new examples, i mean examples, have been a challenge for us. >> successful examples. >> the reason there are no negative examples specifically identified here is we consistently have not included local negative examples for obvious reasons. we've tried also consistently to rely on local examples
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throughout these documents. this document is actually atypical in that we have a page of projects from outside of san francisco for the very reasons we're talking about. i think there are changes and then there are changes. i think if we were fundamentally changing the content and the direction of the guidelines, we would be problematic. but if we're clarifying process and examples and just how they're intended to be applied, those sort of matters, i'm sure they would survive that test in the future. >> one other point. the 330 is only intended to apply until engijanuary 2025. it doesn't apply for eternity. if there are more essential
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changes and we're thinking that's going to sunset, we can have a different discussion about whether we want to do a more substantial modification. >> what about our preservation element or cultural something element, right, do you have to adopt that before -- >> [ indiscernible ]. >> we don't have an element adopted? >> no, we don't. but that's an element of a general plan that we were required to do -- much of what's required under the general plan is required under state law like the housing element. >> anything else? >> one thing. when you're working on these, i think you might consider whether it's a good idea to use such phrases as is the new building
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better than the old. >> i think that's the more colloquial way to describe it, but if you notice in the options we talk about superior quality, durability is a big question. sometimes the materials that are coming in aren't as durable. we use different construction methods now. so some of them do have that greater sense of civic expression, better-quality materials, things that we think will have that test of time. so "better" is of course a relative term. it gets into a little more detail. >> "better" is not an objective term. >> we would still love to hear your comments. we want to bring it to planning so we meet the deadline before
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the end of the year. >> absolutely. this is a how, and we need all the expertise at the table to do the best job that we can. >> how is the planning commission going to be able to get the benefit of this conversation? >> i'd be happy to make a synopsis and bring it forward as part of that dialog. i wanted to clarify how this is used with e.i.r.s and we have experts more than me in this process, but there is some question about how we work with developers, how these choices get made, often this is a design review process that's getting noted in that process, when it does cross into preservation, historic resources, and that procedure, that is going to be part of a separate document and procedures around sequa, that is a separate thing internally that will be more evident in the future, so that is not a
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guideline. that does not necessarily need to be documented as part of this. that is the operations of how this process work. that may change over time depending on the requirements of sequa. >> this would be in the proposed project, and if not, it would be a potential partial preservation. >> right. all these provisions of what is the project, what is a retained element alternative, what is a partial preservation alternative, what is a full preservation alternative, all differentiation is important. a partial alternative may be spoken of separate. you guys are starting this process earlier where you're getting involved with the development of what the alternatives are which is incredibly helpful. i think it's interesting to make
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sure that we're using the terminologies in the same way. we're trying to explain this to project applicants, and there are times when the design review portion, not the sequa, but the design review is encouraging these retained elements versions to be the project and to not necessary have a project that is a full demo. we try to make sure everyone is headed in the same direction even in the ways we talk about them. >> all right. very good. anything else? we're adjourned..
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>> good afternoon, everyone, and thank you so much for joining for the grand opening of our public lobby. it has been a long process. we're so honored to have you all here today. first, before we get into our short speaking program, i first want to acknowledge a few parties that have worked really hard to make this all possible. i'd first like to thank our budget analyst and project management team that have worked really hard to make this run
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smoothly. thank you very much for that. [ applause ]. >> they've also worked very closely hand in hand with the mayor's budget office. i'd like to thank kelly kirkpatrick for coming here today. thank you. [ applause ]. >> next i would like to thank our public facing team who provides excellent public service. our public service team and our recorder division. thank you very much. [ applause ]. >> they provided excellent customer service even throughout a lot of -- yay. they provided a lot of excellent service even throughout a lot of construction. thank you for keeping the office running. we also are joined by some neighborhood friends. so thank you to them for coming. we have some people from the women's building here. yay, thank you. [ applause ]. >> and we also have people from
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the dog patch northwestern petril hill green benefits district. it's a little bit of a mouthful. thank you for coming. of course thank you to our neighborhood historians who have joined and helped us go through a lot of historic photos that we have and we have been able to create a little wall. thank you for that. we have the western neighborhoods project, s.f. heritage, glen park history project and sunny side history project. thank you. [ applause ]. >> so now i would like to introduce our beloved assessor carmen chu who is newly back from maternity leave and later we will be hearing from our director of public works and also our city librarian. thank you. [ applause ].
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>> i have to say that it's rare that i ever hear the word "beloved" and "assessor" in the same sentence, but here we are. i want to thank isabella from my team. they've done quite a lot of work to help and partner with our public-facing folks in order to make sure that our lobby is well thought out and we have a great plan to help improve service. thank you to isabella and vivian. [ applause ]. >> so when i first started as assessor years ago, i think when i first came in, i think i walked into this office and probably like a lot of taxpayers i came in through different doors at different points in time and at the time it was confusing. how do you get into the office and where do you go for service. and if i couldn't speak the language, which luckily i could, where do you go for help and who could assist? it was with that eye that we
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started to take a look at our front lobby area to see how is it that we are able to improve customer service and access and be cognizant of the different people coming to our city every single day, whether you are an immigrant who can't speak the language well like my own parents or someone with a disability who needs assistance or people who don't know how to find documents in our system. how is it that we as a public service and government serve our public in the best way possible. we started on this process to say, well, the first thing they do is come into our office and try to figure out way-finding signs and the way forward. we need to make sure that when people come into our office they feel welcomed and they feel that we have an abundant amount of services available here. with that, we really started to say let's do a few things. i think today when we're doing our big unveiling along with the
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blue angels out there cheering us on that we're showing our good faith. a few things that we want to point out to you here, and this is something we couldn't have done without the partnership of our dpw is that we've done a few things to reconfigure our lobby area to improve public access. we've transformed the physical space. we have a wonderful and lovely seating area for people to come here and wait comfortably, to be able to get their documentation and information. we actually have implemented a kiosk system so when people first come into our office they can directly find and get tickets, that they're served in an expeditious way. we have implemented a lobby navigator, someone who is greeting people when they come in to make sure they're in the right place to make sure they're not wasting valuable times waiting in the wrong lines. that does happen at city hall. we want to make sure we're preventing that. if you look around our office,
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you will see many of our kiosks and information are in multiple languages. we're cognizant of the fact that san francisco is a universal city with universal languages that we want to access and share with people. this is also something that is part of our lobby system. of course we're doing a lot more to make sure that it's a welcoming environment here. so we hope that some of these improvements are really going to show that government is open to everyone, it's accessible, transparent, and we welcome you here. we're here to serve you. with that, i want to say thank you. we hope you're going to take a look at around. we have more spaces for people to be served. we know this is going to be a public improvement for the public as a whole. we couldn't do this without the partnership of wonderful people. i know some of our folks behind the scenes that were helping. i want to thank the mayor's office for helping us fund this, but of course i want to say if we bring in the money, help us
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serve the public better. thank you for all of your assistance and your partnership. no further ado to bring someone forward who i've known for quite a long time, who most of the time is doing work outside on the streets, picking up litter or cleaning up graffiti, but one of the lesser known things he does is help our buildings function better and stay in a state of good repair. with that i want to introduce mohamed nuru and thank him and his team for the fantastic work helping us make these improvements in a historic building. thank you, mohamed. >> thank you, carmen. yes, kelly and carmen bring in the money. i get to spend the money. [ laughter ]. >> i think a few years ago when carmen brought up the idea of doing the project, we were very excited. it had a lot of different work
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that needed to be done. it is a historic building. so trying to match things and to really make a place that really works with all the things we heard from carmen was something that we were excited about. what's great about this project is it involved many parts of our building of bureau repair, carpenters, glazers, locksmith, laborers were all involved -- well in fact, every shop in public works was involved in one way or another in making this happen. it's a very unique project because we have a lot of staff that actually custom-built many of the shelves over here, matching the doors, all the things that we had to work with. all of those were built at public works at our shop. it was really an exciting project for the team. i think we delivered. i think you're very happy about that. just so you know, we do a lot of
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these type of services for all over the city departments. city hall was very special, trying to match the wood, the different glass and just making the rails, building all the cabinets, painting and sprucing it up. you know, the paint was actually peeling in some cases. so doing all the scraping and going through all the processes making the space happen. i'm excited and our teams are excited. we'll continue to serve you or any of the city departments that want us to do work for them. we actually do many of the jobs in many of the city offices. thank you very much. we'll enjoy it. thank you. [ applause ]. >> mohamed's nickname is mr. clean. now that extends to cleaning up our city buildings as well. thank you, mohamed. when we talked about the
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services here, again, city hall is very special and unique to all of us because of its historic nature, but also because it is an essential place people go when they want to access government and the people who represent them. it's important to make sure that these doors are open and accessible to everyone who comes in. i think there's no other patron group that feels that same way than our public libraries. we know that no matter which branch library it is that we go to across the city, we have an open door where people can find a safe space and learn and get educated and borrow materials and really explore. we have worked in great partnership with our city librarian michael lambert who is also working with us. you might seen behind me is a wall of 15 different curated historic photos. one of the things you may not know is in order for this to be accomplished, we had to clear
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out many of our old property files. we went through this intensive process to digitize over a million files. when we went through that process, we found many, many historic photos we thought was not only worth preserving but sharing and putting out to the public space. something that is important to our history, buildings that used to look a different way but are important of our fabric, it is important to share that with san franciscans to come, not to put the away in a box never to be seen. we worked with the library to make sure we cataloged and got those photos to them to be accessible. we're proud to announce we have over 92,000 photo images that are available at our san francisco public library in order for people to see our history and our shared buildings and resources.
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these photos here are just a small set of the photos that are now available in our public library. we couldn't have done that without our city librarian's staff and time. i want to invite michael up to say a few words. >> thank you. it is so wonderful to be here with my esteemed city colleagues and so many members of the public. this lobby is magnificent and sparkling. i want to congratulate assessor chu and all of her staff. what a remarkable job you've done with public works to transform this space. i admire the commitment to service excellence with all the tenant improvements and significance enhancements. what a warm, friendly atmosphere you've created here. i appreciated the office of the assessor-recorder, not only for providing the library the biggest book budget in the
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country, but also for the partnership we enjoy. earlier this year, assessor chu and her team transferred over 92,000 photographs to the public library. you see a sampling here on this wall. it really makes history come alive for all the visitors to this space. these photographs are priceless. they are an invaluable snapshot in time of san francisco and some places that don't exist anymore. these photographs are now accessible to any member of the public that wants to view them. they can come into the library to the san francisco history center and they can take a walk down memory lane and reminisce and relive some treasured memories of their past. it's so wonderful to have this partnership. i want to congratulate assessor chu and her team again. thank you so much for the partnership. [ applause ].
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>> all right. so now i'd like to ask evelyn and amy from glen park and sunny side to come up and woody and nicole and david from western history project to come up as well. thank you.
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