tv [untitled] November 29, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm PST
listen to. >> commissioner antonini, you made a motion, a loose motion at that. is there a second? >> i'll try to capture it if i can. >> okay. commissioner wu will second. so, the motion, if i can try to capture it, is to adopt a resolution recommending approval to the board of supervisors with a strong request to engage -- >> no, no, no. >> let me restate it if i can, mr. ionin. we are asking the supervisor to engage the public for additional input and then create a third draft that takes into consideration their input as well as those comments of ours with specific reference to the trigger date and the period of time during which the appeals could occur. >> okay.
this is a completely different motion. it was in case the supervisor chooses to move forward. so, we're disregarding the fact that the supervisor can move forward on the legislation and we're going to draft a new resolution simply requesting -- >> it's understood that if he decides to move forward without taking into consideration, that's his province because it's an administrative action. >> okay, my apologies. i misunderstood. >> [inaudible]. [laughter] >> thank you. then the motion would be to engage -- to draft a resolution recommending to the board of supervisors that they engage the public and submit a third draft to this body -- >> the recommendation is not to the board of supervisors. it is to supervisor wiener personally. >> excuse me, to supervisor wiener. >> not to the board. >> and to consider clarity of
the first discretionary action, noting that that may not be the most appropriate trigger, taking a look at extended appeal periods and defaulting to a longer appeal period when the actions -- excuse me, for those actions without notice. >> okay, yeah. that's a good summary. >> is that okay? >> sounds good. >> all right. commissioner antonini? >> aye. >> commissioner borden? >> aye. >> commissioner hillis? excuse me, he's absent. commissioner moore? >> aye. >> commissioner sugaya? >> aye. >> commissioner wu? >> aye. >> and commission president fong? >> aye. >> so moved, commissioners. >> thank you. >> that motion passes +6 to -0. >> do you guys want a break here? >> really quick. >> i think we're going to take a quick -- yeah, five-minute break. thank you. >>please stand by; meeting in recess
>> this is to develop a limited financial serve is e service sterling bank and trust at 115 pest portal avenue in the west portal neighborhood commercial district. the project is not considered for formula retail, formula retail exempts financial services. the proposed branch would occupy 199 square feet at the front of an existing commercial space. the department does not support this request because a large amount of commercial ground story frontage in the retail district is already occupied by several large scale financial institutions including bank of america, chase bank citibank, first america bank [speaker not understood]. their well served by these existing banks and other financial institutions in the district. in addition, the financial institution in this rather
small few block long district would decrease the diversity of use in the district and limit other neighborhood serving uses in the neighborhood. this concern is the reason financial institutions require conditional use authorization in this district and the reason that a similar request for sterling bank in 2005 in this location was disapproved by the commission. and conditions in the neighborhood have not changed. last october the [speaker not understood] restaurant burned down. local merchants association and other groups used the restaurant as a meeting place. sterling bank has offered to allow merchants and others to use the 545 square foot rear portion in this space now occupied by the bank office as a community meeting room. the need for such a community meeting space will decrease when the [speaker not understood] is reconstructed. the department has received letters of support for the project from the greater west
portal merchants association, greater west portal neighborhood association and three additional letters of support from area merchants. the department recommends disapproval of the project as the project -- excuse me, as the west portal neighborhood is well served by existing banks and other financial institutions in the district and the project would remove a ground floor commercial space from the market eliminating the opportunity for its use as the sigh as the neighborhood serving retail use. i'll be happy to answer any questions you have. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> project sponsor, please. good evening, president fong and commissioners, my name is steve adams. i am the managing director of the sterling bank and trust here in san francisco. and, yes, we did try to open up a limited use bank branch several years ago and we were denied. things have changed in these
last six years. first off, we are a limited use bank bran. . we are not a full bank branch. the other institutions * that were described are national banks. we are community banks. we are a community bank based here in san francisco. with our branches here in san francisco and one in burlingame. for six years i have tried to lease out this space. i have had gladys real estate and cb ellis try to rent the space out. i had one offer from a company called cheaper cigarette. and because of my neighborhood, because i get involved in other neighborhood groups, i could not lease that space out to a cigarette vendor. and, so, i've had no other offers in that many years. and then i've had no offers for
the last three years since that offer and it's just sitting there vacant. i did, even before the fire, i did know there was a need for a community room on west portal avenue, not only for the merchants, but for the greater west portal neighborhood association was looking at a space their board can meet at. and i also offered that space to other community groups who do need that. and we set up a set of guidelines that we submitted to planning. i've done extensive community outreach with both the west portal merchants, the greater west portal neighborhood association. i've sat down with numerous individuals one on one and i've gotten no opposition personally to myself on this project. so, i'm respectfully asking that you approve my conditional use application for 115 west portal. thank you. >> thank you. is there any public comment?
okay. mary [speaker not understood] thev [inaudible]. >> thank you very much. matthew rodgers. good evening, commissioners. thank you for hearing us. i grew up on west portal, i'm a merchant and president of the west portal merchants association. i ask you to support the sterling's permit to [speaker not understood] 115 west portal avenue and they're not your average bank and that's what we like about them. they have a small footprint. we hope in the future more banks will follow that formula. i have a feeling in the future you'll see that coming before you more often. i think they make for a great model. they're a community outreach and their presentation to us was quite impressive. i don't think they are just another bank.
they are very local san francisco community bank. their offer was very enticing to us and we've accepted graciously their offer for the community meeting room. excuse me, there was one more thing i wanted to say. but it does not come to mind. i urge you to approve this. that's what it was. the merchants association did several outreach programs with little or no resistance. the last meeting we had was -- the consensus of the meeting was why would they disapprove the last time and why is this becoming an issue now? we've had a vacant business on the block for six years. we do not want to go with another three or four more years of having a vacant unit just because of a policy or what have you. we appreciate the stipulations that are in our policy. but every once in a while we need to make an exception. i don't think this project is an exception or an impedance on
the avenue and will serve the avenue. thank you for your time. >> thank you. good evening, my name is matt rodgers. i'm the owner of [speaker not understood] hardware on west portal avenue. [speaker not understood]. i've seen a lot of ups and downs on the street. i'm here to urge your support for this project for the conditional use. and you might think it's a little strange of someone saying, hey, you want to put a bank in a retail spot? why would you want to do that? it's going to take away from the street. this is not an ordinary bank. it's a community bank. and unlike all those big banks that were mentioned, you can sit down and talk to these people. they understand what merchants need to sort of build the community to kind of invigorate what is happening. i think it's a modest request for 200 square feet. the place has been vacant.
and i think it should be filled with some people that are ready to be active in the neighborhood. when this was first mentioned, i checked around with some other commercial districts that have sterling branches and i called merchants that we know. and said, hey, are they the real deal? do they really support -- are they active? and it came back up aloe questionv li yes, they support the neighborhood. they're volunteer. they support financially. and west portal needs that. we're a small commercial district. times are changing these last 20 years with internet and whatnot. * and we need to attract more business he and that's not going to happen by itself. we want to invigorate the street and i'm looking forward to partnering with sterling bank on this. so, urging your approval. thank you. >> thank you. good evening, commissioners. tim colin speaking only for myself. my family is a 20-year resident of west portal. we do shopping there, eat there, the movies are there, my wife worked in the book shop
there. we love west portal. in a former lifetime i was president of the greater west portal neighborhood association for four years and i remember the discussion -- you know, i think it's seven years that's been a vacancy on the avenue. and it was a ritz camera before. it's a little tiny store. the ncd, the west portal ncd was put in place, i think greater west portal neighborhood association had a hand in it in the '70s, my good friend howard strassner. there was an impression financial institutions are invading our neighborhood, we have to put a restriction on how many can come in. otherwise we'll lose the character of our neighborhood. that was done. and, you know, it's hard to imagine that the conditions that applied in the '70s are applicable now, especially as charles schwab, a bank, how do you define it? i think that the neighborhood is much more at risk or harmed
by having a vacant store front for seven years than to bring in a willing tenant that's willing to participate in the community. the other thing the ncd did, and i give howard grief for it every time i see him. they put a 26 foot height limit on west portal, which is, you know, it's awful now. it's haunting us now. so, i think the rules that went into place in the '70s don't apply. this is a great opportunity to help our neighborhood. thank you. >> additional public comment on this item? okay. seeing none, the public comment portion is closed. commissioner antonini. >> thank you. i'm very much in favor of this proposal and i also live in the neighborhood in west side -- west lakeside village. i'm sorry, west portal frequently. and there are a lot of vacancies. and this particular space is
tiny. its frontage is 11-1/2 feet. and, so, it's a very hard thing to fill. and we are losing businesses partly because of what's happening online and i hope that doesn't continue because, you know, i don't shop online and i discourage other people from doing it because it just knocks out jobs for people in retail places. but until we have that turn around, there is going to be this problem with trying to get retail to be vital and there's lots of other spaces. the other thing that impresses me, they're taking 545 feet of their space and turning it into a community room. and the argument that the merchants will go back to meeting and squat and gobble and rebuilt, which will be quite a while. begs a question. a lot of meetings you have, you don't necessarily want to include food and drink also. i go to meetings of the
lakeside property owners association. we meet in the church over near stones town. and i would think of people like st. francis would, which i don't think they have their own meeting place, unlike forest hill. this would be a multitude of different groups who would take advantage of this. and the other thing we should be concentrating on, and this has nothing to do with this approval,v but we have a lot of land uses that are not appropriate. they're back to the '60s. i'm pointing out in particular wells fargo and some of the title companies where they have single level bran etches that are bigger than they need to be and there's lots of parking in the back. and while parking is important like anyplace else, it could be put below grade and as tim colin spoke about the 26-foot height limit is unrealistic because many of the older buildings in west portal are more than two floors. and then they put this limit in probably in the '70s or maybe even before that, which is
unrealistically low. so, i'm in favor of this and i would move to approve. >> second. >> commissioner moore. >> i have a question. my understanding was that we actually included branch banks in the formula retail definition, and you said we did not. >> no, let me clarify that, commissioner. we do consider branch banks to be formula retail. however, within that definition it exempts the limited financial services that are less than 200 square feet. >> i appreciate you saying that. the other question i have for you, what this project does not do, and i am a little bit concerned about it, it does not have any disclosure about it