tv Board of Appeals SFGTV July 5, 2020 9:00pm-11:53pm PDT
video public comment. and that i will be able to use the chat for technical assistance for disabilities. and they've updated the mealing website with disability and accessibility information and call-in information. i really want to thank julie for doing this. and i think that it really sets an example of how other departments can and should be operating. unfortunately, the department of public works a.d.a. coordinator has been ignoring my emails and accessibility requests for many months and it's very nice to see a department like the board of appeals taking accessibility seriously and making the simple but very important accommodations so that disabled people and members of the public can attend and be heard. so, again, thank you. >> clerk: thank you. okay, we have one other speaker. miss boller?
one moment. miss boller, you can go ahead. you have three minutes, please. okay... >> caller: hello? >> clerk: hello, miss boller, welcome. >> caller: thank you. i'm calling because there's been an incident on octavia street of tree cutting that was -- has greatly upset the residents because they expected that an agreement made with the board of appeals was being followed. and it wasn't. they were supposed to come to an agreement as to the replacement of trees and what -- which trees
would be -- which kinds of trees would be replaced. and that agreement was not reached. everybody was taken by great surprise that suddenly on saturday that a crew came and took down four trees. and then i think on monday an additional tree -- i'm not sure where those were on octavia street. the other one might have been on hayes street. and now apparently it's been decided to stop doing it. but i think that it's very unfortunate and illegitimate for those trees to be taken down. and there's no putting them back. you just can't move them back on to their stumps. that's, i guess -- i don't know
what else i should say about that. so that's my comment. >> clerk: thank you miss boller. >> i have just one question. what is the address on octavia street, to the caller, miss boller? >> clerk: miss boller? >> she's gone. >> clerk: she may be gone. but we do have another member of the public who would like to speak. so miss downs? >> caller: hello. >> clerk: hello and welcome. you have three minutes. >> caller: hi, thank you. i'd like to echo what miss boller was saying that we don't feel that the adequate, like, inclusion of the public's comment and the -- we were supposed -- there was supposed
to be a transparent process on how the tree plan -- on what trees would be made as replacements before the trees were actually taken down. and that was ordered as part of the mandate at the last hearing but that didn't actually take place. there's just been a couple of side conversations, and the association which does have a democratic election process and does not represent the neighborhood. and we feel somewhat betrayed by, you know, by the suddenness of -- and the lack of communication around which trees are coming down. but in addition to this, i have noticed -- and i have a video of the ficus tree at 432 hayes street that was being pruned by those same contractors that were removing the trees. but it wasn't on the list of trees to be pruned or removed, plus, it is still nesting season
of birds and in that tree in the video you can see visible nests. and later it's been shown that -- we've been told that this was a mistake by an unauthorized and a decision by the contractors. i'd like to know how this could happen and what surveying -- and what can be done in future to prevent this from happening to anyone else who is having trees removed or pruned in the neighborhood from having contractors take these independent anti-environmentalist, like, initiatives to make all of these -- yeah, to make these decisions. i'm just kind of upset about this. and i feel like there should be a process and we follow that process and that's how things get done. >> i agree. >> clerk: okay. thank you. we do have -- wait, one moment. we have another public -- someone who wants to provide
public comment. the phone number ending in 0701. please go ahead. >> caller: hi, thank you. can you hear me? >> clerk: yes, i can. >> caller: this is josh, i was one of the appellants in the hayes valley manner that miss boller and miss downey referred to. and i think that the particular concern is that as an appellant, one of the things that we fought hard for and that the board included in its decision was that a replacement plan needed to be in place before any removals occurred. that is actually in the board's decision. and as one of the appellants, i would think that i would be aware of any replacement plan that was in place and those removals started last saturday, and (indiscernible) most importantly... >> clerk: mr. clip, we can't
hear you. >> i think it was time. >> clerk: okay. i see he's still there. but we can try having him come back. but we have somebody else. mr. clip, can you hear us? he may call back then. maybe he lost -- >> i'll reserve his time when he calls back. >> clerk: okay. so we do have another person from the tenants' rights group. whoever called in from the tenants' rights group, we can put you on video. one moment. okay. thank you. >> caller: all right. hi. >> clerk: hello and welcome. >> caller: thank you. can you hear me? >> clerk: yes. >> caller: all right. i'm going to just say thank you for giving me the time. i also want to talk about the
legaillegal cutting down of tren bayview with the new construction project, with gentrification there. i just don't understand how that could happen when processes and procedures were already confirmed in earlier meetings. that's it. thank you. >> clerk: okay, thank you. and i believe that mr. clip is back. mr. clip? >oh, no.>> caller: yeah, i'm hem here, sorry. my phone picked a great time to drop the signal there. >> you have two minutes and 10 0 seconds reserved for you. >> caller: thanks. yeah, all i was going to say is that was language that the board specifically included in its motion, in its decision. and as an appellant it seems that something that should have been aware of that there was a replacement plan in place. i was not made aware of that. and the removal proceeded anyway. so i just think that it's important that the board put
these things in the decisions that those things need to be abided by by the department. that's all. thank you. >> clerk: thank you. any more general public comment? >> just one more question. mr. clip, did you have the address of the case that we had heard associated with it? >> caller: i don't -- i'm sorry, can you hear me? >> yes. >> caller: yeah, i don't know all of the addresses where the trees were removed off the top of my head. i do know that they were in a 2 1/2 block radius which is sort of limited in scope. it's not the full removal happening right now, but it was limited in scope because of the request, i believe by the association to ensure that there would be no impedenses to the businesses reopening once the covid restrictions are lifted. >> okay, thank you. >> clerk: okay, we do have one more public commenter. one moment. the phone number ending in 8570.
please, go ahead. >> caller: hello, good evening. this is casey as berry with the demonstration gardens and the healthy street trees initiative. and i'm calling to address the board generally regarding a pattern that we are seeing as we study the health of our urban canopy. we're seeing that we are losing more trees than we are gaining consistently year over year. and we respectfully seek your support in halting all non-emergency tree removals while we investigate the conditions that are producing this. we're not saying that it's wrongdoing. we're not making any assertions, but there are -- the biggest disturbing pattern is that we
are losing healthy mature trees at a rate that we can't afford to. thank you. >> clerk: okay, thank you. so let me see if there's any more public comment. one moment. i do believe that -- we did get a message in the chatbox, one of the commenters wants to provide contact information to another commenter. and since we are doing this remotely we want to facilitate the process. mr. karnazes, can you clarify what you want to share? i can't hear you. >> oh, yes, hi, yes. i would just like to provide my email address for those that spoke up in public comment today and in defense of our urban forest and i'd love to communicate with anyone interested. julie, you have my email address. please feel free. >> i believe that there's a private chat that you can send
your information to other panelists. clerk: so why don't we announce it. >> the reason for that is that i don't want this to be part of the public record. if it was a public meeting i could say here's a piece of paper and here's my email. >> clerk: that's fine. so whoever would like mr. karnazes' email send an email to me. and i will provide that information to you. we do have a question from vice president honda. >> vice-president honda: madam president, is it appropriate to ask chris buck what he knows about these particular trees? >> clerk: are you asking president lazarus or me? >> vice-president honda: i have to get the boss approval. >> president lazarus: i might defer to the deputy city attorney to what is allowable when it's brought up in public comment and not otherwise
agendaized. >> good evening, commissioners. the city attorney's office. the matter is not ajendized on the k-8d and if you want to discuss that matter in-depth you should schedule it for another hearing. as a discussion item. >> vice-president honda: perfect, thank you. >> clerk: okay, thank you. so just confirming whether there's any more public comment. i don't see any more public comment. -- pardon? i don't see anyone that has raised their hands. if you are here for public comment and you have called in you have to dial star, 9. so the phone number ending in
4280, please go ahead. >> caller: i had some technical difficulties so i apologize, i didn't hear the comment that came before me. i just wanted to say that i live in hayes valley and i understand the frustration of being -- of trees being cut down without proper notification. d.p.w. seems to think that the notices that they put up over a year ago were adequate and so much has changed since then. the neighborhood still doesn't know what trees are going to be cut. and they were supposed to have a plan in place before they began any tree removal, which has not been approved. and we were working on it when covid hit and everything was paused. and this past weekend we just woke up to the sound of buzz saws. nine trees have been removed in just two blocks.
you can picture how much foliage was lost. that is 40-year-old trees. we still don't have a replacement plan in place. they told us on tuesday after five trees were cut that they wouldn't do anything more until late july, and then we woke up this morning to again the sound of buzz saws and five d.p.w. trucks taking down four huge trees after they told us yesterday that they weren't going to d to do anything more. so i think that it needs to be clarified that the code calls for notification 30 days prior to tree -- 30 days prior to removal, not at least 30 days prior to, but 30 days. so we have some notice of when our neighborhood is going to be ravaged. it was really traumatizing. and in this particular instance
they also need to have the replacement plan in place before they do anymore removal. i think that is all i have to say. and i apologize if it's not exactly the right point in the agenda because i couldn't hear the whole meeting. i was having trouble getting in. >> clerk: it's exactly the right point. thank you. >> caller: okay. >> clerk: okay. thank you, any other public comment? okay, i don't see any further public comment. so we will move on to item 2 which is commissioner comments and questions. >> i have a comment and i couldn't get to the raising my hand part. this public comment really bothers me. you know, i got upset a couple weeks ago when we're talking about it again today, the same follow-up. i would like to request that in
the future hearing that we address this issue which we will be addressing later on on another case about the disconnect -- the disorientation, the disorganization -- i don't know -- certain a lack of communication between the departments and d.p.w. that would allow trees to be demolished without proper process. and not just the notice, i many, we were very clear. what upsets me is that we work very hard as commissioners to go by the law, to take everybody's point of view into consideration and we try to make a fair ruling according to the law, according to the advice of the departments, according to the testimony that we hear from citizens. and then we make a ruling. and when we make a ruling,
that's the ruling. that's what it is. and so to be -- to hear what i'm hearing right now is -- it's an abuse to me as a commissioner. i don't know about the rest of my fellow commissioners, but it's certainly an abuse to me. it completely discredits mr. buck. it completely disar discredits e city of san francisco. and this came up again on the same case that we're hearing again later tonight where out of nowhere the city contractor comes in and without permission, without warning, without anything, buzz saws and kills trees. and that was before we knew that they were going to do it wrong. in this one we had already ruled on what was to happen and this obvious abuse occurred again. so i would like a senior department head, please, in a future meeting of d.p.w. responsible for coordinating these activities to come in to
apologize or to justify why this action took place and why the members of the citizenry have to in public comment notify that this perceived abuse took place. thank you. >> clerk: thank you. we have a comment from commissioner tanner. >> commissioner tanner: i just want to echo the comment of submissioner swig. i couldn't agree more -- really what happens when these things happens is that the trust gets eroded between the public and the city. and it makes it harder for d.p.w. to do their job list and harder for this commission to make a decision after listening to the evidence and that evidence is ignored. and it undercuts the public process. we heard several cases in last few weeks where the members of the public are kind of saying where is the process, you know, let's have the public process go through. and then even say if they win or lose or whatever happens with our decision, at least the process has happened in a fair manner. there's been several cases
because things have happened out of order that public process is not respected. it's not the opportunity made to defend the tree, to have the discussion, to challenge the permit. so i really want to encourage whomever it is in d.p.w. to make a point to be here to help to say how the department is taking accountability for these oversights and errors and how is our plan to rebuild trust. we had one case, what, where the guy was putting up the street light before the tree removal was approved and essentially assuming that the appeal of the tree removal, you know, would be not before the department. that's, again, the actions that erode the trust of the public that what happens in these processes matter and that it's important and that the city is even listening to the public with the bad decisions that are being made. so i concur with commissioner swig. >> clerk: thank you. we will now hear from president lazarus. >> president lazarus: yes, i understand the desire for this. and i think that we should
probably withhold a certain amount of judgment until we have heard from everybody. but in that vein, i think that trying to do this sooner rather than later would be helpful. miss rosenberg, i'm not sure what our agendas look like for the next few meetings, but i encourage us to try to schedule it as soon as possible. >> clerk: okay, i will check our calendar. we likely won't have space available until august. our next two meetings are fairly busy, but possibly -- possibly july 29th. i'll check. okay. vice president honda, i believe that you had your hand raised before. would you like to say anything? >> vice-president honda: i concur with my fellow commissioners and especially with madam president, with having this heard sooner than later. we would revoke their permit. and at this point i believe that the board still has that ability to do so. they'll be putting those trees back into the ground. so someone should come and present what happened and why as
soon as possible. >> clerk: okay. thank you. so is there any public comment on this item, on the commissioners' comments and questions. please raise your hand if you would like to provide public comment. we do have miss down, please, go ahead and speak. >> caller: i just want to say how rewarding and wonderful it is to hear what we're listening to and that our voices matter. and, yeah, it's meaningful to me and i'm happy to proi my contact details to talk what happened and in addition to not being notified about the tree coming down and the fact they came down without -- against the board's mandated order and also about the birds' nests that were disturbed as part of that process, unwarranted tree -- heavy tree pruning that happened by the contractor. >> clerk: okay, thank you. we will now hear from miss
boller? miss boller? please, go ahead, miss boller. hello, miss boller. >> caller: can you hear me now? >> clerk: yes, please proceed. >> caller: well, i'm concerned about what may be happening in the interim, and what the contractor -- someone seems to be kind of a loose wheel and what assurance do we have with other trees that are not going to turn up cut down to everybody's surprise? i think that is all i have to say. but it seems to me that something is out of control. and i don't know what control has materialized with the
decision to hear it, maybe july 29th. >> clerk: okay, thank you. commissioner swig. >> commissioner swig: yes, that's a great point. and i would like to ask the city attorney and maybe since we have mr. buck in the room, how do we do a cease and desist on the contractor who has no permission to cut trees but is cutting trees, obviously, where they're not supposed to. how do we send that message to d.p.w., do it legally, mr. city attorney? can we -- what can we do to communicate to your department, mr. buck? >> brad rusk from the city attorney office. i don't than we have enough information yet to determine what action could be taken against the contractor and that would be within the hands of the
department that has the contract with the contractor and i would assume is the department of public works. >> commissioner swig: so how do we get a message to the department of public works? to cease and desist on actions that we have already heard, and where -- where they do not have a permit to cut trees down without going according to what our findings were and what our ruling was several sessions ago. >> would it be possible to send a correspondence to the department from miss rosenberg and just following up on our previous ruling? would that be possible? >> i think this matter would be more appropriate for agenda -- being agendized at a future meeting because we're having a discussion about something not on the agenda. >> right, i'm concerned about that as well. >> commissioner swig: i agree with that and that, obviously, the conundrum is, you know, two days from now a contractor could
come in and make it a moot point by tearing down a bunch of trees. that's the sad part. but maybe mr. buck can do something about that unofficially and without motivation from us. >> clerk: commissioner swig, i want to point out that miss as bury sent an email to me that i forwarded from carla short from d.p.w. so i know that she was going to respond and look into the matter. i don't know the status at this point but she's aware of it. >> commissioner swig: it's what you call a hail mary play. i'm trying to stop -- at the advice of the public comment -- to prevent further problems. so, thank you. >> clerk: thank you. we do have some more public comment. this is from miss asbury. miss asbury, please, go ahead. >> caller: thank you. i appreciate very much the
commission listening to our urging. this is an urgent matter. and i don't know what the proper process would be to halt removal until we can investigate what's going on. but we do see an escalation and we -- whether we're -- i d i dot know what the source of it it is. and the only way to find out is to investigate it. and meanwhile i really appreciate the understanding of the urgency. and i support any action to immediately halt all non-emergency tree removals until we can figure out what's going on. thank you. >> clerk: okay. thank you. i believe that mr. karnazes would like to provide public comment. >> hi, yes, thank you. i would like to voice in support of that ask from the previous
caller. i am really dismayed to hear that even after an appeal that was -- you know, heavily discussed where the department of public works illegally cut down trees, that they're continuing to do it. and they know that it's wrong. so they're going to try to pass the buck, as it were, to contractors, but they are responsible for the maintenance and the care of these trees. that is their responsibility under section 805 of the public works code. keep in mind that this is the same department whose head, mohammed nuru, was arrested by the f.b.i. on charges of corruption. that was only a few months ago. so we -- what we're seeing is a pattern of a department that is littered with corruption and illegality. and that pattern is not going to stop very easily. what needs to happen is fines -- fines for this department, for this illegal behavior, because that's what it is -- it is illegal and it's not just a miscommunication and it's not a
mistake. section 8.1 of the public coe outlines what those fines can be and they're a misdemeanor or criminal charges. and that this needs to stop. it really does. and i feel that d.p.w. is possibly using the covid pandemic as a smokescreen to deforest our city at a heightened rate because they are eager for the money that they get for these construction projects. but i would like to say don't count your chickens before they hatch. the board of appeals did uphold last month that this was okay in the appeal that josh clip brought up last month. they upheld that appeal was approved. so i really ask that the board of appeals deny these -- the appeals that d.p.w. brings, especially under the extremely illegal and very dubious circumstances to penalize chris buck and those responsible for this illegal behavior, to fine them and to use the fine to plant new trees. we don't get our trees back if there's just a slap on the wrist or there's a "don't do that
again." this serious action needs to be taken to make sure that is not repeated. this has a long history of happening. four years ago on mission street they dug up a bunch of roots by accident doing construction before getting -- clearing permits for removing trees. so there is a long pattern of this happening and it's not new, it's not a mistake and it's not a miscommunication. it's d.p.w. expecting rubber stamps of this board. >> 30 seconds. >> and i appreciate your time and i appreciate that the board is seeming to take this more seriously. and i really hope with this upcoming appeal that they will take this very seriously and show the public that there is an authority here that will respond directly. thank you. >> clerk: thank you. is there any other public comments on this item? i don't see any other public comments. so we will move on to item three, the adoption of the minutes. commissioners, before you is a
discussion of the minutes for june 17, 2020 meeting. >> president lazarus: any changes to the minutes. if not, a motion to adopt? >> motion to adopt, please. >> clerk: we have a motion from commissioner swig to adopt the june 17th minutes. any public comment on that motion? okay. >> sorry, i should have raised my hand. >> clerk: that's fine, go ahead. >> i just wanted to say that i did feel that the minutes were a little bit incomplete and could have provided more detail, especially for the presentations by appellants. i wonder at a future meeting what can be done to change that, to alter the minutes and to include more detail or there's a way for future meetings to incorporate more information on what is presented at these meetings. so that the public can be informed with what is happening. when i read these minutes i thought that it doesn't give a context to what is really happening in this meeting.
i feel that is the purpose of minutes is to give context and information on what actually occurred. >> clerk: okay, thank you. any other public comment? okay, i don't see anybody raising their hands. so commissioner swig's motion to adopt, president lazarus? aye. vice president honda? aye. commissioner tanner. aye. okay that motion carries, 4-0, and the minutes are adopted. now before we go on to item number 4, the permit holder for item number 5 would like to request that the matter be continued to july 29th. and the appellant doesn't agree to this, so the matter is being put before the commissioners.
and item number 5 is appeal 19-144. and it concerns the subject property at 49drumm street, john yee versus the department of building inspection planning department approval. >> (indiscernible). >> clerk: so why don't we hear first from the permit holder. you have -- miss knight -- excuse me, as a preliminary matter, vice president honda, i believe that you want to be reminded about a disclosure? we can't hear you. you're still on -- okay. please, go ahead. >> vice-president honda: i am a partner in a project that hired the law firm of rubin and junui as counsel. this will not have an effect on this. >> clerk: miss knight?
>> thank you. good evening, commissioners. i'm on behalf of the permit holder and thank you for your time this evening. as you noticed this is a continued matter, we are here before you in the spring. we've made significant progress since we saw you last with the outstanding permitting issues, to take additional time to july 29th to submit a permit for the building as a whole that we believe that would alleviate the appellant's concerns. the permit before you is for work on the third floor of the building to respond to an n.o.v. it legalizes a third floor addition with modifications for setback for the site, and changes to the fire escape at that level. the 2018 permit was issued after a year and a half of thorough review by the city, including both the planning department and d.b.i. it was properly issued and we would like to start the work to comply with n.o.v. that said, there's additional issues that have been raised by
appellants with regards to the property. and we're seeking to address those concerns beyond the scope of this appeal. and we've been working to address those concerns since we last saw you. on april 5th -- sorry, march 5th, scott sanchez and joe duffy conducted a site visit. we walked through the property. at that point it was noted that there were some minor discrepancies between what has been the existing and proposed conditions on the plan and what was shown on the plan at each of the levels. and so we received the direction to clean that up. with an additional permit. and we have been working to do that. it's a little complicated because you have to sort of sort through all of the prior plans and we are working through that and we're close but we need to finalize that plan. we expect that to be complete -- we're working to have that complete by the 29th and hopefully having that submitted to d.b.i. by the 29th.
i should note that there were no, like, safety issues identified by the city at the site visit. it was really clean-up of the plans. and we have also in the meantime, the other issue raised at the prior hearing is the third floor, and we have submitted a permit to -- to convert the third floor use to office. originally when the 2018 permit was submitted, it was anticipated that the third floor would be used for telecom equipment. that didn't end up being a preferred use. there was an office tenant that moved in there and we understand that we need to have that permitted under the code. so that permit is under review and hopefully it will be issued soon. we also will be working on the permit -- well, the clean-up permit or the 2020 permit, which will -- which will -- sorry --
which will clarify what's going on on the site. we have also been doing some structural work, some testing. >> that's time. >> clerk: thank you, miss knight. >> sure. >> clerk: okay, one moment. okay, so i thought that i saw a question from one of the commissioners, but, no. so we will now hear from the attorney for appellant, mr. patrick. will you be speaking? >> no, andrew -- andrew wiegel. >> clerk: welcome. >> thank you. we simply want to underscore the fact that we appealed this permit because it was completely fraudulent with regard to the description of the work. and we have been getting nothing but the run around from the permit holder ever since. we still have not seen plans
that actually show what was illegally built, which is office use, complete with furniture and people in it. and it is our request simply that this matter be decided. that the applicant to be sent back to re-do the permit. the permit is obviously fraudulent and the appeal shoud be granted and the applicant should go ahead and properly file for a permit with proper plans, etc., etc. i yield the balance of my time to counsel for the oasis grill which is far more heavily impacted than my client. >> clerk: okay, miss androlli. >> i'm going to pause time. >> clerk: okay. >> can you hear me? >> clerk: yes. >> good evening. >> clerk: please, go ahead. >> thank you, commissioners. i am the attorney representing the interest of the commercial
tenant 49 drumm building, oasis grill. the request for a continuance is actually another admission by the permit holder as in the permit holder's brief that was submitted for this hearing, that was based on knowingly false plans. the fraud was perpetrated on the city and has continued for three years since the n.o.v. was issued in 2017. the permit holder had three years to submit accurate plans, three years to assess the structural condition of the building. three years to correct the violations of the building code. and now they're asking for a continuance to finally prepare accurate plans. but preparing accurate plans will not resolve the appeal. as the board may recall from six months ago when we were before the commissioners in january, that the board was nearly ready to revoke the permit after
hearing evidence of the permit holder's egregious violations of the building code, but continued the hearing to allow the parties to properly brief the issues and time for the city to visit the property. though mr. duffy and mr. sanchez did visit the property in march, nothing has changed. the existing conditions and the representation of the use of the property in its permit application are still grossly inaccurate. and the building is still destruct reallily deficient, as described -- >> 30 seconds. >> and the third floor addition and the electrical and plumbing installed in the third floor of the plumbing, all by unlicensed contractors and is not inspected. it's not the right process to work on correcting these plans. we had very little transparency from the permit holder throughout this process and we're just hearing today that for the first time that they're planning to submit new plans for the entire building in --
>> that's time. >> clerk: thank you. president lazarus has a comment. >> president lazarus: yes, i just wanted to say for the record that i have reviewed the video of this hearing as i was not present for the entire hearing. so i believe that i can rule on this matter. >> clerk: thank you president lazarus. okay, we will now hear from the planning department, mr. sanch mr. sanchez. >> thank you, so the planning department did perform a side business with the building inspector joe duffy back in march. at which time we observed a few issues with the plans that were currently submitted and before the board. and we requested that the project sponsor make changes to those plans. unfortunately, we did not receive them until late last week. and yesterday chief inspector duffy and i had a conversation with the permit holder where we
reviewed the plans and found that there were still some issues that needed to be addressed. and we suggested that the item to be continued to allow time for revised plans to be prepared and to be submitted to all parties one week before the hearing. but this is a fairly typical process with the board when issues are identified that the board does often allow corrections or amenitiment amene made with the issues. and on the third floor we did observe an office use at that level. it's an allowed use and they have a pending permit to utilize the top floor as office. we also had some discrepancies on the proposed conditions on the second floor which was an existing office use. and they're still kind of working on having accurate representations of that work. we think that all of that kind of changed in the scope and can be addressed in a revision permit. which, you know, is what they have pending before d.b.i. they have the permit to legalize
the third floor use and we think they can make those other corrections at that point. and what is before the board with this permit is the legalization of the top floor addition. and compliance of the planning commission requirements which have been cut back so that there's a setback from the front building facade. all of this could move forward under this permit if we have the correct plans and also a plan to deal with the issues that have been identified by the appellant and our site visit. so for that we would respectfully request a continuance to allow for that plan to occur. i'm available for questions. >> clerk: we have questions from commissioner tanner and commissioner swig and vice president honda. commissioner tanner. >> commissioner tanner: this may be addressed by mr. duffy as well. what i am challenged by is the request for more time when it was seen that there has been more time given. and, of course, during that time we have all been enduring the global pandemic due to covid-19.
so i'm just curious in your estimation how much of this has -- because what it sounds like to me is that perhaps these things have come forward at last minute, versus, you know, the appellant -- or the permit holder working after the hearing to work diligently and covid-19 impacting the schedule and now they need more time. versus you saying that we need a few more weeks. so i'm not clear. and perhaps you can provide a sense of why more time is needed. why wasn't the time that has already been provided been sufficient for this? >> i can't speak to why the permit holder didn't make better use of their time. i certainly think that these changes could have been done within the time they had. in my opinion, the changes are relatively minor. and i think that both the building inspector duffy and i have been fairly persistent with the permit holder in requesting revised plans so we'd have time to review them. so everyone would have time to
review them. it is frustrating that we still don't have correct and accurate plans. so i can't defend their -- what they've done over the last few months and maybe the permit holder is better suited to speak to their issues that they have. >> commissioner tanner: and following up on that, if the board decided to hear the case and they decided to revoke the permit, they'd have to begin again and do all of that' theses over again, is that correct? >> that's correct. they already have a permit on file, so, yes, they would need to go back to some extent, you know, we have already reviewed and we have a decision on the project. so i think that our review would be relatively straightforward. but, yeah, they would be going back to the start with the project. >> commissioner tanner: okay, and to be precise with this. how much time does the staff need from the time they get the
revised permits to review them. how much time before they come back to us? >> we could review the revised plan in a matter of days. i was troubled by the permit holder when they were speaking and saying they wanted to have the plans by the 29th. i think that we're very clear in our conversation yesterday that we want something for all parties one week before and that is going to be something that we've already reviewed. so we don't want to have a process starting the week before the hearing. if they could give it two weeks before the hearing we could give them all the comments if we have the plans ready one week before the hearing. so that everyone will have kind of the agreed upon plans. >> commissioner tanner: a last question. has there been consistent conversation with the permit holder since the last hearing or did they just get around to talking to you more recently? >> i think that it's been over the last several weeks. we followed up with them about the status of the plans repeatedly. and i -- again, i defer to the permit holder as to why it took
so long to get the revised plans. i -- actually, i thought that they were working with the tenants of the building during this time. so i'm a little bit surprised to hear that has not occurred. >> commissioner tanner: okay, thank you. >> clerk: thank you, we'll hear now from commissioner swig. >> commissioner swig: so i agree with commissioner tanner in the point of view that, you know, where has the permit holder been all of this time and why are they doing it at the last moment. but, mr. sanchez, what's haunting me is that if we go through this hearing today based on what you just said, we're going to -- it sounds like there's a really good chance that we would decide to punt and move this thing forward until the plans got done. so we're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place anyway because we don't have the information. i'd like you to affirm or deny that.
but, secondly, also where is -- where is the burden -- or where is the hardship on this? is the hardship on the appellant? if so, where? and i would perceive that if there was a hardship that it would be on the -- possibly on the permit holder because their building is at risk. can you give me some ideas and clarification on both of those, please. >> sure, so on the first point in terms of the action that the board can take. we don't have the correct plans. so we recommend that the board not take any action to approve the permit. of course, the board could deny the permit and grant the appeal and deny the permit for the plans that were approved that are not accurate. and then they could go and start over the process and have maybe one complete permit that addresses all of the issues with the unpermitted work, and so
that would be one option. which i think that the appellant is requesting that the board take. the other option is to continue it and to give the permit holder additional time to submit the correct and accurate plans. in terms of who may be most impacted, i think that the appellant has raised issues about structural concerns with the building. and chief inspector duffy did the site visit, he'll speak to that, and i know that there were no immediate concerns. it appears to be in good shape. i know that d.b.i. is o on going and reviewing those issues. and there were issues with the tenants, the ground floor restaurant tenant. and i don't think that they've been able to open it up now with the covid situation, but only exacerbates their issues. so the property owner, i'm sure they want to get the illegal construction revised and updated. although, you know, the longer this continues, they're benefitting from the illegal construction, i think they have or had office tenants in those
spaces. so i don't think that the property owner is necessarily too inconvenienced. it seems potentially any connection to the restaurant on the ground floor. they seem to be most impacted. >> commissioner swig: thank you. >> clerk: okay, thank you. we'll hear from vice president honda. >> vice-president honda: yeah, mr. sanchez, so as you said, the permit holder is asking for an additional permit. but currently the usage for that tenant is not allowed, is that correct? >> so right now the third floor, which, you know, was illegally expanded some number of years ago, that is being used as office. there's no allowance, or it's not illegal use at that level. they have submitted a permit to legalize that use. but that permit is not issued. that would ride together with
the permit that is before you, because the permit before you deals with the illegal expansion of that third floor. so it's a little bit odd in that we have one permit that deals with the envelope, that is the permit before you, and the other permit that deals with the use that is pending at d.b.i. and i think that is close to issuance. >> vice-president honda: this is where i beg to differ that what is before us is a different permit. what they're asking for is for us to wait for them to get something that's down the line. that's like if i'm driving a hundred miles an hour with a 55 milan hour speed limit, but they're going to make it a hundred miles an hour next month. i mean, i'm not -- i'm not inclined to extend. this has gone long enough, personal lie. i think that it shows really poor taste that they came in last minute and have not provided with all of the time that we gave them the last time. >> i think that if the board choose toss go that path and denies the permit, we could
still address the outstanding issues. there's a process and that would be through a separate permit and we can make that work if that's the board's direction. >> vice-president honda: and then the other question, has there been enforcement on the legal use of the third floor? >> no, because after it was identified during the side visit they submitted the permit to legalize the use. >> vice-president honda: okay, thank you very much. >> clerk: okay, thank you. i don't see any further questions. so we will move on to the department building inspection. judgeinspection. >> yes, joe duffy, d.b.i. yeah, we were at the site visit with mr. sanchez and it was the property owners and a lot of people in the building. we did a thorough inspection back then, obviously, it was before covid hit. and i might take a different view on the time. i think that in normal times, certainly, the architect that i deal with that is in contact with me, i would have been
dealing with him quite a lot on the other projects as well. so i think if we didn't have covid, and if d.b.i. was open -- it probably would have come up in conversation. but we haven't seen someone in a few months. and he had called me a couple times about this. and more questioning about the ground floor permits. i think that there were questions about the tenants might be violating those permits. and there were some questions about that. but, you know, the other thing -- the other point they am a little worried about is that the process that they went through to get this. mr. sanchez (indiscernible) it was probably notification on that permit. and to start all of that again you're going to put this building back another 18 months when it's asking for a one-month continuance. and i know that they should have been on the ball a bit quicker, but if the permit got denied tonight, for example, you're putting it back to a new process
that could take them another two years. we already have the building with code violations and plumbing in the building and it's the owner's fault for doing the work without a permit. but do we want to put the resolution of those code violations off for another two years just to wait for the permit that we're kind of talking about tonight? so, you know, we did have a call yesterday. i thought that it was a pretty good call. i think that their feet are on the fire here at the minute and i do think that they'll have to get going if they do get this continuance. we did identify some things, and that was always going to happen when the bring planning stuff and d.b.i. stuff to a building and you have a permit you'll probably find a few other things and that's what happened. and i think that the attempt to put this to another permit is where they're going at the minute with this. and then in the last couple weeks... three engineering reports, conflicting reports from the owner's engineer and from the tenant's engineer, that
this building structurally unstable. one saying that it isn't, and one saying that it is. i walked the building and i didn't feel that it was an unsafe building. and i wouldn't have went that far. but what's going to have to happen with that process and possibly that might happen in the next month if we get the reports that we're going to bring a d.b.i. in to look into these claims that this building is unfit. i haven't gotten the reports yet but mr. satara assured me that we would be getting them. so that's another thing. that's nothing to do with the appeal but it is an issue that probably needs to get addressed. there was some flaking of concrete that i saw and pretty typical stuff, but nothing that would have risen to my experience as an inspector that the building was certainly unsafe. if it wasn't, i wouldn't have been there and i would have sh uposhooed everyone out.
so i would be in favor of giving them another few weeks for the sake of having to turn this back a couple years maybe. so that's my say. thank you. >> clerk: thank you. we have a question from president lazarus. >> president lazarus: this is a question for miss knight. and that has to do with the timing, because mr. sanchez raised the question and you said that you would be submitting on the 29th. clearly that doesn't work if we're having a hearing on the 29th. so are we able to get whatever it is that we need -- or, rather, is the city able to get what it needs in sufficient time to review it so that we know what we're dealing with on the 29th? >> so our goal -- what we're working towards is to actually submit -- so (indiscernible) another permit because mr. duffy said that we could actually advance the work on the third floor most effectively. so what i would like is to have that permit on file with d.b.i.
by the 29th. i don't know -- you know, a lot of things have to fall in place for that to be the case, but i certainly -- you know, the timeline about getting this to staff and having them review and sharing it with the appellant and sharing with the board by the 29th, that's -- that was our intent. >> president lazarus: i am not sure that your intent is going to work if we're going to continue a continuance. so there needs to be some sort of a commitment that that's what is going to happen or you'll be back asking for it to be continued again. >> yeah, i mean -- well, we're pretty close on those plans. we have gotten some comments on -- the complication on the plans is that you're sort of -- you're drawing on a bunch of prior processes, including the restaurant. because there's issues with both the existing and proposed conditions and we want to make sure that everything is totally accurate. there are a bunch of plans incorporated into the 2020
cleanup set. so we have the set and we're close, and there's some confusions in the notation and some additional things that staff wanted clarified. so we can certainly turn that around. >> president lazarus: i guess that the other question would be if there is an inclination to continue, would it make more sense to add a little bit more time? another -- miss rosenberg, you have to remind me what the calendar is in august. >> clerk: august is fine. >> president lazarus: in terms of our meeting dates in august, is there one right after the 29th? >> clerk: we have a meeting date on august -- a july 29th, we have august 12th, august 19th. either of the august dates would work. july 29th is getting busy but we could probably put it on there. but it's provided that we get the plans as mr. sanchez said. they need time to review them.
>> president lazarus: right. that's what i'm concerned about. >> maybe august 12th would make more sense. i think that the further along we can get in the process if we could have that permit actually on file with d.b.i., maybe that would give greater assurance to the appellant and to the board. so i think that august 12th makes sense to me if that's acceptable to the board. >> clerk: we still have public comment for this item. so is there any public comment for this item? if you called in, please press star, 9. or raise your hand if you joined by zoom. okay. i don't see any public comment. >> caller: can you hear me? >> clerk: okay, are you the tenant? >> caller: yes. >> clerk: well, i believe that your attorney has already spoke during the three minutes so you cannot speak during public
comment. >> caller: okay. >> clerk: thank you. okay, so commissioners, this matter is submitted. excuse me, we have a question from commissioner tanner. >> commissioner tanner: i was raising my hand to comment on this. i, you know, i think that i'm frustrated as some of the other commissioners that we're here at the point that we're asking for a continuance. i don't see how hearing this matter tonight would lead to anything positive even for the tenant and for the folks who are bringing this appeal because we have been put in a position to either continue or to deny the permit which starts back again at the beginning. i think that would hurt the restaurant tenant even further than they've already been harmed in this process. i agree with president lazarus that i prefer an august 12th date because based on what the attorney for the permit holder said, it doesn't sound like things are going to be ready. it sounds like there's still disagreement amongst the parties. people have not had adequate time to review. but i am persuaded by mr. duffy
with the argument that some of this is due to covid-19 and the inability of the city perhaps to respond in a timely manner as we might have had d.b.i. been open and some other normal channels of business being followed that. said, miss knight, i advise your client and yourself to perhaps to put some focus on this. i'm not inclined to be lenient for this for another time. and i'm tryin seeing work done t permit and things have been done out of bounds and here we are still talking about notice of violation that need to be rectified. it's highly disappointing and i think that it's disrespectful to not come here in a contrite matter and saying, sorry, we didn't get this done in time. instead to hear from the permit holder or th the appellant that still seems very upset with the project and while you're testifying that there's some progress and work and communication. but clearly the communication has not led to agreement, which,
obviously, are two different things. but i hope that when you come back that you're prepared to fully present the permit, the plans that are accurate. and a full understanding of what has been occurring to date. so i would move to continue this matter to august 12th if that date is available for the parties. >> clerk: okay, vice president honda, did you have your hand raised at one point? >> vice-president honda: yes, i still do. sorry. >> clerk: go ahead. >> vice-president honda: okay. so the board is leaning toward towards -- to move this and to continue this. for the record i'm not supportive of this. during the last hearing it was quite evident that the permit holder submitted and falsified all documents, all of the work that was done. and then they came before us and lied before us again. now they're coming months later and that they don't have enough time. i understand that there's covid
here and in interest for both parties i will concede to my fellow commissioners. but i am not supportive of this. and the fact that i'm hearing that there's been no interaction between the tenants and the permit holders is very disappointing. so that's a question to you, miss knight. what communication have you had with the tenants and exactly what is that? >> yes, so actually there has been quite a bit of communication. it's been -- >> vice-president honda: when is the last time that you guys spoke? >> i mean, we emailed about the plans over the course of the last several weeks. we have been in communication, we have been explaining the status of the change of use permit, our work on the clean-upset and there's also significant communication -- we were doing structural testing, structural reports, we did a
number of site visits. and so those are sort of a little bit of apart from the third floor but they were expressing concern about structural issues that we understand, of course, that is something that we need to address. so there was a lot of communication over the course of this spring about those structural issues. and i do, you know, i hear, commissioner tanner, your feedback and we -- i probably should have had a different tone coming here today. we do, absolutely should have moved forward more quickly with the plans and we were shelter-in-place and dealing with the structural issues on the building. our attention, you know, was somewhat diverted -- >> i'm not trying to make you the target. you can only do what your clients are allowing me to do and that's the concern that i have -- that the clients are not taking this serious and they're benefitting from their illegal actions at this point. so come the next hearing, i mean, all of the ts better be
crossed and the is dotted and if the clients are on the zoom line, please hear that very, very well. thank you. >> i do hear that. >> clerk: thank you, we'll hear from commissioner swig. >> commissioner swig: i'm trying to unmute myself. there i am. so i agree with both commissioners. but i would lean to postponing this hearing because i think that if we move forward and i still see us moving it ahead anyway based on the conversations with mr. sanchez, but also if we -- right now the guilty party is not being punished at this point. it's the appellant. and the only way to -- because,
obviously, they admittedly are lax. that's the only reason. i mean, it's not that we haven't heard the case and had due findings. but if we -- if we find for the appellant, the appellant gets penalized big time as scott sanchez has because we move forward with another year and a half of postponements which is, sure, may penalize the project sponsor but it's really going to penalize the appellants and that's why i'd like to resolve this tonight but i'm inclined to, according to darryl's point of view, but i'm not inclined to do that tonight. i'd rather see if we could resolve this a couple weeks from now. but also with the pr proviso tht
enough is enough, jodie, you affirm that you have heard that we're kind of cranky on this item. and that we'd like to get it resolved and no more postponements and no more oopsie, we didn't get the plans done. >> commissioner swig, you can't lease a building that is deemed unsafe. >> commissioner swig: yeah, i mean, this is a problem. >> clerk: okay, president lazarus. >> president lazarus: i'd like to remind my fellow commissioners if i recall correctly that the appellants when this was first heard submitted no brief. so i don't know that they helped their cause at that time. and now they've done some homework, but we do have, you know, competing engineering reports. so -- >> clerk: president lazarus, you froze up. okay.
>> president lazarus: to iterate the warning that there will be no more continuations. >> clerk: okay. do we have a motion? >> president lazarus: somebody made a motion. >> clerk: commissioner tanner moved to move it to august 12th. can we say when the plans are due, thursday, july 30th, is that acceptable? to have the plans due at that time, mr. sanchez? >> so i think that as long as i have the, you know, their initial draft plan to the city no later than two weeks before the hearing, i think that it's still fair for them to submit their plans to the board one week before the hearing. i was just saying that we want to be able to review the plans and to have any last-minute, you know, changes made to it so that
we can have a final agreed upon plans one week before the hearing. >> clerk: so you'd want the plans on august 5th? one week or august 6th? >> i think that they need to have plans that are -- that have been reviewed by the city to the board of appeals by the one week before the hearing by the 5th that would be. >> clerk: okay. so they should be getting them to you prior to that time? >> since they have already committed that they'd be finished by july 29th, why don't you give yourself a break and require july 29th. they said it, not me. >> (indiscernible). >> it depends that everything has to be ready -- sorry to interrupt. but i'd like to clarify if it's two weeks and then it should just be two weeks. >> clerk: i think mr. sanchez is saying that his plan goes to him by the 29th and he'll work with the permit holder on ironing out the wrinkles and then ready for the board by
august 6th. >> that's correct. >> clerk: so would that be acceptable to you, commissioner tanner? >> commissioner tanner: i just want -- i want to make sure that date works for the other party. >> clerk: mr. wickle. >> i was attempting to unmute. i can accommodate that date. >> clerk: okay. thank you. okay, so we have a motion from commissioner tanner to continue this item to august 12th. on the condition that the plans have to be provided to the planning department by july 30th and that the final set be submitted to the board by august 6th for the board to review.
on that motion president lazarus. aye. vice president honda. aye. commissioner swig. aye. thank you. so that motion carries 4-0, and this matter is continued. and i would also like to advise the permit holder to provide that plan set as well to the appellant by august 6th. >> thank you, thank you very much for your time. >> clerk: thank you. okay, we are now moving on to item number 4. this is appeal 20-034. zach karnazes versus san francisco public works, bureau of urban forestry. the subject property is 1501 quint street. of a public works order approval to remove apple trees from the public right-of-way and denial to remove low cut trees. and the removal for palou avenue
street improvement project. and on motion by vice president honda the board voted 4-0-1, and commissioner swig absent to the vote due to technical problems. and continued to appeal for july 1, 2020, so that public works can report back to the board and explain what happened at the location, why removal was necessary, and the plan for replacement of the trees. so since the board did ask for a public works to report back they will go first. and they have three minutes. so i believe that we're going to hear first from mr. thomas wrightman of the project manager for public works. welcome. >> good evening, commissioners, thank you for your time today. my name is thomas rouitman, and i'll present on behalf of the project manager for public works. i plan to proceed based on the three questions posed at the motion for continuance on
june 3rd. i'll re-read and respond to them in order. feel free to let me know if you would like me to proceed differently and i'm happy to address any other questions that you have. so i'll start with the first question raised, which is what happened at the location. so there's several procedural steps in the process of removing trees that were followed as well as some additional steps that we're now aware that were not followed. after going through the process of posting the trees for removals and attending the public works hearing, revisiting the changing design as a fair compromise to the appellant's concern and then receiving an approval on the revised design, public works project manager reported the update and we celebrated the positive ruling prematurely. we then shared what we thought was the good news with our construction management team and recommended that the project move forward. our construction management team took this direction and related
to our contractor and we thought that we were in the clear and all was done for proper process and we know that there's an opportunity to appeal the decision to the board after the hearing ruling and as soon as we did receive the notice of appeal, we forwarded it the construction management team. we may not have been clear of our intention of moving off on moving the project forward. in the interim, the scope of work in that area included removing the trees and pouring the new sidewalk, and that had already occurred. and, furthermore, the contractor did not have a permit for removal in hand when they removed those trees. so we're pursuing fines for that. unfortunately, in this case we jumped the gun. and there was a lack of verification that the removal permit in hand led us to this unfortunate infraction. the second question, why was the removal necessary? short time -- so i'm going to
just give quick context on the issue. we have approximately one and a half miles of street improvements on palou with a greening goal to increase the tree canopy. efforts were made during the design in consult with landscape architecture and urban forestr forestry. we basically intended to save as many trees as practical and possible but at the location, we just don't have the physical ability to fit in because of the constraints of the street without removing the subject trees. the last question that was asked about a replacement plan. we do have a plan for using funding to procure -- >> that's time. >> sorry, is that the end of my time? >> that's correct. >> clerk: but you can go ahead and finish your sentence.
>> i mean, we have -- our plan entails putting new trees, three new trees in place of the ones that were taken out at a suitable location and those are being explored right now by us and by the project team. >> clerk: okay, thank you. we do have a question from vice president honda. and then president lazarus. >> vice-president honda: so given the public comments and then here we are with this one, what is your plan if we revoke your permit? >> if you do revoke the permit, it would -- it would require us to go back to the community and basically to inform them that we -- that we can't continue with the project and we would have to restore whatever was done to that intersection to the way that it was before. so it would be -- it would be an outcome that would be problematic because we'd be -- we'd be removing a safety
improvement that we were in the process of installing. >> vice-president honda: whose cost would that be at? with the city and county taxpayers? or at the error of the contractor? would he be paying for that? >> well, the contractor is fined for the illegal cutting so in terms of punitive damages for the misdeed of cutting the trees prematurely, the contractor would be paying for that. but the resulting cost of ripping out the street that was improved and putting a new street in, presumably, that would have to be born by the city. >> vice-president honda: do you have a cost estimate of that? >> i don't have a cost specifically to that scope of work to bring it back to the way that it was. but we're hoping that, you know, that the board will -- will take into account other options that we can do to try to restore the fact that those three trees were
taken out. something reasonable that still satisfies -- >> vice-president honda: well, the problem, sir, is that the board is trying to offset the community outrage in regards to work being performed without the necessary permits. and the fact that those -- those angry voices are aimed at the five bodies that are here before you. and so if we continually, as the members of the public have expressed, release you of your liability for not following specific directions and instructions. i mean, we have independent contractors that get permits and when they don't follow those permits, there are consequences. and for you to come before us and say, well, you know, that should be different for us and we would like you to make concessions, that's what we're trying to deal with, with as you read on this zoom call, the angry voices that are coming before us.
and that's all of my questions. thank you. >> i can respond to that. i did hear the concerns raised. and i am disappointed about the public trust and the trust of the board in our office and our abilities to follow the requirements. and we've -- since the last appeal we have actually undertaken some pretty substantial measures in our office to safeguard against this happening again. so while we recognize that we can't undo the mistakes that we made, we have identified these mistakes and we're implementing several new safeguards so that we don't do this again. including new procedures so that whatever confusion led to this happening inadvert enterally int happen again.
and we're changing our construction specifications as well to make sure that the contractors understand that they have an obligation with obtaining permits prior to any cutting. and we're also doing internal training of our construction and management staff to make sure that we don't make this mistake again. >> vice-president honda: would that apply to the hayes and octavia project as well? >> the project hadn't already happened, unfortunately, i'm not familiar with that one and we'll probably have to look into where that happened. but the new procedures that we're working on are in draft form since the last hearing. and we're hoping to implement those going forward. i've already reached out to all of the other project managers and construction management to alert them that there's a new process being developed because of the mistakes that we have made and we're hoping that those get implemented prior to anymore mistakes like this happening. >> vice-president honda: thank
you, and i'm sorry, i'm not making you the target, or even the department, but there's questions that have been asked and, unfortunately, they're before this body to try to get some resolution. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> clerk: thank you. president lazarus? >> president lazarus: at last hearing the project manager, who i believe that represented d.p.w., i was incredulous that she didn't know at the time who was responsible for the tree having been cut down in error. and now i'm a little incredulous that the members of the department of public works don't understand that a permit isn't final until the appeal process time is gone by. so is that part of your new education? is that not something that everybody in the department who works on permits would understand? >> yes, it is. you know, these are -- what i would say is that there's a long series of steps that take place before we get to the point where we're considering cutting a
>> we would have to identify within that procedure we've once again missed a step. right now, our procedure that is being developed is being fleshed out with our upper management and bus and project management and construction management to ensure that everyone has that interest and experience in these type of projects. >> thank you. >> you, commissioner tanner.
>> i think when it's put in items this is the last question you had to at end of it early which they would talk about restoration. i think commissioner honda's question kind of what happened if you, you know, you wrote the permit and you had to remove it and i think your response was, well, maybe there would be something else that the department can do help restore or make amends. i don't know if we have a more' lab plan of receipt ortation that you would like to discuss. it could be something that we may hear from the appellant first and we still have this presentation or his time. you must understand what is it that could be done sure of tearing out of improvements that would be something to help to further something you already planned as part of this project. >> thank you. commissioner -- sorry, are you
responding. go ahead. >> yes, you could just give me a second to respond. sorry, in the effort to say my three points and three minutes, i kind of didn't get to the end of that. what i wan i wanted to say is we recognize where we made that mistake and we definitely want to do something there to restore that mistakes. the culmination of the contract are paying the fine for not having the permit will go into a fund that will help trees in general. maybe mr. buck can allude to how that works when he speaks. as far as the project is concerned, we would plant three new trees. we would endeavour to put them on the project but we've already walked the project site. what we found is that the project is so packed with new trees along the limits of the project and every possible space that could house a tree or hold
one has been a tree is planned for that location. so, what we've done is looked outside of the area of the project to see maybe if the vicinity of the trees that were cut if there's any areas and and they have already walked the site and identify a few potential locations but we would need to verify if it has its own process of working with the fronting property owners and utilities to make sure those trees can fit. we plan to find at least three locations to put three new trees to replace the ones that were cut illegally. that's in addition to the 100 plus trees that are already going in for the projects. >> thank you. >> commissioner swig. >> yeah, this echos on
commissioner lazarus. i'm blown away you call it a procedure that should come second nature and there's an understanding from everybody involved in construction in dpw that there's an appeals process. i'm amazed -- how long have you worked with the city, sir? >> eight years. >> yeah. so, you know, we deal with dpw weekly anything from, we used to deal with telecommunications, we deal with food trucks, we deal with trees and for me to hear that this is now being become part of the procedure in the
awareness was not there, blows me away. but then again, you know, i'm just, i'm just not only livid about it but i'm just kind of dumbfounded. where do you -- where does your department sit in your specific department within d.p.w. which we all have ex t come to realiss is a monster us department that even the board of supervisors is thinking about buy for bifurcat. where is your position juxtapose to mr. buck and to both? do you regularly come to contact with each other? >> >> yes, i do. i personally work on projects that don't necessarily involve
trees. my colleagues do depending on if it's a street scape projector a paving projector a safety improvement. at the design level and when we contemplate taking trees out. we recognize it's not right what happened and so that is why we're implementing a more robust and bussed more formally at various stages of the project to make sure we don't miss any steps that could have prevented this from happening. so, it's not that everything happens in a vacuum and there's no contact it's just that through the course of projects, lots of things are going on and and we don't forget these
critical steps with buff and community at the steps to follow the proper procedures that are already laid out. it's just being formalized for our own quality assurance internally. >> again, i'm having a really hard time and how could jury project manager be completely without knowledge of anything and she didn't where we asked who is your boss and she stumbled and we didn't get a name. who would you talk to about this? who would you talk to about that? is it that dysfunctional.
i'm amazed she didn't know what the name of the contractor was and she didn't know your name or anything and this was either a question of not having any memory of the moment or is this simply that someone in her position doesn't know? i mean, this is what dumbfounded us. and the process, why we react so strongly, let me give you context because this is the first time we met. there buck comes in on a weekly basis and is involved in especially when there are tree removal situations or construction situations. he should come into a metal suite to protecsuitto protect h.
the urban floors have been diminished instead of enriched despite legislation. that's why we're so sensitive to this because we've made it a priority to make sure that legislation subpoena upheld and we've made it a priority to make sure that dpw understands the severity of this situation. why is not your staff to this point utterly aware of severity of the diminishment of the urban forest and cut a tree down or harming a tree isn't a really bad thing? by the way, that was one of two situations in our last hearing. there was another item, which i did not participate in, that
involved tree removal that was questionable. why does this? why isn't your staff or everybody involved with trees at dpw not painfully aware of this issue? >> thank you, commissioner swig. i agree with you. we should be more aware and at times there's a manner that doesn't worked on a project that hasn't encountered a tree and it's been per process and we haven't run across this issue before. so there is a learning process and we are implementing training for all of our project managers, you know, personnel change and new people come on board and sometimes they don't necessarily learn all the nuances of the
procedure and we're in the process of making sure that construction managers are all very clued into the process. there are steps to get to the point where this tree was enat verdicinadvertently cut. the steps leading up to that were followed. we did make our mistake. we didn't make miss aches along the whole process so what we're trying to do is make sure that we close whatever loop hopes we have that led to this mistake and ale can say is in your characterization of of the project manager knowing what they're supposed to do, there's a lot of projects that get handled correctly and lots of aspects of projects that get handled correctly and per
process and this is one case where something was miss sod we're working tone sure that we don't do that again because we want to restore the trust from the board and from the public that we're trying to do projects the right away and fort public benefit. >> thank you for very much and i don't know if we will see you again but clearly you were sitting around earlier in the evening when discussions of another item, which is now going to come up as an educational hearing and we'll be discussing where which fueled our fire tonight. so you are getting double the -- you are getting more energy than on top of the energy that already exists. thank you for your testimony. >> thank you. >> thank you. we will now hear from the bureau of urban forestry. mr. chris buck. >> thank you, commissioners. chris buck urban forester with
san francisco public works and i know i have three minutes but i want t to assure you we were buy today trying to respond to appellants related to octavia hayes and we're all deluged today during public comment. we will be sending president lazarus and rosenburg detailed explanations tomorrow to forward to your body. i want to hit on a few things the project manager removed five trees that were in conflict and the the hearing officer said look there's public feedback here. what can we do about the
protests and they identify aid way to bring the sidewalk in so that instead of five trees being removed, and a way forward and what we realise absolutely is you follow that up with one more sentence that says this is still subject to appeal and no one as a green light to remove those trees and they have to wait and
obtain the permit so the second misstep mentioned earlier and regarding some of the mitigations so from the shipyard to 180 and industrial and the street skate project is planting all planting sites from the old entrance exit to 280 and selby and over 100 street trees that will be planted at the close of the project. there's also 10 trees being planted right in that immediate cul-de-sac which is the subject of this case in addition, what we've done and i want to make you feel that we've been more active than came across so i've had my team out to quint, the subject of this appeal, and we've identified any potential
planting locations on quint and we wish to plant three to six replacement trees on that block. >> i want to talk about the mitigations. >> clerk: whiff fifth question from commissioner tanner. >> we have a question forcommis. >> have you been able to verify those locations regard to the utilities, et cetera, et cetera or do you have locations such that hopefully even if some didn't work and we marked seven sites knowing we might lose it due to utility conflicts so we did lose one site so we called
underground service alert, which is the company that marks all underground utilities and so we have one that is disallowed. a week ago, one site had been marked and we're waiting on usa to mark the five additional what i want today do is come to the board this evening and show that we're actively identifying those locations. not just saying that is a plan but actually saying we rolled sleeves and waiting utilities. i believe there's room for at least a minimum of three and i believe quint is a short block so to complete that immediate block and to directly mitigate the loss of those trees that a permit it makes sense to plant this side street. it would be a maximum of six
trees and a minimum of three based on the markings and we're still checking the markings as they come in and we should know by the end of the week. >> those locations require the property owners or is that not an issue in these locations? >> they do. sites the property owners were contacted about those sites several years ago and we had a hearing about that. these other sites we need a contact those property owners and that would be the next step. we want to confirm the plantability and the next step is to notify them with a letter explaining the goals of the urban forest plan and also what we're trying to do with infill plating related to the street scape project. we do need to contact them. >> in regards to the budget for these trees, does it come out the tree planting funds such
that might be generated from fees and fines that public works collects? >> correct. so we're working out those details. the project team felt they could plant three trees. we've issues the fine so it's another thing i want to confirm. we issued the fine. it's $2,122 per tree times three. we've issued the fine of $6,366 to the contractor as of last week. public works can take those funds to plant and water the three additional trees. if we get up to six trees on the side streets, they could plant three of those and water. the street scape team can plant three and water. that would get us to six on that side street. >> our favourite question, what is the proposed species and box size for these trees? >> sure, on quint, the
cul-de-sac plantings have planned to be olive, fruitless olives so we would plant the same on quint to continue the look and feel of that cul-de-sac would be olives, so we're also -- we've settled on species so we really are in on the details on this. >> what's the box side being used in the project? >> sure, so 24-inch size box on all plantings and and the the additional plantings on quinte. >> ok. thank you. we have a question from price have. >> mr. puck, we had a private developer that wants to knock trees down and as you know this board does not have the ability to increase it. but, through volunteer and i believe that project was at the hospital somewhere off of
protero street where the contractor said he would increase it from six to 15 so what can the city offer rather than the minimum offering you gave? >> i would have to review that with upper managers. we are -- >> we have one on the line right now? >> sure. i just want to say again, we apologize having this discussion. >> i understand. that ship has sailed. we're talking about compensation for the illegal action that was done and either contractors -- >> please, don't bankrupt me. if private contractors are having to step up for their
mistakes, the city should also warn that same type of penalty, don't you think? >> so -- in the previous case where trees were not supposed to be taken out and the permitting process was incorrect, the permit sponsor volunteered to increase and double the amount of what are you willing to do this was a big boo boo. your project manager did not cut her mic off at our last hearing and we got a little extra bonus. >> in order to compare, i mean, i don't know the specifics of the project that you are talking about but it sounds like an what
would be a fair penalty the project is already heavily loaded with greening and new trees. we're adding additional trees -- >> that was a condition and getting the permit. we're talking about is the permit was not involved to the letter and this is why we're here today. the previous greening to the project, that was subject to actually getting that additional permit and where we're at is a different space. >> i guess what we would say to that is, we would endeavour to put an appropriate amount of trees for what we're it's a
punitive measure than a technical one i guess. with we look at the sites that buck has identified as potential lexes, if there's the ability to put a larger box tree in we would do that. >> we're not so much concerned about the box size. because buff has already explained the larger the box size the harder it is to set in and within five years, smaller box size and exceeds or catches so buff can identify several indicateses. as we're having this conversation, the public is going to chime in after and you are going to hear what they're going to say and we're going to have to come back and replace that again. what i would like is for you as the department head to say you know what, we missed up and and
buff will identify and at which point it will help the ca canopf this city which is diminishing at a rapid rate which has been recited over and over again tonight. the ball is in your court. >> so, i've suggested three trees given that three were cut that would have been -- we're getting three trees more if we would have followed the process and received a favorable outcome from the board. so we're getting more than what the project calls for and chris has already proposed, you know, upping that to up to six if there's rom for i room for it ot street. we're amenable of doing that. >> are you amenable to six trees
period. whether they're allowed on that street and if they can find an open basin there, you will plant them? >> yes. if we can't get it in the location that we hope for which is to try to be restorative to the area where the infraction we had we would find another suitable location. >> thank you. >> you are welcome. >> thank you. we don't have anymore questions at this point from the commissioners. we are now moving o onto the appellant. i understand you have a presentation prepared. >> i have a screen share. i don't want to use my time to answer if that's ok. >> we haven't started the clock yet. >> i'll hold him until you are ready. >> yeah, i did not know i was
only given three minutes. i have to scrap that seven minute presentation. also, i got a bunch of answers from chris buck, only two and a half hours before this meeting that i had asked questions to three and a half months ago side to really rush to get things gathered for this meeting so i was not able to complete my presentation that was planned. i do have a different presentation that i can do now. >> let me know when you are ready. >> thank you. my health is not great. it's been two and a half hours. i'm ready now. >> thank you. >> there is so many lives and so much of fact in what chris buck and thomas have presented here it's really going to be hard to squeeze it all into three minutes. and i'm going to try my best doing a screen share here. so, first of all, chris buck has said that there were utility conflicts with these trees.
according to their own public works order 202958 they said it would not be worth speeding and transplanting three of the small apple trees and trees can be replaced in kind. they also said staff acknowledged these trees were in good, fair condition and so that's a total lion chris puck's part. it's a misrepresent sensation of facts. it was not an issue of utilities conflicts and should he not represent it as such. the other thing i like to point out at the last meeting is construction was beginning. they were already taking down the fence and putting up caution tape on october 7th, 2019, even before this appeal was filed. even before the public hearing about this issue the first public hearing about this issue was january 27th. they were already doing what they wanted all the way back in october. as you heard in public comment earlier today, they do whatever they want all the time and they're doing it again and
they're lying to the public saying we're not going to start construction when they do. this departmentalize to the public all the time and chris buck has lied to me more times than i can count. as you can see, this is how the project looks now. they cut down all the trees. even though the public protested on january 27th. there was a young woman who lives in this community and who did not want these trees cut down. you may remember she spoke up a month ago at that meeting as well and how are we supposed to consider her testimony when dpw does whatever it wants and says well, it's a slap on the wrist. i would like to point out that i've been recording on youtube and posting videos of the various violations of dpw for a number of years actually. there's so many of them. it's clear law by section 805 that they have their main continuance and responsibilities of these trees. they violated that law and the public trust and they do it all the time. it's not an unusual event and that's what i want to stress today. there are numerous ada
violations and i was not given a full materials to be part of this original hearing on januar. that's the responsibility that i have submitted back in march and their ada coordinating won't reply to them. they've given mer mow disability accommodations that dpw denies. this department directour was arrested by the dpi when this order was in placed. the permit should be denied. i ask the board of appeals refund the fees to the public and make recommendations -- >> time. >> thank you. >> i can't hear you. >> >> we have a question from vice president honda? >> so, the question was to the last speaker who are is the ada
coordinator you are dealing with and are they specifically with dpw. >> thank you for that question, commissioner. so, the ada coordinator for dpw has ignored me for months and months -- >> what is that person and are they a staff directly with dpw? >> his name is kevin jensen, his ada coordinating assistant and rick peerman, i cannot get them to respond to me about ada questions. question is thomas roitman? are you familiar with this ada coordinator, sir? >> yes, i work with them regularly. >> is there a reason why they're not responding to members of the public? >> i'm unfamiliar and will follow-up with them. >> sorry to interrupt. this is come up several times. not even several. almost every occasion that he is not getting any responses from one or both of these gentlemen. can you look into that for us so
that we can have some type of answers next time we meet again on this lovely zoom? >> yes, i will definitely look into that. >> thank you. >> thank you. so we are now moving on to public comment and i do see that we have a caller for the phone number ending in 8570. please go ahead. >> caller: good evening. this is casey asbury with the demonstration gardens and the healthy street trees initiative. as we have come to see that we are in deep tree deficit in san francisco, our goal is to work systemically to properly value our public tree trust. given the problems, it's clear that our system of fines and penalties, whether for contractors or within the
department is not robust enough. valuing a healthy, mature tree properly, we have to understand that it can't be realistically replaced by a small number, a handful of baby trees, especially in the context of the budget restraints that don't allow funding for proper tree care overtime. seeing a pattern of promises not being kept and this is part of what we are calling to investigate during the halt of non emergency tree removal. we urge you 20 support this action because this case illustrates how continually safety is placed in opposition to public-health and
infrastructure benefits of trees and design, they're not considered as important as other factors and we need to re-evaluate that. the assertion that healthy, mature fruit trees connery coule replaced is representative of the misplacement of the bureau of urban forestry within a group that is primarily responsible for cement and sidewalks. i just libeling to call these questions and ask and urge the board to follow-up on your ire with concrete actions that help us safeguard our tree can bee. >> we will end from the caller who ends in 0901. please, go ahead.
>> caller: can you hear me. josh clip here. so, the safe guards that could have been followed and it's not anything new and mr. wrightman who i like and respect very much, i know because he is a public works hearing officer who oversees tree removal hearings and i think he understands the process and we need more than just a fine on this contractor and in fact, $2,000 is not a fine that's an inclu inlieu fee. there are penalties for illegal removals and those should be persuade. anything less ipursued. it's hard to understand why tearing out the project would be the remedy of the tree removal permit was part of a sidewalk
widening and opportunities the entirety of it so i don't understand why the city would take the position of the entire project and it would need to be reversed. decided not enough, we heard testimony on a couple of occasions now from the people that planted those trees and had them removed from their property they planted them 20 years ago and took them for 20 years and just saying, let's have communications and we didn't understand our own rules and we missed and harm done and only and this particular family and we're going to plant new trees and the commissioners are direct it's part of the project not a gift to the appellants and the same promise was made in the 16th street brt and i walked past some of those new trees and in two blocks alone, three of those trees have been hacked off at trunk. so if a tree makes it in this city, the city ought to be doing all it can to preserve that tree. furthermore, our tree support also no ecology and sequester no carbon which is what the city
needs right now. we shouldn't plant trees just because they fit in anesthetics but with our environment in mind. i just request the board make a motion which includes all these promises made by public works today requiring the trees are suitable for fighting climate change and create additional, accountability, especially in rebuilding public trust. >> thank you. >> >> thank you, mr. clip. we will now hear from the next speaker, and we can have you on video. i'm moving you. can we spotlight her. >> can you hear me? >> yes, we can. >> ok. i just wanted to make a comment about the gentleman statement they're going to be coming up the new list of procedures and they are dpw and follow i wanted
to talk specifically about the notification because karla fork from dpw and nicolas crawford from buff told me within the past week that they filled their notification requirements the code specifically states that notices to be posted on the tree 30 days prior to removal. notices that were over a year ago, i would like it to be made clear that 30 days prior means 30 days prior and something that was over a year ago, does not
meet that requirement. when they came in the last couple days and started taking down all these trees, everybody in the neighborhood was shocked and no one understand the purpose of them being removed. they said they're pruning them and i said no they're coming down completely. they said why. i said because the city is telling us they're dangerous and we all know that the order to remove all these ficus trees came originally from nuru who no one has any reason to train. personally i think something that was ordered by nuru should be looked at again and massive removal of ficus trees should be given a second look now that we know a lot more about nuru. at the very least, they need to do a proper notification so
people don't wake up to see their neighborhood completely ravaged, nine 40--year-old trees gone in a matter of days in just two blocks. also, this idea of they're talking about pavement trees it will be ok because we're replacing trees. replacements don't compensate fort loss of mature trees. i'm not going to live long enough to see our foal age replaced from what we've losed. we need to get away from the idea that replacements make up from the loss of trees, they don't. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> we will now hear from the next member of the public. ms. natalie down. and we can put you on video. >> hi. >> clerk: can you please spotlight mrs. down. thank you.
>> one moment. >> can you hear me? >> yes, i can hear you. >> ok. >> thank you so much for hearing me. i had a speech prepared but it has crashed. which is the wrong time for it to crash, ok, i'm sorry. this isn't just an unfortunate misstep this is a desecration of public trust. i'm totally incredulous at the so-called lack of understanding process. these updates and procedure and training sound like half-ass covering excuses. san francisco is a fly away path of migrating birds they need fruiting trees to feed along this route. olive trees are not an adequate replacement. more agencies and more contractors impact trees and do any of these contracts get any
ecology training. i was under the impression it was legal for surveys to be done. the $6,000 fine for these trees is nothing and part of the plan is to have a zero-tolerance policy why aren't they starting now with this contract losing their license for the city. when we plant a tree it's a contract to the environment and maintaining be responsible with water and pruning and also with process and adhering to the process of protecting them. replacing these mature trees do not make up for removing the mature trees, especially in a time of derogation of our climate and warming local temperatures. replacing fruit trees which are important for birds with olive that's have limited ecological benefits is not an adequate replacement. one tree is not equivalent to another. this isn't just the case of a couple of incidents of
unauthorized tree pruning or removals and in hayes valleyment there's a pattern of behavior across a number of incidents of disregard of nature and disregard of the public trust. apologies just won't cut it. >> ok. thank you. is there anymore public comment for this item? if so, please raise your hand. we have comments from kaitlyn hall. we can put you on video. kaitlyn hall. kaitlyn hall are you there? >> caller: hello. yes, hello. welcome. you have throw minutes. thro th. i would like to say how betrayed i felt to learn the trees had already been removed. i would also like to thank the
board fo for appearing to take r concerns into account and what i would like to see is the concrete steps that we're going to see in the future to prevent anything from happening like this again. thank you. >> thank you. is there anymore public comment on this item? if so, please raise your hand. if you called in press star nine and i know you would like to speak. we have public comment from someone from the tenants rights group. please, go ahead. >> caller: thank you. i am extremely frustrated by the lack of process that people were trying to save the city and its foley age have to contract while contractors are given the contracts go unscathed or with a $36,000 fine while the board
that we vest our trust in constantly tells us that you have to wait until the next meeting for this process to be actually even taken up. while murder of trees and' col mist and we cherish in the city happens and i don't understand where we have to go and what to do and who to talk to for these trees to be protected. this happens time and again. this is happening after the board has actually stated that it can't be done and it has happened. who is the person that we can go to? while we keep waiting for agenda items to be taken in, we just sit here with our hands tied waiting fon an answer to come. i don't know what to do. thank you for your comments. >> is there any other public comment on this item. if so, please raise your hand and press star nine. >> ok, i'm not seeing anyone raise their hands. we'll give it another moment.
ok, i think we're finished with public comment. this matter is submitted. >> commissioners -- someone wish to start the conversation? >> sure, i will. sorry to raise my hand madam president. you know, welcome to our world dpw. this, i believe, is my 216th hearing at the board of appeals and i believe probably 40 to 60% involve trees on a regular basis. chris and i are personal friends and so, you know, the city is asking for a little more accountability and i understand that it's a very large project. at the same time, we have very large contractors that come before us and they always say there was also a very large project and this person didn't know this and this person didn't
know this. it's exceptionally hard for the public to understand that the people that make the rules and enforce the rules don't follow the rules. so, you know, he has already said they would guarantee seven trees and i would like chris buck to confirm that after it's done at this point and he understand the public's outrage and the proposition that allowed the city to trim trees did not afford them to plant new ones so we are a diminishing can pee. to understand why the public is so upset is because one, i can say this in my sleep. we have the smallest urban canopy of any major city in the united states, right. and visiting cities like
barcelona and paris and it is just amazing to have that type of canopy. i know it's not mr. roitman, i'm sure you are a tree lover. i know chris is, i see picture on his facebook with hugs. we need more accountability and if it comes down to it, maybe we need your director to come before this body. you know, it's tough. we're not intentionally throwing darts at you guys. and i've dealt with mr. buck prior to being on the board. he is a great guy and loves his trees. at this point, it's really hard to undue a project that is already been done. whether that be from a regular contractor or whether that be from a city entity t and the value of knocking -- i mean, the benefit i think, not to
inassault anyone from the public, these were not monument trees. they were not as mr. buck would say, significant trees. so if we're able to get seven 24-box trees, i think it's a good accomplishment for this particular item. you know. coming up, regarding octavia that will be a different thing. in this particular case, it's just my opinion. >> if i can have the flor. thank you commissioner honda. i want to talk to the public first. thank you for dialing in or zooming in in the hearing. for a lot of these items, a great way to voice your concern and have more immediate response with the board of supervisors. this board is charged with looking at the issuance of permits that this city issues and understanding if there's permits were properly issued.
that's our work. to review those. it's more of a backwards-looking body than a forward-looking body or a legislative body and certainly not, as you saw tonight, able to act on things that are happening right now. encourage you to the mayor and to take action on things that this board is not charged with. i agree with commissioner honda, i think one question i have for mr. buck is how would we be assured that this plan would be developed? that the seven or six trees, i like the idea of seven now instead of six, trees, would be found a place for. whether it's on that street or a nearby street without it examining back to us and continuing this item again. how and when will we know with you have a need made good on this commitment? >> is mr. buck able to answer
that? >> can i respond to that? >> yes, thank you. so, my recommendation would be, first of all, i again apologize. i need to state that multiple times. so, i believe that one way to do it would be a finding and adding the condition that seven additional trees be planted that are in addition to what was already planned and that those trees are planted. we could have thomas roitman circle back. we can have that be a condition of closing out that to ensure those trees are planted. that would be one. i know you want very specific. that would be one tool to ask that that go onto the condition for the close out of that project is that we have found seven sites and they're planted prior to allowing a close out of
that contract. >> not to interrupt you mr. buck, can i ask our city attorney, can we put that language in? >> good evening, city attorney's office. so, can chris repeat that again. i think you said condition of the permit you would say that the contract with the project cannot be closed until the sites are located and the trees planted? is that the proposal? >> correct. the project manager for public works could agree to not allow the close out so this would be put on a public works project team to not allow close out until those seven additional trees have been planted. >> if that's something that public works is growing to abide by, no have i don't have a proh
that condition. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> can we just clarify the order too, please. under the recommendation, it talks about allowing for the removal of the three apple trees. it doesn't talk specifically about replacement under the recommendations. i just want to confirm that the plan was to plant 10 new fruitless olive trees so there would be a net gain of seven so on top of that you are proposing to plant seven more trees? >> thank you. >> so is there a motion from this? commissioner honda, commissioner tanner? >> i'll make that motion. >> you are granting at peel and conditioning act. >> if that's the project manager from dpw not to allow close out of this project because the specified trees are planted.
>> on what basis? >> on the basis -- beautification on the neighborhood. >> on the basis that the trees will enhance both the bue fee bd health of the neighborhood. >> sure. that sounds good. >> ok. >> we have a motion from vice president honda to grant the appeal and issue the order son the condition that it be revised to require the project manager does not close out the project until seven additional trees are planted and those are in addition to the replacement trees specified in the order on the basis this enhances the beauty and health of the neighborhood. on that motion, president lazarus. >> aye. >> commissioner tanner. >> aye. >> commissioner swig. >> aye. >> ok so, that motion carries
4-0. this item is concluded. >> if i may, i'm going to recommend a five-minute break. five minutes only so we'll be back at 7:30. please. >> thank you and to another parties, thank you for your patients. >> clerk: this is appeal number 20-038. a vary yansz decision. the proposal is to construct a two-story vertical addition, rear decks and staircase, excavate the basement to create a full-story height floor, and add five dwelling units to the existing two-story, four-unit residential building. three new units will be in the new third and fourth floors and two new units will be constructed within the basement.
and a portion of the proposed vertical addition and the rear decks are located within the required rear yard and, therefore, need a variance. no open space is provided for the two units proposed at the basement level and therefore, an open-space variance is required. the propose posed units at the basement level face onto a non-complying rear yard and that is six feet and four inches in depth and therefore an exposure variance is required. the zoning administrator granted the rear yard variance and denied the open space and exposure variance. we'll hear from the appellant first, mr. diamond. >> good evening, everyone. sorry we're so late tonight. i'll have a presentation to go with it. >> clerk: great, we'll hold the time.
alex, you stopped the time, correct? >> that's correct. >> clerk: thank you. >> sorry, i'm not seeing i'm a shared screen. >> clerk: did you click on the green shared screen? >> you have to have it queued up in your computer like adobe. >> (indiscernible). >> hmm. >> give me one second. let me pull it up. it's still not coming up. hmm. >> clerk: do you want to send it to -- >> you can send it to me -- there you go. >> clerk: here, we see it. yes, here we go. >> okay, let me make sure that i control it properly. most of the stuff you have already seen in the brief and i'm using it to pace myself. so i'm going to start with going over the exceptional extraordinary conditions that we built with the necessary hardship on our property. these are reiterated on this
page by the zoning administrator's letter. we have a sub-standard lot size, the property is a historic resource that requires a setback to the addition and further limits issue (indiscernible) and we have an existing non-conforming rear yard and setback. unfortunately, increasing that setback would further diminish our developable envelope and diminish the existing units and long-term tenants that live there. which could result in a loss of housing for them if they couldn't make it work with the small unit. and it wouldn't decrease the light and air with the properties around us. with number four, there's no rear yard setbacks for our block. our neighborhood properties are built right up to our shed property line and on all sides. the conditions on our site, as we just discussed, most of which are due to planning approvals granted for the properties on either side of us, 1234 howard,
and those are built in 2004 and they were built in a planning code standard and that results in the following impact, no rear yard for the neighboring property. we have a 32-foot wall to the east and a 32-foot wall to our south and a 58-foot wall to our west. that obviously impacts the quality of life against the rear of our property. which seems to be the crux of the idea with the zoning (indiscernible) denial. however, the light and air to our property must have been determined by the planning department to be sufficient since they issued the permits to allow the development for the property next to us. and variance requirements that would prevent them from impacting our light. and prevent negative impacts to the neighboring property light and air. and variance number 4, to prevent the detriment to the property in the vicinity. and number five, to prevent the adverse effects to the general
plan and the priority policies and negative effects to the neighborhood, and housing, obviously, that affected our housing in our building. they cut off some of our light and air. since the developments were approved by the planning department and they were built, i have to assume that the light and air was determined by the zoning administrator at the time, as well as the planning department to be sufficient for our property construction. on the issue of open space, this is in regards to the basement dwelling unit, it's mentioned in the brief here that there's no open space provided, but our existing open space has well served for the past 114 years and the existing opening space is 25 feet wide and a total of 160 square feet. there is no other open space currently on our property. we are proposing to use the existing open space for the dwelling unit while proposing increasing the deck from 6'4" to
8'4" to get more space between our property. the planning code requires 80 square feet per dwelling unit. (indiscernible) and planning code section 135f -- i realize -- (indiscernible). here we go. planning code section 135f requires 10 feet in every horizontal mentioned for private open space. we're providing 8'4", and we're short there. and we have provided alternative schemes that -- there we go -- that were reviewed and rejected by the zoning admin straighter. we provided rear decks to provide the private open space which they didn't have before. we have also provided roof deck and garden with a minimum of 369, common open space for all buildings in the unit to use.
existing and proposed. we improved the quality of the open space throughout all existing units to have more open space. all seven proposed units have direct access from their units to the private open space, and they have private open space. and all seven units have access to the roof deck and garden for the private open space. we have reduced the number of units using the opening space. and planning code section 135d which is on the screen, our proposal improves the overall quantity of open space for dwelling units. our depth which is short of the required horizontal mentioned for private opening space. we have design alternatives and it was rejected by the zoning administrator. our shortfall is due to the extraordinary circumstances on our property and the hardship that we faced as i mentioned earlier. we're asking to have the administrator's decisions
overturned for the open space. the subject of exposure, as proposed i believe that our project does actually meet the requirements for exposure. planning code section -- planning code section 184.1, faces a rear yard or a court or a street. we have an existing non-conforming legal rear yard that the basement dwelling unit will face on to. and by granting the variance granted by the d.a. he's given us (indiscernible) into the rear yard with the dwelling units that face bo onto it. and the basement rear yard could be considered an outer court which also meets the code. and the clear story windows in front of our property face on any common street. it provides operatable windows which is shy of the 11 square feet required for those units. we have provided every room in our basement dwelling with windows, which give them all
light and air. some have two windows, the bigger rooms, and they get a cross breeze. we have provided an alternative scheme to have a small increase to the size of the clear story windows that meet the code at 12.5 square-foot each. i have in-depth code analysis in my brief and i am happy to answer questions once we're done here. >> 30 seconds. >> i believe that we meet the requirements and hopefully you guys will overturn the decision to not grant our exposure permit condition. and the zoning administrator has several planning code sections that he could use for a complete or a partial waiver of any of these conditions. we're not asking for complete, we're asking for waivers for the conditions as shown. there's plenty of open space and there's plenty of exposure to the front and the rear of these spaces. >> that's time. >> clerk: than thank you, mr. diamond. we'll hear from the planning department now. >> thank you.
scott sanchez, planning department. so the subject project at 727 natoma street within the residential enclave mixed zoning district in the special use district and as well as the subject lot is sub-standard it's 25-feet wide by 75-feet deep. and under the planning code the minimum lot size is 2,500-square-feet. and so it's about 75-square-feet short of the minimum lot size. it's a two-story upper basement building constructed in 1906 that contains four dwelling units. it's a known historic resource and a contributor to the western soma light industrial residential historic district. the existing building is also a legal non-complying structure that extends into the required rear yard. under the zoning the required rear yard is 25%, there's a provision in the western soma s.u.d. and in the appellant's
brief that allows part of the setback to count towards -- basically giving credit and reduce the size of your rear yard. the setback of the subject building is only approximately one foot 10-inches and not nine feet as noted in their brief. and the vertical additions set back nine feet but facing the setback of the rear building. so the rear yard is approximately 18 feet. however, the existing rear yard is only 6'4", so very sub-standard and not compliant to the current code requirements. they propose a two-store dwelling addition, and so more than doubling the unit density. i think that the initial proposal may have been six dwelling units but it's now five dwelling units. under the red m.x. zoning district there's no density limit. it's not based on lot area, it's based on the envelope that would be allowed as well as compliance
with various code requirements such as exposure and open space. so those are the key standards that we have in the planning code for regulating density in the zoning district. and what is being proposed currently works out to approximately -- there were nine dwelling units that would be one unit for every 194-square-feet of lot area. currently, it's about one unit to 43-square-feet of lot area. and the proposed is somewhere in the middle about one unit to 250-square-feet of lot area. it's adjacent to the wdmg mixed-use zoning district. and that zoning district rear yard is only required at the level and above. and they are well aware of this that all code requirements must be met on-site. so while the appellant has noted the context, you know, those projects we believe were properly approved and it's up to
this project to meet its code requirements and rear yard and this proposal would not do that. while the zoning administrator granted the variance in part, authorizing the rear yard variance, so the vertical addition can encroach into the required rear yard, the said allowance for the three dwelling units, they denied the variance related to the open space and exposure variance for the two units that are proposed and the basement level, finding that i think that there's two parts -- one, that the quality of the exposure and the each space is sub-standard for those units. and really it results in an overbuilt condition for the subject property. the appellant has had other projects for context and their belief that those projects have actually, you know, prohibited the ability of the subject property to comply with the planning code. again, to reiterate, every
property is required to meet the requirements on-site. to use light, air exposure from another property or another property to meet those requirements. but to give context, and further detail about those projects, 1234 howard, they did receive a rear yard exception. but all of the units that are proposed there are compliant with open space and composure and there's 1 18 dwelling unit there is and a larger lot, about 6,750-square-feet and a density of one unit to 375-square-feet so less than what is proposed by the applicant here. 1298 howard, they had a rear yard exception and exposure for eight units out of a total of 124 units. but even those units, that sought the variance based on an area that was about 25-feet wide. just an increase as the floors went up as required by the code. when you have a court. and that was much larger lot. again, at 37,000-square-feet so
the density worked out to one unit of 320-square-feet there. and 20 dwelling units in the alley building adjacent to the project site. that density there was about one unit to 337-square-feet. so, again, much less dense proposal there and they generally, you know, meet or provide quality exposure and open space for those properties. so, you know, for those reasons and looking at the quality of the space that was provided, and maybe i can share my screen with the board to put an overhead up... and, unfortunately, i don't -- sorry. i haven't done this before. but i will -- >> clerk: you want to email
alec or carey? >> you want to pause time? >> if you don't mind while i try to figure that out. (indiscernible). >> so if you have it on your desktop in the queue, then it should show up on the shared screen. >> oh, thank you. it was minimized which i guess didn't allow that. it should be -- >> i'm resuming time at one minute. >> thank you. all right. >> when you're ready. >> thank you. so here's the aerial photo just showing the adjacent development. so actually in some cases -- >> clerk: we decen don't see it. mr. sanchez, we don't see it. we just see the number 7602. can you minimize it a little? >> that's all i --
>> you have it enlarged. >> i will move on. i apologize for that and next time i'll test out my technology better. >> i'll resume time. >> thank you. so what i had intended to show from the aerial photo about the surrounding context and you know, and the very small rear yard that exists on the project property of a little over six feet. and really that led to the zoning administrator to deny the variance. i think that the board has seen a couple of these denials that have been from the administrator in the past. we have over the years reduced the requirement, particularly for the a.d.u. first to a 15-by-15 area which this doesn't comply with. and then further reduced to a 9-by-9 area and 225-square-feet which is not complied with.
and they found it challenging to grant such variances when we consistently reduce our requirements but this is still sub-standard for the requirement. i'm available for questions. thank you. >> clerk: okay, thank you. okay. one moment. i just need to see if we have any questions. i don't -- i see vice president honda. >> vice-president honda: of course it would be me. so, mr. sanchez, given the size and the sub-standard lot, what would be the allowable buildout for this? >> thank you. so they're effec effectively mae envelope of the building or actually exceeding that because they did receive a variance for encroaching into the rear yard as well as existing building, extending into the rear yard. so i think that, you know, the most they could do additionally would be a little bit potentially more at the front.
although not much there. they've effectively maxed out for the envelope of the building. and then, you know, further adding, you know, more units or doubling the units. though we do like to see more units, you know, we do have minimum standards that we like to see. >> vice-president honda: for quality of life. especially since that block is being seriously densified since the gas station is gone and the burger king and the starbucks. i believe that they've raised construction on the small three-unit aside from that large development project there, correct? >> i believe so, yeah. >> vice-president honda: to me, i mean, so was the reason for the rear yard variance because of the conditions of the 32-foot wall? >> i think that the variance was found to be justified because the building, the historic resource. and additionally there's a provision for the alleyway. so that further directs the development to the rear.
i think that those were the justifications for the vertical addition, the var variance, that encroaches into the rear yard and the historical part of the building. they weren't in the basement, they were proposing, you know, vertical addition that those units had adequate light and air. and those are the reasons for granting the variance for the rear yard. >> vice-president honda: so we're hearing you speak about the zoning administrator's decision, when those (indiscernible) for as long as i can remember, okay? thank you. >> clerk: thank you. commissioner swig. >> commissioner swig: yes, is the issue to make this project happen? or to proclude the need for the unacceptable variance, is it a matter of taking it off the top or taking units off the bottom? i thought for me the basement units were the problem. but i may be misreading the
whole thing. what would enhance further movement to making this a more acceptable development? >> i think that you're correct, commissioner swig, that the variance was granted to allow for the vertical addition with the new dwelling units. at the upper levels. and the ones denied was for the two basement units, mr. administrator. >> commissioner swig: so if the basement units were removed from this project, then you would be okay with this project moving forward? >> that's correct. the variance was denied to prohibit the units, and so they would need to remove those units to be compliant with the variance decision. >> commissioner swig: and those units, i mean, obviously, they exist, not the units exist today, but the square -- the basement exists today. would there be an alternative
use for laundry rooms or storage rooms or stuff like that? or are they completely unusable? >> i mean, i defer to the project sponsors to the ability of that space. but certainly they could have expanded area for the units on the floor above because expanding those units wouldn't require a variance for exposure that their existing non-compliant units at that level actually -- (indiscernible) but there would be no issue with having additional space for upper units or having storage space or laundry room, common area, it's just the fact that new dwelling units are being added there that only have exposure into that rear yard. and one of the units has a small window to the street, but that is not large enough to satisfy the exposure requirement. >> commissioner swig: so the issue is the basement units, get rid of the basement units and you've got the project,
basically? >> right. >> clerk: commissioner tanner. >> commissioner tanner: the question about the alternative approacheapproaches that the apt put forward. those were not satisfactory? is that because they didn't get to the 10 feet or the nine feet? the 10 feet that the rear yard needs? >> so in order for it to be compliant with the exposure requirement, it would need to meet the rear yard requirement which would be about a 17-foot rear yard. so, i mean, there's no -- you know, it's really not feasible for the project sponsor to do that. unfortunately, i think that the appellant is incorrect in their argument that it may comply with exposure in terms of the court rierm. the code requires a 25-by-25-foot area that increases by 5 feet vertically. that is how to properly apply the exposure requirement, which
it simply does not meet. there would need to be substantial reduction at the side and the rear of the building to comply with the requirement. >> commissioner tanner: great. and to clarify your reasoning. how do you see the density factoring into the light and air? i mean, i can understand that you're kind of comparing the density, and it's already denser or as dense as the surrounding context. that seemed unrelated as to whether or not there's proper exposure. can you explain to me how that's relevant? >> it's relevant to finding number 2, you know, that if they have extraordinary and exceptional circumstances that, you know, that there be a practical difficulty or a necessary hardship for the applicant of the property. there's really no hardship because they have a density that is consistent with that of the neighborhood. i mean, but they want to see a density which is much more -- much greater than what is found in the neighborhood.
and finding number 3 that the variance is necessary for preservation and enjoyment of the property rights (indiscernible) and we just don't find that that finding has been met either. you know, given that what they're seeking is density that is greater than that of the adjacent buildings as well as exposure that is of less quality than we would approve for new construction today or for alterations. >> commissioner tanner: great. and the rooftop garden they're proposing or the rooftop deck, does that factor in at all? is that more of a factor of open space being provided versus -- or usable space versus light and air and exposure? >> yeah and they're seeking the variance from the open space requirement, and, you know, generally we want open space to be as close to practical as the unit. and so in this case the area that is right in front of these units would not meet the requirements. it seems that would function more as common open space which would have a minimum area of
15-by-15. if it's private open space, the appellant is create, that the minimum is 10-feet-by-10-feet but they don't require with that requirement. and there's a quirk to the area where rooftop decks don't satisfy open space requirements. and that is a unique thing only found in the western soma s.u.d. >> commissioner tanner: great. and then the measures, if they wanted to expand those first floor units in the basement that would be to file a proper permit to have more -- more space for those units? >> that's correct. i mean, within the existing envelope, expansion of the existing units wouldn't require giving notification. it wouldn't require variance. they could also do some accessory space down there, be it storage or laundry area. >> commissioner tanner: great, thank you.
>> clerk: okay. thank you. we are now moving on to public comment. is there anyone who would like to provide public comment on this item, please press star, 9, if you called in. you want to provide public comment. okay. let me just double check. i do not see any. so we will move on to rebuttal. mr. diamond, you have three minutes. >> okay. in regards to meeting the exposure requirement, the alternative scheme that we proposed and sent to the planning department and the zoning administrator does meet the letter of the code at the front of the property. three-story windows and they are required to have 11-square feet for one unit and 10-square-feet for the other. and additionally we have provided alternative for the rear of the property where we set back to nine feet and 10 feet to fulfill the requirement horizontal as
mentioned. more importantly the description makes it seem that we're digging down several feet. we're using the existing rear yard which is 160-square-feet which has been an open space for years and putting at the base level, and open space for four units. everything improves this property. and there's a picture of the basement units as kind of poor units and i don't think that is the case and a fair characterization. in terms of density, we are not going beyond the density of the property zone lot by any stretch of the imagination. look at the overhead of the block and you can see that none of the properties -- see if i can pop it up -- on our side of the block they were all built in the 1990s and 2000s -- can you see that hopefully -- >> no. >> no. i don't remember how i did this before. >> i'll pause time. >> okay, sorry. here we go. >> clerk: it's fine, take your
time. >> thanks. did i get it up? >> clerk: yes. >> your time is up. >> and this is 1234 howard and they allowed it to be built up next and they have an inner court to satisfy the open space but it was a sacrifice of light and air to our property. and you can see this in 58 (indiscernible) it takes light out of our property and this was also allowed to be built in 1994 right up against our property. so if it's a quality of light and air issue it's caused by the city. and you can see this is the rear lot line right here where i'm scrolling and you can see the setback is eight feet maybe. they've been allowed to build to the lot line. this is true on our entire block. and we are looking for the same rights. and the city has thousands of units in our neighborhood and i am sure that be we have hundreds and we're looking for the same thing. if we can meet the exposure
requirements and we set back 10 feet at the rear of the property, which is already proposed in several schemes, there's three here. so that's 10-foot setback and why then not able to meet code? if we're meeting the code, how are we not meeting the code is my question. and i have asked this question a dozen times to our planner and she just keeps saying that the d.a. says no. i have spent four years on the project and going to the planning department, three years to get the variance, and a year later we're here. >> time. >> clerk: thank you. we will now hear from the planning department. mr. sanchez? >> thank you. scott sanchez, planning department. so in response to a couple of issues that were raised by the appellant. so in terms of the exposure and
why even the alternatives don't meet the exposure requirement -- in terms of the front we require that the windows that are necessary to meet the -- the windows have to be of a certain size to meet the exposure requirement. we require that glazing has to be within the first seven feet, six inches from the floor height. so having windows that are seven, eight, nine feet up, you know, having that glazing area doesn't meet the exposure requirement. so i think that was one of the issues here. while they were providing the clear shore windows, even if they were to be enlarged, given the grade of the street, i don't think they'd be able to have all of that glazing within the 7 feet, 6-inches. in terms of the rear, you can't just kind of slant in light to the rear. it has to be maintained, and you have to have a code compliant rear yard going all the way up. so what was proposed simply doesn't meet the planning code requirement.
>that's all. i'm available for questions. >> clerk: okay, vice president honda. my phone dropped, sorry. >> vice-president honda: mr. sanchez, a question. so as the permit holder has pointed out, 128 howard or 1228 howard and the adjoining properties all go straight and abut his property pretty high. were those built could the property owner at the time appeal that? because in my mind it would impact that particular property, right? >> yes, all of those actions would have been appealable. and i think that given how they were approved, they probably appealable to the board of appeals. >> vice-president honda: shouldn't they have had like a side yard setback to allow light to that particular property, if it was done at that particular time? >> well, i mean, you know, you
would view it in the context of all of the development there. so it was determined whenned whe adjacent construction was made, with the features on the subject property that it didn't adversely impact it. what is being proposed now is additional dwelling units that are at issue. >> vice-president honda: 1994 was a whole different time and space. i believe that the first loft was being initiated at that time on howard? >> the approvals here for the three adjacent properties at 1224 howard, and they all occurred over different times. i think that natoma was the oldest, 1234 howard then and the most recent 1298 howard. and so i think that what the appellant is mainly pointing to is the 1224 howard and the adjacent property which is
unique in that it's a through lot in natoma. so in making that determination it was found that it didn't adversely impact the light and air of adjacent property. what is proposed now are new units and the new units need to meet the requirements of the code and they simply don't. it's not a question whether that adjacent building there was or not. even if the adjacent building was not there, it still doesn't meet the code requirements. they're completely separate. >> vice-president honda: was howard before the board? for some reason that's a design or something -- for some reason i remember that. >> not that i'm aware of. >> vice-president honda: thank you. >> clerk: okay, commissioners, this matter is submitted. >> president lazarus: commissioners, any discussions? a motion? >> the question is the --
(indiscernible) or not, correct? >> i have one question. mr. sanchez, these are two separate variances and we don't have to do one or the other. there was a variance approved for one aspect of the project which is vertical and the second variance for the additional basement units? >> this is one variance appealed. so, if the board agrees -- this is a hearing for the variance and unlike other appeals or zoning administrator decisions, that if you find that the -- basically you woulda would adope findings of the zone administrator in the variance and that results in the variance approved for the rear yard an