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tv   [untitled]    May 16, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT

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change came about, there was no notice to the industry, no notice to those who have plans in the process already. it was very amongst 100, or 150 mostly green building code revisions or modifications. it came out of nowhere to the industry, and the industry is getting caught in it. if nothing else, we feel that there should be a proper forum and some sort of transparent process in which we can adopt and incorporate this change into these expectations. i am not an architect, so i do not know all of the nuances, but i know that light and air are difficult and sensitive items in san francisco. if your building with yields around you, then light and air -- with fields around you, then light and air would not be an issue. any change to the building code has a cause and effect to the
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industry. ? thank you. >> my name is kelly. i'm here on behalf of my father, patrick, who was unable to make it today. he has asked me to speak on behalf of his support for the deletion of this section. thank you. >> my name is jerry bogart. i have been involved with artists for the last 50 years. a lot of them that i know and that have lived in areas that have no light, i want to say it makes the room quieter. i do a lot of computer programming for the firms that come into the city. we like rooms -- and in fact from in a lot of the college's we block out the windows because it cuts out the noise and the environment that is interrupting us. it is not a negative to have a
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situation -- and in fact, i know and have interviewed people that have been in a room with auxiliary years, whenever you want to call it, and they love it and have been there for eight and nine years in that environment. the work nights -- they work nights. during the day they have a roof deck that they can go on to. it is not a negative thing to have a room without light in it, especially a bedroom. in san francisco, it is very difficult with their windows, especially on market street because of the noise. if you have no windows, it is like being in the country. it is quiet. it is not a negative thing to be in a room without a light in time for eliminating the light requirement. thank you. >> gary g. architect, practicing
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architecture here in san francisco for the past 28 years. our specialty is multifamily development in san francisco for old and new construction and renovation. i'm here to speak to have this section 1205 on lighting, on the amendment to the building code to go back to the 2002 cbc. with creative designs we have been able to create conditions that captured indirect light and direct flight from adjacent rooms. this does not diminish the quality of life from any room. we are very creative in what we do. many of our units, boat rentals and for sale, have gotten positive -- both rentals and for sale, have gotten positive feedback. we can still create the quality of life that is needed within bedrooms and adjacent rooms, and
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those provisions are those that we should be using. i support removing this section of the building code and the back to the 2002 udc. >> is there any more public comment? seeing none, public comment is closed. public -- commissioner walker? >> i want to say it is odd to be having a code change proposal without it being presented by the staff. i am somewhat confused about that. it looks to me in documentation and code advisory was against this if i look at this document. a couple of things i would like
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to hear from the director. but also, i sort of have a problem with our department dealing with something that planning generally has control over. the eastern neighborhoods plan specifically about increasing density, and at the same time removing or suggesting to remove the access to natural light. i have concerns about this, personally. i think it needs a lot of discussion before it gets to this point. but i would like to hear from director day about the process that we're looking at right now. >> from what i've understand, -- from what i understand, this amendment was added with code changes with the department of environment.
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lawrence worked to combine both the california presidential code, the green building code, and the san francisco building code into one document. i do not know the background of this specific amendment, except for what you have in front of you. that was the only thing i could find on anything on its denial after the board of examiners got their project approved through the board of examiners. it was sent back to the coded by three committee, and from what i and understand, -- the code advisory committee, and for my understand, the code advisory committee still voted to act on the amendment. and now we are asking to remove it. the fire marshal called me this morning about this and he wanted to make sure that everyone understood that this is for high
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rise buildings only. it would not apply to any buildings that would still need egress windows. this does not eliminate egress windows in low-rise buildings. gregg's which is required in every sleeping room. -- >> which is required in every sleeping room. brecht's -- >> under a certain height. we need to make sure that the intention is there in the different sections of the code. the environmental apartment referred to studies concluding that it had health benefits, but did not say that this is part of the green building code. unless it was added as part of the green building code, it is an amendment to the san francisco building code, which makes the california code more restrictive, -- which makes the
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san francisco code more restrictive than the california code, and can be removed if it is not part of the green building code in another section. that is my take on it. >> commissioner lee? >> i'm not sold on eliminating this requirement that rooms -- habitable rooms need natural light. for a number of reasons. one, i think habitable rooms with sunlight, fresh air is a good thing. it is a good design, and if you eliminate it, you have to substitute it somehow. which means you are actually increasing the cost of the building. you're increasing the cost of energy use in the building. it is contrary to being a green building, i think. some might plays an important part -- sunlight plays an
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important part in making a building action and more sustainable and green. -- making a building actually more sustainable and green. when i read this, i read windows in all habitable rooms, which now become a crazy. but now that i hear the reasons for why we want to change this code, to have adjoining rooms share some might from a room next door -- share sunlight from a room next door, if that is the case, the code is clear and allows for that. why are we changing this? if you look at section 1205.2.1, there is a section that deals with adjoining spaces. why can't we just use that? i think the design experts should know how to use that and say, we can share sunlight from
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this adjoining room. i do not think we need to eliminate this from the code. brecht's -- >> may ask mr. o'connor to come to the microphone for a second? obviously, we do not have staff here to address. with the buildings under appeal on this, what size building? rex a larger type construction. >> was a high rise? >> no, it would be me -- and it dries. -- it would be a midrise. above the fourth floor it does not require egress windows. staff can correct me if i'm wrong on that. gregg's and in regard to the light -- >> and in regard to the
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light eliminated? >> the building code is quite clear in section 1205.2.1 where you are like from next door. it has a specific section. the room is not dark. it is borrowing like. it just does not have lighting for exterior gazing. gregg's it is in direct light? >> yes. >> i'm confused about the interpretation and why it was denied. i see clearly that it says by means of exterior glazed openings, but bennett said in section 1205.2 which then has section 1205.2.1 that allows for natural light to come in from adjoining spaces. my question is, how did we interpret it?
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did we interpreted to not allow that? >> in this section 1205.2.1 is stated habitable rooms within a dwelling unit will be provided means of natural light. basically, the san francisco building code became more restrictive than the building -- the state building code to say that rooms have to have a natural policing. -- glazing. >> the code advisory committee voted to oppose this? cracks that is correct. >> -- >> that is correct. brecht's and that is important
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because they advise us on these types of things -- >> and that is important because they advise us on these types of things. i would suggest that we take this under consideration. and my assumption is only four existing buildings, or new construction as well? >> new construction. again, what a lot of the code advisory committee talked about was maybe single-family houses in the sunset and the neighborhoods, that they would have natural light in the bedrooms. >> my point is there's a lot of confusion about this and there is a lot of differing opinion. i think it might be a situation where we actually put together a group of people from our department, planning, department of environment, and the community to actually come forward with a recommendation that addresses the issue. i think it makes more sense in existing buildings and new construction -- a van in new
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construction, but -- it makes more sense in existing buildings than in new construction. but at this point i do not think we need to vote on it. >> since 2002, we have been working with the 2002 udc code. this has been effective since 2002. and everything that has applied for a permit since 2002 can use this section. it is only those who apply after 2011 that cannot. it has to have windows. gregg's i hear you. brecht's thank you, mr. conner. -- >> i hear you. >> thank you mr. connor. commissioners, do you feel that we need to continue? >> if you like. >> at this point, based on what commissioner walker said, there needs to be more discussion on this. i want to be clear on this. this would go back to the code advisory, is that correct?
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>> maybe we could get some staff in place and then make a recommendation through the code advisory and then us. gregg's we could have staff and the code advisory committee -- >> we could have staff and the code advisory committee present at the next meeting. and may be resolved it because they voted against it. >> i also like to ask how many projects that want to get this rule deleted? other projects are designed without this exemption. information on that. -- >> i would have to get you information on that. >> i would think we ought to have more input from coded by
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three. when i first -- code advisory. when i first read this, i thought it was old warehouses that were converted into live and work spaces. a lot of those places became more live band work. -- live than work. i think one of the issues is zoning. i would like to get something put in planning, how they looked at it, too. >> for the next meeting and if the staff could give us a report on that then, that we will have a discussion. is it just staff? bourdy want someone from the planning department as well? brecht's -- or do you want someone from the planning department as well? >> yes.
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>> i can help a little bit with the process. the san francisco building code provides that all code amendments are initiated by the director based on input from various sources rather than the code advisory committee, the board of examiners. it is fairly open in its process. it has been established that the code changes that the director puts forward go through a particular process with the structure advisory committee and the code advisory committee, and there are other steps. and eventually, it goes back to the building inspection commission for a hearing under the charter that is all that is required. -- for a hearing. under the charter that is all that is required. you're not required to take action. and did you do take action or not, that will depend on if it
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goes forward to the board of supervisors. cracks the director is responsible for implementing -- >> the director is responsible for implementing a code change. >> that is correct. gregg's -- >> has there been a proposal from you to change it? >> no, but i can take direction from the commission to take it to the code advisory committee. >> that is correct. if they want to in cent or initiate something, they can make a request that the director consider code amendments. then it would go through the process. >> my preference would be to address this when and if the director feels is appropriate and if you get more information from the relevant departments as to this particular issue. i would like to see an answer to the question of how often it
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happens, when is it needed, what are the consequences, what is the downside to doing this? i am concerned about people in high density situations having access to help the air. i have been in residential areas and hotels downtown that have -- that do not have it and it affects people's lives. you've got to create habitation that makes people healthy and keep people healthy. i'm not sure i even want it done. i'm not sure i would vote to direct youtube. >> i can certainly find out the background on this particular code change because every code change has to have some kind of comment through the code advisory committee and testimony through the code advisory committee, even the subcommittees. i can find out the background before this denial letter.
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i can bring that to you. >> great. >> that is discussed and we will take this on at the next meeting then. next item. >> are we going back to no. 5? >> yes. correct item number five, a general update from the litigation committee on the process of dealing with outstanding cases. >> i believe i'm going to be doing -- as a member of the litigation committee, just a brief overview of what we do as the litigation committee. and then an update on where we are standing with a response to the submission of the request from commissioner melgarde. the litigation commission consists of three commissioners. is president lynch, myself, and
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mccarthy. we have code enforcement effort through our building department where we try to ensure that all folks doing work and providing housing for tenants in san francisco are applying the building code. when it happens that people are not, either in the case of blighted properties, complaints from neighbors about apparent code violations on the exterior of the building, or tenants within the building, we actually issue notice of violation and we, as a department, go out and say that you have to resolve the issue. there is an extensive process within the department that allows our staff to work with these folks with these violations to fix them and resolve them, which is our goal.
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it goes through a process that would be the directors hearing where the director determines to support staff decision or make alteration and ultimately, it gives the opportunity for the project sponsor to resolve the issues. if they are not happy with that, they can appeal to our abatement appeals body, which is our commission, to ask us to resolve some of those issues. the litigation committee deals directly with those problems that do not get resolved through our process. when the director has asked a project to chair the notice of violation, when we have gone to
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the staff and said you must resolve this situation, if that person still does not resolve the situation, then the staff will bring a project to the committee to assess and to agree on whether or not we take legal action. by the time it gets to litigation, there may already be a lean on the property through our process of the directors hearing, or not. but this gives us the ability to file a lawsuit to help resolve the situation, resolving the violation on the property. the goal of which is to create health and safety, safe housing for people living in housing and the tenants. the litigation meets every couple of months to look at the cases brought forward by either the housing position to look at
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the various issues in there, mechanical, electrical, plumbing. we discuss whether or not to refer the cases over to the city attorney. and then when we do that, the city attorney and as a letter saying, we will see you if you do not -- does send a letter saying, we will sue you if you do not handle the violation. this starts the case moving forward. or we can say that as a mitigation committee we would like to see more actions before we do that. we also have a pretty extensive coding forsman partner with some nonprofits in the area that --
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code enforcement partner with some nonprofits in the area that go in and communicate with the landlord or the tenant to help us resolve these issues without having to litigate. nonetheless, we still have cases that are referred and are ongoing and that our department is trying to resolve the outstanding notice of violation. we meet every couple of months. we get an update on all of our open cases for the city attorney. we also review potential renewed actions from the various staff members. we have been going over briefly our report. we meet in closed session, as we are allowed to do and required
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to do when the city is considering any action against somebody. back remains a private, closed- session item -- that remains a private, closed-session item. therefore is that i went over, just to give a ballpark number in a number of cases, we have roughly 80 cases that are open and outstanding. we have a settlement. we have a court decision. there might actually be an actual dollar amount attached to those, or we may be in the process of getting that. and we have roughly 80 cases open, like i said. as much as we know, these reflect about $6 million in actual dollar amounts that have been determined by the courts already that's -- that are owed to us. that is not to say that we
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always get that, because in some of these cases, the bank owns it or we do not know who owns it, or somebody may be in bankruptcy and we have to reduce the amount we are given. but as to the dollar amounts settlements that we know of out of these eight cases, it is of little over $6 million. -- 80 cases, it is a little over $6 million. 40 cases have yet to be determined as to the amount owed. what we did it this last meeting in order to respond to the request from the commissioner is to ask the city attorney to present to us in a form that we can share with the commission to list a brief description of what it is, and the status of these cases.
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and of the $6 million, let me also say that it is split between the different departments that are included in the action. for instance, it is not necessarily just a building code violation that we are litigating about. it may be a planning issue. and it may be something that they are adding to us. do you want to come talk about anything that i may have lost over? >> we have been keeping track on a yearly basis how much we have
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put out per case and how much we have received per case. i have to tell you, as commissioner walker mentioned, there is a provision in the business professionals code that requires a certain amount to be retained by the city attorney's office to prosecute or a dress code violation issues. -- to address code violation issues. that is not something we can change. i think it is state law. i do not think it can be changed by the city itself. the second issue is that we do not -- the chances of us receiving a judgment on any case -- you know, on a specific case.

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