tv [untitled] October 23, 2011 2:00am-2:30am PDT
i have been a resident of the area for a very long time. i find my neighborhood to be a very nice residential neighborhood that has improved every decade over the last. i find it is becoming more and more family friendly, and i would like to see that trend continue. i like to talk about a couple of things about the neighborhood that the planning commission, the plan that was submitted by the planning department and the photos that were presented by the developers, i don't think they really do justice to the kind of neighborhood is. it is a very open space, bright, sunny neighborhood. very good access, a very vibrant business community that all of
the residential buildings frequent. there is fairly decent parking. it is and vince it is, but it allows for her out of town -- i mean, out of neighborhood people to come to the area and frequent, patronize the restaurants, the retail establishments that are there. i think what this building does with its density, with its height, with its impact on parking is that it will bring a very great change to the neighborhood that will not be positive. i didn't know that we could do slides, so i just brought a photograph.
now what do i do? president olague: you have to put face up. >> the camera is facing the wrong way. [laughter] president olague: there we go. ok. >> i took this photograph from my window, and that was to show the signing this of the area. this is showing morning sun. the building being proposed as on the east side, the 80-foot building is going to cast a lot of shadow. the openness of the area, you can see they are not buildings that are even four-stories tall.
president olague: linda chapman? >> i have three concerns. one of them is presently -- principally the system density and so forth. the only thing that is not consistent as the exterior design. if you look in the area, there are many classic buildings and the plan was meant to promote a uniform respect to the classic buildings. another thing is, the vmr. putting this on site i think is a terrible mistake. steve was trying to get a letter to you that you will probably get. he is more sophisticated on financing issues that i am.
he said it is a very poor way to do it. you cannot use subsidies and so forth. my concern is that money needs to go there from the mayor's office. it needs to get the funding in the air. that is one thing. i lived in a building that had a mixed in come like this. it is a disaster. the building i was and just happened that way. there were millionaires in the building. i saw people driven out by the practices of the homeowners' association. the homeowners did not care. i've paid my assessment and took it out of my retirement funds. eventually, i could no longer manage the $19,000 to pay to hang clothes lines. the fact that they drove out john stewart and hired a firm that would spend any amount of
money, they don't care at all. i was driven out of my building, they could not just watch their retirement funds depleted the completely. others like my upstairs neighbor was a retired telephone operator, worked 52 years and was a widow. when her special assessment came, she borrowed in order to pay it. but then she wound up renting where she doesn't drive and had a terrible time living. you know? i cancelled at some time ago, those that deal with non-profit housing. the people i know that live in buildings, just regular buildings, there are assessments. people get $40,000 assessment. how does it work? not well, they say.
pretty soon, the homeowners association is charging more than the mortgages. i know at least five in my area, including the older buildings and the new ones that were very large like that, it is not a workable way to do business. instead, get the funds and and do affordable housing for sale, everybody in the building is on the same terms when they go in there. and then you can get subsidies and other things to make it work. it doesn't work, and these neighborhood groups that are saying that they support this, they did not throw this open either as a general meeting with the presentation was made, there was no discussion of this or board meetings the you could go to to discuss it. [chime] president olague: thank you.
>> good afternoon, president olague and commissioners. middle p theope neighborhood association. it borders -- i am with middle pope neighborhood association. we also had neighbors very close to this building participate in our process, working on what we wanted as a neighborhood in this project. there was an opportunity for members to become part of the process, and many of the did. this is a large process. we realize this. mr. davis has been very up front with the neighborhood. he has listened to us and to the
concerns the neighborhood association has put forward. mr. jordan has been a pleasure to work with on this. we very much want to see bmr on site. it is critical to our neighborhood to have diversity and people of multiple income levels who feel welcome and able to live in a poke corridor. in addition to having 15 bmr units, there are bicycle parking spaces and karcher spaces, depending on what happens -- car share spaces, depending on what happens. we very much approve of this building. we realize it is big. it is going to be a big change for some people, and we are sympathetic to that, but it is zoned as such. we would like to see this
approved. i know the lower polk neighbors also approved on this particular terms. >> my name is tailored jordan. i have had the opportunity to participate in outreach on behalf of this project in the next 3.5 months. earlier this week, it was brought to my attention by a concerned member of the community that there were memos posted curette the neighborhood with inaccurate information about the project, asking people to come together. i have several copies which i would like to take a look at. i was alarmed. i went around the neighborhood the next day to see if i could find one of the memos. the dollar was propped open at one of the apartment buildings. there was a delivery man opening the door. i collected the memos.
i took a look at them. i immediately contacted the author of the memo that afternoon. i identified myself. the author of the memo is named susan posque. i let her know that pretty much every bullet point on the front page is inaccurate or outdated information. i wanted to let her know about that. she requested that i send her an e-mail with information she could share with her neighbors, which did, and invited her to contact me with any other questions, which she did not. some of the people who were here this afternoon were in fact of our meeting, our open house in september. we exchanged business cards at that time. they have been welcome to contact us for information or clarification of the past six
weeks. i have not heard from any of them. i would like to finally point out that the letters of opposition you have received were rallied through use of the memo, which has an extravagant amount of inaccurate information. i hope you will consider that. president olague: thank you. is there additional public comment on this item? seeing none, public comment is closed. i was not sure if you're asking. everyone gets three minutes. commissioner moore: to the neighbors who are raising questions -- this project was intensely discussed in 2007, when it was approved by the planning commission in january of that year. i was in my seventh month sitting on this commission. the original project was
designed based on a seattle project quite similar in expression and overall treatment. there was an 18 foot height limit. we approve the project with questions. however, none of the neighbors who are coming up today i recall as there at the time. the questions surrounding this product are not new. i had a number of questions around that time regarding how the building steps down to clay st., where we have a very important historic building. we spend a lot of time talking about the alley and the traffic with ingress and egress between play and washington. in the end, i think the majority of the commission approved the project because it did fit into
the van ness plan. i think the basic decision, if i understand it correctly, is not any more directed on the basic premise of the building, but what is in front of us today is to consider the change in units makes and some modifications along the washington street side, and to have some permissable comments on the architecture, which i think is the prerogative of this commission to comment on. having said that, i do believe that the idea of dealing not with the alley for transportation is a better idea. it closes washington and a number of other things. it does not reduce the massing of the buildings. i personally do not see that changing unit size, changing
unit numbers, is a deal killer for me. i am actually quite impressed. i am going to make a particular emphasis in saying that. this unit does a careful and thorough job of delivering a smaller global units at high quality, starting on the small and at 130 square feet, and going up to one bedroom units in a manner which creates highly livable space. that is a complement to the architect. the question i raised with the planning department was are we consistent in the way we are looking at ground-floor retail, with iraq the last two or three years we have been putting the emphasis on being 15 feet. that has happened in the market octavia plan. that has happened with specific
detail studies on upper market street and the castro. that has happened again in the eastern neighborhood. we have taken this discussion to literally every other product. this particular project, which can slightly before these other major discussions, is not quite as consistent with the delivery of a 15-foot ground-floor retail height, which actually -- this is common in hindsight. this is a discussion i am having with the commissioners, not asking for anybody's comments. it would be more in keeping with the overall impression of the van ness boulevard, because we have the president of et al. auto show rooms -- of tall auto show rooms, which is majestic and a corporate to the width of the boulevard.
it is appropriate to the new median planting. it is appropriate even to taller buildings sitting about that height. i do not think we have the ability anymore to go back and change this. the drawings the architects showed today is a good way of making it look -- the retail is taller, but the structure at that point still does not create a 15 foot height for retail. this is unfortunate. we should have anticipated that particular idea before we approve that last building. i just have to say it, because i owe it to myself to speaking little bit about the pancaked appearance of this building. that is unfortunately within the fact we do not have the 15 feet as a mandate.
this is in hindsight, but we should of been on top of that. i want to speak about corner treatment. we encourage the corner, where the building turns from van ness onto clay. it is a lantern we often talk about. we discussed that a lot in the hayes street corridor, and the new buildings along that way. what this building does, and i want to challenge the architect -- there are bedrooms on all floors in that corner. bedrooms, by the nature that they are bedrooms, require curtains. that is the nature of the bedrooms. i would prefer that the living area move into those particular corner locations in order to really allow that corner to be the lantern, which we encourage
these buildings to do. that is a minor point. i hope to accommodate that. it is, i think, an important feature we should encourage. do not put a dark corner there. this was said to the neighbors being concerned of shadow. this building is one of the lowest this side of the street. it does not really cast a shadow over the washington street building. those people were concerned about light and air and sunlight on their building, because you will still have full self flight and some west flight. -- south like to -- south light and some west light. i do not think this building will cast a full show. you will have a son. -- have sun.
do i regret, coming down clay, walking down washington, goalie east, the we will lose part of seeing the hill? yes, i will. i spoke to that with a lot of concern in 2007. this is the way the city reveals itself in this typography, coming from residential and going downtown. that is extremely important to me, the aesthetic and skill transition. we will lose part of that. we knew that then. i spoke about it. but i do not know how we can shake the building on its roofline, when the permissible height is 80 feet. i appreciate the neighborhood photos there were showing. -- they were showing. i feel i needed to a knowledge the sensitivity you brought to that observation.
i regret that a dancer city requires-- denser city requires changes, not all of which we can influence, even sitting here. i leave that. generally, i am in support of changes. before i make changes to the architecture, i have a couple of comments. the building is strong. i am not sure why we need a fan on the street. i think buildings are steeply organized throughout the recognizable boulevard. i think that can probably be a little bit softer, a little more modern in that exuberance. but i will listen to the other commissioners on that. vice president miguel: commissioner moore said a great deal of what i have in my notes, particularly as to the ground floor space in that situation,
as well as the corner. the building sits in the van ness plan. we approved a building that was already done. it is the changes we are considering out. as probably the oldest person in the room, i was approached by sunrise senior living and went to their production of trying to get interested in the project. to the people who are saying there are families coming into the area, and they would have been forbidden from living there. the cost of those units was exorbitant at that time. that is perfectly truthful. i threw away their literature after that. i like the car share arrangement that has been worked out. that works.
i appreciate the fact, and i had mentioned it to the developer, as to the electric vehicle charging and increasing the bicycle storage. the one thing as to design, or a couple of things as to design -- what i hate even more on van ness is the faux-claccisism -- faux-clasiccism of the buildings that have been built in recent years. the materials and the use just looks terrible. i have no trouble here. i like the use of zinc. there are many textures and shapes that are available.
i understand commissioner moore's comments concerning fins. i am not an architect or materials person. it is possible that a lessening of the absolute black/white contrast, which is what comes out in these type of renderings the we have in front of us -- a softening of that, particularly in the white section, would go far to improve the general aspect. commissioner sugaya: thank you. i will start with a little thing first. on the four story building on washington street, you have these basic elements. -- bay elements. to my mind, if we are trying to
step down to the east, you could consider moving this. we can work with stuff on that. to my eye, that would be better than the way it is. maybe to some people it is the opposite. anyway, i will leave it to the staff to maybe talk to the project architect about reversing that, and see if that works a little better to modify the scale. the other thing is, to reinforce commissioner miguel, we have a project last week or the week before where there was also a fairly high-contrast black-and- white proposal. i think it was felt that may be lessening the contrast -- not changing the architecture, but changing the color of the materials would help. i think in that case we also lifted to the staff to work with the project architect.
i could support something like that. lastly, in terms of the conditions that were imposed on the previous project, we're going to include the same language the we had in there for the california club. is that correct? >> that is correct. all three commissions that were previously included -- conditions that were previously included will be. commissioner sugaya: that includes monitoring and having a project for a training contractor the would be working on this building, things like that. >> storage of mechanical -- commissioner sugaya: as long as we could incorporate that. commissioner antonini: i will start with the design, which have some problems with, and then i will talk about the things i do like, which are quite a few.
historically, if you go along van ness avenue, there were mansions. then the earthquake came, and they were replaced with mostly auto yards. there have been some additions, the worst of which is a holiday inn, which i hope will disappear. some of the faux-classic are not done as well as they could be. others have been done extremely well. an example is 77 van ness. i just walked down there. it fits in beautifully. it is clearly a new building, but they have the right elements there. the same architect did the greenwich, which is up close to my office. it is very well done and fits well with the chateau, which
fits well across the street. i wish this have done a better job of trying to relate to the other buildings in that area, both the department buildings -- the apartment buildings and the auto building. those buildings all had symmetry to them. i think trying to have these elements come out that are not symmetrical, while it does break the building up, there are ways you could do it and still have a symmetrical building that fits in better. second, there is no cornice to speak of, which those buildings have. there are not a lot of those elements. still, it is an improvement over the sun rise building. this is architecturally richer. it is trying to do more things. i hope we can work with staff on the architecture and try to do the best we can to give it some
symmetry, give it a cornice, give it some better relationship to the buildings around it that have been here for decades and are very classic, the former auto dealership buildings and the 20's apartment buildings. i think masonry and stucco is a great combination. i am not suggesting a big redesign. but that is something that is really rich among many of those buildings. the good things -- first of all, there is talk about this being -- i think there was some discussion about assisted living in an earlier iteration. but this never was and is not a senior project, inasmuch as it does not get special entitlements. it is not restricted and will not be restricted in any way, from what i understand, to its
occupancy. i like the opening of the mid block. i think that makes were sens. the onset of affordable units -- i hear what the public is saying and and sympathetic to the situations where those who have affordable units are priced out of the hoa's and other things, and it makes them difficult for them. however, this might work. i think both methods are acceptable, if the project sponsor wishes to do this. even if the money did go in lieu, it is not marked for any particular thing. the mayor's office can do whatever they want with it. the smaller units size -- the height is for truly the same as what we had before. the smaller unit size does make it more affordable by design, in a range