tv [untitled] May 29, 2012 4:00am-4:30am PDT
captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org-- supervisor mar: miss miller, please give us our announcements. >> please be sure to turn off all cell phones and electronic devices. please submit documents of the clerk. items acted upon today will appear on the june 5 board of supervisors agenda unless otherwise stated. supervisor mar: thank you. we have three items on the agenda today. please call item >> item number one. ordinance amending the san francisco planning code by one -- amending section 703.3c to include financial services within the uses subject to formula retail controls in neighborhood commercial districts two -- amending section 806.3c including financial services within the uses subject to formula retail controls in mixed use districts,
three -- amending section 303.3i making conforming amendments -- and four -- making findings, including environmental findings, planning code section 302 findings, and findings of consistency with the general plan and with the priority policies of planning code section 101.1. supervisor mar: this would include financial services to the formula of retail controls to apply a research use permit. it brings financial-services under the same requirement that voters approved of in 2007, when they passed proposition g. as you are probably aware, banks and other situations do not fall in retail. it brings them in, making banks, credit unions, savings and loan, subject to the use requirements if they have more than 11 branches. it allows formula retail institutions to move into areas where there is community support for their presence. by the same token, there is already an existing ban on these
uses, and then the financial services would also be captured by the band. it would give a say in the way that corridors provide additional measures to responses that feel threatened by the proliferation of retailers. within the small business commissioner has been such a strong showing of neighborhood voices speaking out in support of this legislation. this legislation also allows the commission to assess whether an approved bank, savings and loan, or credit union is necessary or desirable within the community, particularly whether or not there is an over-concentration of banks within the community. it was recommended unanimously, 5-0, with members recused because of their associations. this ordinance would only affect seven credit unions within san francisco that have 11 or more branches. the following would fall under
the formula retail definition. redwood, self-help credit, and the golden 1 credit union. the basis for the planning department -- i just wanted to say that the planning department has kind of look at the legislation and is recommending sales and service retail be eliminated from the list of uses in the formula retail definition. according to them, it creates too much ambiguity and there are a category abuses within the planning code. several uses are called out within the listed uses in the programming control. since individual uses are called out but then broader categories, the department has determined that individual uses called out are subject to a formula retail controls. grooving it would clarify how the department has understood
and implemented a formula retail controls since they were adopted. i would speak out to urge my colleagues not to support that modification. our office is interested in clarifying ambiguity. i want to do this in a well considered, deliberate manner that needs more time, and i am interested in making the definition strong and responsive to our needs as much as possible. another possible approach i am interested in would be to remove the individual called out uses and leave the broader sales and service retail category as the only one. if under either approach there would be unintended consequences for specific uses that we would want to treat differently, i ask that kind of my colleagues and not adopt the modification and offer a more rigorous analysis as have to we can fix this current ambiguity in the code.
i also just wanted to kind of wrap up by saying that this is strongly supported by the small business commission and neighborhood voices speaking out today, and i strongly urge your support for this legislation. let's see, we have a number of questions. we are joined by our colleague, supervisor christine olague. supervisor wiener? supervisor wiener: thank you very much, mr. chairman. i have been very public in my views on this issue. but i think i support it for a different reason than some of the supporters do. for me, this is not about whether banks are good or bad, or whether we should have big banks, small banks, credit unions, or another type of institution. any bank, in my view, whether it has one branch or thousand
branches, is a credit union or a regular bank, if there is an over-concentration, if it is in an inappropriate location or corner within the neighborhood, it can have negative impacts on the neighborhood commercial area in terms of the vibrancy and energy of the neighborhood. banks are typically not open at night and are not open for the most part on the weekends. for the most part, they do not add to the diversity of uses in the neighborhood and do not necessarily add to neighborhood character. so, i am supportive of requiring conditional uses for banks. and we do have that in the castro and upper market, on the 24th street commercial districts. that has been very useful.
at the same time, all neighborhoods, just about all neighborhoods, probably, need banks. it makes sense to have a bank in a neighborhood with no banking services in it. it is not good for the people who live in the neighborhood. it is an ongoing frustration for a lot of us. i know that there are parts of my district where banks do not tend to go and parts of supervisor:'s district where they do not intend to go -- supervisor cohen's district where they do not tend to go. in some ways this is not go far enough, where in other ways it goes too far. it does not go far enough in that formula retail controls only apply if there are 11 or more branches. so, if you have one to 10, you are not covered by this at all.
to me, it would make more sense just to have a citywide cu, like we have in most commercial districts, rather than classifying the formula retail. there is nothing magical about calling a formula retail. now, in terms of how i think this goes too far, i will be at the end proposing two amendments. the first is that, as i understand it, formula retail controls apply not just to ground level, but the second floor as well. looking at this from a purely good neighborhood planning perspective, it is really about the ground floor. if, for example, an insurance company has office and banking services as well, and it gets to the point where that trips it from being an accessory used to
being somehow classified as a bank, i do not want obstacles for that insurance company. the second floor is exactly where we want them. it is a neighborhood serving business, but because it does not generate the same kind of vibrancy as other retail, we prefer for it to be on the second floor rather than the ground floor. providing additional uses for it to go on to the second floor is a problem. i will be offering an amendment for these additional controls to go to ground floor. what impact not only additional controls for second floor -- i am not trying to amend already existing controls -- but to amend the new controls to ground floor. in addition, i believe that the legislation should not apply to any project where the permit was applied for before the introduction of the legislation.
i do not think that that is fair. i did no research year. i have no idea if there are any projects that even fall in that category. i do not care. i think it is a mock -- i think it is a matter of the policy. we should n policy is introduce. those of the amendments i will propose at the conclusion of public comments. as indicated, i support the legislation. thank you for bringing it forward. supervisor mar: thank you, supervisor wiener. i know that a number of these problems were in district 5, and so we do have supervisor olague here. supervisor olague: like you, i do not support the amendment recommended by planning staff. ultimately, we ask that that be remote -- removed. i would endorse your comments from earlier.
also, i think that sometimes there is a tendency to overreact to some of this legislation. basically, all that this is doing is amending the session so that formula, so that financial services would be included under the formula of retail controls in the commercial district, which i believe can about as part of cang -- part of prop g, correct? it is part of an oversight. i do not think it is intentionally placed there, but i think it is important that financial-services be included, in that all we are saying is, basically, that in most instances conditional use permit would be required of financial institutions, meaning that the public would have the opportunity to weigh in and if
it is not something that members of that neighborhood feel are even -- or even the public and others feel is appropriate, at least there would be some reflection on it, rather than the agile bright situation, which is what occurred on the [unintelligible] street with the chase bank that went in there, because financial-services were not included in the definition of a formula retail. although there was a hearing at the board of appeals and attempts to prevent that institution from going in, there was no way that residents of the area could prevent it from doing so. there were a couple of small, independently run businesses appreciated by folks that were closed down one relocated, but i
do not think the second one did, which i think with a cheese store that a lot of people utilize. i was there a lot, not that that matters, but it was a sad thing to see it close down. we are not talking about my own, personal shopping choices, i know. but it did create a certain sense of community. the bank took up the entire corner and it does have an impact on that street and the feel of that street. also, in areas where formula retail is just not allowed, like k sally, and other neighborhoods like that, financial services have been included in the formula retail controls. it would not allow certain institutions to just go in. because that was not included in
the definition for, banks could go into areas without much notice, because only formula retail controls were in place. financials were not included in that. this really goes to show that proposition g has been a really successful thing and prop g basically called for a conditional use hearings in neighborhood districts when formula retailers wanted to come in. formula retailers, those were 11 or more businesses in san francisco or throughout the country. throughout the country, right? that is something people have talked about. international formula retailers are going into neighborhoods without notice. we are learning that there are a lot of other things that we might need to consider when reforming or adding to this, but i think that overall it has been
very good, very positive in allowing neighborhoods to voice what they do or do not want to see in their neighborhoods and whether it reflects the true nature and character of places where people live. so, i am really grateful to supervisor mar for moving forward with this. this is something that we discussed several times when i was filming at the planning commission. there are protections to think about when it comes to small, independently owned businesses. this is just one tool that will protect small, independently owned businesses. thank you. >> thank you. -- supervisor mar: thank you. my apologies, leaving a supervisor olague as a supervisor. i wanted to say that after hearing from darren star on the planning staff, we have regina, in a number of small business
leaders in the audience as well. mr. starr? supervisor olague: i have to leave, but i do not understand -- necessarily support the amendments introduced today. supervisor mar: thank you. >> good afternoon. you have gone over the legislation, but it would require all financial services with 11 or more locations to have additional use authorizations. they wanted to establish within the next used district. financial services are defined as retail use for banking services and products to the public, like savings and loans and credit unions, which does not include brokerage services. these are defined as business professional services. staff made a recommendation to the commission to do -- to be taxed from the planning code. the commission voted 5-1 to recommend approval of the proposed ordinance without any
recommendations. in making the decision, they found that controls were primarily adopted to maintain the character of commercial districts. formula retail establishments tend to have a standardized look and sign-ins' that can erode the look of the neighborhood. in the end, we did not find that requiring cu was overly burdensome and that ensuring that these districts continued to be unique and vibrant places. the time it takes for a cu to be heard it depends on the complexity of the case, but standard changes indicate anywhere between three months and six months. larger projects like building -- big buildings can take much longer. supervisor mar: some of the claims are that this would grind to a halt some of the banks
coming into the neighborhood. you are saying it would take three to six months for small businesses to have more of a way in and consider the other banks in the neighborhood as well? >> there are always out wires in the different situations, but three months to six months is pretty standard for conditional use. fees are based on construction in range from $19 for no construction to a simple change of use, or $2,500 for $200,000 worth of construction. that concludes my remarks and i would be happy to answer any questions. supervisor mar: thank you. supervisor wiener? supervisor wiener: i have a question about some of the remarks made at the beginning. from my own perspective, i think that the goal should be to make sure that we have banking services available in
neighborhoods without having overconcentration in neighborhoods, trying to find that balance. i think that when there are no controls in terms of a conditional use, it can lead to over-concentration. when there are too many controls, you can have too many services. hear, by defining it as a formula retail, instead of simply creating a citywide cu, we are effectively banning banks in the beach valley and chinatown, correct? >> correct. supervisor wiener: i do not know how many banks are already in each of those neighborhoods. i know i am for getting at least one. from the planning department's perspective, is it healthy to have a neighborhood with zero banks? >> it is not. but there are a limited number
of categories called limited financial services that allow a smaller store fronts or atms. in theory, you could have a branch there. those are not considered under the definition of financial services. supervisor wiener: does the planning department have a rationale for supporting the blanket ban of bank in the north beach, hayes valley, and chinatown? >> i understand that immediate neighborhoods were consulted in were fine with that. the fact that limited financial services were committed -- permitted allowed them to have more shops. supervisor wiener: sometimes there might be one or two neighborhoods, neighborhood people, that may or may not reflect used in the neighborhood.
was any consideration given to having a citywide cu said that there would be controls everywhere, but bans know where? >> it was discussed. that was considered. in the end they felt it was more appropriate to include it in a formula retail. supervisor wiener: again, what was the rationale for that? >> we did not actually say the rationale, but the individual commissioners talked about wanting smaller banks and large chains to have an easier process going. supervisor mar: that was my understanding as well, they felt that it would overly burden those institutions to take that approach. in many ways that was the
rationale for not supporting that approach. i was just responding that in the small business commission discussion, there were a number of residents and business owners who said that they were supportive of this approach in the north beach and other areas. supervisor wiener: so, ok, the commission was fine with bands in those neighborhoods? even if it meantn itans -- bans in those neighborhoods? >> yes, based on research. supervisor wiener: ok. in the staff report, we talked about overconcentration. in the finance formula, retail,
it could allow the risk of overconcentration to be addressed as very important. but, i am looking at the language of formula retail ordinance as it is being inserted into talks about the number of formula retail in general in the neighborhood, without breaking it down by category. when the department looks at the over-concentration, with the department be looking at an overconcentration of banks that law or of all formula retail? -- banks? or of all formula retail? >> if the neighborhood is over saturated to the point of losing identity, we take that. supervisor wiener: is that the case in the current areas that already have --
>> yes. supervisor wiener: i know that in the north valley it would be the seventh bank along the 24th street, where the department is recommending conditional use. some have opined that it leads to overconcentration in by wonder what the health planning approaches are. again, we all come from different perspectives as to why we support or don't support the legislation, but to me that is a particular one. >> do you know the name of the bank? supervisor wiener: i would rather not -- i will let you know when we talk. supervisor mar: supervisor cohen? supervisor cohen: can you talk to me about how check cashing places factor in? >> they are considered french
financial institutions. they are not included in this definition. i think that they have special controls through each neighborhood commercial district. the over-proliferations are even addressed. supervisor cohen: already addressed? >> in other situations, i believe. it is a separate news category. neighborhoods that do have an issue with that are banned outright or require additional use. supervisor cohen: so, we are not speaking in many kinds of certain terms today? >> no. supervisor cohen: i am also concerned about the outreach. do you have a list of neighborhood organizations that were reached out to? >> part of our required noticing
is the 20 days in the paper for larger issues. sometimes we do for outreach wilwe do not have been requirems for supervisors. it was widely discussed whether it was in richmond, district 2, or the other districts in the city. i do not have the list, but i know that there was a good sector of the small business district disgusting -- discussing this over the last several months as well. when it came to the small business commission as well. supervisor cohen: i do have a couple of concerns. i would be interested in knowing where those neighborhoods were reached out to. because there are other neighborhoods inside of
district 10 and at what to make sure that they weighed in. they have not spoken to our office. i am thinking about the bay shore corridor and leland avenue. there are a few anchored institutions in particular. as you said before, i would also be interested in knowing more information about the french financial and if there is an average used for folding this definition into the legislation that we will be entertaining today. >> the commission did not consider that. supervisor cohen: i understand that they did not consider that in the financial institutions that are not part of the commission and whether they are even reached out to.
>> i am definitely interested in possible legislation that could create that as another consideration. i am glad you brought it up. i will definitely get back to you on the controls that we have four french financial. supervisor cohen: thank you. supervisor wiener: i am also particularly interested, in the neighborhoods where this results in a blanket ban on banks, whether outreach was conducted to the residents who actually rely on the banking services. i guess that this is just another question, which would be -- with their be a way to craft of the language of the legislation? so that it would be defined as a formula retail, without having any bans? affectively, the cu, so that we
do not have neighborhoods where there is a blanket ban on banks but it would hat -- it would still have to go through a conditional use? >> there is probably a way, unless it was part of what was before the voters. i'm sure that there is a way to craft that to make sure that they are not banned within commercial districts. supervisor mar: these are banks with 11 or more districts each. not all banks are caught up in this legislation. >> correct. supervisor mar: thank you so much, mr. starr. i wanted to invite up regina, the director of small business for the city. maybe you can address a little bit about the different neighborhood input processes. >> good afternoon. my name is regina tracy,