tv Government Access Programming SFGTV April 15, 2018 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
one of these days, a part of the building hung up in the air as a remodel is going to drop on somebody and kill them. we've got to start-up on a new approach to 317. maybe you want to demoit and put an edu unit in. we've got to rethink this. 103 of the building code, that was there in the 80's. judy borgen wrote it. it was for richmond specials. people were coming in with an over the counter pink, no plans, and they said they were going to remodel the kitchen. they tore that building down and all that was left was the kitchen. that is what 103 was written for. so now, to apply that to drawings that are prepared and they exceed those percentages, which to be honest, the percentages in 103 make no sense, to apply that to a set of drawings is insane.
and in 1999, almost 19 years ago, there was a committee i was on, along with mccormick, we rewrote this. so this issue has been here almost 20 years to rewrite. we need to come up with a better way to do this. and i think we just need to fundamentally start over on the tcp goals, the planning goals of what you guys are trying to do and restart over on what building department wants to do have have a coordinated issue between the two departments. some of the common sense things that have been brought up, and i want to thank patrick o'rearcan and liz waddie, this is not a great issue because there's a lot of controversy here, but we've got to have a preissuance inspection by the building department. no one gets a permit until the building inspector walks the
site. the architect and engineer has got to sign any drawing showing what you're going to tear down. >> secretary ionin: thank you, mr. boskovich. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good morning. commissioners. my name is mary fere 2 ti, and i own 655 bolingeer street. my property was damaged due to people demonstrating a total disregard for the san francisco building department process. hopefully by implementing clearer and stronger language, this type of practice will cease to exist. in my experience with the building department since 2009, i have come to learn that the building and planning departments do not effectively communicate and have a different set of standards. this defect has created a window for people who wish to be dishonest. penalties for violations are not clear and lack substance,
they lack means of enforcement and clear consequences. when i brought my concerns of misrepresentation to the building department's attention, i was dismissed or told to hire an attorney. i would like to make four suggestions: one, a liaison department be implemented to improve communication between the building and planning department to ensure they are on the same page. two. whenever a proposed project requires removal of any part of the building, it must first go to the planning, calculations made, and require a 311 notice. if the job requires additional removal of the building, the plans must be sent back to the planning department, and the process will begin again. calculations were never done with 655 alvarado street. three. to discourage deception, any square footage gained by the illegal demolition shall be multiplied by two, and the proposed project shall be
reduced by that total figure, along with no build, no transfer or sale of the property for five years. this will prevent any financial gain from an illegal demolition. four. if damages occur to the adjacent property as a result of a 3307.1 violation, the project sponsor is to be responsible for the repair of all damages made to the adjacent property and incur an additional ten-year liability of any future damages resulting from the negligence. this will encourage the projecttor to comply and notify the adjacent property owner in writing and possibly hire a company to inspect the adjacent property prior to a. no one notified me of any alteration to next to my building. can i trust that you can come together and fix the problem
and allow the residents of the san francisco chance to begin to regain confidence in the san francisco building department and prove that the system can work? i sure hope so. it's worth a try. thank you for your time. >> president hillis: thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> good morning. and i appreciate the time to be able to address you people. i'm not prepared. i didn't even know about this hearing until a day or two ago. i'm just a member of the unwashed masses. my name is tom schueneman. i'm at 1639 washington street. i won't go through the whole story, but three years of fighting ellis act evictions. in the past three months or so, we have dealt with the owner of our property, and i have no idea if what he's doing is up to code or not. i assume it is because there's all the property paperwork on
the building. however, i get no information from him. he has -- what the -- information i have got from his people has been misleading at best. i have everything i know about the building department, planning department, i have been on a fast track trying to learn myself. i have had to dig up the plans myself to find out what's going on. i've prompted two inspections to the property and it's kind of a yeah, it's fine. no explanation. so coming from my perspective, somebody's going through this right now. as i left my building this morning, the decibel was over 90 db. i'm a writer. i work from home. it's hard to work under those conditions. they have replaced peers, punched out the back wall, indicated they were going to
put in landscaping, and just dug up the yard and put construction materials in here. i guess that's okay. what's the problem is people in our situation have no idea what's going on. i would love to trust the dbi, and i have to. i have no choice. this is the public speaking to you, so i hope that whatever you can do to make living in san francisco tolerable again, that would be appreciated. thank you very much. >> president hillis: next speaker, please. >> overhead, please. good morning. my name is jerry duratler. i commend the building and planning commissions for agreeing to hold a joint meeting to discuss the development of a citywide definition of demolition. it is my hope the final
definition will include the following three attributes: a definition of demolition that eliminates the economic incentive for unpermitted demolition. implementation of penalties and fines that are in effect a deterrent to unpermitted demolition. and three, a demolition definition that is clearly and easily enforceable. revision of the existing code definitions of demolition will not address the problem unless the code is supported with adequate code enforcement. a discussion of code enforcement is not on today's agenda, and it should be. lack of code enforcement on recent projects where this is irrefutable evidence where a home has been demolished should be reviewed by both commissions. i encourage the planning
commission to schedule a meeting in future commission meetings. lack of code enforcement is also a problem with heritage homes in san francisco. the home at 49 hopkins avenue, in the overhead, was demolished. it was designed by acclaimed modern architect richard newtra. a calculation is not required to determine the home was demolished. a complaint was filed, a notice of violation was not issued. the planning department and dbi failed to protect the
architectural portion of san francisco. unpermitted demolitions and weak code enforcement has undermined the confidence in the planning and building inspection departments and commissions. implementing public reporting that improves both transparency and accountability is needed to regain the public's confidence. thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please, and i'll call a couple other names: lees, ozzy, ryan, and gary. >> good morning. i'm nancy wharfel. supervisor peskin eloquently speaks for me on requesting reforms. i wish to heartily support his proposal to conduct advanced site inspections, to perform preissuance inspection of the physical aspects of a project. this is critical to getting some honest assessment of projects that are going to be
built and to be able to determine beforehand if work is going on beyond the scope of work in the permit. you need to determine the truthfulness of a thing called existing conditions. i love that term. you can invent 15 stories as existing on a one-story house, but if you don't go out, you'll never know that, and it can be built subrosa. so i would like to be sure when you have these physical inspections, people should understand that you should not be fooling the building department or the planning department with what really is there. also, i would like to suggest that such early inspections may curtail the way developers hide their illegal demolition behind 8 foot tall plywood walls built to keep out the prying eyes of
neighbors and visits from city official does, who then only leave -- this is my favor -- the quote, a while you were out notice to please contact us when you return. how insulting is that, to leave a piece of paper on a plywood fence? when obviously the building behind it is gone. this is over the top. pardon me. so when you have work to repair, stairs, or add a bathroom, something like that does not require wall-to-wall walls. that should be a big heads up to everybody. commissioners, you have a serious credibility problem in upholding your own respective codes and laws. please keep us in the public involved in the resolution of this important issue in defining demolition so that the future of affordable housing in san francisco is now going to be preserved with your help. thank you. >> president hillis: thank
you. miss miss conn. >> hi, commissioners. great to see you all sitting at the same place. as the public, i just wish that i could get in one place where all the enforcement is between planning and building. the planning map, the little pink one, has little icons, which have complainted. the public, we're your partners. we depend on you. but you hear the complaints by us reporting. commissioner walk and i a couple three years ago sent a couple dozen of pdr violations. all we did was walk our neighborhood and wrote down what's on will tthe mailboxes. we sent that in, never heard back three years later.
so we had a map 2020 meeting the other day, and i represent folks in the mission at united to save the mission. and we are asking, inside internal documents that you have at planning, that tina tam at the enforcement department has. every two weeks, it's updated, and that's how she assigns which inspector is going to go for which complaint. but i've asked for two months for a copy of this under freedom of information, and for some reason, i can't get it. they want to clean it up, they want to take out the frivolous complaints. i'm not asking them to do that. i can figure that out myself. but imagine tina's department at planning and whoever your equivalent department head in building had one spreadsheet that showed where all the complaints are and didn't it require an unpaid volunteer on the public to click on a map for each and every address. i'm asking for a spreadsheet. i think that in itself with a
status report and clickable lync links. everything should be on-line, but not by each individual address. it should be a cumulative, this is where -- such as the development pipeline list is on-line. every quarter it's updated, and i know where to go to see where every building project is in the city listed either sortable by alphabet, by address, by zip code, whatever i want. this is what i want for the public. i'm an ethical builder -- hopefully, i am one. in new york city, when i wanted to buy a building and update it, i had to get ten years of tenant records and get a sign off by the housing department to show that all of those tenants were not illegally evicted. we could do that here. in oakland where i built a
building, i had to have the building inspector come before i broke ground come to verify what my architect verified with a wet stamp is real. they don't trust us in oakland and new york. why do they trust the developers here. >> president hillis: next speaker, please. >> jennifer fever with the san francisco tenants' union. we've contacted you several times to express our concerns for tenants. we are seeing their units being disturbed by decisions made by both of those departments. we're seeing permitted issued that are going to affect the tenants' ability to stay in place. we're seeing dbi inex-speaks that are failing to catch out conducted outside of scope of permits. we're told that violations of the rent ordinance are not your business and that if a tenant has a concern they can get a private attorney to address how they feel wronged. i just don't understand this
attitude. we urge both departments to sit down with the at strif law judge of the rent board to learn the rent ordinance, to learn what just cause is. invite some tenant attorneys so you understand what the courts are saying. you cannot simply trust owners to do the right thing. they're using renovations as the latest eviction trick. tenants are umm canning and finding that their apartments have totally gutted and they have nowhere to move back. so you can't just push it off onto tenants to hire expensive lawyers to deal with expensive conflicts. it wastes everyone's money, it wastes the owner's money to spend money on architect plans that aren't going to pan out because they violate just cause. so i want to echo paul webber's ideas about disclosure of tenant issues going back five years and also insisting on truth under penalty of perjury. i would also hate to see it, i
love the adu legislation and seismic, but maybe a moratorium on that because it's not working. this is the latest ruse to get rid of tenants, and i don't know what to do anymore other than just keep sending you guys e-mails. thank. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon. teresa flandrick with senior and disability action as well as with the north beach committee. i am so pleased that we are having this joint meeting today. that gives me hope because there are so many problems. and of course representing seniors, i am seeing them losing their laundry facilities under the guise of well, we are doing this edu, which it is, but you can't take away a use that people have had access to and is part of this lease. for seniors to remain and age
in place at the same time that some laundromats are being demolished or permanently closed. it's a livable city. we need to focus on that. i echo paul webbers comments on solutions. because i recognize the owner of a certain building, it would be really good to recognize if there could be a flag for you as planners and as dbi to those who are bad actors, i like to call them shouchmucks, but some under the guise of affordable housing l.l.c. who has proceeded to ellis act or harass every single person out
of their home on north beach needs to be flagged. the problems that tom is dealing with in terms of he does not know what is allowed, what is allowed, hence, do not receive notices. so again to flag the bad actors, it's pretty easy when they're serial evictors. we have the mapping antiproject, which has access to all of that. i'm sure you can create all of that for planning when you know there have been these schmucks who have done many things illegally, gone beyond the scope, that there is a way to get a handle on this. and i'm just so glad that you are going to work together. i hope this is only the beginning and that we'll see some real action, some real things put into place. thank you so much. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, miss rommer.
>> good morning, commissioners. lisa frommer from liberty hill. i'd like to thank you for holding this joint hearing and beginning to end the illicit and uncoordinated practices that can no longer be ignored. our current building frenzy has resulted in the demolition of way too many historic buildings and these actions were largely preventible. when historic buildings are gone, they're gone. the ornamentation, for example from the facade of 38 liberty that was supposed to be used for restoration was found in the dumpster. so again, this points to oversight and inspection problems. most of us are here today and have come together as a citywide community to offer workable solutions to this
long-standing problem of legal demolitions. while single voices have raised concerns, it's our collective neighborhood voices that provide the majority consensus. that's a little bit different. i'd like to define demolition. your interpreter framework needs to be replaced with a clearly understood, easily calculated and quantitative definition. it cannot be qualitative. that means subject ticive, and that's the very problem that's led to so many illegal definitions. inspectors and planners need this to distinguish a demolish from a remodel. using these criteria, both section 317 and the planning code and 103 in the building code should be rewritten into a definition that everyone can
easily use, understand, and leaves no room for interpretation by either agency. demolitions also affect tenant protections. currently, neither planning nor building keeps an inventory of tenant occupied units. it would be good if that was worked on. i recommend that no residential building can be demolished if it's currently occupied or was previously occupied by tenants for the past five years. an occupancy needs to be checked prior to permit applications. we hope that effective changes will result in a process that all of us can begin to trust. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good morning, commissioners. my name is gary weiss. i recently discussed with a senior planner a question i've had about plans getting approved for remodels. in the case of 17 temple
street, the existing 129 year one story building would not have been able to support multiple additional floors, and yet plans were approved knowing that ultimately, the building would need to be replaced to an extent that would exceed acceptable nondemolition levels. two-by-fours would be replaced by two by sixes, waterproofed wood would need to replace nonwaterproof. he said that planning's guidelines don't consider what dbi may determine needs to be removed during construction. the roof was removed because stories were being added. the floor was removed because excavation was taking place. the rear and front were removed because they were expanding horizontally in both directions. of the small portions of north and south walls that remoained one was removed a wall later. i spoke with joe duffy about this, but he was positive it wasn't being demolished. i spoke with cory teague who
assured that enough of the joists would remain so as not to qualify tantamount to demolition. when i showed a picture showing that brand-new two by sixes were in place, he was still convinced they were really there. he also said that some walls were removed would be returned in some cases. i said that until they do, without knowing for sure that they would be returned, wouldn't it currently be considered tantamount to demolition? he then said that the original walls don't really need to be put back, just a familiar simile of them. i asked him if his determination was following the intent of section 317. his response in probably not. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good morning, commissioner. aussie rom with neighborhood council. for years now you've been hearing for various members of
the public, neighborhood associations about various -- [ inaudible ] >> today, you heard from the community again. it's time now for action, a decisive action that involves a three pronged approach to this problem. we need definitions that define demolitions in simple, concise, quantitative and measurable terms that are the same in both plans and building code. what constitutes a demolition, be it tantamount to demolition in planning code or what is considered a destruction of a home in the building code should be the same. i completely understand the explanations of the senior dbi inspectors about the need for retrofitting, the need for putting insulations,
fireproofing, that was all valid. my question to you is when plans arrive at the planning department to upgrade, remodel, add another floor to 100-year-old victorian, what should the planning department do? you actually think this is possible without receipt o-- retrofitting, without insulation? so what should we do in that case? building a home is a concise and math matcally driven activity. there's certainly no reason to have a definition of what demolition is, for it to be qualitative. there's no reason for a builder to say we have an addition and it is a horizontal addition. what about demolishing a
building entirely? that is a demolition. then there are issues of implementation and enforcement. we need the building and planning department to know what their responsibilities are to avoid passing the buck. as part of their job description, the planners should be required to verify the democalculations vigorously, and failure to do so should be reflected in their job performance. now, there was something that paul webber brought up to your attention, and i want to echo that again. we do need to have findings. when things come to the planning commission as part of the conditional use authorizations for demolition, there needs to be findings, and one of those findings should be has there been tenants here for the past five years. this is not the opinion of one person. you heard a whole lot of people who are echoing the same thing. this is what the community wants, and we are intent on getting it, so we hope that you
could join us. >> president hillis: thank you. >> thank you. >> president hillis: next speaker, please. >> good morning, president hillis, president mccarthy, commissioners and directors. ryan paterson. as a lawyer in the city, i have dealt with many issues of demolitions, both for government clients and neighborhood clients, but i'm here as a citizen interested in bringing in rationality to the laws here. i think there were some great ideas here this morning. i also want to make sure that the broader policy goals are really being impacted by whatever law's reformulated, and as i see it, there are four goals that we're seeking to achieve with demolition controls. the first is protecting rent controlled housing. i think that allowing demolitions and reconstruction is not really the issue of preserving rent controlled
units, the issue is one of dwichgss, and that's purely a legislative question. depending on how it's defined, this concern could be i think quite easily addressed without causing these knock on impact that distort construction processes. the second impact is preserving affordable and neighborhood character. this, i believe, is mostly a function of the size of buildings, and the size of buildings is a zoning issue. it's not really a demolition-construction issue. that can be done with size limits, floor area ratios as part of the planning code, and that should be done district wide so that it's not targeting solely buildings that are in need of reconstruction, but it's -- it's imposing consistent rules for the entire district. the third interest is historic preservation, and i think we have good rules around that
already that protect historic resources. maybe there's some fine-tuning there, but that should be accomplished through the historic preservation resource area. and then, the last is you currently have a division between alterations and new construction with higher fees for new construction and that imposes a burden on people wanting to do significant construction and distorts what they call their project. this could be rationalized so that for example, fees are imposed based on square footage expansion, rather than just what definition or label you apply to a project. you have less opportunity and probably less actual skirt willing of the rules th willing -- skirting of the rules that way. i think the rules need to be easily enforceable, with useful
definitions and easily calibrated. i suggest that there ought to be a rule for catastrophic events such as an earthquake and suggest an interdisciplinary work group. >> president hillis: thank you very much. >> thank you. >> president hillis: all right. next speaker, please. >> good morning, commissioners. i spoke to both commissions previously on the irk of bringing factory built housing into compliance with san francisco's building codes. this morning, i wanted to just reiterate that the city and county of san francisco must ensure that any factory built housing installed in the city complies with the same minimum building standards required for
traditional site built construction for all the reasons that san francisco has amended the state's building code in the first place. despite assertions of proponents of exclusive state regulation who site the factory built housing law of 1969, multifamily factory built housing is subject to local building standards regulation pursuant to the state building standards law of 1979. proponents assertions are based on an inaccurate and incomplete analysis of the irrelevant statutory framework regarding building construction in california. in fact, the legislative intent of the factory built housing law was to regulate single story residential developments. moreover, the legislative history leading up to the passage of the law indicates the legislature, back in 1969, did not anticipate that factory built housing would be stacked and used for multistory
development. continued for mour housing units as is being seen here in san francisco. testimony in 1969 indicated that the law was intended to apply to single story housing. little background. the state building standards law of 1979 vested in the building standards commission the responsibility to approve and publish the building standards related to all occupancies in the state of california including factory built housing. furthermore, the state building standards law vests in local governments the authority to issue building standards to protect public health, safety, and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures. the state building standards law expressly gives the
commission jurisdiction over any building except any mobile home, manufactured home, specially purposed commercial coach, and recreational vehicle. the legislature defines manufactured homes as built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a single-family dwelling unit or without a foundation when connected to the required utilities. my time is up. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. >> thank you. >> president hillis: mr. lansberg. >> thank you, president hillis. i want to finish up mr. campbell's comments. he actually ended up at a perfect spot. factory built housing is conspicuously abbo conspicuously absent from the list. the authority includes adopting approving standards, adding arrest deleting to a city or a
city and county like us to establish more restrictive housing standards. san francisco has enacted amendments to the building code for specific reasons, and the california building standards commission has accepted them as one of the building inspectors here said, these are minimum life safety standards, and everyone should be complying with them. in short, the legislature peeled back the reach of the factory built housing law and put it under the building standards law. in conconclusion, the building standards law has provided the building standards commission with the authority to publish the building standards code related to all occupancy in the state of california. buildings must conform to the code to obtain development approval from the planning commission and building permits from the department of building inspection. factory built housing law has again, i want to underscore this, limited preemption on the
health and safety code. [ inaudible ] >> -- in installation. the city is empowered to apply the same building standards to fbh as other forms of construction and must do so for the health and safety of san francisco's visitors, residents, workers and emergency responders. my understanding is when the firefighters local 7 # 8 has sent in a letter to the mayor supporting this position, and we just recently spoke with mr. keegan of the residential builder's association who also believes that factory housing should not gain a competitive edge by being built sub standard to everything else that's going on in this town. so thank you very much. i look forward to this being taken up later on with the building inspection commission, but it's really important that we make this stuff right. thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you.
next speaker, please. miss gomez? >> good morning, commissioners. cynthia gomez here, united local 2. again, as my colleagues just mentioned, this is under the general public comment, and i also still wanted to echo that the topic which you've mostly been hearing about, which is tantamount to demolition, our members live in the city as well, we have approximately 6,000 members who live in the city, so we're definitely concerned about anything that -- any changes that would eliminate their ability, that would so weaken them in terms of being demolished -- using those rules to sort of work around an eviction. i also want to note that the timer doesn't seem to be going. >> secretary ionin: sorry. we'll dock you a minute. >> so what i'll do also is read portions of a letter that we
wrote to mayor farrell regarding factory built housing. and in particular, i want to mention the way that factory built housing and the lejs wlags that affects factory built housing may also end up applying to and being relevant to other forms of factory built constructions such as hotels. so i'll read the portions of this as much as i can. our union represents approximately 13,000 hospitality workers in san francisco and san mateo counties. local 2 agrees with our analysis, and we urge your office to move quickly to ensure our members don't have to spend their workplaces in buildings that don't meet minimum local safety standards. one of the trends we're noticing is the growth of so-called modular construction and it's nearly always promoted as a way to cut costs.
a full-time hotel worker may end up spending more than 67,000 hours of their life inside their workplace, so we want to ensure that they're spent inside buildings that are safe, again, not to mention their homes are as well. again our understanding of the council's report is that ultimate inspection authority for factory built housing resides in the state's department of housing and community development. nevertheless, we believe their steps san francisco can take to ensure compliance with local building codes and fire codes. so that end we have four points that answer supporting. require a department of building inspection to conduct building inspection and plan check agencies and inform them of the building and fire code requirements. two direct the planning department to advise applicants of the requirements of the requirements of the entire san francisco building code. three inform the mayor's office to inform prospective funding
recipients of the requirements, and four inform ocii to inform all recipients. the majority of our workers live in the city and they deserve safe homes and safe workplaces. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. miss gallagher. >> mr. ionin, can i have the same timer deal? commissioners, good morning. thank you so much for convening this important meeting. my name is mary gallagher, i've been a planner for 30 years, most of that time in san francisco. my concern is today if you can just give us some feedback on two ideas, it would be helpful for those of us working on problems and concerns in the planning and building departments. the first is the definition of demolition because neither definition is working anymore. the definition of demolition needs to be rewritten and
adopted in both the building and planning code, and specifically we're look for a clear easily underable definition and that comes with significant and mandatory penalties for violation. the second concerns the problems of inaccurate plans which unfortunately is the worst i've seen in 30 years. this includes adjacent homes that are drawn much taller and longer than they really are, grades not being shown accurately which affects ceqa and height measurements, and omission of neighbor's light wells and side facing windows. this results in the misapplication of qualitative design standards. some planners require extensive adjacent building photographs and check google earth to verify plans, but others don't. some planners make sponsors fix erroneous plans, but others
don't. my question is, whose job is this? a number of us would like to see the following remedies to the problem: drawings that are signed under penalty of perjury, plan check stops entirely until errors are corrected, progressive monetary penalties and serial violators are publicly identified and reported to licensing agencies. if you want to take that next step of preapplication inspections, i think that would be great. that would shutdown this problem for sure. several speakers and miss waddie brought up the issue of goals. fortunately the city and county of san francisco has this document called the general plan. the goal of this effort is preserving housing
affordability, protecting tenant in rental housing, especially rent controlled housing and preserving neighborhood character. tenant protections right now not just in demolitions but in all kinds of alterations, it's a significant, significant perhaps emergency situation, and i'm just not feeling that you're getting that. thank you very much for your time. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> jacob adaratti. members of the commission, thank you for allowing me to speak today. i appreciate your time. we recently organized two factory built housing factories, locally here within northern california to disrupt the industry which has really taken traditional methods of construction for the past, i would say century and really evolved into what we have today. building housing in a safe environment, more efficiently and cost effective than
traditional construction, knowing they can provide for their families and live where they work. the workers in the factories made a choice like many unite here workers in hotels to be union. they made the choice through a card check neutrality process and through a collective bargaining unit to be represented by the carpenter's unit. our plan is to create more housing, affordable and market rate and for the homeless in order to meet the regional demand. these factory units will be over built, meet the standard and i might add state approved. the housing problem which continues to plague us nationally and locally will not cease to exist until we find a solution. i ask you to look past the
attempt by the mechanical-electrical-plumbing trades at this restraint of trade tactics, according to labor law, and join our efforts in creating more head of household jobs, more housing affordable, market rate and for the homeless. the only constant is change. the only constant is change. whether we like it or not, it's here, so let's make certain we are on the right side of development to bring solutions. join us in our efforts. anything we would view as inhibiting this process is antijobs, antihousing and antihomeless. let's make sure we're on the right side of development. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you sir. next speaker, please. mr. butler. >> good morning, president hillis, press mccarthy, members of commissions. my name is gerald butler. i'm an architect here in the city, 30 years in private
practice. existing housing in our city is the most affordable housing we have left. the planning department uses language in its master and general plans that would conserve and protect existing housing and neighborhood character. the building department, not so much. since this same problem has been ongoing over the 30 years of my architectural practice, broken is how we apparently like our housing policy. robert pathmore once told me when he was the housing administrator told me that housing ownership can only be met by enforcing the planning code. those days are over. $400 persquare foot when built, that results in thousands persquare foot when sold. from the days of joe dodonahue
and planning scrutiny to hurry their projects along, new private players come up to fill the shoes of those who have retired from this fraudulent game. the favoritism process, once quiet and incident insular and epidemic. throughout all these things, only one thing has remained the same. and that's dbi management. when we lose an 1861 house on russian hill to vandals, and a 1961 house to greed, you can
chalk it up to anything you want, but things just continue. friends of ed sweeney can get anything they want. they can have hidden from planning all manner of violations that would be apparent. if the two departments cooperated, the lost fees from hiding scope of work cost the city money, the collapsing buildings cost the public its safety. the lack of inspections undermine the confidence that should exist with multimillion dollar properties. the uneven playing field encourages others to cheat, and the result is a city out of control with illegal work and demolitions and $600 persquare foot profits on every rule that can be broken. you should change the codes to agree on demolition, but you may need to clean house in the departments before any enforcement comes from it.
>> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, mr. welch, and if there's other speakers, please lineup on the screen side of the room. >> thank you very much for a critically needed hearing, as you've heard. i'm -- would associate my remarks with mr. webber's and miss gallagher's and expand them to say that we're now on the verge of a fundamental and basic change in state policy which will render demolitions even more significant. and as the last speaker reflected rather eloquently, i thought, make it even more profitable to demolish existing buildings, and that is the state mandated and unfortunately the city kind of going along with a local version of density bonuses.
>> it is critically important that we take a look, close every loophole, dot every i, cross every t in our local demolition ordinances if we are to avoid the massive displacement of existing residents in san francisco. miss gallagher is absolutely right. the policy is clear. it's clear in the housing element of the general plan, it is to preserve affordable housing and to not allow demolition of sound housing except to enhance affordability.
the voters made it clear many years ago in section 101.1 of the planning code. the preservation, it is generally assumed in the housing element that the most affordable housing stock in san francisco is the existing housing stock. it won't be existing if it's demolished, so we have a critical important role to play in preserving our communities and neighborhoods in san francisco by understanding the enhanced critical role of demolitions and demolition
controls. it's not enough to only solve the problems of the past, we have to look at the challenges of the future that we are facing. we may be able to stop 827 this legislative session. the pressure is going to continue to be applied, to gut local land use laws. the only way that we can avoid the worst possible outcome of that policy is by stringent demolition controls. this city is 99.9% developed. new development can only happen with demolition. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good morning, everybody, and thank you for coming. and building and planning department. my name is kieran buckley. i'm a builder in san francisco for some time now, an basically an agreement with most of what was said here today. 317 is very confusing. as a builder, doing these projects, i don't -- several of these projects where it just --
you know, just to be straight, we want to do the right thing. you want to keep everything that's significant, but i often wonder why we're keeping with the blind walls that are built 100 years ago that no one will ever see skb nand not up to co. i understand whethn there's a signature part of the building that's significant to the neighborhood, i understand you've got to keep that. but when you're keeping walls like that or joists that you never see or nobody ever sees, and they're not up to code, so you're -- you're trying to get that up to code and try it into the new stuff, which in turn drives up the cost. and then, when the cost goes up, the end result is -- it's
an expensive building to build. i guess to do it, it's very difficult because you're lifting -- i don't know if any of you have gone out and saw how the process works, but you lift up a building slightly to take the weight off because you've got to put in a new foundation, and all these buildings are -- they're pretty old. if they're a new foundation, the walls are hanging there, and there is a wall that nobody will ever see in between two buildings. it's not up to code, it's dangerous. it's dangerous working in these conditions. you're always concerned about life safety. then you've got the water safety about that, which is another problem. let me see what else. i guess the -- yeah, that's about all i've got to say, i
think, as a builder. >> president hillis: thank you, mr. buckley. >> all right. bye. >> president hillis: next speaker, please. >> william pashwinsky, i'm an engineer. i've done smaller projects in town. i think i'm one of the few people that understands 317 in town. it is almost like rocket science sometimes, but i still think it's trying to solve a problem that has to do with affordable housing, that it's being used in lieu of using the codes. instead, i know i was in front of the planning commission on several projects several months ago. i will no longer take on a substantial single-family house anymore. i've let all my clients know, both no, sir practic both for practical reasons and because i am in the haight-ashbury, being a resident there for 40 years. i think a lot of the answer to
this is higher density. so in my little area of the world, i do feel it's important to get higher density buildings. if you want that, almost like a bmr, you really should be doing an edu or adding a unit as part and parcel of the project. i think that would be a better way to go to get higher density housing instead of doing these reasons for demolition that other people have talked about. contrary to many of the things that we've heard, there's a lot of anger out there. there were many projects talked about. there was one i actually interviewed with a developer. i got m my car as fast as i could go and got out of there. the there are bad developers out there, and they need to get more than their hands slapped. there was another building, i won't give you the address, but it's in a historic building. there was a victorian, it had
been stuccoized in the 20's. we presented the planning pictures as much as we could to document what had been there originally. project was approved. during the construction, we took off the stucco, there were scar lines. we asked -- richard sucre of the historic preservation department come out, work with us, get a closer representation. i defy anybody to go out there and tell the difference of that building to any of its neighbors. we do work hard to submit plans and keep them as close as possible to what's been approved. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. junt want to say thank you to liz and pat for the
presentation and the opportunity to have an open conversation with the whole community. i work in the construction industry, and we agree with a lot of what we've heard today. the current code isn't working for a lot of people, and i encourage something that is new and consistent between both departments and transparent and understandable for everybody involved, which is the contractor, the neighbors, the community, the inspect skbrors, and everybody. speaking practically, life safety is something that i consider very important, and structural soundness is also a big priority. i think the code should address unpredictability of things that come up in the field and unexpected site conditions. it should include allowances for this to be addressed in the field honestly in an efficient and practical way for the sake of the neighbors, the workers and the community and the safety of the workers. i also support a strong code of ethics for all developers, and
these professionals who aren't complying, for there to be penalties setup because clearly they're giving a bad name to those of us who do respect the process, so thank you. >> president hillis: thank you very much. mr. keegran. >> thank you, commissioners, and thank you staff for your presentation. i'd like to start off by saying i do agree with most of what was said here today. we have a problem when people can't understand this very complex system called 317. it is extremely confusing. we need to coordinate and have one single definition of demolition. that is such a common sense request. at the need a modern penalty system. it's not just one system. there's many different variations of this penalty system that we need. we need a professio