tv Government Access Programming SFGTV May 11, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
two-tower design and support item increases if necessary. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi. stephen buss with mission yimby. i'm here to speak in support again of this project. it's an excellent project, and to reiterate what i said in my comments from the last hearing on this project, we are in a housing crisis. we desperately need to approve more housing, especially with central soma that is slighted for approval later today, we must mitigate the drastic increase and imbalance of office space over housing. and by -- one of the proposed designs takes away 12 market rate units and b.m.r. units.
those people are not going to disappear. they're not just going to not move to san francisco. they're going to move to nearby communities, nearby buildings, including the mission, including low-income neighborhoods in soma, and by reducing the amount of units or by -- by forcing the developers to pursue a design that they can't afford to build, you will be furthering gentrification of those communities. i urge you to just approve the full project without any lost units. we are in a housing crisis, and this crisis deserves a serious response and not what we've been doing for years. so please approve it don't keep kicking the can down the road. we should leave here today with a decision. the longer we delay, the more people get pushed out of san francisco, the more expensive we make this housing project,
and the worse san francisco will become due to inaction. so please, approve it today. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hello. my name is gary winter. i was here six weeks ago, and to commissioners hillis, melgar, fong, johnson, coppel, moore, richards, and secretary ionin and the planning commissioners, i resent having to choose whether i'm in support of the projector i'm in opposition. >> president hillis: excuse me. can you please speak into the microphone? >> -- or that i'm neutral because i really believe, let's find a way to build this hand some building, make it financially feasible by this very socially conscious group of people.
let's find a way to keep the organizations that benefit the cotenderloin, the arts groups, the mission groups who receive funding from these guys. let's find a way to have good paying union jobs for all these folks so they're latherers and carpenters from union 68 l, and i think 22, and there's another one, but i'm not sure if it's 263 or 268, so they can continue to have good jobs and continue to live in san francisco. let's find a way to raise the population density of my neighborhood, so i want to go take a walk and run into my neighbors and enjoy more retail establishments instead of the pittifully empty street that's there now. let's find a way to build in
the neighborly way to preserve the air and the sun of the bay crest folks. but you may say gee, it's been four years. it's been a long time. let's makeup our minds on this, and i say i'm sorry. we're not there yet. >> thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. >> bay crest residents have to live with this forever. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi. my name's aaron gladser. i'm a 12-year resident of san francisco, a political activist who has dedicated time and money on mayoral campaigns and policies. i am an owner at bay crest and met my wife here in the city. i've worked for multiple companies here in the city, and we enjoy our quality of life. we want to stay here, we want to raise a family. what we don't want to do is
lose air pollutants and quality of air and sun light that, you know, my dog can layout on the coach couch by the window and have that obstructed. i'm all fore building more units in the city and keeping up with demand, but tidewater needs to do a much better job than they're doing rights now, in terms of playing ball and building something that actually doesn't hurt current residents to bring in new ones. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi. i'm not opposed to having a building next to our -- in our neighborhood, but i'm opposed to the current design. the -- the neighbor -- or the developer has asked for
alternatives to the 45 foot wide notch. he proposed three alternatives, none of what was requested. there were 200 meetings with lots of feedback. you heard himself. we have been running into this forever. every time you say come back with feedback. oh, yeah, here is the brick. we take out one unit. there is no compromising. as you have been shown, you have two towers with 116 units, build it now. everybody gets jobs, and everybody is happy. or make it one story higher than it currently is and cutback to 244 units. i think the solution is there. i think we could make a promise, and i don't know why it is not happening. you can talk about zoning restrictions, currently, the design says zoning restrictions is 85 feet, by the building
goes up to 100 because there are all kinds of other stuff that goes on top of the roof. where does that happen? so if it is allowed to go back up above the 85 feet, let's build a floor on top of that, go two tower design from 116 up to 144 units, and everybody will be happy. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. thank you for allowing us to come once again and speak in front of you. until the march 29 hearing, the brick design has been the only design offered by the sponsor. it is our goal to reiterate our position that any design brought forward and to show that the two building design has been acceptable and supported by udat throughout the process. its bay crest position udat that the two building design is
far superior, is what the planning department asked the developers to do from the beginning, was the conclusion reached by the supervisors and the architects on the planning commission and the board of appeals nine years ago. it was the only design that complies with the urban general guideline plan, brings the development into compliance with the rincon plan. we are asking the commission to hold the development to the two-building design and the strict requirements of the code since the sponsor refused to follow the design review recommendations from planning. the two building design or at least a larger 60 foot wide four story notch gap brings the project closer to compliance and brings some relief to bay crest. not only for the light but for the pollution. david winslow reviewed the project careful. in an e-mail to doug vu in the
planning department on april 24, 2017 david winslow said the following: doug, these are the talking points for our current -- our counter proposal. essentially the closer to code compliance, the better, but a far more defensible position vis-a-vis the adjacent residence. mass that respects the midblock open spaces, 140 foot dwelling units at the same size as proposed, 40% bedrooms -- two bedroom bedrooms, and those are the most important. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you, miss montez. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. this is henry kleinhenz also from bay crest. i can only reiterate what i said here. bay crest is not against a building of any kind, we just would like to have some input
into what is happening there. our interests have not been look ad favorably by the developer, and this is why we are here this afternoon. thanks for letting us talk. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> i'm allison benz. i'm also a homeowner at bay crest, and while i'm impressed with tidewater and war horse, i will just save time and say i echo everybody who's already spoken that said they were opposed to this. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon. my name is eileen tillman, and i'm a 48 year resident of south of market. i live in a single-family home off of fourth street that has experienced some of the things that bayside has, and guess what? you get used to it. i had a beautiful garden.
i still have a beautiful garden. now it's just shade, shade plants, and they're beautiful. i support this project 'cause it's a very hand sosome projec. it supports housing, it supports pedestrians and bicyclists in coordination with walk san francisco. less vehicles on the street. and it also is good for tourism. once it goes up, that part of the embarcadero will be beautiful, and we've seen so much improvement on the embarcadero ever since they tore down the freeway that went nowhere, so i hope you approve it. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. thank you for the work you do and for being here today, and
for those of you who came to visit bay crest, we thank you. throughout this process there has been strong support from udat that will fit this design and this singular parcel, and that is the two building design. it's from the beginning. this concept early on was stated in letters from the -- i'm sorry, meeting notes from february 24, 2015, april 6, 2016, and then, one year later on april 9, 2017. the increased support for the two-tower concept went from recommending to strongly recommending the two -- the two building design, and in response to the adjacent midblock open space to the north, the planning department strongly recommends the project match the open space to reflect the open space pattern, specifically due to the adjacent neighboring buildings and the depth of the lots, the department recommends two distinct buildings, one on each
lot, to create code conforming rear yards. the result would enable dwelling units to meet the exposure requirements, and this is the same plan that architect david winslow drew for the planner and the sponsor. and even in 2009, the board of appeals architect, president frank fung, made several of the same comments: build two towers, open space in the middle of the block, open space in harmony with the existing neighborhood. and most recently, my neighbor responded saying the two tower design was good. so we agree that we need housing, and a two tower design should be supported. standing at the corner of main and bryant street, the two
courtyards between them is actually the one that complies with the urban design guidelines and bring it into the spirit of the rincon hill plan. >> president hillis: thank you. >> had you very much. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is gustavo leon, and thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. this country is made up of smart people. i i emigrated to this country years ago. and we can do better. commissioner hillis, you said focus on the notch design. okay. focus on the notch design. we can do better. i don't see david winslow here anymore, but he was here earlier. i really ask that you do ask him questions because we have an alternative here in front of you that makes sense, that addresses everybody's concerns.
i am still clueless, why is that that tidewater, claiming to be such a great community partner has not embraced this from the beginning? i mean, it's been four years since this process has started with them. what i'm wondering is they could have had this building built two years ago. we could have people moved in and out. we would have the neighborhood gotten better. honestly, it baffles me, why wouldn't you want to work with the community the correct way? move on, build something that is right. in terms of country, this is a country of fairness. this is a country that everybody has the same rights. do you know what? somebody along the line from that first letter of determination, something went wrong here in the process. we're not a third-world country. i came from one, and i can tell what it is. we are not.
somewhat, somewhere along the line from the first letter of determination where you tell them the two-tower design is correct, and then, two years go by and all the notes disappears and all of a sudden we are here in front of you with these cutout designs. we are smart people, we can do better. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hello. my name's myler thousarout. i would like to see where you set out a plan, and there's uses and predicted capacities, and the goal will be to realize that potential. and so one of the members of this commission frequently references the number of approved project and is like how come this stuff isn't
built? you know, we have stuff in the pipeline. it's not built. what's wrong? as approved to this project where you could approve an alternative that's not realistic and might not happen, and then, we're not getting anywhere. so pick a design that conforms with what we've laid out beforehand as something that makes sense, and that is feasible and that can actually happen. and so there was a discussion earlier where there was a suggestion of, like, well, instead of cutting away units and upping density, why don't we up zone. and someone was like well, we don't want to deviate from our plan with spot upzoning. that's not so good. and so this other idea of chopping away density even though it's nwithin the plan i also a deviation. so with staying consistent with what we've already claimed is our objectives, we should move
forward with something that's realistics and fits our plan and will achieve the goals that we've laid out previously. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> if we can switch to the viewer. >> president hillis: there you go. >> good afternoon. my name is adam masry. i'm a bay crest resident since 1995, and committee for healthy housing committee. i had my first meeting with craig of tidewater capital, with ted jarvis, bay crest's previous general manager. i explained bay crest three problems with craig's brick shaped building that has nearly become a mantra in all of our
communications: wind, sun, windows. it's quick to say and quick to remember. protect wind flow and sun light to our courtyards that supply wind to our homes and don't build so close to bay crest that southeast facing residents would be forced to sale their windows at great expense to their building. ted and i gave craig a tour that day. he took pictures and told us he understood. we gave him some ideas that day: mirror bay crest, a taller tower on beale, shorter tower on main. maybe an entire tower, not geometric shape, an innovative building that would solve the brick's problems.
i told craig i want him to suck said because then this issue would be resolved, and we wouldn't have to do this again. i'm running out of time, and i thought i -- do we only have two minutes today? is that it? >> president hillis: yep. >> bay crest asks you to please protect the rights of current citizens. don't damage 288 units to build 144. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. i'm a bay crest resident. my name is michael kang. i want to say take into consideration that many residents have been living there for years, and some grew up there, and some grow old there, and some of them actually unable to attend the meeting today. and this has been a very devastating and heartbreaking use for all of the residents
living there. this would definitely did he have state the impact on many of the residents living there. the parents that usually use the courtyards for play times, and many of the 80 units facing the courtyard would be affected with no sun light and air flows. the air circulation would be very -- extremely poor and would not be possible for us when they block our courtyard. so we will lose the right -- daylight from -- get into our gardens, and the garden would become very filthy and dark. so i hope with your conscious andness judgment make the -- conscious and necessary judgment and make the right decision, not just to build some monument and max miimize r
profit or block the sun light and take away our ability to live there. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. i'll call some names. [names read ] >> president hillis: miss clark. >> hi. laura clark, yimby action. i think i would like you to take into account all the people who are housing insecure. there are many people who are housing secure and who may be concerned about the value of their condos or about the light and air that they believe that will be reduced by having new neighbors, and i would like you to consider all 141 families who could be potentially finding refuge in this new building. it is unfair of you to only consider the current residents, the current homeowners, the current taxpayers. we must consider the future of this city. we are talking about the
mission moratorium found that 80% of new housing construction actually goes to current residents, so when you are taking into octthose 141 units, you are -- account those 141 units, you are also taking into welfare 141 current residents and their children as well as people who have been displaced as well as their neighbors. we know that the two tower is completely unfeasible. it means 28 fewer units will be built. it will set this project back probably years, and it will set us back to square one, as far as design. it will probably increase the cost of this 15% or more, and so i would say that if people are really committed to a two-tower model, they are welcome to fund raise for that extra 15% that the project would cost, but i somehow doubt that that's what's going to happen. we need to be thinking about the future of this city. we need a lot more housing, and
we need to stop this nonsense of project by project decision making when we are getting further and further away from what was zoned to be here. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> well, thank you for allowing us to speak. i just want to address what the previous speaker said. actually, you know, one has to question why one would build a building right under a bridge where 300,000 cars go back and forth. these 141 families that she's talking about, you're actually putting them in a death trap. she's mentioned that she's worried about the children and the elderly. i would like to say that bay crest tower has 181 units. i'm here to speak for myself and my children who can't be here, and also the elderly and those with language barriers who can't advocate fore themselves who will be very much harmed. you can build more housing. we are all for that, but where you place it is very important.
so i appreciate you as commissioners understanding that, okay? also, when bay crest was building 30 years ago, it was built with the understanding that the building next to it was going to be no more than 50 feet tall which allows for air and light. okay so now, we have a new design. on march 29, the project developers were told that's not acceptable. they come back with an answer that would be considered a joke except this isn't even funny, okay? we are all for a win-win decision, and i don't see that they really necessarily making an effort. i understand 28 fewer units, but there's other places to build 28 units that would actually be reasonable, healthy for the people that are moving in, and not harmful to existing people, okay? i'm not here to speak about values or anything or views, okay? we just want win-win, and we want the developer to live up to, what is this? collective process pert, for
them? they come back with a project that's a slap in all your face does, with a little cut out design. environmental sustainability? profitability? to them. there's lots of places to build that makes sense. underneath a bridge is not feasible. well, any way, thank you for listening and thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is javani hernandez. i'm a carpenter, and i live here in san francisco and i'm here to speak on 430 main street. this project will allow numerous jobs opportunity does, training for other carpenters and other professionals. i am in full support of 430 main street -- the main street project and urge you to vote in favor of this project.
thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon, president hillis and fellow commissioners. my name is dennis lumsey, and i'm a journeyman carpenter/welder. i live in san francisco, and i'm speaking in support of the 430 main street project. this project will allow a carpenter like me to continue living in san francisco and work in san francisco. lately, i live in san francisco but i'm usually commuting out of san francisco for work. it would also help me continue my career as a carpenter moving towards retiermt, will provide me with necessary income to provide for my family. i am in support of this project, and i ask that you guys move forward on this project. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please.
zbls good afternoo . >> good afternoon. commissioners. my name is timothy reiff, and i'm a san francisco resident and native of san francisco. i'm here to speak in support of the 430 main project. this project will create construction jobs for community members. these jobs pay wages and benefits and retirement for new apprentices that include women and minorities from our local community. tidewater's proposal of 141 units, this utilizes the space and adds to desperately needed housing stock. this is a much better use than the current storage facility. some carpenters that can go to work on this project are here this afternoon. i'm asking that you move forward with approval of this project. thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you.
next speaker. >> good afternoon. my name is paula pritchard, and i work with plant construction. plant construction has been in san francisco for 70 years, and i think i speak on behalf of many employers in san francisco. it is becoming increasingly difficult to enlist people to come and work for you and also retain the people that you do hire. we need more housing. now i'm a mother of that age group that is looking for housing, and we need more housing. and that doesn't mean that it's on the backs of people or that we should put people in a bad position, but i came here last time, and i heard the planners feel that they did not feel it was going to be an air quality issue for the people who live next door. so i encourage you to vote yes and approve the project, and do it in a timely way so that people can move forward with
their projects and get more housing for the city. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> hello. my name is lochlan o'sullivan. i'm an owner at bay crest also, 27 years. i'm also born and raised in san francisco, so i'm a local. my daughter's fourth generation san franciscan. she learned how to swim in the pool next door that's going to be shaded. it's just an awful idea to think of the poison that goes on on that freeway. i know that you guys know, everybody that's prohere for this thing. they don't have to live there. it's tar off the freeway. it's nasty. it isn't cleaned up. it's really, really dangerous to your health. you can tell just by looking at it. it's not a joke, and it's wonderful to keep people working, and we agree with housing, all of us. there's no conhousing here for sure, but this is our lives. i've been there quite a long. my daughter's growing up there,
and i just hope we can do the right thing. thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you very much. next speaker, please. >> good afternoon. commissioners. my name is regina oliva. i live at bay crest, and i've been an owner there since 1996. i had a child in there. i raised him. he's now a college student, and every time live had changes, and we've seen a lot of changes in this neighborhood, i know why i love living in this neighborhood. one of the biggest things is the community. thank you to the developers for bringing our community together again. what's important to me in this unit or this development is -- at bay crest is the courtyard because this is a place that i've met a ton of neighbors on a sunny day. what do we do in the city in run to find the one spot of
sun. it's going to be in the courtyard, in the central courtyard, which currently has sun. i've met people that are teaching their kids how to swim. my son learned there to swim, too. i've seen elderly people who sit in the hot tub for their bones or trying to sit in the sun where they don't have it. this is an area of engagement for our community, and it's so important. when you make a livable city, you think about is it easy to get to work. can you walk to work or ride the bus or your bike? can you engage with your neighbors in your neighborhood, and this bay crest neighborhood allows that. the courtyard allows it for the residents itself, so i would ask you to please support the two tower design so we can maintain the sun coming through that courtyard. it's really important. where else can you hear birds chirping just outside of your window in our neighborhood? i don't think very many places, and it makes a big difference in our neighborhood.
thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. >> jim osolino, voter at bay crest. i think of our courtyard as an open space where light and a nice breeze enters and makes our location as fresh as it can be, considering our location. i ask you to vote no on this project as it stands and request the developer mirror his changes to mimic our buildings and open it in the center which would create a good atmosphere and keep our building the same as it is now. thank you for considering. >> president hillis: thank you very much. next speaker please, and i'll call some other names. [names read ] >> hi. my name is valerie aurora. i want to thank you for your time and careful consideration of this project.
i live in soma, just a few blocks away from this project. and i look forward to spending time in the east cut development. i strongly support this project. it will increase the average quality of life for the entire neighborhood. i appreciate the developer's willingness to change and update the design to balance the quality of life of their neighbors with making more housing available. you've done great work on making a good project even better, and i hope you will approve this project today. it's time to move forward with this project. thank you. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi. my name is tom white, and thank you for having us here today. i am a bay crest resident. my unit overlooks one of the courtyards, and at perhaps great personal -- potential personal risk, i am speaking to
you in support of the project today. in fact, after i spoke in support of the project the last time, i was harassed, i've been getting dirty looks in the elevator, etcetera. that's a sacrifice that i'm willing to make because i truly believe that the highest and best use for this site is the proposed plan. you know, speaking to the character of the developers, you know, over the last three years, they've been iterating this project to try to find something that works for the community. and i know that if the two-tower plan did work, they would be building that. why else would they go through all of this, you know, what we're going through right now? so i think that most of the residents, it sounds like, are supportive of housing unless it
directly affects them. and i totally understand where everybody's coming from, in terms of the sun light that -- the pollution, i don't quite understand because, you know, my window, i have -- i have soot on my windowsill as it is, so it's already bad, so i don't really understand that. but in terms of -- i guess if -- if i could leave you with one thing here today, i would ask my fellow neighbors to make a sacrifice for the well-being of the city. and the city needs housing, and there's really no better place to put it than here. so thank you very much. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> hi. my name's alexander. i'm a student at city college, and i've lived at bay crest my whole life, so 18 years.
i grew up at bay crest and i've learned to swim in that pool. i've been using that open space for a very long time. that's where i study, that's where i read, that's where i meet my neighbors. i just want to point out that one of the things that makes san francisco so great is it's a big city, but it doesn't feel like it. that's what we love about it. we all have that place that we escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. this is the place that i go to to escape from downtown. i just ask you if there's a way to bring these two conflicting parties, to exercise some d diplomacy, you guys work in government. you know how it works. i'm just asking if you could
figure out a way to work together. thank you so much. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. >> what is the decision before this commission? the decision is a chase between rewarding bad behavior where the only consideration is to maximize profit, no matter what the consequence is to existing residents and future residents. make no mistake about it, if you reward this bad behavior, you're going to get more bad behavior. the other choice is to require that projects follow local ordinances, the specific plan that is a rincon hill plan, the urban design guidelines. the latter is a choice that shows the community we fully believe the thought of social justice and economic justice. this is -- there is not a
single written record of these meetings. there is no record of what was discussed and what transpired and who was at any of the meeting, and what decisions were made. there is no record of who attended, what was discussed, and exactly what decisions were made, who made the decisions and on what code section these decisions were based? there's no explanation of how or why after 2.5 years of udat recommendation of a design, and it was completely overridden and cast aside. it is illegal and unethical to allow the claimed profit of the developers to be the sole driving force to determine the design of any project. it violates the code of ethics imposed on the planning department, and it violates all principles of the city planning code. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please. if there's others -- i think i read all speaker cards, but if
there's others, please lineup on the screen side of the room. >> so we are supportive of this project. you know, i think that this is -- it's really interesting to hear a lot of different public comments. it feels like there's a little bit of a jek will ayll and hyd. somehow, these 200 community meetings were not yuf community outreach. i'm a little confused about that, and i just wonder if it's because people aren't happy with the results of the 200 community meetings as opposed to the 200 community meetings took place. this is a project that is basically code compliant, and that, you know, we all know very well about the housing shortage that we have in san francisco. i think the one thing that is
kind of interesting is what i hear a lot of the owners of bay crest saying is removing those three units doesn't add anymore light to it. so my question is then why remove them? if that'sing go is not going t it, then, like, why give up those three units of housing that san francisco needs if it's not going to make anyone happy? so let's put those back in that would add more units of housing that i believe is a bmr in one of those units. i find that tidewater has always been a great job of our organization, and has always done did he nominal community outreach. that is -- phenomenal community outreach. we actually hold them up as an example of what we want other developers and companies to behave in the community. so thank you, and good luck. >> president hillis: thank you.
next speaker, please. >> hi. my name is judy ray, and i am a city employee representing myself as a resident and owner of bay crest? i am a workforce development professional, so i actually spend a majority of my time training people on career development. i work with a lot of folks who are apprentices in my day-to-day work with the city. i've worked very, very hard to own my property. if -- and i currently have health issues that require me to have a very strict diet, to maintain staying here. i cannot leave because i'm going to lose my investment? so if this wall goes up, i will basically be forced to move, and i would lose $180,000 in my
investment on this property. it's not anything extravagant. i live in a 430 square foot apartment with my husband, and we live with an amazing team of people here who government workers, federal workers, people who are start-up employees. so we have a combination of young and new and old contribution creating a very diverse population of people. we are smart, we are loyal, and i love san francisco. i'm a native of san francisco, but if this wall goes up, i will -- my retiermt age will be pushed out because i will be forced to move, and i will have to start over. thank you for your time. >> president hillis: thank you. next speaker, please.
again, if anybody else beyond mr. williams would like to speak, please lineup on the screen side of the room. welcome. >> thank you, president hillis, members of the commission. 200 community outreach meetings, and last time they showed up with a solid wall, i think that tells you everything you need to know about the community outreach, or alleged community outreach. i submitted a letter that detailed some of the points brought forward at the last hearing. hope the commission had an opportunity to review those materials. i think this case really represents an opportunity for this commission to decide what kind of commission they want to be. what do you want to support from the department? do you want to support a fair, transparent process, a code responsive process, or a process where applicants and applications are submitted for favoritism and preferential treatment, because that's what happened here, where the factors that led to the recommended approval are completely unknown, unrecorded,
and unnoted anywhere in the record, and i made sure of that. i requested records over and over and over. there's no note of how 2.5 years of udat recommendations were suddenly reversed. what code section reversed those? for 2.5 years, the udat said we favor two buildings. they then said we strongly favor two buildings, and all of that was swept aside. i've submitted those materials. it's exhibit two through four of the udat recommendations. udat even went so far as to draw a plan and submit it to the developers and say look, here's how the two-building project will work. you get the same number of units, more size units, and it's more code compliant than what you're proposing. there's no analysis at all about the urban design guidelines, and this project grossly violates every single
one of the design elements of that new passed law. that's exhibit six that i submitted. please take a look at that. >> thank you, mr. williams, your time is up. >> thank you. we ask for your support. >> president hillis: thank you. any additional public comment on this item? seeing none, we'll close public comment. thank you all, and open it up to commissioner comments and questions. maybe i can start by asking mr. winslow to just give us a little history of kind of the planning department's review of this. we heard a lot about two tower alternatives and kind of how we got here. >> yeah. well project comes into our department, we review it, and we review it from kind of, you know, the basis of patterns. seeing the pattern of the courtyard, it seemed a logical response that that pattern of open space be continued, and the diagrams that have been
referred to were mooreerely a feasibility report to assure ourselves that it was feasible. we don't look under the hood sf feasible from a financial stond point. we continued to push for an optimal solution in that respect, what we thought was a neighborly gesture to the condition next door. through that time, though, the decision to kind of support the -- the project with a neighborly gesture, something that did open to the courtyard was approached, and that was that we hardly ever support buildings being split into two on projects of this site. and this was a unique site. it was a very difficult process
and decision to arrive at, but that was basically in a nutshell, the genesis from start to today and where we are. >> president hillis: okay. thank you. have you seen, mr. winslow, we saw it today, a potential layout of a two-tower alternative. >> we did, yeah. >> president hillis: well, the -- it was code compliant. so there's a couple things we've talked about in the pachlt. it's two tower alternatives that's not code compliant that we would increase the height to get to. >> well, keep in mind, that was what the project sponsor responded back to us, so as when we brought forward the two tower scheme, they said to help justify the financial costs, they would need additional height. so what's before you today is basically the notch. and so that notch basically still requires an exposure example. it's not the commission sought
us to grant some exception or modification. >> president hillis: really, i think there are three alternatives, a building that goes higher than the existing height limit. you know, i think there hasn't been support enough from the department or the commission on that alternative. we heard from director rahaim from that last time. to me, it's down to two alternatives. one is kind of a code compliant massing where the bulk of the buildings are on, you know, either -- either street side and an opening here, which i think we saw a diagram from the developers or a floor plan. it gets you less units, you know? i think -- well, it is. it's 144 to 116. can i just finish and then you're welcome to chime in and ask similar questions. -- without going higher, so that's a question to you: can you get the same number of
units? >> my feasibility diagrams are not highly accurate. they were line drawings that took into account the size of the buildings, the corridor, the side of the buildings in proximity to the open space next door and unit sizes, unit sizes with some kind of expectations, not laid out with bedrooms, etcetera, but reasonable sized and with apertures that would accommodate one, two, and studio units. my count came up to 144. we're not here to argue, but it was within the range. with code complying, however you want to define that. my code complyings idea was there would be a rear yard as typically defined by a rear yard in the rear when paired together with both yards in the front equals bay crest. >> president hillis: but i
think that's a critical point -- >> it did come at the cost, again of two cores, two additional elevators, two additional stair wells. >> president hillis: but i just want to understand this. the developers claim a two tower alternative would get 116 units. that's what they have presented today, but that's not a shrug of the shoulders, that's a big difference. >> that's not something we analyzed, how many units they could get versus how many units we thought they could get in the two towers. but my count came up to about 140, plus or minus. >> president hillis: and have you seen their floor plan that was presented today? it was page 13 of the presentation. >> the floor plans they had of their two tower scheme that was originally proposed as an
alternative in their early submissions, is that what you're referring to? >> president hillis: no, the one that was presented today. i think i want to understand because to me, you know, the benefit of having a two-tower kind of code compliant, we should not use the word tower, kind of a two massing project which opens that center courtyard more than what we're getting today, is there -- you know, if you can do that, it sounds like just the result of that is a core. but -- two additional questions, but you get the same number of units, you should go for that. but if you can't do that, and as the developer says, there's a loss of a third of the units here or a quarter of the units, i mean, that's a big consideration to -- and again -- >> that's a fair question. [inaudible]
>> yes. they did come back and say no, you're wrong. we actually get less units the way we calculate it and layout. at some point i have to submit and defer to their judgment. they're using a more sharp pencil. me, i'm just sketching the thing on a really quick feasibility process. i submit it to them to demonstrate that no, they could not get that. >> president hillis: to me, it's a critical point. mr. young, to me, that's a big loss. let's just hear -- it's a big loss of units at the time we're trying to get a maximum number of units. so to me, i don't want to lose those units, but i also don't want to -- i also want to minimize the impact on the neighbors, so i think it's a key part to understand. >> so i'm also on screen, right?
the floor plate today is if this two towers -- we'll call them towers, although they're only 84 feet, that would necessitate some removal of square footage in the center of the building. so the green represents a 30 foot gap, the red represents a 45 foot gap. that is square footage that disappears from the project that allows the two towers to show themselves. i'll use a second exhibit here -- >> commissioner moore: could you speak in the microphone? >> yes. >> commissioner moore: thank you so much. >> this is the tower scheme showing the 250 feet which we massed out here. those are the floor plates of those two towers, again, with this center area loss of square footage. so if you take the 14 units that are on these two towers, multiply that by nine floors. that's 126 units, but there's only four two bedrooms on those
floors, so when you apply a 40% two bedroom requirements, that drops 144 down to 116. so you can't build the same number of units in the same square footage if you lose the center part of the structure. >> president hillis: so have you seen mr. winslow's calculation or drawing? >> yes. it was actually just our elevation with two lines and a -- and a highlighted bar down it. there was nothing more than that that i have seen. >> president hillis: okay. >> i didn't see any calculations. and you know, to be fair, we've been looking at this for four years, and to say that we could, you know, remove effectively 20% of the building, which is 20,000 square feet, the two tower scheme is not only 116 units, it's 20,000 square feet, gross square feet in the project. you could theoretically add the
same number of units, but they're going to be 250, 300 square foot studios. >> president hillis: i think we want to compare apples to apples. out of the same unit mix -- [inaudible] >> -- you loose 28 unit -- lose 28 units, you lose 20,000 square feet, and that's because part of the square footage where the building is actually built is gone. >> president hillis: okay. commissioner richards? >> commissioner richards: okay. mr. sucre, can you tell us what exceptions we have to grant and tell us what in the planning code would be code compliant. >> so the scheme before you is not code compliant per se, so the commission for it to move forward has to grant an exception and the entitlement, the 309.1, the downtown project
authorization allows the commission to grant that exception specific for exposure for these types of projects. so the current scheme in front of us is not a code compliant scheme, it's one that necessitates exceptions to move forward. >> commissioner richards: okay. so i guess the question for mr. winslow, and there's an elephant in the room here, please. and i'm struggling with this because at the last meeting, i was not aware of the udat's recommendations, nor was i aware of your feasibility sketch. so here's i was saying let's go higher, let's make it possible. and i kind of go based on what i've heard and what you're saying, you sketched out a feasibility that said we could do two buildings. it would meet the current urban design guidelines of which the current one violates nearly every one of them and has this issue with the neighbors, and it looks like you put two buildings with more street
facing or courtyard facing units that actually probably could be more livable. but you said based on the square footage of the building, number of unit mix, it actually comports around to be the same as to what the current project is. >> that is my calculation, my recommendati recomme recommendation. >> commissioner richards: and some of these were kind of jer dang gerrymandered. maybe what's here isn't supposed to work. i don't know. now i've got two truths. there's a truth from mr. craig, and there's a truth from you. i'm going, well, vl on as commissioner hillis said, if the two tower concept works, why are we talking about anything else? >> and i go back to the
department decision was basically that of rarely do we impose splitting buildings on a site this site into two with two separate cores. >> commissioner richards: so what i'm -- [inaudible] >> commissioner richards: i'm sorry. i missed what you said. >> there was a sensitivity to that. >> commissioner richards: okay. as i read the udat meeting notes, and they got stronger and stronger around the two building concept, and all the things in the urban design, i didn't see anything else that said asterisk, but we never strongly encouraged two buildings. i'm kind of having a hard time understanding here how the decision went from what we thought would have been apparent to what it got, too. >> david, let me weigh in here. obviously, there's decisions that i have to make at certain levels when these projects come forward that are tradeoffs. this happens on every project that comes before us. there are tradeoffs to be made.
did we think from an urban design standpoint, two towers were preferable? yes, we did. there are other urban design guidelines in every project that we think are preferable. the question is, from a feasibility standpoint and a political standpoint, quite frankly that it makes sense to pursue a project which did not -- which was ultimately rejected by the project spon r sponsor. >> commissioner richards: okay. >> and i think to the point, i think it's fair to say that the number of units could be the same, but it's also -- i mean, it's simply a fact that it would be less square foot age. >> president hillis: do we know by how much? >> you're taking out less square footage out today and it would be less than in the proposal. >> commissioner richards: so i guess the question would be, what is the process for determining feasibility and where does iie