577 Alvarado 2015

According to the listing for the “modern Smart Home” at 577 Alvarado, the Noe Valley home was “built with great attention to detail.” But as we noted when the property hit the market last month, “you’ll want to make sure your cars, both current and planned, can cleanly enter and exit the home’s new two-car garage before writing an offer.  You’d be surprised at how many people don’t bother to check until it’s too late.”

Having since closed escrow with a reported contract price of $5.4 million, the contractors are now onsite trying to create more clearance in order to actually access the garage.

577 Alvarado Re-do

And along with the re-graded driveway, new planters have been poured to help keep a passerby from tumbling down the slope, a reader’s concern which was dismissed as “just an internet thing to say.”

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by San Francisco

    If they move that header up into the wall above they can gain some space but not more than 10 inches. I hope it works out for them.

    • Posted by San Francisco

      I suppose they can replace the first couple of floor joists with engineered joists of some sort. That is a tough situation though if you don’t want to raise the entire house.

    • Posted by BobN

      I’m pretty sure they were already up into the wall. Isn’t that the window with the (ahistorical) window seat?

  2. Posted by Marten

    Why are these garages approved without the required opening height? I thought six feet was the minimum required and those workers are maybe 5’5″.

    • Posted by Futurist

      Good question, I agree. here’s my take:

      1. It was approved by our incompetent building department. These so called building inspectors often don’t thoroughly read plans, sections and details. Yet, we pay very high permit fees. This should not have been approved as drawn.
      2. I really do lay blame on the architect AND contractor in this case. the architect clearly should have seen the problem during the drawing stage, thru building sections at the garage door and key elevation data. And yes, I believe there are minimums for garage door head openings.

      The planters are added because, if and when you do an “encroachment” onto the public sidewalk, outside your property line you must add an element, such as a planter or railing (usually 3′ in length” to keep a pedestrian from tripping/falling into the extended ramp.

  3. Posted by anon

    why are you asserting that the planters are being poured to help keep passerby from falling down the driveway? clearly they are being poured. but why the Carnac routine?

  4. Posted by sketch

    Carnac routine? Do say….

    • Posted by ElitistPig

      Carnac The Magnificent? C’mon…

      Clearly this is the fault of the owner for not having a Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster. The car probably wouldn’t be able to get down the driveway, but that’s not the issue here.

  5. Posted by Just My Opinion

    The seller achieved a $5.4 million sales price with a (nearly) unusable garage. That is the remarkable part of this story to me.

  6. Posted by Alai

    How much are you legally allowed to build on the sidewalk– or, for that matter, change the grading? I can think of several houses around here which are quite awkward to walk past for that reason.

    • Posted by Futurist

      I believe you are allowed to encroach onto the public sidewalk by 3′-0″: but that’s only for planters or railing encroachments, similar to above. You can’t actually construct anything else.

      As for changing the grading, not sure what you mean: but there are limitations as to sharp changes or slopes in grades on the public way; most are controlled by ADA requirements.

  7. Posted by soccermom

    There’s no vindication like vehicle-access-criticism vindication.

  8. Posted by Roberto

    this is a lol if I ever read one.
    (editor: please keep us appraised on the progress of the new “header,” lawsuits, etc.)

  9. Posted by EBGuy

    Check out the complaint on April 14, 2015: Unsafe incursion into sidewalk by driveway (changed after inspections). Closed on the same day and referred to DPW.

  10. Posted by Mark F.

    $5 million dollar house and they can’t figure out how to get a car in the garage. And it passes planning. Yes, LOL.

  11. Posted by johntrev

    How exactly does this grading/headroom problem happen? No one foresaw the issue?

    Contractor/developer just pushed it through, even though they knew the header was too low and the driveway too steep? They thought they could get away with extending the driveway farther into the sidewalk but were denied? They figure once the house is sold it’s someone’s else’s problem?

    The architect doesn’t raise a red flag? The excavator, the concrete people? The inspector who signs off on the work somehow misses this? A house that sells for $5M isn’t a budget job, right?

    Isn’t there value to the contractor/developer in doing the job right?

    • Posted by Futurist

      All those you mentioned are really responsible for such a stupid mistake. Especially the architect. He/she could and should have worked this out during the construction documents phase.

  12. Posted by EBGuy

    Prospective Home Ventures LLC. Gotta like the sound of that. No mortgage as far as I can tell.

  13. Posted by around1905

    Even if they fix the header, they will still have an issue with the very steep driveway slope. I believe the maximum allowed is 25% and this one looks steeper, which means that a normal car may bottom out when it enters the garage.

    The only really good solution here is to eat into the box window a few more inches and then raise the garage floor at the door….

    • Posted by Serge

      If you have anything other than a station wagon or SUV, you’ll be scraping your front bumper or exhaust tips. Even if the car the new owner has has adjustable height, it’ll still scrape.

  14. Posted by Orland

    There was a virtually identical situation (“safety planters” and all) at a house on our block which was flipped a couple years ago. The contractor even had to redo the driveway before getting final inspection approval to put it on the market.

    Sold over asking the first weekend it showed. The new owners have a Lexus SUV and never use the garage.

  15. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Answer: Vertically articulated terrain following SUV.

    Oh, and since it is 2015, Answer 2: Uber

    technology
    solves
    everything

  16. Posted by Me

    Yes, the “contractors” are on site, only after they got a permission slip from their parents to leave school early.

  17. Posted by CBrinkman

    Our steep driveway is interesting, it has raised bits where the wheels line up to keep the undercarriage/bumpers of the car from scraping. Just a few inches difference in clearance and some cars work and some don’t. Honda Civic scraped but made it in. Audi of similar size scraped like crazy. BMW slightly bigger maybe, doesn’t scrape. Prius owner swore he would never try again because the noise was so awful. Backing out is a nightmare in my opinion and I will never do it (thank goodness for not owning a car.). So, the advice to check your car in the garage you intend to buy is very sound.

  18. Posted by soccermom

    Several of the rental housing locations in the Presidio have garages with the ‘highsiding’ issue.

  19. Posted by jenofla

    Still think the owners are just going to park in front of the garage. Maybe they’re fixing the height of the garage door only because who wants a garage you still have to duck into, even it’s just for storage/workshop?

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