1260-1270 Dolores (Image Source: NVSF)
Noe Valley, SF chronicles a bit of the development drama that’s been brewing about the six new condominiums at 1260-1270 Dolores Street.
At the center of the controversy, the “inadvertent” demolition of a previously existing (non-complying) one-story rear addition and the developer’s desire to reconstruct a nonconforming two-story addition. The reconstruction would result in a 3.5 foot rear yard versus 22 feet as required by code.
For Sale: 1260-1270 Dolores & More Than A Few Headaches [NVSF]
1260-1270 Dolores Street [1266doloresstreet.com]

30 thoughts on “A Bit Of “Inadvertent” Development Drama Over On Dolores”
  1. Don’t know why this doesn’t happen more often? What recourse is there once the structure is gone? In this case, I suppose you could not get a needed variance, but either way the offending structure is gone. So you either get a bigger back yard, or a variance to build more another income producing square footage or unit.
    Reminds me of the “accidental” foundation collapse a while back.

  2. The drama should be over how horrible this design is — completely backward-looking, unprogressive crap! Come on people, its the era of change, remember? Hopefully that might ultimately translate into progressive, forward-looking architecture…

  3. A friend is a neighbor here and one of those who complained. It is amazing how bulky this building is. In that sense it is not backward looking. There are some horrible recent buildings that bulge their lots. That boom mentality. If you drive down Clipper you can see the bulge. 3.5 foot yard is right.

  4. citicritter, I’m going to assume you have never tried to get a “progressive, forward looking” design through the planning department before. good luck.

  5. the constant whining from people in Noe about any development is tiresome. Who cares if they have a 3.5 foot yard or bay windows? It’s not your property. Build more housing in nice neighborhoods please. Lots more. This NIMBYism is just rich (or formerly rich in this market) property owners protecting themselves by trying to limit quality new supply. I walk in Noe everyday and there is a ton of construction going on now, and a ton more is needed given the delapidated properties and under utilized lots that permeate the neighborhood.
    Build more and maybe we’ll see material price declines in places like Noe. Or wait and maybe we’ll see the crash everyone on this site keeps talking about. Either way is fine for anyone who wants to buy in this neighborhood.

  6. I’m with anono. SF is a city, not a suburb. More dense housing in quality, transit-friendly neighborhoods should be encouraged, not blocked.

  7. sorry anono- but you got it all wrong..
    It really isnt about the whining from all the nimbys. that’s another issue.
    These two buildings are among the worst examples by a crap developer-contractor. they built outside the code. they “accidentally” tore down more than they should. they ripped the neighborhood off..
    Rear yard setbacks are established for a reason: to allow a minimum amount of sunlight and air into the surrounding yards. this is not arbitrary.
    the developers simply focused on their pure greed to build as much as possible, and in fact built illegally.

  8. If both this building and the one behind it have 3.5 foot rear yards — it’s no longer a yard, it’s an airshaft.
    Airshafts aren’t the worst thing in the world (Duke Ellington’s “Harlem Airshaft” is especially good), but residents should get to decide if they want them, not have them imposed by developers.

  9. Here’s a pretty good view of the construction (want to guess which neighbor is complaining :-). Developer is currently carrying a $1,268,000 variable interest loan from WaMu (bought for $1,585,000 on 7/15/2005).
    Question for the development gurus. Would they have been allowed to keep the one story non-conformig addition (around 300 sq. ft.) as part of the rehab/condo construction, or would it have to have been torn down? In the first case, it seems that the developer really caused himself some heartache by trying to squeeze in the second story (all for around 300+sq ft. in Building B).

  10. This is a truly ugly building; I am usually OK with the modernized faux Victorian look, but this is horrendous. It looks really boxy and cheap.
    As for the yard set back, the neighbors have the right to be concerned. Who wants to have a three story building looming over one’s yard? Greater density makes sense in some locations; but mixed density can be a disaster.

  11. I remember coming across the drawings for neighborhood notification at one point and think the “historic” structure was to be moved from one side of the lot to the other and lifted…. which I seem to remember being done before it mysteriously disappeared.
    I’m all for getting rid of some of the ridiculous preservation requirements imposed on developers, but setbacks are there for a reason.

  12. wow, look at all the self reighteousness about something so important as…a yard. I think the residents will determine if they want 3.5 foot yards or not…when someone buys these or no one does. The city attorney does not give a rats a** about planning code violations so developers in this town ignore them all the time. It is profitable to do so.
    “A law is a law and must be followed” so says some of the commenters. Hah! Was that unintentional comedy? This city has near record homicides and ridiculous problems with graffiti and public drug use/dealing and anyone is supposed to care about a 3.5 foot yard. Please.
    By the way nyet, I’m not the one breaking the law you jackass. Someone will buy these and they will make an informed choice about whether they want a yard or not. It should be their choice and not yours.
    Finally, does anyone wonder why we see these types of buildings built? The City makes it so hard to build anything that we deserve the crap we get. Developers build to make money, not win awards for architecture.

  13. “Someone will buy these and they will make an informed choice about whether they want a yard or not. It should be their choice and not yours.”
    The point is not whether this new home has a 3.5″ yard but rather do the neighbors have a structure looming over their back yard. So your free-market test of whether or not these units sell does not really define justice here.
    I’m not saying 3 1/2″ yards are good or not, but the neighborhood should decide together and the rule should apply uniformly. Not just to those who want to obey the law.

  14. hmmm.anono STILL doesnt get it..plus he has big chip on his shoulder and potty mouth to boot.
    For the record: the planning and building codes currently in place determine what gets built and how it is constructed. it’s NOT up to the neighbors. rear yard setbacks are in place for a reason: to create livable spaces in this dense city, and to NOT allow anarchy by a greedy builder. The required 22′ rear yard allows for a reasonable amount of sunlight and air into adjacent properties.
    Yes, the buildings are truly ugly, and cheaply built. It’s just too bad the developer/owner/contractor is so morally bankrupt that all they care about are profits, and not contributing to the quality of life in that neighborhood.

  15. By the way nyet, I’m not the one breaking the law you jackass. Someone will buy these and they will make an informed choice about whether they want a yard or not. It should be their choice and not yours.
    Lovely. The developer is offering something illegal, but the onus is on the buyer to decide if they want it or not. And you complain about drug dealing?
    Are you the developer?

  16. don’t you all worry…these guys are going to loose their ass off trying to sell in this market. they’re screwed. get ready to see these as rentals, say 6 months from now….

  17. I am fully aware that the planning and building codes dictate what is supposed to be built. It’s just that these codes are largely irrelevant to most developers in this city because there is no enforcement of these rules. The planning department may issue a notice of violation, but the city attorney’s office has no interest in using its resources for a protracted fight with a developer over a yard and planning has no inherent enforcement power. Come on people, our S.F. gov’t barely functions and this type of stuff happens everywhere- it’s just that in Noe enough people pay attention that it comes to light.
    If 44YO hipster is right then we have our answer: building crap with no yard is a losing proposition. But I bet it won’t stop it from happening again.
    Lark: are you serious? This sight is ridiculous sometimes. If this happened in many other neighborhoods no one would care or pay any attention and I guess that is my primary complaint.
    Developers care about profits, period. We get the housing (and developers) we deserve by making it difficult to build and tolerating ineffective enforcement of planning code provisions.

  18. ^^not until the City issues fines and then goes to court and gets a judgment to enforce them. You need actual enforcement to prevent this sort of thing from happening. In other locales cities have been known to literally require the complete undoing of construction that violates these types of standards.

  19. It’s neighborhood-dependent (i.e. arbitrary). Construction still does get red-tagged, especially in areas with a lot of, um, interested neighbors.
    Ask anyone at DBI and Planning, and they’re very open about it.

  20. FWIW, we should make at least on thing clear, the developer is not responsible for the 3.5′ yard. This falls at the feet of whoever put in the one story, nonconforming (possibly historic, see post above) addition. (See this map for pre-development footprint). This really seems like a case of “neighborhood vigilantism” where those who live next door (or nearby) are dogging a (shoddy?) developer who deigned to construct 4 story condos (!) in their vicinity. Not to say they aren’t within their rights — as these type of battles take place over here all the time — but really, we’re talking about a a lot of effort exerted over one ~15×20 room (the second story over the footprint of the pre-existing addition which was [illegally] demolished).

  21. Scratch that, not sure if the the map shows the pre-existing addition or the developers 2 story one (I had assumed the map was older as it still had the garage out front which has since been removed). Clearly the fourth story is being constructed in the satellite photos.

  22. @EBGuy: This seems to be bigger than “neighborhood vigilantism.” If you read our first post on this property, you’ll see a lot of complaints. But notice that the complainant who was able to get a Notice of Violation is Larry Badiner – SF’s Zoning Administer – for “possibly transgressing the height limits of the neighborhood.” The other complaints are all for exceeding the approved work and destruction of neighbor’s property.
    Also, a view of this property from the west (Clipper is a good vantage) shows just how large the building are in relation to the others on the street. And you can see the flapping Tyvex, too. 🙂

  23. “possibly transgressing the height limits of the neighborhood.”
    Well, I’m not unreasonable. If the whole penthouse/attic/4th (or is the 5th) floor is in question, I’d say let the battle be joined…
    BTW, if this case was over here, the buildings would have been landmarked by now 🙂

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