CFAH


A plugged-in tipster provides the full scoop from last night’s Planning Commission meeting with respect to the proposed development of 1960-1998 Market Street. Keep in mind that a “Negative” Declaration is actually a positive thing when it comes to development.

The appeal of the Negative Declaration was denied, the project itself is continued to May 14th, and the parking ratio variance from the Market Octavia ratio of 0.5 will probably be denied, per Planning staff recommendation. The Commission did ask for the following:

(1) an increase in the minimum distance to the building behind from the proposed 12’6, (2) a matching light-well to the existing light-well on an adjacent building (I believe it is indeed legal), (3) less height on Buchanan, and (4) for the architect to solicit additional input from the Duboce Triangle Neighbors on the design of the building.

The Duboce Triangle Neighbors claim they appreciate modern architecture and they count several design professionals amongst them. The reveals shown in the latest renderings [SocketSite] posted were their idea.

The commissioners recognized the site is too tight for setbacks, so any redesign will probably be limited to refinement of the current design. And not a single person present asked for bay windows, stucco, Victorian or Spanish design. Indeed, everyone expressed support for the modern design.

Cheers!
Now THAT’s The (An) Arquitectonica Design For Market At Buchanan [SocketSite]
Movement On Up To 115 Housing Units At Market And Buchanan? [SocketSite]
The Designs And Details For 1960-1998 Market (At Buchanan) [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Tweety

    Yay! Now let’s see the M-O Plan implemented and constructed!

  2. Posted by whatever

    I think the planning staff is really pushing modern designs in this area. I’ve seen sketches of a proposed project further along Market and it has a lot of glass.

  3. Posted by 45yo hipster

    Good news indeed. we need some bolder architecture in SF, and this area of market is ideal for pushing the envelope of design.
    LOL- bay windows and stucco! Anybody photoshop experts with a bit of time on their hands? I’d love to see the above design with some beige, stucco bay windows ;~)

  4. Posted by kthnxybe

    hehe, 45 yo hipster, I will be checking this thread in hopes that someone took you up on your challenge.
    And I agree, this does sound like good news, a good start at sprucing up that area.

  5. Posted by Turin

    Great news. I really like the look of this building and would love to see it built.

  6. Posted by Drew

    Wow, it’s rare to see, or even be able to easily comprehend a triple-negative. So basically, the request to block contruction was denied, right?
    Very impressive bureauspeak.
    [Editor’s Note: Correct (on all counts).]

  7. Posted by Rillion

    From the prior thread: “The proposed building would include approximately 108 condominium units, 86 off-street parking spaces”
    From above: “the parking ratio variance from the Market Octavia ratio of 0.5 will probably be denied, per Planning staff recommendation.”
    So how many spaces is the Planning staff recommending? Less then the 86? A ratio of .5 would be 54 for the residents but would there be any for the commercial space?

  8. Posted by anon

    The planning staff isn’t “recommending” any number. The developer is allowed 0.5 spots per unit, per the Market/Octavia plan. The developer was asking for a variance. The planning staff is denying that variance.

  9. Posted by EH

    45yo: for comparison simply refer to the lame building that rose from the ashes of the taco bell at mission & valencia.

  10. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    This is a case in which I wish that the neighborhood could keep their hands out of the design process and let the architects implement what they think works best.
    Any good professional should be open to suggestions from laypeople though I certainly hope that in the end the architects get the final word.

  11. Posted by BobN

    How many folks who can afford these condos don’t own a car?
    Other cities discourage car use by providing excellent transit AND a place to let your vehicle gather dust, underground and out of sight.

  12. Posted by BobN

    (1) an increase in the minimum distance to the building behind from the proposed 12’6, (2) a matching light-well to the existing light-well on an adjacent building (I believe it is indeed legal), (3) less height on Buchanan, and (4) for the architect to solicit additional input from the Duboce Triangle Neighbors on the design of the building.
    More “compromise” for the sake of compromise?
    Hey, it’s only (someone else’s) money.

  13. Posted by anon

    How many folks who can afford these condos don’t own a car?
    Probably the same people who buy older units without parking each year.
    If parking restrictions make the units less valuable, they will sell for less, and the ones with parking will sell for more. See how that works?

  14. Posted by Joe

    If I had a dollar for every time it pleased a planning commissioner in this town to issue the subjective decree of “Less height!” I’d be a millionaire.
    How about LESS hot air, armchair critiquing, and neighborhood design by number?

  15. Posted by BobN

    Probably the same people who buy older units without parking each year.
    I see you didn’t answer the question.
    I understand that not having a parking place will make half of these units less expensive, but even at the lower price point, most buyers WILL HAVE A CAR. You’ll find them circling for parking.

  16. Posted by Rillion

    Fine nitpick on the terms I used but at least answer the question. At .5 the residents get 54 spots, how many spots does the MO plan give to the commerical units? .5 each or is it a different amount? 0? 1? 2?

  17. Posted by invented

    “less height on Buchanan”
    Natch.
    FOH
    fear of height.
    It just doesn’t end.
    Any 3 bedrooms for families? We want large spaces. Or is this catering to transitional housing for the temp society. OK on the design.

  18. Posted by flaneur

    Milkshake – Has it occurred to you that perhaps the professional’s hands are tied by a client who is demanding more units than the site can fit? I understand it is how architecture works.

  19. Posted by Mole Man

    Reduced height on Buchanan doesn’t make any sense to me. All around that area Mint Hill has buildings that are taller and steeper than this and seem even more so because of the angle of the hill. That will rip a half dozen units off of the project at least, and mess up the nice constrasts set up by the submitted design. What a shame!

  20. Posted by Dave

    I was at the commission hearing last night, and I don’t recall hearing any serious discussion of less height, at least not by the commissioners. There was talk about pulling the building back (and adding a lightwell) to reduce the impact on light and air for neighboring buildings, but I didn’t hear any instruction to the project sponsor to chop off floors.
    However, they were asked to better adhere to the Market and Octavia Plan Design Principles, which includes the idea that SF’s topography should be emphasized (which the existing design fails to do) – so that could result in some stepping down along Buchanan, though I doubt it.
    Some of the neighbors behind were arguing against the height, but that lot has been zoned for 80′ height (now 85) for decades, and I don’t think those arguments carried much weight.

  21. Posted by anon

    I understand that not having a parking place will make half of these units less expensive, but even at the lower price point, most buyers WILL HAVE A CAR. You’ll find them circling for parking.
    And? Then they will do one of three things – continue to circle for parking each day, rent or buy a parking spot at another building, or decide that owning a car in this neighborhood just isn’t worth the hassle. Since they will also be putting stress on the rest of the neighborhood, the same options will come up for everyone else in the neighborhood without a parking spot. That’s kind of the point. Looking at census data, we know that availability of parking (not income) is what drives auto ownership rates in SF. Increasing population more than available parking decreases the amount of available parking to each person, which will…

  22. Posted by anon

    Rillion, Apologies, I didn’t read your post close enough. There will be nine parking spots not reserved for residents. They were hoping for a variance to allow .75 spots per unit, in addition to the nine allowed for the commercial. The commercial amount was within the limits allowed from the Market/Octavia plan based on the square footage of the retail.

  23. Posted by kathleen

    I live in the neighborhood, only could afford my place because it had no parking. Sat on the market for months with no one wanting to buy it because it had no parking and had rent control. So I am someone who parks on the street. I look at developments like this with horror. It means street parking will get uglier. As it is now, I can not use my car after 5:30pm because I will never find parking. If they build one and it pushes 50 – 70 more cars onto the street, because most families own two cars, not one, the competition for street parking will become as a bad as china/nob. If the city wants everyone to use transit, they should make incentives for more off street parking. There is not enough street parking now, and depsite these designs, people are not going to give up their cars if they have kids or animals. And most first time buyets want at least one, if not both.

  24. Posted by anon

    Let’s talk in reality here, kathleen. Most households in neighborhoods such as yours do not have two cars. That data is readily available from census data. It’s called self-selection. If people value easy cheap parking, they’ll self select to move to other neighborhoods and cities. If people value walkable amenities and access to an underground transit line to downtown, they’ll self select to move here.
    If you need a car so much on a daily basis, and it is such a chore to find parking, I’d recommend looking at a different neighborhood. You sound like another case of someone in SF who wants to have their cake (walkable neighborhood) and eat it too (cheap, plentiful parking).

  25. Posted by ParkingKarma

    Anon – why should it be the City that determines which neighborhoods anyone gets to live in? There’s no incentive for this development to provide “cheap” parking – it would be at the market rate, whatever that market will bear. What social harm comes from allowing a building to contain underground parking? There’s no reason (other than socio-political engineering) to deny someone cake and the chance to eat it.

  26. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Of course there is, because someone ends up paying for all the “free” parking that you think is your birthright. You apparently haven’t been paying attention to the discussion, because until very recently developers were forced to build parking for each unit, and they still are forced to in most SF neighborhoods.
    I think the ideal solution would be to unbundle the parking from the condo costs. For those who don’t understand what that means, this would mean that the developer would sell the housing separately from the parking, a la carte. Since parking does have other costs that are borne by The City as a whole, there should probably be some kind of traffic impact fee, to support the extra cars this parking would put on the road. When you build a new development that puts an extra load on the sewer system, you have to pay for that too, so this is not unreasonable. I have no idea what that traffic impact fee should be though.
    The Devil is probably in the details here.

  27. Posted by sf

    Speaking of socio- political engineering, isn’t that what gave us public transportation?

  28. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    No, originally transit systems were mostly started by private companies. During the Progressive Era (mostly) they were made public utilities.
    This is one of many areas where publically run systems were more efficient than privately run ones.

  29. Posted by curious

    “This is one of many areas where publically run systems were more efficient than privately run ones.”
    ^^^Is this true? I have no opinion on this history, but I do know that in Southern California, private companies had built the LARGEST rapid transit rail network in the U.S. at one point of time. This may be a shock to Bay Areans, but L.A. had a huge rail network including a large central main subway terminal long before San Francisco. It was the nation’s largest rail mass transit network. Of course, all of the Los Angeles system was destroyed, but was this not all private, inexpensive and very “rapid” in terms of time/distance travel?

  30. Posted by anon

    ^^^A private company then bought that system and dismantled it. Sounds to me like private enterprise could no longer make it work.
    ParkingKarma – Read my posts in another thread. The city has the “right” to impose parking restrictions because the city owns and operates the road network. Added stress on the network (through more parking, thus more cars) causes the network to bog down, and negatively affects ALL other users of the network (and affects the competitiveness of the city because of increased commute times for cars, buses, trains, etc). Thus, the city has a responsibility to try and maintain certain levels of service on that network for the current users. It’s no different than the tactics used by AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, PG&E, or any other private network operator (roads, gas, electricity, internet all operate on a network based system where overloads affect all users, not just new ones)

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