CFAH

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

A plugged-in reader reports with respect to the proposed five-story development at 1050 Valencia Street which the Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association opposed, the Planning Department supported, and San Francisco’s Planning Commission has now approved with their own list of suggested revisions for the building’s design:

“project approved 8-0 last night with some tedious revisions suggested by the Commission, they liked the original square bay version (with bays that didn’t comply with the Planning Code – too close together or something) and they want the project sponsor to consider re-submitting their original request for a rear yard variance to fill in the building at the rear and step the building down at the top, something the architect proposed from day one and everyone shot down…”

The square version from which the rounded design above evolved:

1050%20Valencia%20Square.jpg

No word on whether or not the Commission is busy working on a rendering of their own.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by sparky*b

    The planning commission asked the sponsor to get a variance for a project that met code! That is so screwed up; asked them to take longer, go through another hearing, do something they know the hill street neighbors will hate all to step down the height, which is to code.
    This is what happened to 8washington. They proposed 8 stories, were told why don’t you go lower at the Embarcadero and get a variance for a higher part in the back. They did what they were asked and look at what it got them.
    Wow, that is just unbelievable.
    On a side note, the planning code and the bays it requires is part of the reason for all these cookie cutter shapes. It should be revised to say how much bay a floor plate can have and give more design leeway.

  2. Posted by jose

    totally agree with that sparky*b, in fact, the architect brought that up at the hearing and the Planning Director agreed that that section of the code is outdated and needs revisions. Its a throw back to the days of forced victorian mimicry.

  3. Posted by asiagoSF

    [full transcript of the meeting]
    need to jump down to the Valencia section to skip the first 6 hours of hearing

  4. Posted by futurist

    I’m not sure if the Planning Code “requires” bay windows; I find nothing in the code that says that; and we see other new projects going up in the Upper Market district without bays.
    I think when bays are proposed they must meet the criteria of dimensions, depth and adjacent clearances. I would also like to see those requirements broadened to allow for more design openness with bay windows. They are not always a bad thing; they do add floor area, and they can enliven a facade.

  5. Posted by Cade

    A bit new to all this. The project was approved so can the owners get going straight away?
    The article said “tedious revisions suggested by the Commission,”. Does that mean they are only suggestons and can be ignored?

  6. Posted by Turin

    Right on, sparky. Well said.

  7. Posted by inclinejj

    Does anyone remember what Valencia Street looked like 20 years ago?
    Big improvement!!

  8. Posted by sparky*b

    futurist,
    I noticed how badly I expressed the bay window thought after I wrote it. Of course bays are not required. What I meant to say is that the bay window size/shape/spacing requirements in the code lead to this type of plan.

  9. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Here you go Brahma more nonsense from planning. No wonder everything is so expensive here.

  10. Posted by futurist

    @ sparky: Yea, I hear you. I agree. The current planning code dimensional requirements for bay windows are way too narrow. They need to open up the requirements and allow for more creativity.

  11. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    NoeValleyJim: point taken.
    For me the key takeaway from this story is that the developer redesigned it so that they didn’t need a variance, and got it approved. The commissioners are free to make all the helpful/unhelpful suggestions they want; if the project meets code and the developer sticks with what they produced, the developer can just refuse to have another round of meetings.
    I haven’t seen a whole lot of projects that take that approach. Kudos to Shizuo Holdings Trust for taking a principled approach and standing their ground.

  12. Posted by new

    I don’t completely understand all of this, so someone with more knowledge please explain it to me.
    If a developer/architect etc, designs a building on a piece of land that meets all of the zoning/codes etc… shouldn’t they be able to build their building? What is the point of having all of the regs, if in the end there have to be multiple changes and hearings?
    As to community complaints; shouldn’t there be just one review and ruling within a small timeframe and then that’s it? Why do others have so much power over other peoples property?

  13. Posted by Guest666

    “Why do others have so much power over other peoples property?”
    You must be very new to SF.

  14. Posted by citicritter

    Who cares about the inconsistencies and vagaries of a lame planning department, and the strategies developers can or can’t use to get around them, when the resulting architecture simply sucks ass!
    Both these designs could barely be worse in terms of their complete lack of architectural merit or relevance in the 21st century – the results (yet again) are just adding more incredibly mediocre building stock to this city!

  15. Posted by Ubringliten

    Why do buildings in SF are so squarish? We need more round curves to buildings, more diversity.

  16. Posted by anon

    Who cares about the inconsistencies and vagaries of a lame planning department, and the strategies developers can or can’t use to get around them, when the resulting architecture simply sucks ass!
    Um, me? I’d much, much rather have more housing that’s affordable for the middle class than have some fancy looking buildings. We already build some good looking stuff each year, it’s fine if most is boring.

  17. Posted by citicritter

    above commenter: that’s exactly the attitude that keeps the mediocre crap flowing, and the bar set so low in SF…btw, you don’t need “some fancy looking buildings” to have good architectural design, you can just have good architectural design – there are many many examples of this in other locales.

  18. Posted by anon

    Still not seeing the problem. Most buildings are boring. I simply don’t care about making all building fancy.

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