As plugged-in people know, the Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA) filed for Discretionary Review (DR) in an attempt to block the proposed five-story building as rendered above from rising at 1050 Valencia Street.
A summary of the LHNA’s seven issues with the project which will be reviewed and ruled on by San Francisco’s Planning Commission this afternoon:
Issue #1: Design – The [LHNA] characterizes the project as “bulky” and “cookie‐cutter” in design, and does not enhance the visual environment.
Issue #2: Neighborhood Character ‐The [LHNA] is concerned over the proposed project’s impact upon the residential character of Hill Street and the mixed residential and commercial character of Valencia Street. The proposed project has 85‐ft of frontage along Hill Street and 39‐ft of frontage along Valencia Street.
Issue #3: Height, Scale and Form – The [LHNA] notes that the five‐story scale and form of the proposed project is not compatible with the two‐ and three‐story buildings on Hill and Valencia Streets.
Issue #4: Relationship to Liberty‐Hill Historic District & Nearby Historic Resources – The [LHNA] notes that the design of the proposed project does not enhance the visual and architectural character or relate to the nearby Liberty‐Hill Historic District and other historic resources identified in the South Mission Historic Resource Survey.
Issue #5: Noise – The [LHNA] expressed concern over the proposed project’s noise generated from the rear yard deck, which is provided at the same level as the dwelling units on the second floor, and new construction. In particular, the DR Requestor noted the impact upon its immediate neighbor, the Marsh Theater.
Issue #6: Dwelling Unit Mix – The [LHNA] is concerned over the number of dwelling units within the proposed project. As noted by the DR Requestor, the surrounding neighborhood is characterized as containing single family residences, duplexes, and a few small apartment buildings. The DR Requestor states that the proposed project would have at least double the units of any building on the street.
Further, the [LHNA] notes that the size of these new one- and two-bedroom dwelling units would be smaller than the single‐family residences along Hill Street; thus, these new units would not be family friendly due to their size.
Issue #7: Parking – The [LHNA] is concerned that the proposed project does not provide any off-street parking spaces. Further, the DR Requestor notes the dramatic reduction in public transit options within the neighborhood; thus, exacerbating an existing parking issue by introducing new dwelling units with no off‐street parking spaces.
A summary of the Project Sponsor’s responses to the LHNA’s seven issues:
Issue #1: Design – The Project Sponsor notes that this is a subjective opinion offered by the [LHNA]. The proposed project is in compliance with the Valencia St NCT Zoning District and 55‐X Height/Bulk District. The Project Sponsor notes that the proposed project has been substantially reduced in size, scale, and program from the original proposal examined in 2010. In detail, the proposed project has been downsized from 16,000 gsf to 10,711 gsf, and from sixteen (DU) dwelling units to twelve (12) dwelling units. These alterations were completed in response to the neighbors’ concerns about the height, bulk and density. Further, the project is code‐conforming and was redesigned to remove the need for a variance from the San Francisco Planning Code.
Issue #2: Neighborhood Character ‐The Project Sponsor notes that the project has been refined, so that the residential entry appears along Hill Street and the commercial entry appears along Valencia Street, as is consistent with the surrounding neighborhood. Further, the Project Sponsor notes that corner lots within the surrounding neighborhood are typically occupied by larger, commercial buildings, which do not provide the rear yard setbacks like the proposed project.
Issue #3: Height, Scale and Form – The Project Sponsor notes that the overall height is consistent with other examples within the neighborhood, since there are at least ten four‐ to five‐story buildings within a two‐block radius of the project site. In comparison to the original proposal, the Project Sponsor noted that the overall height has been reduced by the elimination of the roof deck, rooftop stair, elevator towers and rooftop penthouse. Along Hill Street, the five‐story portion of the proposed project only extends 65‐ft, so as to provide an appropriate and code‐complying rear yard setback.
Issue #4: Relationship to Liberty‐Hill Historic District & Nearby Historic Resources – The Project Sponsor stated that the Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the proposed project as part of the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plan Interim Permit Review Procedures for Historic Resources on May 19th, 2010 and June 15, 2010, and concluded that the environmental analysis conducted was adequate. To relate to adjacent buildings, the proposed project employs bay windows and concrete fiber lapping, which relate to the Victorian‐era bay windows and wood siding, which is common in the Liberty‐Hill Historic District.
Issue #5: Noise – The Project Sponsor noted that the project was refined to eliminate the roof deck and provide open space on the second floor and on a series of private decks on the upper floors. Further, residents would be governed by “good neighbor” policies as well as applicable laws, including the San Francisco Noise Ordinance.
Issue #6: Dwelling Unit Mix – The Project Sponsor notes that the proposed project meets the Planning Code requirements for dwelling unit mix. The Project Sponsor noted that in comparison to the original proposal the average dwelling unit is approximately 15 percent larger, and eight (8) studio apartments were eliminated from the proposed project.
Issue #7: Parking – The Project Sponsor notes that the proposed project is in alignment with Planning Code priorities and includes ample, secure bike parking for the new residents and retail employees, and is located on a bicycle transit corridor.
And the perspective of San Francisco’s Planning Department which recommends the Commission dismiss the Discretionary Review and approve the project as proposed:
Issue #1: Design – The Department is in general support of the proposed project. The Project Sponsor has responded to numerous comments from the community and the Planning Department, and has willingly adapted their design to meet the variety of comments. The Project Sponsor has also greatly reduced the mass and scale relative to the original proposal.
Issue #2: Neighborhood Character – The Department finds that the proposed project appropriately addresses the neighborhood context by providing the residential entry along Hill Street and the commercial entry along Valencia Street. As a mixed‐use building on a corner lot, the proposed project addresses both the mixed‐use context along Valencia Street with the new ground‐floor retail and landscape elements, as well as the finer grain residential context along Hill Street.
Issue #3: Height, Scale and Form – The Department is in support of the overall height, scale and form of the proposed project, since it is in alignment with the underlying zoning district and height/bulk limits.
Further, the proposed project provides an appropriate setback at the rear as well as code‐complying open space for the new residential units. Generally, corner buildings should be given more prominence in terms of height and scale.
Issue #4: Relationship to Liberty‐Hill Historic District & Nearby Historic Resources – Historic resource review does not fall under the jurisdiction of the Discretionary Review process, rather historic resource review of a project is evaluated under the California Quality Environmental Act (CEQA). An Environmental Evaluation Application was submitted for the project, and the Department published a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the proposed project. This document concluded that the existing building is not a historic resource, either individually or as part of a district.
Further, the proposed project would not have an impact upon the nearby Liberty‐Hill Historic District, since “the proposed project would not alter the extant “suburban” characteristics of either the district as a whole or the project block of Hill Street in particular, in that the project would leave intact the entirety of development both within the Liberty‐Hill Historic District and on the project block of Hill Street.”
Issue #5: Noise – Potential construction, traffic, operational and cumulative noise impacts were evaluated as part of the Environmental Evaluation Application and the published Mitigated Negative Declaration, and were found to be within acceptable levels. The proposed project is required to comply with the San Francisco Noise Ordinance, which is outlined in Article 20 of the San Francisco Police Code. With regard to construction noise, construction work is prohibited between 8:00pm and 7:00am, and certain impact tools (jackhammers, hoerammers, impact wrenches, etc.) are required to have intake and exhaust mufflers to the satisfaction of the Department of Public Works. Additional information is provided in the attached environmental document.
Issue #6: Dwelling Unit Mix – The Department finds that the proposed project meets the density requirements, as outlined in Planning Code Section 207.6. The project provides eight (8) two-bedroom dwelling units and four (4) one-bedroom dwelling units, and exceeds the requirement that no less than 40 percent of the total number of dwelling units shall contain at least two bedrooms.
Issue #7: Parking – Off-street parking for new dwelling units or commercial spaces is not required in the Valencia St NCT Zoning District. To promote public transit, the Valencia St NCT provides parking maximums rather than parking minimums. The proposed project provides one (1) off‐street freight loading parking space, and is in compliance with the requirements of Planning Code Sections 151.1 and 152. In addition, the proposed project is within a transit‐rich area, as evidenced by its proximity to the Muni J‐Line (approximately three blocks away), the BART station at 24th and Mission (approximately four blocks away), and the bus routes (14‐Mission and 49‐Van Ness/Mission) along Mission Street (one block away).
Further, Valencia Street is a well‐recognized bicycle‐friendly transit corridor. The project is in compliance with the Eastern Neighborhoods planning process which encourages the elimination of parking along transit corridors, thus furthering the City’s transit first policy.
Once again, while originally slated to be rentals, according to our source they’re now likely to be marketed and sold as condos, ten of which will be market rate. And the LHNA’s rendering of what they’d rather see be allowed to rise: