Following seven months of debate, proffers and delay, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has rejected the requested Discretionary Review (DR) that would have required a redevelopment of the under-permitted designer home at 3847 18th Street.
Purchased for $1.5 million in August of 2014, when bank-owned, two legal units and partially tenant occupied, the “classic Victorian” at 3847-3849 18th Street, half a block from San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park, has since been rather spectacularly “reimagined for 21st-century living, adding contemporary and high-tech conveniences behind a timeless façade” and returned to the market listed for $11.85 million early last year.
Highlights of the reimagined home, the list price for which has since been reduced to $9.4 million, include “designer living and dining areas, an open concept chef’s kitchen, a skylit family room, three bedroom suites, and walls of glass overlooking a bright atrium,” with an outdoor kitchen and “a 1,300-square-foot guest level with a private entrance, a four-car garage, and elevator access to four of five levels.”
But according to a series of complaints and requested Discretionary Review (DR), the plans for the reimagining “were submitted [to Planning] in a manner that presented all scopes of work presented as being exempt from Section 311 neighborhoods notification requirements, in some cases by not correctly portraying the existing conditions,” and the development far exceeded the scope of what had been permitted, including the elimination of two equal-sized units (and an illegal third unit as well).
While the requestor of the DR has requested that the Planning Commission order the developer, Dawson & Clinton, to return the building to its original configuration as a multi-unit building, “as many other similar properties have been required to do by the Planning Commission,” San Francisco’s Planning Department is recommending that the team be allowed to legalize its work, having identified the following list of under-permitted changes which have been performed:
- Two-story horizontal addition at rear SE corner of the building
- Enclosure of existing lightwells (east and west sides) at levels 1 & 3
- Enlargement of the existing lightwell (west) at levels 2 & 3
- Increase the habitable square footage of the attic space
- Addition of a bay window at front of the basement level, located beneath the front stairs
- Front addition to the garage to align with the front property line
- A 40 SF roof deck at the rear of level 3
- The combining of two “exempt” dormers into one single dormer
- A 11′-4″ (max height) wall along the east side property line
- A 4′-8″ white laminated glass guardrail/privacy screen along the east side property line
- A new steel garage door and pedestrian gate.
- Retaining walls and guardrails at front property line
- Cumulative excavation for all work performed, estimated at 882 Cubic Yards
In addition, the city’s Residential Design Advisory team has requested that the front gable window be reduced to match the proportions of the original window, the front entry way be “solidified,” and the window design of the building’s façade be maintained.
As such, while Dawson & Clinton will be required to return the gable window to its original size, the other under-permitted work and changes will effectively be legalized pending a requested Variance from existing rear yard and front setback requirements which were violated, a variance which is likely to be granted by San Francisco’s Zoning Administrator.
And while the Planning Commissions’ decision did include a finding to recognize an offer from the project team to gift the city $250,000 in lieu of having to add a third unit back to the building, and reject the requested DR, keep in mind that said offer isn’t legally binding or enforceable. We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.