July 28, 2011

Continued Discretionary Review Irony And The Revised Designs

309-311 Eureka Revised Rendering

As plugged-in people know, the Planning Commission postponed their vote on the proposed project at 309-311 Eureka in May, raising concerns about "the compatibility of the proposed new structure with the existing neighborhood character" and "the impact of the proposed project to light and air for neighbors lower down the hill to the north."

The Commission made several recommendations at the hearing to help guide the Project Sponsor in making revisions to the proposal, including:
• Consider reducing the mass of the proposed new structure at the rear in order to lessen the impact to light and air for neighbors north of the subject property along 20th Street;
• Reconfigure the roof form and façade treatment in order to make the new structure more contextual;
• Examine methods of reducing the overall height of the proposed new structure.
The Commission also asked that the Project Sponsor continue to work with the [Discretionary Review] Requestors to try to come to a compromise.
In response to the DR Requestors’ concerns, the proposed project has been significantly modified since its original proposal. One garage door has been removed, and two off‐street parking spaces are now accessible through a single garage door that measures 10’ in width. The fourth floor has been set back 15’ from the front building wall, and the overall height of the structure has been reduced. Setbacks at the north and south property lines have been added, as well as at the rear.

In addition, the proposed building has been reconfigured "using more traditional building elements such as an angled bay and sloped roof," the overall height has been lowered 14", and the overall "bulk" of the building has been reduced 25% from original plans.

In the eyes of the neighboring objectors, however, it’s not good enough.

The DR applicants regret to inform you that our efforts to reach a compromise with the Project Sponsor were unsuccessful and we were unable to reach agreement on a revised design. The DR applicants put forth 2 designs dated June 1, 2011 that addressed their concerns but the Project Sponsor rejected these designs because they were authored by the DR applicants.

309-311 Eureka: Neighbor's Proposed Alternatives

That being said, the Planning Department recommends the Planning Commission approve the Project Sponsor’s revised design as proposed this afternoon.

Once again, as the site currently appears:

311-313 Eureka

And as was previously proposed:

311 Eureka Rendering

An Architect’s Nightmare And Discretionary Review Irony [SocketSite]

First Published: July 28, 2011 12:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I wonder if the neighbor is gloating over his victory over the proposed massing and garage door.

Posted by: EH at July 28, 2011 12:04 PM

"Opposing the project, however, are a couple of neighbors, including architect George Hauser whose stated issues include the potential "demolition of a historically significant building," a new building inconsistent "with the character of the neighborhood," and the impact on "a significant tree."

Look who is calling the kettle black! Good ol George. This guy was a complete @@@hole to our neighborhood in SOMA when he refused to take care of one of his many properties he had purchased at the height of the market, then lost. His attitude, to put it bluntly was, go @@@@ yourselves.

Karma man finally caught up with him.

Posted by: karma at July 28, 2011 1:32 PM

Three cheers for contextual mediocrity!

Posted by: Snark17 at July 28, 2011 2:21 PM

why does the neighbor have any say in this? I say raze his house.

Posted by: shabaz at July 28, 2011 3:11 PM

The old new design was a little bit boring and the new new design is a lot boring. Also, that is a terrible neighbor. I hope the sisters do sell their flats - to young families who encourage all their children to take up musical instruments, preferably tubas, violins and drums.

Posted by: kthnxybe at July 28, 2011 3:14 PM

My reading of this:

"Waah! I want my window to stay uncovered! Waah! I want the house next to me to stay small because for some unstated reason I think I own the air rights above all buildings in the city to preserve my precious views now that I upscaled my home! Waaah!"

perhaps I'm wrong.

My favorite part of this whole boondoggle:

the overall height has been lowered 14"

perhaps it's different in architecture, but in medicine 14" means 14 INCHES.
wow... what a design change. they shaved 14 whole inches off this property! hahahaha.

if it were me I would have RAISED the building 14 FEET and then turned this into a fetish dungeon

also: what is the reason for keeping that bump out garage? is it a "historic garage" or something?

Posted by: ex SF-er at July 28, 2011 3:23 PM

Is this garage part of the property? From what I can see it belongs to the building at the corner.

I think it's a safe bet to say that this garage is a guarantee that you'll keep your views in the foreseeable future...

Posted by: lol at July 28, 2011 4:08 PM

My reading of this:

"Waah! I want my window to stay uncovered! Waah! I want the house next to me to stay small because for some unstated reason I think I own the air rights above all buildings in the city to preserve my precious views now that I upscaled my home! Waaah!"

My reading as well.

I loved the letter's statement that the reason the make-it-smaller proposals were rejected was "because they were authored by the DR applicants." What was the point of throwing that in there -- it's obviously false (they rejected it because they want a bigger house) and not actually intended to persuade; it just makes the neighbors look like even bigger assholes who couldn't resist expressing some spite and self-pity (which I guess is the answer to my question).

Posted by: shza at July 28, 2011 4:15 PM

I would recommend that the sponsor go back to the original version and fight it at the board of appeals: the uphill neighbor clearly has no intention of accepting any compromise where he loses his lot-line-window-views (from appearances these are one of the most valuable features of his property) and he would lose at appeal. He has already lost any credit for "good-neighborliness" he might have started from so there is no down-side there in having to live next door to him. Caving in to pressure from planning staff (who are caught in a hard place trying to broker a compromise) to preserve his views clearly sets a dangerous precedent that needs to be ruled on by Bd of Appeals.

Posted by: BobTheBuilder at July 28, 2011 4:17 PM

The 14" drop MUST have been to the very bottom of Gripey's lot-line windows.

Posted by: EH at July 28, 2011 4:56 PM

Are not lot line windows illegal/unpermitted?

Posted by: Marten at July 28, 2011 5:15 PM

"Are not lot line windows illegal/unpermitted?"

I believe that they are OK so long as they meet code for lot line windows which has extra fire standards. I'm not sure what happens when the neighbor builds up to their entitlement and covers those windows though. Does the window need to be replaced with a normal wall? I'd want to do that anyways because a window view of a wall two inches away is pretty bleak.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at July 28, 2011 5:35 PM

lol@theneighbor. This is great.

Posted by: lolcat_94123 at July 28, 2011 5:38 PM

How awful for the people trying to build. Who the eff is the neighbor that he gets to submit designs for the property? What an asshol* And the planning commission is setting a dangerous precedent by caving

Posted by: joe at July 28, 2011 6:32 PM

@M of D.: When he renovated his house to take advantage of the views over his neighbor, Hauser signed a waiver on the windows, promising to close them up if the neighbors elected to expand into their permitted volume. It's one of the most galling aspects of his Discretionary Review.

Posted by: Rocco at July 28, 2011 6:57 PM

Did you know that the name "Hauser" in klingon means bad architect?

Posted by: Modernqueen at July 28, 2011 7:59 PM

Its no longer throwing up a little in my mouth. Its throwing up a lot at my voter ballot.

How in the hell did we get to this place -- so fast. I wonder if when the time comes to trim my trees forebark, whether a federal judge will intervene on my behalf?

Likely not.

Planning is unaccountable.

Posted by: Stucco-sux at July 28, 2011 8:57 PM

I'm fond of the idea floated in the last post on this that the sisters should DR every single project that schnook gets hired on to from now until judgement day.

Normally, I would find such a suggestion vindictive, hypocritical and unacceptably poor conduct. In this case, I make an exception. Hell, I might chuck in a few bucks to help offset the fees.

Posted by: justme at July 28, 2011 9:04 PM

I'm fond of the idea floated in the last post on this that the sisters should DR every single project that schnook gets hired on to from now until judgement day.

Best use of flashmobs yet. A snowstorm of separate DRs.

Posted by: EH at July 28, 2011 10:12 PM

It doesn't look like his tenants think too much of him either:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/hauser-architects-san-francisco

"In addition, the floors in my apartment are not properly sealed and the cupboards are shoddy. The construction is just bad. I wouldn't trust Hauser with anything. Hauser is a skeezy skanky icky man."

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at July 28, 2011 11:20 PM

There are written rules. Many many ones.

You submit a project respecting those rules

Why would a neighbor have the right to tell you what you can or cannot do?

Posted by: lol at July 29, 2011 7:56 AM

Mediocrity triumphs, once again.

Posted by: zzzzzzzz at July 29, 2011 9:14 AM

anyone know what happened at the hearing?

[Editor's Note: It would appear the Planning Commission voted in favor of the revised design.]

Posted by: ryan at July 29, 2011 1:26 PM

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