First proposed for development in 2006 but met with resistance, the plans to construct single family homes on three of the twelve vacant Bernal Heights lots between Brewster, Holliday and Joy Streets are back in front of the Planning Commission this week.
Brewster Street Site
As proposed, the three new homes to rise between 183 and 191 Brewster will be two stories at the street and step down the lot in the rear for a total of four stories at the rear, ranging from 2,165 to 2,231 square feet and with a single curb cut and two-car garage per home.
183-191 Brewster Street Rendering: Rear
The Bernal Heights East Slope Design Review Board continues to oppose the project, raising the following concerns and requesting a Discretionary Review:

1. Exceptional and extraordinary circumstances exist because of the unique location on an extremely steep hill with very narrow and winding Street access and inadequate infrastructure.

2. An early proposal by one owner for the twelve vacant lots on the parcel was for nine houses. CEQA should be applied to a parcel this large, even if the project before you is now piece-mealed down to three houses.

3. The impact on neighborhood character by the bulk of the buildings which will be five stories high on the east side, towering over other houses on the block.

4. The removal of street parking on Brewster Street affects houses on the block which have no street for parking.

5. The insufficient infrastructure that makes emergency vehicle-access a life-safety issue. And the proven insufficient hydrant water pressure that was apparently not upgraded when other street work was done several years ago. The City street construction project was restricted to only serving the existing houses, thus the narrow (21-feet wide) street.

Based on the Planning Department’s analysis and consultation with the Fire Department, however, the Department recommends San Francisco’s Planning Commission approve the plans for the three new homes as proposed, and perhaps paving the way for others.
Discretionary Review Analysis: 183-191 Brewster Street [sfplanning.org]
San Francisco Planning Commission Agenda: November 3, 2011 [sf-planning.org]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by LD

    McMansions on Brewster! Terrible design and hideous ion every way.

  2. Posted by LD

    Too bad the Commission is pro-developer to a fault. Something quite nice could be developed there with a little creative thinking. It’s not often that there’s multiple adjacent lots that can lend themselves to an out of the box solution, rather than a version of the Richmond Specials or Live Work lofts that have blemished so much of San Francisco over the years.

  3. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Objections this varied can only mean one thing … someone’s view will be blocked.

  4. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Too bad the Commission is pro-developer to a fault.
    I doubt there’s a builder in town who would agree with that statement. The Comissions is democratic to a fault. And that’s its chief fault, period.

  5. Posted by Dan

    These are hardly McMansions at about 2200 square feet each. Yes, neighbors’ bay views will be blocked, and there will be a few more neighbors competing for street parking. Otherwise these are standard Bernal hillside homes, with no reason for disapproval. As a matter of fact, there ought to be a 24 unit condo building on the 12 lots, so the neighbors are getting off lucky. Perhaps the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center (developers of affordable housing) can buy up the 12 lots and build housing for parolees!

  6. Posted by sfrenegade

    I doubt there’s a builder in town who would agree with that statement. The Comissions is democratic to a fault. And that’s its chief fault, period.
    Agree with fluj here. Hope they take the department’s recommendation here.
    Also agree with TMOD on this — it’s gotta be about views, because these are pretty random and mostly frivolous from the report.
    I believe LD is a prior poster here and not just a random one-off, but “2,165 square feet to 2,231 square feet” does not a McMansion make. The houses meet residential planning guidelines, the geotechnical analysis was done (and I believe included in the PDF), the sewer line was already replaced, the water pressure has already been tested (again, looks like it’s in the PDF), SFFD has already been consulted, and the houses step down from the street, which is why they aren’t as big as one would think.
    The not enough parking on Brewster thing shouldn’t really be considered. The people who live on the Joy Steps knew they were living on the Joy Steps. The curb cuts are strategically placed to minimize parking loss (loss of 1 spot for 2 of the houses it says). By the way, the Bernal Special Use District is what requires 2 off-street parking spaces per house. (funny, the cars that they picked to demonstrate how big the on-street parking would be: “For reference, a 2012 Toyota Prius is 14 feet 8 inches in length, and a 2012 Subaru Outback is 15 feet 9 inches in length.”).
    I’m surprised by the number of typos from the department, including one place where it says “pubic open space” when recommended that neighbors should buy some the open space under Prop J if they want it to be public.

  7. Posted by S.W.

    No wonder… if you check the location on Google Street View, you clearly see that it’s the End of Joy.

  8. Posted by 47yo hipster

    Boys, girls…can you say the word NIMBY!
    Bunch of pathetic crybabies. Hope they eventually build out all those lots.

  9. Posted by Mole Man

    This is like some kind of joke: So, steep hill on a winding road, insufficient infrastructure, and loss of street parking walk into a bar …
    Loss of street parking?! Really going with that? Maybe additional curb cuts threatening pedestrian safety would work better, but there is no curb. Loss of street parking it is, then. Someone has to keep the City staff entertained.

  10. Posted by gldlx

    wow. a lot of venom here. makes me think y’all are shills of the developer.
    dismissing the current homeowners as “crybabies” and their arguments as merely “NIMBY” ignores that these neighbors are the only people given formal notice of the development by the Commission/Developer. who else SHOULD be rallying? if the answer is “no one,” please see my lead paragraph.
    i respect everyone’s right to continue the anonymous online grouching, but i hope all homeowners care enough about their neighborhood to challenge the continued development of one of the few open spaces we have left in the city. go bernal.

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