November 16, 2012

Accusations Of Obfuscation And Delay (And Planning's Playing Along)

As we first reported this past September with respect to the Academy of Art’s ongoing disregard for San Francisco laws, codes and ordinances:

In addition to their regularly scheduled meeting this week, San Francisco's Planning Commission will be quietly conferencing behind closed doors with legal counsel to once again discuss "whether to initiate litigation with respect to the Academy of Art University."
Having long ignored city laws, codes and ordinances with respect to the Academy's conversion of numerous San Francisco buildings to dormitory and classroom use without proper approvals or permits, last year the City considered legal action but failed to act.
According to the Office of the City Attorney, litigation is anticipated with the City as Plaintiff. Will this be the year that the City actually takes a (or the) stand?

This week, in a letter addressed to Planning Director John Rahaim, City Attorney Dennis Herrera has accused the Academy of continuing to engage "in a game of obfuscation and delay" with the city's Planning Department playing right along.

"I find it inexplicable that despite the (academy's) repeated disregard of you, your department, and the laws you are charged to enforce, you would allow the (academy) to continue to violate the law without consequence," wrote Herrera.

That being said, the anticipated litigation appears to have been delayed as well.

Academy Of Art University Back In The City's Crosshairs [SocketSite]
Academy of Art About To Learn A Hard Lesson (Or Not)? [SocketSite]
And The Artists Shall Inherit Acquire San Francisco [SocketSite]
Planning Closes Its Doors To Discuss Academy of Art Litigation [SocketSite]
Academy of Art land use violations ignored [SFGate]

First Published: November 16, 2012 10:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

That this story continues on and on is a testament to political payoffs. The Academy is known to be a factory with no standing in the actual art community. It has forced long time existing tenants out of locations. Rules are in place for a reason. Enforce them!!!

Posted by: Marten at November 16, 2012 12:02 PM

I hope they throw the book at them.

Posted by: Michael E at November 16, 2012 12:04 PM

We should never underestimate the importance of the Academy of Art to our ever growing needs for educated and competent barristas.

Kidding. The art world is a really tough nut to crack into. Good luck kids. Beware of the sharks along the way and the Academy of Art in particular.

Posted by: lol at November 16, 2012 12:11 PM

Academy of Art brings education and jobs to the city. The bureaucrats should stop attempting to use it to feed their already full bellies.

Posted by: unwarrantedinlaw at November 16, 2012 12:37 PM

"... and some are more equal than others."
The Academy has long been more equal, and most people I know expect it to stay that way. Nothing much will happen.

Posted by: conifer at November 16, 2012 12:45 PM

Who are the most likely corrupt players in this obviously gamed situation?

Posted by: EH at November 16, 2012 2:06 PM

I recently visited Savannah where the Savannah College of Art and Design had fixed up all kinds of run down buildings. It immediately reminded me of what the Acacdemy of Art has done in SF. Barrista school or not, I think the Academy of Art is a positive part of SF's urban fabric, and certainly more far more positive than the Hestor-style nitpickers who want to drag it down.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at November 16, 2012 3:09 PM

It comes down to rule of law. If you don't have it you have cronyism. The Art Academy should be required to follow the same laws as everybody else.

Posted by: lyqwyd at November 16, 2012 3:18 PM

It may be a "more far more positive" part of the urban fabric but why can't it play by the rules of the game. I wasn't given any free pass by the planning department and I am part of the positive urban fabric. It should show what a positive it is by the example it sets.

zzzzzzzz is your last name Stephens.

Posted by: sunset guy at November 16, 2012 3:19 PM

Academy of Art should just submit for permits on all the things they have done and then sit back wait for the process to take forever, when it gets close to them having to pay for the conversions etc. they can DR themselves, then demand an EIR and then maybe claim their building might be historic. By the time the whole process is ready to get reviewed I am sure the city will have decided that some of the areas are going to get rezoned or have some area plan underway and they can just start all over. At that point they request a vertical addition of enough height to shade a park.

They can be attempting to comply and it could take a decade.

Posted by: sparky*b at November 16, 2012 3:52 PM

Normally if you are out of compliance you are fined until you make the necessary changes to come into compliance.

Posted by: lyqwyd at November 16, 2012 4:10 PM

This is a classic example of our corrupt City at work

Posted by: sfjohn at November 16, 2012 4:56 PM

I like it when the city attorney calls the planners vajayjays.

Posted by: soccermom at November 16, 2012 9:19 PM

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