April 21, 2015

This Week At The Planning Commission: The Evolution Of 24th St Continues

A look at Noe Valley projects in front of the Planning Commission this week. Information is provided by the Planning Commission, and taken from its published agenda. All hearings are on Thursday at 1:30pm, Room 400 in City Hall.


April 23, 2015

3822 24TH STREET
- north side of 24th Street between Church and Vicksburg Streets; Lot 018 in Assessor’s Block 3651 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Planning Code Section 303, 317 and 728.37, to allow demolition of an existing two-story single-family dwelling. The proposed new construction includes a five-story-over-basement, five-unit residential with ground-floor commercial building, with five bicycle parking spaces. The building will be approximately 45 feet in height, pursuant to Planning Code Section 263.20. The property is within the 24th Street- Noe Valley NCD (Neighborhood Commercial) Zoning District, and 40-X Height and Bulk District. This action constitutes the Approval Action for the project for the purposes of CEQA, pursuant to Section 31.04(h) of the San Francisco Administrative Code.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approve with Conditions
Records show the existing single family home at 3822 24th St was purchased in $759k in 2012, and the current owner has lived there since. Interesting, the application filed in 2014 includes an appraisal for the house as is: But rather than cash out, the owner is looking big: five new units (three of which are "family size") over retail. As shown in the picture above, the proposed building is roughly the size of the new construction next door. And as it is close to major public transportation, there will be no parking on site for autos (but yes for bicycles).

Full plans, staff analysis and thirteen letters of support (mostly from area merchants) are included in the application. There are no letters in opposition.

Also at the Planning Commission this week is the continuation of 4022-4026 24th St - the Bliss Bar building. A final decision was postponed on March 26th so that the project sponsor and concerned neighbors could meet and hammer out some compromises. The issues include the larger space taking up 100% of the rear yard, amplified music and (of course) lack of parking among other things. According to a comment on April 5th, it does not appear that the project sponsor was willing to compromise. We'll see what the Planning Commission says.

[SF Planning: 3822 24TH STREET]
[SF Planning: 4022-4026 24th St]
[NVSF: This Week At The Planning Commission: Tom & Rai Will Move Into Rebuilt Bliss Bar]

April 18, 2015

This Week In Noe Valley: Save The Shack, 109th Anniversary Of The Big One, And Noe As Nowhere Valley


News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: via slay_the_gnar]

April 11, 2015

This Week In Noe Valley: Opening Day Superfan, Fatal Dog Attack At Douglass Park, And A Big Real Estate Loss


News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: via The Bold Italic]

April 4, 2015

This Week In Noe Valley: Easter Egg Hunt Cancelled, NIMBYs Out In Force, And True Love SF Style


News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Bom Dia via no_barkin]

March 31, 2015

Closed: Lite for Life


After a 30+ year run at 1300 Sanchez at the corner of 26th St, Lite for Life, the weight loss clinic and diet food supply store, is slimming down for good. The storefront is mostly empty and a Craigslist ad reports that the business is closing. Many items are for sale and everything must go by 3/31.

The company's Twitter and Pinterest accounts have been deleted, its website and Facebook pages have no relevant info, and for now no one is answering emails. There isn't even a sign in the window. Had to be a hard decision to close, but so far we don't why.

Outside the building, the Lite for Life signs are gone and painters are at work on the fa├žade. Is the building going up for sale? Time will tell.

Given that even bigger weight loss firms like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are doing badly (thanks to Web apps) it’s not a huge surprise to see Lite for Life go, but 30+ years is a good run.

Bonus: this is your chance to buy “Pieces of fake fat - for weight loss motivation.” See Craigslist ad above.

March 25, 2015

This Week At The Planning Commission: Tom & Rai Will Move Into Rebuilt Bliss Bar

A look at Noe Valley projects in front of the Planning Commission this week. Information is provided by the Planning Commission, and taken from its published agenda. All hearings are on Thursday at 1:30pm, Room 400 in City Hall.


March 26, 2015

4022 – 4026 24th STREET
- north side of the street between Castro and Noe Streets; Lot 010 in Assessor’s Block 3656 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization, pursuant to Planning Code Sections 728.21, 728.41, and 303 to construct an addition at the rear of the building that would add two dwellings and expand the existing ground floor commercial space beyond the 2,499 gross square-foot use size limitation for the District and establish a restaurant with a type 47 ABC license (d.b.a. Tom Rai) that would retain the existing place of entertainment use but amend the conditions of approval contained in Motion 8778 that pertain to the use to expand the hours and permit amplified entertainment. The project includes remodeling the storefront and adding a roof deck with two stair penthouses for access. The project also requires a parking reduction pursuant to Section 161 of the Code and a rear yard variance pursuant to Section 134 of the Code for the ground floor portion that extends into the required rear yard. The project site is located within the 24th Street/ Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District and 40-X Height and Bulk Districts. This action constitutes the Approval Action for the project for purposes of CEQA, pursuant to Section 31.04(h) of the San Francisco Administrative Code.

Preliminary Recommendation: Approve with Conditions
In addition:
Request for a Variance pursuant to Section 134 of the Planning Code to construct a three-story addition at the rear of a mixed-use building. The proposed addition would extend the depth of the building to the rear property line at the ground floor and add two dwelling units to the property. The project also requires a parking reduction pursuant to Section 161 of the Code. The project site is located within the 24th Street/ Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District and 40-X Height and Bulk Districts.
To summarize: The developer wants to increase dwelling units from two to four, not add parking, build to the rear property line and add a roof deck at the 2nd floor (at the property line) and increase the size of the ground level restaurant. The restaurant will operate until 2am and feature live (amplified) music.

Neighbors aren't please and have demanded an acoustician (among other things) to reduce noise. The developer is working with an acoustician and that, combined with more technical elements, seems to have satisfied planning staff. Expect approval because:
  • The project would not lead to an over concentration of eating and drinking establishments within the district.
  • The project promotes a locally-owned business and contributes to the viability of the overall 24th Street – Noe Valley NCD.
  • The project would not displace an existing retail tenant providing convenience goods and services to the neighborhood, and would decrease the number of bars in the district.
  • The project would create two additional housing units within an established neighborhood that is readily accessible by transit. The new dwellings are smaller, thereby more affordable, yet maintain multiple bedrooms in each unit.
  • The project would implement the recommendations of the sound engineering consultant to ensure that no sound from the commercial use is audible from outside the restaurant.
  • The project meets all applicable requirements of the Planning Code. The project is desirable for, and compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
  • The business is not a Formula Retail use and would serve the immediate neighborhood.
No letters of opposition (or support) are included in the packet, which combined with the above means the Planning Commission is likely to take staff's recommendation and approve the project.

For those new to the neighborhood, a fire destroyed Bliss Bar and rendered the apartments inhabitable in 2013.

As for the new restaurant called Tom & Rai? We can't find any info beyond the name. How 'bout you?

Update (3/29): Public comment against the project from Elizabeth St homeowners, and in favor from 24th St residents and businesses. However those in favor (by petition) would like restricted construction hours (9-5, M-F), reduced operating hours, restricted live music and other concerns. A major issue also seemed to be a lack of landscaping on the roof over the restaurant and privacy issues regarding the hot tub spa next door - both of which the project sponsor agreed to mitigate.

Given the number of variances, change of use, hours and dwelling units without parking a motion was suggested to approve the project, but to slow the rollout of changes. But in the end the motion was continued to a date after project sponsors can meet with neighbors to discuss changes suggested by the Planning Commission. Public comments remain open, and the hearing will reconvene on April 24, 2015.

Update 4/3): The April issue of the Noe Valley Voice reports that Tom & Rai is named after the wife-and-husband team of Rai and Tom Hutinghichinda (which oddly turned up nothing on Google except the NVV story). They hope to open a full-service restaurant/bar serving "an Asian, noodle-based menu, with the noodles made on the premises in the front window for all to see." Planning still has to approve, and then maybe they can apply for permits with ABC - no info yet. Stay tuned.

[Planning: 4022–4026 24th St]