August 31, 2012

This Week In Noe Valley: A Blue Moon, Crime Updates, And Noe's Cougar Bar

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: The Milk Truck graces Noe Valley via Instagram]

August 27, 2012

2-Alarm Fire On Jersey St

It's been a busy day for sirens in Noe Valley. First there was a shooter on the loose on Church Street, and then this afternoon a 2-alarm fire broke out on the top floor of a three-story building at 276 Jersey St. The fire started at around 2:35pm and spread to a second building before being extinguished by firefighters within an hour. According to witnesses in the vicinity, there weren't many flames - just lots of smoke. As of late this afternoon, you can still smell it in the area.

Fortunately it appears no one was hurt and The Red Cross was on the scene to help displaced residents. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Update: A SF fire department spokesperson told CBS that the fire caused an estimated $151,000 in damage to the first building and destroyed $77,000 worth of contents. The adjacent building sustained about $132,000 in structural damage and $63,000 in damage to its contents.

[2-Alarm Fire Burns Residential Buildings In San Francisco Noe Valley - CBS]
[Photo of the fire damaged buildings - NVSF]

Crime Beat: iPhone Thiefs And Gunfire Put St. Paul's On Lockdown

A cacophony of sirens and then helicopters started at 7am in Upper Noe Valley. Twitter (specifically @sal_castaneda) provided updates as it happened. Various news outlets are now reporting that an iPhone theft at gunpoint led to a police chase and at least one shot fired by SFPD. Two suspects were arrested on scene, and a savvy cop's use of GPS tracking on the phones led to two more arrests at a house in the Inner Sunset. Apparently the bad guys are all part of a cell phone theft ring.

One officer was hurt (not by gunfire). No bystanders were reported injured. St. Paul's Church and School both remained on lockdown for almost two hours.

[5 in custody after SF officer-involved shooting: ABC7]

August 25, 2012

Lost Cat: Stolen?

A beautiful and obviously much-loved cat is missing, but according to the poster it appears to have been stolen - her collar was found near Skyline College! With luck, a vet will query the microchip if the perps bring her in. Meanwhile, if you have any helpful info please contact the people listed on the flyer.

August 13, 2012

Perseid Meteor Over Sutro Tower

[Photo: Sent to us by trophygeek]

Update: Whole Foods Parking Lot Madness

The PR department at Whole Foods has more info on the chaos in the parking lot this month and some workarounds offered. It's interesting to note that WF is also dealing with ADA requirements plaguing other merchants around Noe Valley and SF:
Details/duration of project: The store is making required ADA improvements (as are many other retailers in the area) and these include added markings for a pedestrian walkway, improved caution markings to alert drivers to pedestrian crossing and repairs to the sidewalk next to the store. Duration is Aug. 13- 17 and Aug. 20-24 when we will have very limited spaces for parking – approximately 12.

What the store is doing to ease the impact of traffic in the neighborhood as well as ease shopper experience:
  • We are hosting free valet parking from 9a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday- Thursday in the farmers’ market parking lot.
  • Offering gifts and prizes for every customer that shops during non-peak hours which are Mon – Fri @ 8-10 a.m. and 9-10 p.m..
  • There will be specials in every department all day Monday – Friday each week of construction.

Interview: Michelle Janezic of Mill

UnionMade's sister store Mill is opening this week on 24th St. Store manager (and local designer) Michelle Janezic was kind enough to give us the lowdown:

Why did you decide to open in Noe Valley?
Noe Valley is one of our favorite neighborhoods in SF. Between being centrally located, Noe has a strong sense of community, beautiful weather and is easily accessible to and from Unionmade, our men's shop.

Give us a preview - what can we expect in the new space?
As the feminine counterpart to Unionmade, the store is designed with a softer sensibility and aesthetic to beautifully showcase the many lines and products carefully selected for the store. Owners Todd Barket and Carl Chiara designed a beautiful environment with plenty of natural light, white walls and dove grey accents.

Are you working with any local vendors?
We have Cinq jewelry by local designer, Vipada Wongpatanasin. Vipada is also featured in our opening campaign (shot by local photographer, Andrew Paynter). We're working with Matt Dick of Small Trades Co. who developed an exclusive clothing collection for Mill. We are also carrying a selection of perfumes and balms by Julie Elliot's apothecary brand, In Fiore.

Has Mill established a leadership team yet? Any familiar faces?
We believe that everyone's a leader! We have a great team in place and Mill will be managed by local designer, Michele Janezic (who's apparel line, Janezic, will also be at the store).

UnionMade has a women's section. Will Mill have a men's section?
Mill is exclusively a women's store and since we now have Mill, there is no longer a women's section at Unionmade.

When is the opening date?
Our target opening date is this Thursday, August 16th. [But] the target is a moving one. I think it's better to say we will open this weekend as opposed to giving a specific date.

Do you have a special party or event planned for the opening?
Our focus at the moment is getting the store opened. Once we've settled in, we will host a campaign and shopping event in the next few weeks.

3751 24th St

August 10, 2012

This Week In Noe Valley: Indie Rocker Digs Noe, Whining Moms, And A Town Square Update

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: @CasaMurriguez]

Interview: David Segal of DAVIDsTEA

With 70 stores across Canada and in New York City, DAVIDsTEA is now opening one of three planned San Francisco locations in September on 24th St. We caught up with Co-founder David Segal:

What can Noe Valley expect at the new store? And will you be serving tea as well as selling it?
Our Noe Valley store will be a clean bright space filled with colorful canisters of 150 varieties of loose leaf tea and unique blends. Customers will be greeted by enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff, who will offer free samples, and can guide them through the fun experience of exploring our teas. We sell our teas loose by the ounce for home use, accessories to easily make loose leaf tea, and a wide selection of tea gifts and variety packages. We also offer any tea hot or iced by the cup.

Noe Valley will be the 3rd or 4th location you'll open in the US. What made you chose Noe?
We look for a neighborhood that has a community feel - where people are out and about, strolling, visiting, shopping. It felt like a perfect fit for us.

You're next door to Martha & Bros which also sells tea – what should we expect from your shop that's different from what other local coffee shops offer?
We are mostly about selling loose leaf teas to take home and enjoy, in varieties that are completely exclusive to DAVIDsTEA, although our customers can enjoy a freshly made cup of hot or iced tea, in any of our 150 varieties. That makes us quite a bit different than other tea shops. We also don't serve coffee, so for those who want a cappuccino, we will happily send them next door, where we think Martha is doing a great job!

What are your plans for or thoughts about the parklet on that stretch of 24th Street?
It’s a great outdoor space where people in the community can share a pot of tea or coffee with a friend.

You've announced a tentative opening date of September 8th on Twitter. Is that still the date and will it be a soft opening or a big party?
We are planning a public opening on that date, with free tea being served all day. We hope all of Noe Valley will come on down and check us out!

3870 24th St
Opens September 8, 2012 (Update 9/5: the new open date is Sept 22, 2012)

[Photo: Bleecker St in NYC by JDP Architecture]

August 9, 2012

Probate Sale: "Famous" Noe Valley Home On The Market

How to score a single family home in Noe Valley with great curb appeal in a prime location for under $1M? Simple - make a bid on 4267 24th St. This house was previously occupied by notorious copper thief Dennis McGuire who was last seen returning to jail. Again.

Sure the kitchen needs work, and the toilet hasn't been flushable in months, but there's a lush back yard and a fireplace. And parking. Listed at $899,500 this "fixer" is only $837/sf.

[Trulia: 4267 24th St]

August 8, 2012

First Republic Bank Bails On 24th St

In mid-July we heard from Leslie Crawford that she was appealing the Planning Commission's Conditional Use permit for First Republic Bank approved on June 14th. The Board of Supervisors was scheduled to hear the appeal this past Tuesday, but things turned out differently (emphasis ours):
[Public Hearing - Conditional Use Appeal - 3901-24th Street]
Hearing of persons interested in or objecting to the decision of the Planning Commission's by its Motion No. 18648 dated June 14, 2012, approving a Conditional Use Authorization identified as Planning Case No. 2011.1372C, under Planning Code Sections 728.49 and 790.110 to convert a vacant ground floor commercial space into a financial service (d.b.a. First Republic Bank) within the 24th Street - Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District and adopting findings under the California Environmental Quality Act on property located at 3901-24th Street, Assessor’s Block No. 6508, Lot No. 001. (District 8) (Appellant: Leslie Crawford and subscribed by Supervisors Wiener, Olague, Avalos, Mar, and Chiu) (Filed July 12, 2012) (Clerk of the Board)
The President indicated receipt of a letter from the Project Sponsor, dated July 30, 2012, withdrawing their application for conditional use. The President inquired as to whether any member of the public wished to address the Board. There were no speakers. The President declared the public hearing closed.
So we asked Leslie for clarification and this is what we heard back (again, emphasis ours):
Yes, First Republic withdrew their application for conditional use. They decided (from my understanding) that there was a good chance they wouldn't win the appeal and if they lost, they couldn't look for a Noe Valley space for a year. So they are (again my understanding) looking for something off the 24th Street corridor.
[NVSF: This Week At The Planning Commission: First Republic Bank Redux ]
[SFBOS: July 31, 2012 Minutes]

August 3, 2012

This Week In Noe Valley: When Asking Is Too Much, Noe Valley Defined, And Building A Dream House Under Siege

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: @UrbanHikerSF]

PSA: Whole Foods Parking Lot To Close For Resurfacing

This notice from Whole Foods explains upcoming improvements. It'll be interesting to see how Noe Valley deals with less parking in light of recent issues:
To Our Friends & Neighbors in Noe Valley

Beginning Tuesday, August 7 the parking lot at Whole Foods will be under construction. The entire lot is being resurfaced and restriped as part of general property maintenance. The high level of traffic in our lot results in recurring cracks and potholes which we need to periodically address. In addition the lot will have new markings for safer accessibility to the store for our customers with disabilities.

The store will remain open for regular business hours throughout the construction. We are aware of the potential impact this will have on the neighborhood and have taken actions to address some of the effects on the neighborhood.
  • The work is being done in sections to maintain maximum accessibility (see schedule below)
  • Our suppliers and vendors have been warned of the restricted accessibility during construction so that they may better plan their delivery times and be prepared for restricted loading zones.
  • Our contractors have been firmly warned about noise curfews and will act responsibly and with consideration for the neighborhood. We will have an on-site supervisor to oversee the contractor work at all times and enforce these expectations.
  • We will have additional personnel available to help direct customer traffic in and out of the lot.
  • Our Store Leadership is committed to making this project as quick, quiet and painless as possible for all. If you have any concerns please ask for us at our Customer Service desk inside the store – we are happy to meet with you.
Tuesday 8/7 through Friday 8/10 we plan to have most parking spaces available with normal traffic flow maintained. No weekend work and the lot will be fully available Saturday and Sunday.

Monday 8/13-Thursday 8/16 we will need to block off our West driveway as well as significant sections of the lot. Parking in the lot will be very limited this week. No construction on Friday, Saturday or Sunday with the lot fully available these days.

Monday 8/20 & Tuesday 8/21 will have all driveways in use and most parking spaces available. Wednesday 8/22 & Thursday 8/23 we will close our East driveway and significant sections of the lot. Parking will be very limited these 2 days. The project will be completed Thursday and the lot will be fully opened Friday 8/24.

As any of you who have survived a home remodeling project know, sometimes even the best laid plans can go off track. We are working diligently to ensure we have the best laid plan in place and appreciate your patient understanding as we complete this needed work.

Melanie, Dan, William & Dave
Store Leadership Team
Whole Foods Market, Noe Valley

August 2, 2012

The NVMPA's Parking Problem

The NVMPA's newsletter is always amusing, but this item from July is particularly out of touch:

As noted in the President's information emails, your Association, specifically the merchants on Castro, is circulating and gathering signatures in protest of the SFMTA's planning for the removal of three (3) much needed parking spaces on Castro. We need more parking for our customers, for the community and for commercial growth, not less. The future will be more demanding, especially with the loss of the Ministry Lot.

We need your support! If the SFMTA insists upon taking of a parking space; then we want some support from the City, in which we live, work and pay taxes. We are asking for the conversion of the 24 Divisadero bus zones at Noe and 24th Streets, that they be converted to 'pole or bar stops', thereby adding necessary and favorably anticipated additional parking. Not only would this add parking but would eliminate the dangerous illegal right turn lane that so many drivers use. The intersection at Noe and 24th Streets would be made safer for the entire Noe Valley Community. See attachment, copy and circulate.

Please, read the Petition. Gather signatures, then call your President for pick-up. We are also asking for unmetered Diagonal Parking on the Eastside of Castro at James Lick Middle School. The issue of needed parking in Noe Valley is a straight forward one and your Association has a Parking Plan.
This is an old issue with the NVMPA and deserves discussion. But since NVMPA President Robert Roddick never returns our emails we put these questions to our readers:
  • In a Transit First city should Noe Valley really push for more parking (and therefore more traffic)?
  • How many of the employees at NVMPA member businesses are encouraged to carpool, take public transit or ride a bike to work?
  • What is the "illegal right turn lane" at 24th and Noe?
  • How is the NVMPA working to reduce car use and pedestrian safety on our very busy commercial corridor? (For instance, curb bulb-outs at all intersections, increasing the number of parklets, etc.)
Your thoughts in the comments, please. We'd especially like to hear from you, Robert.

[Noe Valley Merchants and Professional Association July Newsletter]
[NVV: Scouting for Parking in `Downtown Noe Valley']
[NVSF: Parking, Parklets and Other Backroom Deals in Noe Valley]
[NVSF: Forget Whole Foods - Noe Needs a Parking Lot]

2nd Annual Noe Valley Wine Walk

Brought to you by the NVMPA and Steven Restivo Event Services, the 2nd Annual Noe Valley Wine Walk is on August 23rd from 4-8PM on 24th St. According to the NVMPA, last year's event had over 400 pre-sold tickets (read: Groupon) and 400 same-day sales. Tickets are once again $30, but so far there's no half-price Groupon available. A wine glass is included in the price. All the details are available at the SRES event page.

August 1, 2012

Tao Cafe Closed - New Venture A Mystery

The windows at 1000 Guerrero have been papered-over for weeks and a sign in the window promises "an exciting new venture in August." Said new venture is still a mystery. A search online brought us to a Zagat post that is both off-key and clueless. The listed phone number rings unanswered, emails to the folks at Tao aren't returned and we haven't been able to connect with anyone on site.

Here's what we know: Tao's beer and wine license is still active; and the only permit on file with the DBI is for a plumber to "change-out fixtures." Tao Cafe's website states they're looking for a "new home for a re-birth," so a rebranding by the same owners is unlikely.

Please add what you know to the comments. If you're involved with the project please contact us on email.

It's a great location (remember waiting for Flying Saucer?). Whatever opens has great neighbors in The Liberties, Kiji Sushi and others and could do very well.

[Photo: Yelp]

This Week At The Planning Commission

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.

August 2

4365 26TH STREET
- south side between Douglass and Diamond Streets; Lot 024 in Assessor’s Block 6561 - Request for Discretionary Review of Building Permit Application 2011.10.18.7006, proposing to construct a rear addition at the first floor, a new second floor, and front and rear decks to the existing single family dwelling structure within the RH-1 (Residential, House – One-Family) Zoning District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Staff Analysis: Abbreviated Discretionary Review
Preliminary Recommendation: Do not take Discretionary Review and approve

The complete document with request for Discretionary Review, response, drawings, letters of support and complete staff analysis is here (large PDF). In a nutshell:
  • DR Requestor: "We have no objection with the development of the property. We just want it to be in continuity with the neighboring houses and not at the expense of the neighboring homes."
  • Applicant: "This same neighbor requesting the DR has also just completed a renovation of his property ~3 years ago, adding a 2nd floor and expanding to the rear." [Ed.--seriously great smackdown of the requestor's objections in applicant's response.]
  • Summary of Planning Staff Analysis: The project meets Residential Design Guidelines. Approve it. Also: "Under the Commission’s pending DR Reform Legislation, this project would not be referred to the Commission as this project does not contain or create any exceptional or extraordinary circumstances."

[SF Planning: 4365 26th St]
[Photo: SF Planning]