July 18, 2013In addition:
3771 and 3781 CESAR CHAVEZ STREET - south side between Guerrero and Dolores Streets, Lots 030 and 045 in Assessor's Block 6577 - Request for Conditional Use Authorization pursuant to Planning Code Sections 209.3(f), 209.3(j), 317, and 303 to increase enrollment at an existing preschool (d.b.a. Gan Noe Preschool) operating at 3771 and 3781 Cesar Chavez Street and establish a religious facility. Enrollment at the preschool would increase from 22 children to 42 children and the project would result in the removal of the dwelling unit at 3781 Cesar Chavez Street. The proposal does not include any significant alteration or modification to the exteriors of the existing buildings with the exception of minor changes to signage and fencing. The subject properties are located in a RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and a 40-X Height and Bulk District.
Preliminary Recommendation: Approval with Conditions
Request for Variance from Planning Code Section: 151, for parking, for a project proposing to increase enrollment at an existing preschool and establish a religious facility. Two off-street parking spaces are required for the proposed use but none would be provided. The subject property is located within a RH-2 (Residential, House, Two-Family) District and 40-X Height and Bulk District.In sum, the Project Sponsor asks to expand the preschool, remove a dwelling unit and add a religious facility (d.b.a. Chabad of Noe Valley) that will have services and events throughout the week.
Planning states receipt of 20 letters from neighbors against the project, and receipt of a petition of 40 names in support (but doesn't indicate if those in support are from parents who want their kids in the preschool).
Planning recognizes there are some major issues, including:
The Project Sites are located on a heavily trafficked arterial street that is the main thouroughfare for access to Highway 101 from Noe Valley. It is unknown how the increase in children would affect traffic on the street but the sponsor has agreed to implement a traffic management plans whereby teachers would help facilitate student dropoff within the driveways and within a new loading zone located between the driveways and implement a staggered pick-up and drop-off.But Planning staff recommend approval because:
Preschool/child care services are difficult to find in the City and those that operate often have long waiting lists. The ability of the City to provide these services will help its ability to attract and retain families in the City. Housing is also a scarce resource in the City. On balance, the need to help preschool/childcare services flourish in the City out weigh the benefit of retaining the existing dwelling unitThe only letters in support of the project included in the Planning Document are from the Project Sponsor.
Opposition has been led by neighbor Richard Rochman of Citizens Concerned about Cesar Chavez St. We've posted the PDF of their opposition here. It's well worth a read as this project will affect anyone who uses Cesar Chavez.
Planning contact is Michael Smith, (415) 558-6322.
Update (7/18): Lots of thoughtful testimony. Commissioners sensitive to both daycare/preschool issues and also use of the site as a religious facility, but want followup to assure that neighbors' concerns are addressed over the long term. Commission approved with conditions about operating hours, strict limits on number of students and noise mitigation, and addition of traffic monitoring on a 6-0 vote.
[SF Planning: 3771 and 3781 Cesar Chavez St Conditional Use (PDF)]
[Citizens Concerned about Cesar Chavez St: Opposition to Gan Noe's application]
[Photo: Richard Rochman]