February 2, 2019

Doggy Style Gets Spanked By Planning Department For Bad Behavior


As soon as it was announced Doggy Style was ridiculed on social media ("It looks like a computer AI churned out the most San Francisco garbage it could come up with, and someone decided that was a a good business plan."). It was deemed so ridiculous that The Guardian and The Daily Mail got in on the fun. SF Gate was more kind with their profile.

Turns out, though, that owner (and the Noe Valley Merchants and Professional Association President) Rachel Swann and her partner neglected to get a conditional use permit for outdoor space they've already excavated and taken from the tenants of the building. The City is not happy:
Our records indicate that the subject property is currently authorized for One-Family Dwelling above a ground floor Retail Use. It has been reported that the above property is will be the site of a new business (DBA Doggy Style, Inc) with an anticipated opening date in February 2019. It is understood that the new business will be utilizing the rear yard as an Outdoor Activity Area without such authorization. Pursuant to Planning Code Section 728, a Conditional Use Authorization is required for the use of an Outdoor Activity Area in the Noe Valley Neighborhood Commercial Zoning District where the subject property is located.  
Furthermore, pursuant to Planning Code Section 728, one hundred (100) square feet of open space is required per unit if private open space, or one hundred thirty-three (133) square feet per unit if the area is common open space. It has been reported that access and use of the required residential open space 1 Planning Code Section 201 defines Outdoor Activity Area as a, “Commercial Use characteristic defined as an area associated with a legally established use, not including primary circulation space or any public street, located outside of a building or in a courtyard, which is provided for the use or convenience of patrons of a commercial establishment including, but not limited to, sitting, eating, drinking, dancing, and food-service activities.” is being encroached upon by the unpermitted Outdoor Activity Area for use by Doggy Style, Inc. A Variance approval is required to legalize the reduction of required residential open space. 
So what of it?
The Planning Department requires that you immediately proceed to abate the violation by ceasing the proposed operation of Doggy Style, Inc. until such time that additional information has been provided to the Planning Department and all appropriate permits and entitlements have been obtained. 
The full Notice of Enforcement is here [PDF].

This isn't the first time that Rachel Swann has operated in Noe Valley without appropriate permits. Just last month she received Conditional Use authorization for her business The Agency at 3848 24th St that she opened in 2017.

Is this the sort of person we want in charge of the NVMPA?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Noe for almost 40 years... It's hard to believe they're taking away residential space when that crazy old woman upstairs runs a commercial law firm. Pretty sure she's been illegally occupying that space and taking residential units away from tenants and renters for decades who would surely love to live in such an ideal location. Sounds like she's the one that needs to be spanked!

Unknown said...

Thank you for your posting but until the writers of this blog make themselves known and are willing to stand behind the opinions shared within, I don't really give a lot of clout to this blog. What are you hiding from?

Anonymous said...

In keeping with the anonymity of the writers of this blog, aka non-neutral editorial opinion essay, I will comment as anonymous.

Anyone can file a complaint, for any reason. This does not mean that the claims listed in the complaint are accurate or true. In fact, the complaint states “The responsible party will need to provide adequate evidence to demonstrate that either no violation exists or that the violation has been abated.” This is not evidence that the new business has done anything wrong.

We have no idea- perhaps they have worked something out with the residential tenant to share the outdoor space post improvement? Perhaps this is a holdover from the Heated debate about Healthy Spot, about which there are still some hard feelings in the neighborhood. Why don't you relax and let the planning department do it's job.

Anonymous said...

I am currently one of 5 tenants of the second floor law office, and have been on and off over the past 30+ years. Since February 1982-- 37 years--the second floor has been zoned to permit commercial office use. It does not have a kitchen, merely a sink and a tenant-purchased dorm-size refrigerator and small microwave. And it has no full bathroom, merely a toilet. There is no shower or tub. In its current state, it could not be occupied as a residence.
Jean Allan
jean_allan@hotmail.com

Noe Valley, SF said...

A permit search indicates that the 1981 application for a reduction to 3 residential units (from 4) was not approved and cancelled on 2/8/1982. The 1977 permit for four residential units over ground floor retail/office remains.

It's a long time ago and online records can be spotty sometimes. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

People who cheat and line once will cheat and lie again.

Noe Valley, SF said...

Regarding the use of the 2nd floor as a law office - we were sent a copy of the 1982 authorization from the City. It's looks legit, and the law off is not illegally taking away housing.

Anonymous said...

Um, this lady apparently went to Berkeley and majored in... wine? You can't make this shit up: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachelswann/

Mark Williams 94114 said...

FYI, Complaint closed. Writers here quite the alarmists. FYI- this info is available to all of us at the SF Planning Department website.
Here is the link with details of the complaint and the inspector's findings... Basically, nothing wrong. http://dbiweb.sfgov.org/dbipts/default.aspx?page=AddressComplaint&ComplaintNo=201921031&Stepin=1

Anonymous said...

I agree re the alarmist quality of this @markwilliams94114

Anonymous said...

The complaint that was closed was the building department complaint for the back yard.

The planning department complaint for the business itself is not closed. See the planning department Notice of Enforcement by clicking the below link, and once you get to the webpage, click the Record Info drop down menu on the left side of the page, go to Attachments, scroll down to View People Attachments, and then click the blue document under Name.

https://aca-ccsf.accela.com/ccsf/Cap/CapDetail.aspx?Module=Planning&TabName=Planning&capID1=18CAP&capID2=00000&capID3=00CV8&agencyCode=CCSF

Anonymous said...

I read the Planning Department Notice of Enforcement from the link in the above comment. The Notice of Enforcement confirms the information in the original article that generated all of these comments i.e "Doggy Style gets Spanked by Planning Department for Bad Behavior."

Anonymous said...

Interesting... Taken from the attached notice, “Our records indicate that the subject property is currently authorized for One-Family Dwelling above a ground floor Retail Use. […] It has been reported that access and use of the required residential open space is being encroached upon by the unpermitted Outdoor Activity Area for use by Doggy Style, Inc. A Variance approval is required to legalize the reduction of required residential open space."

The law office of Judy Baer is above that space, but this notice states it is authorized for one family dwelling. Is Judy illegally occupying that space then? Perhaps @JeanAllen can speak to this? How can residential open space be req'd for a law office?

Anonymous said...

There is a third floor residential unit. The conditional use permit issued in '82 was for commercial office use on the second floor, which is where the law offices have continuously operated since '82. That same conditional use permit indicates that the third floor must remain residential, which it currently is. That residential unit is entitled to open space.
Jean

Anonymous said...

Rachel Swann again? Sheesh...First she turns the retail zoned space from the previous Noe Valley Stained Glass shop into ANOTHER real estate agency and now she's opening whatever the heck this new business is with some sketchy loopholes, AGAIN? People like her need to realize that our community is not free reign for her to make money hand over fist from the area. Rachel Swann is the very definition of gentrifier. Follow the rules!

Tom K said...

Doggy Style filed its CU on April 1. It did not address the letter sent by the Planning Department specifically requesting that Doggy Style submit a business plan that “clearly articulates all aspects of the business plan. Please include number of employees, hours of operation, details on various services provided, proposed use of outdoor areas, members fees, etc.”

Once again, damn the rules.

Anonymous said...

She also runs illegal air bnb from her building!

Anonymous said...

I am disturbed to realize that the quiet and peace of our neighbors doesn't automatically take priority over a business which will cause noise and and other possible health questions. I don't know the rules for dog kennels, but I assume they are different from the rules for a nail salon or a gift store. And I would think the Doggy Style store would qualify as a kennel.

Anonymous said...

OK, we are not really talking about what happened in 1981, We are in 2019, What is the problem with this Young Woman starting a business and keeping the neighborhood property rented and clean, and inviting other SF Neighbors to visit her shop, and contribute the Business Life and "Working" in SF? She is not shooting Heroin, or sleeping on the street; Oh, I forgot that's OK.. I guess it goes back to the old adage, Yes, You have rights, as long as they are on point with what I believe to be true. Please don't be a Bully, its not flattering.