The DZLU Committee met on 08‐23‐2016 with most of the meeting devoted to the excellent presentation by Tim Frye, Shannon Ferguson and Desiree Smith of the Historic Preservation Division of the San Francisco Planning Department.
Mr. Frye began the presentation.
The informative slides, lecture, and Q&A began with an explanation of the seven‐member Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and which properties fall under its purview. Mr. Frye is assigned to the HPC and generally deals with established Article X or Article XI properties. Tina Tam mostly deals with properties that have not been designated within Articles X or XI.
The Historic Preservation Commission is both an Action and an Advisory body. HPC does NOT:
Determine level of required CEQA review
Approve CEQA evaluations
Review or approve work to a surveyed property or district
Review or approve work to a building not identified in the planning Code
Approve changes of use, conditional use, zoning, etc.
Staff Preservation planners are assigned to each quadrant of the City, with Eiiliesh Tuffy, Jonathan Bimr, Marcelle Boudreaux and Pilar LaValley serving our Northeast quadrant. There is also a new Compliance and Enforcement Officer, Ali Kirby; compliance issues should be brought to her attention.
Planning Department Categories of Historic Resources are: “A” Historic Resource, “B” More Information Needed (majority of older buildings) or “C” Not a Resource.
It was noted that only about one per cent of the surmised 90 per cent of potentially eligible buildings in San Francisco are recognized as historic resources. San Francisco will be starting a new historic resource survey (funded by the Getty Foundation) next year, building on data from the 1976 survey and other surveys.
The presentation continued with information regarding the Historic Resource Evaluation process and costs, a map showing locations of established Article 10 Historic Resources, Historic Districts and Conservation Districts (with a concentration in the Northeast quadrant of the City).
This was followed by an explanation of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards (National Park Service). It was noted that the historic preservation planners pay close attention to the Secretary of the Interior’s Bulletins which further define the standards, as well as the Residential Design Guidelines (SF Planning Code Section 311, currently under review).
This was followed by questions from the DZLU Committee, including.
Protections: Local landmark protection is the only designation that can protect a building from demolition or require maintaining its integrity. The Historic Preservation Commission must be involved with any project using Federal funding.
Local Review: San Francisco’s environmental review officer is the only one who looks at potential historic impacts; that position “is in transition”. SF Planning’s Tina Tam can be contacted to learn which preservation planner has been assigned to a particular project and who would know the status of an EIR (Environmental Impact Report).
Public Notice: For a fee, individuals or organizations can request Block Book Notifications (BBN) to be notified of ANY permit applications for particular City blocks or properties.
Compliance: DZLU members raised a number of questions regarding compliance and enforcement. The City often must rely on the public to bring their concerns to the Department.
DZLU discussed the information gathered as well as next steps, possible future invitations to SF Planning Historic Preservation Division, etc. In addition, the possible need for increased preservation efforts by RHN, including participating in the establishment of additional Historic Districts and recognition and preservation of more Historic Resources. In this regard, the idea of the establishment of a “Historic Preservation” restricted fund could be proposed to the Board. DZLU must monitor any relevant changes to Planning and Building Codes and Legislation.
Other projects discussed:
1023 Vallejo (Julia Morgan House): DZLU has not heard back from project sponsors regarding rescheduling the site visit.
Whole Foods 365 on Polk Street: The City has requested additional information, after which The Conditional Use hearing is expected to go to The Planning Commission and then on to the Board of Supervisors.