Abatement Appeals Board - August 19, 2015 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
August 19, 2015 - 9:00am
Location: 
City Hall, Room 416

PDF icon AAB Minutes 08-19-15.pdf

  ABATEMENT APPEALS BOARD

  Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
  City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416
  ADOPTED October 21, 2015

MINUTES

A. CALL TO ORDER and ROLL CALL.

The meeting of the Abatement Appeals Board for Wednesday, August 19, 2015 was called to order at 9:17 a.m. and roll call was taken by Commission Secretary Sonya Harris, and a quorum was certified.

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
        Myrna Melgar, President – Excused     
        Kevin Clinch, Vice-President
        Frank Lee, Commissioner
        Warren Mar, Commissioner 
        Angus McCarthy, Commissioner        
        Dr. James McCray, Jr., Commissioner
        Debra Walker, Commissioner – Excused 
        
        Sonya Harris, Building Inspection Commission Secretary

D.B.I. REPRESENTATIVE PRESENT:
        Edward Sweeney, Secretary to the Board
        John Hinchion, Senior Building Inspector
        Teresita Sulit, Recording Secretary
        
        Zachary Porianda, Deputy City Attorney

B. OATH:  Commission Secretary Harris administered an oath to those who would be giving testimony.

C. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:     Discussion and possible action to adopt the minutes for the meeting held on July 15, 2015.

Vice-President Clinch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Lee, to approve the minutes of July 15, 2015.

Commission Secretary Harris called for public comment and there was none.  The minutes were approved.  

The motion carried unanimously.  

D. REQUEST FOR REHEARING:  Order of Abatement(s).

ITEMS D(1) and D(2) SHALL BE HEARD TOGETHER

1. CASE NO. 6802:  120 Shakespeare Street

Owner of Record and Appellant:  Teresito & Mildred Uy, 120 Shakespeare Street, San Francisco, CA 94112

Attorney for the Appellant:  Reuben, Junius & Rose LLP, c/o Mark H. Loper, One Bush Street, #600, San Francisco, CA 94104

ACTION REQUESTED BY APPELLANT:  To grant request for rehearing.  

NOTICE OF DECISION:  The Abatement Appeals Board (AAB) heard Appellant’s request for rehearing at a duly noticed public hearing.  At that hearing, the AAB voted to grant the rehearing request based on new evidence presented by the Appellant regarding the retaining wall at the subject property – namely, an engineer’s consulting report prepared by Arash Zokaei of NEQE Engineering & Construction dated July 27, 2015.  The engineer’s report stated that the retaining wall at the subject property is “pushed out of plumb” and requires structural repair, and that “the repair is not urgent or immediate but doing sooner is better than later.”

Bert Africa, representative of the Appellant, stated the new evidence submitted to the Board to request a rehearing was the report of a structural engineer which stated the wall was stable.  Additionally, per State Ordinance, if a wall was four feet high, it was exempt from requiring building permits.  The report stated the wall was four feet high, therefore safe and contrary to the Notice of Violation.    

Senior Building Inspector John Hinchion stated he did not hear new evidence that would change the decision the Board made at the last hearing, therefore he had no further comments.
 
Members of the Abatement Appeals Board (Kevin Clinch, Frank Lee, Warren Mar, Angus McCarthy, and James McCray, Jr.) made comments, and asked various questions of DBI staff and the Appellant pertaining to the Appeal.

Vice-President Clinch called for public comment.  There was none.  

Commissioner Lee made a motion, seconded by Vice-President Clinch, that the rehearing request be granted based on the submitted engineer’s report.  

Secretary Harris called for a roll-call vote:

      Vice-President Clinch        Yes
      Commissioner Lee            Yes
      Commissioner Mar             Yes
      Commissioner McCarthy        Yes
      Commissioner McCray, Jr.        Yes
      
The motion carried unanimously.
2. CASE NO. 6802:  120 Shakespeare Street

Owner of Record and Appellant:  Teresito & Mildred Uy, 120 Shakespeare Street, San Francisco, CA 94112

Attorney for the Appellant:  Reuben, Junius & Rose LLP, c/o Mark H. Loper, One Bush Street, #600, San Francisco, CA 94104

ACTION REQUESTED BY APPELLANT:  Appellant seeks reversal of the Order of Abatement.

NOTICE OF DECISION:  The Abatement Appeals Board (AAB) reheard oral testimony and reviewed the documentary evidence provided by the Department of Building Inspection, the Appellant and other interested persons.  After deliberation of the evidence submitted and the relief sought, the AAB made the following findings and decision: (1) upholds the Order of Abatement; (2) holds the Order of Abatement in abeyance for 90 days from the August 19, 2015 hearing in order to allow Appellant additional time to complete the necessary structural repairs to the retaining wall; and (3) imposes the Assessment Costs.

Bert Africa, representative for the Appellant, stated the complainant asked the Appellant to reconstruct the retaining wall for the last three years for a cost of $3,500.  The Appellant built a detached storage shed that was 60 square feet, over masonry brick and no foundation.  It was alleged that the Appellant was building without permit.  The complaint also stated the Appellant was putting all of the soil against the retaining wall.  The storage shed was 35 feet away from the retaining wall and all the work was manual.  There was another complaint stating that due to the construction of the storage shed, it created an unsafe retaining wall.  Due to the allegations, the Appellant hired a structural engineer, whom provided a report stating the wall was four feet high and stable.  A soil investigation report concluded the same information.  Additionally, the engineers report had recommendations that were not general findings and observations and they should not be used against the Appellant.  

Senior Building Inspector John Hinchion stated the engineers report acknowledged the height of the wall was four feet, therefore a permit was required to repair the retaining wall.  Item two of the report stated “due to existing lateral soil pressure, the top layers of the retaining wall pushed out of plumb.”  Any retaining wall that was pushing out of plumb was a hazard, and it needed a permit to repair or replace.  The conclusions that were mentioned earlier, item A and item B, were an alternate approach, it stated the existing retaining wall shall be structurally repaired.  The comments were from the Appellant’s engineer and not the Department, it was clear that the decision that the Board made at the last hearing was correct, and this newly presented information, further supports that the Board made the right decision and it was recommended the Board uphold their last decision.  The adjacent neighbor received an Order of Abatement due to the conditions of the wall.  They have filed a building permit to complete repairs and were willing to repair the wall and the cost associated, knowing they did not produce the problem.  

Members of the Abatement Appeals Board (Kevin Clinch, Frank Lee, Warren Mar, Angus McCarthy, and James McCray, Jr.) made comments, and asked various questions of DBI staff and the Appellant pertaining to the Appeal.
Rebuttal from the Appellant – Bert Africa stated behind the wall on the Appellant’s side, there was soil and it was 35 feet away from the storage shed that was built.  The plumb was not significant and was not a structural issue.  The structural engineer made an inspection and based on his expertise, it was stable and safe.  

Rebuttal from the Department – Senior Inspector John Hinchion stated the engineers report also stated “there was no drainage system to lead the water behind the retaining wall out.”  Based on this and the winter that was expected, there could be a surcharge of water and further impending of the wall. 

Members of the Abatement Appeals Board (Kevin Clinch, Frank Lee, Warren Mar, Angus McCarthy, and James McCray, Jr.) made comments, and asked various questions of DBI staff and the Appellant pertaining to the Appeal.

Vice-President Clinch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner McCarthy, to uphold the Order of Abatement, hold the Order in abeyance for 90 days to allow the Appellant to complete work and impose Assessment of Costs.  

Secretary Harris called for a roll-call vote:

      Vice-President Clinch        Yes
      Commissioner Lee            Yes
      Commissioner Mar             Yes
      Commissioner McCarthy        Yes
      Commissioner McCray, Jr.        Yes

The motion carried unanimously.

E. GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENT

There was no General Public Comment for items not on the Abatement Appeals Board Agenda.

F. ADJOURNMENT
    
Vice-President Clinch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Mar, that the meeting be adjourned. 

The motion carried unanimously.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 a.m.

      Respectfully submitted,

 

                            _______________________________
                            Adriana Ortiz, Senior Clerk

 

                            ________________________________
                            Edited by:  Sonya Harris, BIC Secretary