Public Advisory Committee - February 25, 2015 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
February 25, 2015 - 2:00pm
1660 Mission, Room 2001




Wednesday, February 25, 2015
2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
1660 Mission Street
2nd Floor, Room 2001


Director Hui welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.


a. Status of Outstanding Planning Issues

i. Returning plans to applicant with approved Conditional Use/Change of Use for processing

       Director Hui stated the Planning Department would not be in attendance.  

A member of the public stated plans are submitted to Planning for conditional use/change of use as a Form 3.  The question was why plans could not be returned to DBI once Planning has approved the permit application and the project sponsor, at this time, request to route them for over the counter approval.  Projects of small retail stores and restaurants are being submitted and they have to wait two months for review.  If the project is walked through the other stations, it would not take this long.  These are projects that seem to be eligible for over the counter once approved by Planning.  Deputy Director Sweeney stated once plans have been submitted for review as Form 3, they need to stay in the system so that other departments can process them. Requests for over the counter for submitted projects are only available for projects reviewed by DBI.  Director Hui advised customer to contact each department head of permit related agencies (Fire, DPW, SFPUC, etc.) to see if their process could be similar to DBI’s.   

a. Processing of smaller projects over the counter

Henry Karnilowicz inquired about internal routings.  A set of plans were re-stamped, he was going to get them from the planner and bring them back to staff for further review but staff on the second floor does not approve of this.  Deputy Director Sweeney explained plans could possibly be changed during this time; therefore, that process cannot be done.  It should only take 24 hours for plans to be routed from one department to the next.



Bill Strawn reported that due to the Mission and 22nd Streets fire, there will be a hearing scheduled by Supervisor Campos and Supervisor Kim.  Fire and DBI will be in attendance to talk about their processes in terms of inspecting for life safety systems.  The hearing is set for March 19.  

There will be another Board of Supervisors hearing on requiring sprinklers in apartment buildings.  Supervisor Kim will talk to the Board of Supervisors next Tuesday, and DBI will be in attendance to answer questions that may arise.  


User Acceptance Testing is in progress.  Project is now moving forward with internal testing for system to go-live.  Data migration is also taking place in a few weeks.  Project team is currently addressing issues that are coming up during conversion and migration of data.


Deputy Director Dan Lowrey stated Inspection Services are busy.  It is advised to call in advance as possible to schedule inspections.  If customers encounter any issues, they should call any supervisor, especially on time sensitive inspections, such as a concrete pour.

A member of the public was in attendance to obtain clarification on the legalization of in-law units.  The legislation is not very helpful to property owners wanting to add another unit and at the same time, it’s hard to get permits to remove the unit.  Bill Strawn stated there have been 1500 inquiries showing interest to legalize, 57 are under review with Planning, and six issued permits.  There has not been much movement, possibly due to rent control issues and delays with Urban Forestry.  There is a lot of political interest to have affordable units, a reason why it may be hard to obtain a permit to revert the property to its original state.  For properties with two units, if legalizing the third one, Fire requires that the unit being legalize have sprinklers.  The biggest issue is not being able to remove the illegal unit.  This was a procedure you were able to do over the counter but it was removed a few months ago.  Now it is required that a hearing be held with the Planning Commission.  It was suggested to invite Fire, Planning, and Urban Forestry to the next meeting to discuss this issue further.

Jackie Crivinar stated there was an instance when a plan checker was looking at a set of plans, already approved by another plan checker, and changed them.  Deputy Director Sweeney stated this should be brought up to the supervisors.     

Henry Karnilowicz asked if the removal of a kitchen can be signed off by Planning over the counter.  It was stated DBI does allow for a sign off to remove a kitchen over the counter.  


Invite Fire, Planning, DPW-Urban Forestry to the next meeting to address legalization of in-law units process.
Director Hui stated any additional future agenda items should be sent to Carolyn Jayin ( for the next meeting.


       There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 2:58 p.m.