Public Advisory Committee - September 30, 2015 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
September 30, 2015 - 2:00pm
1660 Mission, Room 2001

PDF icon PAC Minutes 09-30-15.pdf  



Wednesday, September 30, 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.


Elizabeth Watty, Planning provided an update on their Small Projects Team. 

The team was created to address Planning backlog issues, especially for small/minor projects. Elizabeth Watty oversees the team and works with Planning staff to review the lowest 15-20% of projects from each of the four quadrant teams. The main caveat is that these projects need to be principally permitted and quick to review by staff. Projects that involve variances, conditional uses, or require hearings at the Planning Commission do not apply for small project review. They began staffing in December 2014 and have been solidly staffed from January – March 2015. Since December, they have reviewed 570 - 600 building permits. They assign approximately 60 per month. While this team was seen as a temporary fix to address the increase in workload, the small projects team has been generally well received and may become a more permanent fixture. 

Director Hui raised an issue where Planning is requiring addendums be routed for their review. Director Hui spoke to Dan Sider regarding the five day turnaround for these reviews. Ms. Watty stated that it is typically five days for the initial review, but on many of the projects, they are seeing differences on things they care about. When this happens, it does take additional time before they sign off and return to DBI. Other items that may affect Planning review time – impact fee calculation, changes in square footage/interior layout changes. Director Hui stated this is occurs more with small jobs, single family projects. Sometimes the bigger jobs get approved faster than the small jobs. Ms. Watty is happy to bring this issue back to Jeff Joslin for further discussion. 

Ms. Watty commented it would be helpful if DBI staff included the superseded plan sets approved by Planning to make the process go by quicker. Planning is aware of the concern as well and it is their policy directive to staff to turnaround reviews in five days. Director Hui stated if the site permit is approved, Planning staff can go to DBI Records Management to request the approved set.

Another issue is the three year rule from Planning, where projects need to be rechecked by Planning if they are still under review within the three years. Ms. Watty stated changes may occur in those three years such as Planning Code changes that require Planning recheck.

It was asked if customers can request their projects be reviewed by the Small Projects Team. Ms. Watty stated yes and Planning Information Counter staff is familiar and can assist with inquiries.
Ms. Watty spoke on assignments for legalization are going to the Small projects team. They have a similar timeframe of five weeks to assign to a Planner. 

There was a comment that the 5th floor Planning counter is not staffed consistently.


Lily Madjus reported on:

DBI and Planning plan review fee waivers for legalization of in-law units. To date, 62 permits have been issued and seven permits have been completed. DBI staff will be attending the Board of Supervisors Land Use meeting to give an update on the legalization program.

Districts 3 and 8 are now allowed to have Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) for those properties undergoing seismic retrofit. Thirteen permits have been issued. DBI is working with Planning on its outreach efforts for the ADU handbook. A Brown Bag Workshop on ADUs is also scheduled for November 12.

Director Hui added AB-2188 EV Charge station is on the horizon.


Dan Lowrey stated inspections are behind due to training. 

There was an issue raised regarding drawing details asked by structural engineer plan checkers. To resolve any issues it was suggested that customers speak to the floor manager/supervisor. If not resolved at that level, Ed Sweeney should be notified.

Kudos to inspection staff for the amount of inspections they have been doing. 


Future agenda items should be sent to Carolyn Jayin ( for the next meeting.


There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 2:56 p.m.