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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Berkeley Farms building demo appeals hearing

The India Basin Neighborhood Association (IBNA) reports on its Facebook page that it and a group of other Bayview/Hunters Point neighborhood activists testified yesterday, January 9th, in front of a city commissioned Board of Appeals hearing on the illegal demolition of the Berkeley Farms buildings located at 2065 Oakdale Avenue.

You may recall back in October the sudden and sneaky removal of the Berkeley Farms building, it's iconic milk carton sign, and the subsequent hew and cry from neighbors who saw this as yet another example of developers trying to pull a fast one on the City because they think that no one is watching what's going on in this part of town.

Read more at http://d10watch.blogspot.com/2012/10/berkeley-farms-milk-building-gone.html

This lot, ostensibly at the entrance to the Bayview, may end up sitting as a stark reminder to those who might try this kind of thing again.  There are people watching and there are people out there who know how the system works and how life can be made very uncomfortable (and costly) for you should you try to circumvent the rules that you'd have to abide by in any other part of the City.

Dan Dodt of the Bayview Office for Community Planning (BVOCP) writes of yesterday's Board of Permit Appeals hearing:

1.  The alteration permit was upheld with conditions. Any work proposed on this site will require a 311/312 notification to neighbors for a period of 5 years or until the law changes.  That notice parallels the requirement when a building is demolished, so we can take a win there.  We also have convinced Supervisor Cohen to introduce legislation to change the way proposed building actions on industrial properties are noticed to neighbors. That will change the law - hopefully for a long time. 
2.  The applicant/owner is required to submit soils for testing by an authorized lab.  
3. The board was unable to force the owner to return the sign or attach those conditions to the permit. 

4.  We put the Bayview Office for Community Planning in City Hall with about a dozen stellar speakers and neighborhood supporters who were calm, focused on the message, diverse, present, serious. 
5.  There are multiple NOV's which the owner/applicant will have to resolve, costing money and time. 
6.  Other penalties and costs accrue to the owner for the general mis-deeds around the project, costing time and money daily - including a security guard.

All in all, I say it is a win for the Bayview.  
Dodt adds that "the Board of Permit Appeals has only one power, and that is to deny a permit. In our case, we knew that the demand for revocation of an alteration permit and the retroactive issuance of a demo permit was a stretch, but we wanted to put the applicant/owner and, more importantly, the City, on notice that this sort of action (the demo) is being watched closely in the Bayview and that we should NOT take these things lightly."  

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