A row of six condemned properties on 3rd Street just south of Thornton (near the Latona Community Garden) were demolished recently. A Bayview insider, who has tracked many properties in pursuit of improvements, tells Footprints that community advocates have spent over 10 years, and have logged countless contacts with multiple agents to make it happen.
Our in-the-know neighbor explains the history of complaints about the properties and the process that led to their demolition.
If you go to the Department of Building Inspection's (DBI) website and type in the addresses for the 6 lots you'll see this has been on the City’s radar for more than 10 years. Past-Director of the DBI, Vivian Day, inspected the properties last spring/summer with the Police and Fire Departments, both of whom told her the condition of the properties and the presence of squatters made it unsafe for their people to enter and perform their jobs.
Ms. Day was replaced before she could sign the Emergency Demolition Order. Acting Director Tom Hui, her replacement, along with Senior Inspector Dan Lowrey and representatives from SFPD and SFFD, re-inspected the properties. Mr. Hui signed the Emergency Demolition Order on Aug 7, 2012. I believe it was the first EDO ever issued in SF for a blighted building.
The EDO gives the property owner 30 days to comply. The owner said he'd take care of the problem and was granted more time. When he did not take care of it, the City had to get three estimates, fill out a requisition, etc. All of that added time to the process. Now that the work is done, they'll send the owner a bill. If he doesn't pay, the Building Inspection Commission will add the property to its Lien List which is sent to the Board of Supervisors at the end of the summer, at which time the City Attorney may put a lien on the property.
As far as I know, there are no plans for the (now empty) lots.
Why did it take so long to take down those structures on Third near Thornton, and why did there need to be so many Department of Building Inspections participants?
I believe it exposes a fundamental flaw in their NOV (Notice Of Violation) process. There are three divisions related to construction (Building, Electric, Plumbing) that write NOV's. Eventually they get turned over to Code Enforcement, and someone else takes up the case. The Housing department is better run. They approach it with a "case management" style, and one person follows the case thru to the end. BID, EID, PID, and CES have turnover and very poor management in place.
How many Notices of Violation are open?
There are over 6,000 open NOV's in SF dating back to the year 2000. The number was 5,800 in 2010 when open NOV's dated back to 1994, the year the DBI went from paper to computer. I suspect a lot of files never got onto the computer. At the time, I calculated the potential loss to the City at over $6 million.
Are we seeing evidence of DBI or Planning activity in Bayview?
Yes. Some examples would be the permits for 5800 Oakdale (to build more condos behind the existing building), the fire damaged home on Bayshore near the highway, the permits for razing/rebuilding 1421 Mendell, the 4 blighted homes on Oakdale that have permits and are being rehabbed, a blighted house on Revere, the vacant SFHDC lot next to the Metro PCS building, the Shiloh Church at 5122 3rd Street, the rehab of the Metro PCS building, the rehab of the former Muslim Bakery on 3rd x Revere, the new Library, Candlestick Park, and, well, the list just keeps on going.
How do you come up with so much information?
I'm all for doing Sunshine Law requests for data from the different departments. That's where the Open NOV and Open Director's Hearing numbers came from."
Thank you for keeping track of it all. Can you keep us updated?
If I can help out I will but not for money. I'm a true "volunteer."
Footprints assured our Insider that, despite how grateful we are for all the research, advocacy and information, there is no need to worry about being paid.