Noe Valley Voice February 2002

Dan's Parking Lot Gets Go-Ahead

By Corrie M. Anders

The sounds of demolition may soon reverberate along 24th Street now that the Noe Valley Ministry has won conditional City Hall approval to convert the defunct Dan's Auto Service into a commercial parking lot.

The transformation to a 29-space parking facility is scheduled to get under way in March -- even as local residents start to ponder long-range possibilities including affordable housing and community space at the site.

"The Dan's garage site remains a tremendous opportunity for the community, and we want to make sure the best possible use is made of that site -- no matter who the owner is,'' said Jeannene Przyblyski, a leader in the group Friends of Noe Valley.

The Ministry, which made a successful 12th-hour bid last July to purchase the property for $3.25 million after the money was put up by a group of anonymous Presbyterian donors, got the city's okay to proceed following a Dec. 12 public hearing.

The Planning Department, however, put conditions on its approval. The department required the Ministry to ensure that neither security lighting nor parking-lot noise would overpower merchants and residents near the lot at 3861­65 24th Street between Vicksburg and Sanchez streets.

Both conditions will be met, said Tim Leistico of Thetacon Service Group, whose San Francisco ­ based professional construction management firm is handling the deal on the Ministry's behalf.

Security lighting will be mounted on four-foot-high posts instead of the usual tall utility poles, while a heavier back fence and acoustical panels will be used to soak up sounds, Leistico said.

The Planning Department's zoning administrator, Lawrence Badiner, also asked the Ministry to describe its future plans for the site. Leistico said the Ministry responded that "possibly we want low-income housing above some retail...down the road." The Ministry has said all along that affordable housing was part of its vision for the site.

Meanwhile, at a Jan. 10 meeting sponsored by Friends of Noe Valley, speakers expressed concern that there still was no information on the parking-lot fees.

"In order to be really supportive, people need to know how much it will cost to park there," said Przyblyski. Residents also wanted to know how many spaces would be reserved for long-term parking and how many for hourly parking.

Leistico said the Ministry had not determined how much it would cost to park in the new lot. That decision won't be made until a parking-lot operator is chosen, he said. However, the Ministry, located at 1021 Sanchez Street, is expected to control the parking lot for church activities on Sundays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6 to 9 p.m.

Another question raised at the meeting was whether more parking would just mean more cars drawn to 24th Street. Friends member Randy Zielinski proposed that a portion of the parking lot be set aside for bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters.

As for the future, Friends member Eleanore Gerhardt suggested that the parking lot might also house space for community activities, live entertainment, or a theater. After all, in the early 1900s, back before it was a gas station, the site boasted a silent movie theater, the Vicksburg.