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Letters to the Editor
A Goofy Business Infrastructure
In the Rumors section of the March issue, it was written that many new businesses, the majority of which were restaurants, had expressed interest in the spot formerly occupied by Colorcrane on 24th Street. However, Bill Talmage of DeWolfe Realty was quoted as saying, "I told them [the potential new restaurants] they would have a big use-permit problem and that there was a moratorium on restaurants on 24th Street."
Interestingly, my wife and I were just bemoaning the necessity of another trip to the Inner Sunset for dinner, due to the lack of restaurant variety in our own neighborhood. Is there actually a coalition against more restaurants in No-Eats Valley?
And while I am writing, why is there no live music on 24th Street? We have owned our place at 24th and Church for three years, enjoy our neighborhood, but we are concerned about the symptoms we see lately (closed businesses, low morale, decreased street traffic, etc.) of what must be a goofy business infrastructure and politics in our neighborhood.
Editor's Reply: Back in the late 1980s, neighborhood residents successfully lobbied the city to set limits on the number of bars and restaurants along 24th Street from Chattanooga to Diamond. To open a new restaurant on this strip, known officially as the 24th StreetNoe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District, a business owner must either replace an existing restaurant or seek an exemption from the Planning Department. As for live music, businesses that wish to host live entertainment must obtain a license from the Police Department. Entertainment licenses trigger safety and other inspections.
In addition to curbing bars and restaurants, Article 7 of the Planning Code restricts other types of businesses on 24th Street, including coffee stores. (For specifics, go to http://sfgov.org/planning/.) It also offers general rules governing our main shopping street. Here's an excerpt:
24th StreetNoe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District
The 24th StreetNoe Valley Neighborhood Commercial District is situated along 24th Street between Chattanooga and Diamond in the Noe Valley neighborhood.... This daytime-oriented, multi-purpose commercial district provides a mixture of convenience and comparison shopping goods and services to a predominantly local market area. It contains primarily retail sales and personal services at the street level, some office uses on the second story, and residential use almost exclusively on the third and upper stories.
The 24th StreetNoe Valley District controls are designed to allow for development that is compatible with the existing small-scale, mixed-use neighborhood commercial character and surrounding residential area. The small scale of new buildings and neighborhood-serving uses is encouraged, and rear yard open space corridors at all levels are protected. Most commercial uses are directed to the ground story and limited at the second story of new buildings. In order to maintain the variety and mix of retail sales and services along the commercial strip and to control the problems of traffic, congestion, noise, and late-night activity, certain potentially troublesome commercial uses are regulated. Additional eating and drinking establishments are prohibited, and ground-story entertainment and financial service uses are restricted to and at the ground story. Prohibitions on drive-up and most automobile uses help prevent additional traffic and parking congestion.
Housing development in new buildings is encouraged above the ground story. Existing housing units are protected by prohibitions on upper-story conversions and limitations on demolitions....
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