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Construction Permits


Pagoda Option vs Chinatown Station Central Subway demolition permits

As you read what follows notice how the Chinatown Station demolition permit process reflects what you would expect from a civilized country like the US, whereas the North Beach Pagoda Option permit process seems more akin to what you might find in some uncivilized outpost. The two projects are both run by Muni (SFMTA), and at roughly the same time, yet it seems Muni is treating North Beach like an unwanted little sister.

Howard Wong notes: "If city departments can circumvent traditional permit processes and independent inspections, there will be safety issues. Also, this is a return to the 1950s and 60s when Redevelopment Agencies could demolish entire neighborhoods without much public recourse."

Demolition permit differences
Chinatown North Beach
Permit appeal allowed Yes No
Notices to owners within 300 feet Yes No
Follow permit process online Yes No
Posted notices Yes No

Pagoda public records altered?

Since early this year North Beach has been watching the progress of the Pagoda demolition permit on the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) web site (below left). Compare it to the permit for the Chinatown site demolition of the old Hogan & Vest building (below right).

Just as demolition began in late July, Muni pulled a switcheroo and handed us a non-standard permit and deleted the permit we had been following online.

North Beach (Pagoda) Chinatown Station

February 19, 2013: Permit filed.
April thru July: North Beach watches the DBI permit site.
July 22: Pagoda demolition begins, but no DBI permit issued.
   No notices to nearby owners, no appeal process, what's up?
July 29: Muni issues "permit": a letter from John Funghi.
August 1: The Pagoda demolition permit is taken off the DBI website.

This demolition permit was deleted around August 1 (click here):

 Pagoda permit missing 2013-08-01

The now-deleted online permit as of July 1, 2013:

 Pagoda permit 2013-07-01

   October 4, 2012: Permit filed.
   August 23, 2013: Permit issued.

   Online demolition permit you can see now (click here):

 Chinatown station permit

The "fishy"-looking Pagoda demolition permit

A letter from John Funghi (SFMTA) to Matthew Huey (demolition contractor MH Construction) was posted at the demolition site four days after work began, and is supposed to be the official "permit."

View John Funghi "permit" letter.

More on Muni "self-permit" power.

More on the Pagoda demolition.

The usual permits posted at Chinatown Station site

 Chinatown Station site, Stockton & Washington Streets
Chinatown Station site, Stockton & Washington Streets
Notice permits posted on front of building just right of parked car.
 Chinatown Station demolition permit
Chinatown Station demolition permit issued by Department of Building Inspection (DBI)
At the lower left of the Notice is the DBI fees of $8,306.36 detail.

See the DBI online database entry for this permit (Click on "Show Site Permit Details").

Also view the Station construction permit for $69,970,583.00 and the Construction DBI permit fees of $616,116.66.

Web site updated September 7, 2014;