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Some Nob Hill Neighbors Still Want the Church; Debate Continues

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We hear that developer John McInerney has amassed what he's calling "overwhelming" support for his contentious condo project at 1601 Larkin. Even if, or even so, there are neighbors who aren't taking this one lying down — the image above looks to be the same one a commenter yesterday said has been plastered over telephone poles in the area, and comes to us courtesy of the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association. (Note that the rendering is an older one.) The proposed six-story development, they say, is "completely out-of-character with our historic neighborhood in terms of height, bulk and materials." They cite the Planning Department's opposition to the proposed design, and they also lament the proposed demolition of the "Landmark quality church," said to be the "only example" of architect George Washington Kramer's work. Worse, there's bad blood between the neighborhood and McInerney, whom they accuse of "letting the facade disintegrate through active abuse" and "not providing any adaptive reuse option" for the church.

Meanwhile, comments on yesterday's post are boiling down to one deciding question: who's one-trick-ponyer? Stanley Saitowitz, for his devotion to steel and glass boxes, or the Planning Department, for its apparent devotion to stucco and bay windows? Doc suggests the opaqueness of design adjudication has led architects to go to "those 'Friends of San Francisco Planning' get on some imagined 'approved list' ... Nothing against them. I just don't binge and purge." An urban planner's offended by the suggestion that they're doing too much. They're perfectly within the rules of the game: "Too often, the design of our communities is relegated to developers and their hack architects. To all planners out there: become informed about design, and educate yourself about how to craft urban regulatory frameworks that positively impact the built environment and enhance quality of life. This is your mission. Do your jobs. Kudos to the SF Planning Department. But I'll warn: do not become overzealous."
· Are Planners Overstepping Bounds Telling Architects What to Do? [Curbed SF]