Don Nolte

Don Nolte

December 2012

Strutures May Have Been Illegally Torn Down at Former Berkeley Farms Site

Keith Burbank

The future of 2065 Oakdale Avenue is uncertain in the wake of what appears to be an unapproved demolition of most of the structures that had been located on the site. Previously owned by Berkeley Farms – which used it as a dairy distribution point from 1977 to 2000 – most of a 1964 building has been taken down, and the familiar oversized milk carton sign is nowhere to be found. 

Concerned residents believe that Jack Tseng, the property’s owner, demolished perhaps 10,000 square feet of an existing structure by obtaining a permit most people would use to remodel their bathroom. According to Bayview resident Dan Dodt, the form submitted to the City by Tseng is more typically used for an alteration, not a demolition. “It doesn’t reveal the scope of the work,” said Dodt. 

The San Francisco Planning Department confirmed Dodt’s assertion. “The project at 2065 Oakdale was processed as an alteration permit that was designated as a form number eight for over the counter approval, as opposed to an alteration permit that is a form number three, which requires further review,” wrote the Planning Department’s Kevin Brusatori, in an email. “That determination is made by the Building Department at the time of submittal. The Building Department determines if a project is an alteration or a demolition. In this case they determined it to be an alteration.” A Department of Building Inspection (DBI) report on the property indicates that a partial demolition had been requested, to “remove deteriorated vacant warehouse building, extg main building to remain.” 

Dodt is concerned that either Tseng or his demolition contractor – Peninsula Hauling and Demolition, Incorporated, of San Carlos – failed to secure the required permits to address air quality, as well as the safety of people traveling on nearby sidewalks and streets, during the demolition. 

Last October the Bayview Office for Community Planning, a group of residents, business owners and community advocates, filed a complaint about the demolition activity at 2065 Oakdale Avenue, claiming that the scope of the work exceeded what was allowed under the permit. The City and County of San Francisco’s Board of Appeals suspended the permit a few days later, and scheduled a public hearing on the issue for December 5, to be held at 5 p.m., in City Hall, Room 416. The Board of Appeals, formerly known as the Board of Permit Appeals, is a quasi-judicial body that consists of five members: president, Chris Hwang, vice president, Frank Fung, commissioner, Arcelia Hurtado, commissioner, Ann Lazurus, and a vacant commissioner’s seat. At the hearing, the board, Tseng, and the Bayview Office of Planning, as well as the City Attorney and a DBI representative, will be present. 

According to Laef Barnes, a commercial research analyst with Cassidy Turley Commercial Real Estate Services, which was involved in the building’s sale, 2065 Oakdale Avenue is 55,695 square feet, and was purchased by Tseng last July for $3.9 million. In April, Tseng requested a “letter of determination” from the Planning Department indicating the allowed uses for the property. According to Tseng’s attorneys, Reuben & Junius, Tseng wants to use the site to house a company that will fabricate stone and manufacturer metal studs – long, slender building materials made of metal and wood that are used in constructing walls in homes and other buildings – indoor and outdoor storage of metal studs, wholesale sales and parking, and office space. Tseng may ultimately add an auto repair shop and sell other wholesale building materials from the site. 

“We want to see professional oversight,” Dodt said of the development work being done in Bayview. Otherwise, Dodt said, the community will be like the Wild West. 

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