“I enjoy reading your newsletter and your blog. Thanks for all the helpful info. Would you mind helping me better understand Inner Parkside w/respect with the weather? We’re looking at a home on the west side of 16th; does that mean we’re doomed to being shrouded in fog? Also, more importantly, is it virtually impossible to build upward (one story) in this neighborhood? Or will we have to go back, essentially eliminating the home’s small backyard?
As answered by Todd Wiley of Zephyr Real Estate
As a long time resident of the Sunset and Parkside and having just added 1200 Sq. Ft. to my own home last year while acting as the contractor, I can say that I am qualified to answer your questions about the area and the challenges that lay ahead of you.
The easy answer is regarding your question about the fog. There is no perfect answer only perfect optimism. You must be optimistic about the weather, or at a minimum work outside of the avenues so that each night when you return from work in the summer you are greeted with a cool layer of fog. Sometimes it is not bad at all to be greeted by fog when you just suffered a 100+ degree day in the valley somewhere. Each year we have a mixed bag of weather in the avenues and the fog cannot be predicted. Some years are wonderful and some years you cannot believe you have not seen the sun for four weeks straight. Just last year we had a wonderful summer and the year prior made me absolutely wonder why I live out here. When the weather is nice we have it all. The beach is right there and the parks in this area cannot be beat. In my opinion, I love it out here. It is a great place to live as long as you are not stuck working from home every single day between the months of June-August, which tend to be the most plagued by fog. In the fall, fog is an on-and-off occurrence, but the winter is almost always clear. We did have two foggy days just last week on Saturday and part of Sunday, so you never know.
Additions and adding on to your home. Since I recently added on to my house I can tell you that the only real issue you face when making such an addition is your neighbors. If you plan on adding a floor and going up you may have some challenges ahead of you. First is City Planning, and the other is Building. You must pass planning before you can move on to building. It “always” helps in the eyes of City Planning if others on your block have already done so. You can bet that you will have complaints that will hinder or squash your dreams if you are planning on going up high enough to block someone’s view. If you are on the west side of an avenue and perched well above the lower avenue you will likely have no issues whatsoever. You must submit your plans and engineered drawings to Planning. Planning will then assist you in circulating the information to your neighbors and give them an opportunity to resist your plans. After the mailer goes out I believe they have ten days to do so. If nothing comes up, you will then be granted a permit and you can begin work and then a whole new challenge will begin. I went out and not up. Going up is very expensive, while excavation (if needed) and lengthening your property is much less so. Consult an architect and have them draw you a few scenarios. Submit them to Planning and start from there.
Further information can be attained by searching the website at www.sfgov.org/dbi.