For the entertainment lobby, it’s just never good enough

Entertainment Commissioner Glendon “Anna Conda” Hyde wants to increase the number of Place of Entertainment permits on Folsom Street and allow Limited Live Performance permits all over Western SoMa (see below). Jeez, he’s just never satisfied. 

Hyde has already talked Supervisor Jane Kim into supporting the down-zoning of the 11th Street corridor to preclude residential uses because he claims that housing and nightlife are just so very incompatible. But now he wants to extend nighttime entertainment uses into some of the most densely populated parts of the Western SoMa Plan Area.

Which is it? Compatible or not? If he thinks nightclubs can co-exist with residential uses, maybe Jane Kim should reconsider the down-zoning that was just imposed on the 11th Street neighbors.

Every single building along the Folsom Street Neighborhood Commercial Corridor is adjacent to a Residential Enclave District. The Plan puts a 200 foot buffer around REDs, which would make Folsom Street off-limits to new Place of Entertainment permits. Does he want to take away that protection too?

With its 65 foot height bump, Folsom Street is targeted to provide the greatest increase of residential capacity in the entire Plan Area. There are plenty of clubs already there and they’re grandfathered in. But additional nightclubs would not only increase conflict, they would have a deadening affect on this budding neighborhood commercial corridor. Just walk down 11th Street in the daylight to see what they’ve done to that neighborhood.

And this nonsense about Limited Live Performance permits ignores all the promises former Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi made to get this legislation passed. LLP, which allows live music until 10:00 p.m., only applies to areas where entertainment is already a permitted use (with the exception of what Kim did to South Park) and in general exists only along the NCDs elsewhere in the city. In comparison, almost 90% of Supervisor Scott Wiener’s District is exempt from any form of entertainment.

Don’t forget about everything the Western SoMa Plan already does to enhance entertainment opportunities in the Western SoMa: grandfathering in every nightclub in Western SoMa; allowing them to expand; denying residential enclave status to the two alleys running parallel to 11th Street; opening up the entire area south of Harrison Street to all kinds of new entertainment uses; allowing LLP venues along the Folsom Street NCD; imposing strict new building code standards on every new residential development in the vicinity of all existing nightclub; and finally, extending entertainment rights for new construction and allowing replacement venues to grow by 25%.

So now, Jane Kim (and the Planning Commission), welcome to the “it’s just not good enough” club. We struggled for six years to try to satisfy the entertainment industry lobby but no matter what we did, it was just never good enough either. Remember, the Western SoMa Plan is a community plan, not just a party plan. It’s goal is to improve the quality of life for everyone in this district.

Jim Meko
SoMa Leadership Council


On February 9, 2013, Clendon “Anna Conda” Hype wrote:

We invite you to join us this Thursday as a person who is concerned with the future of nightlife in SOMA.

We are meeting on Thursday at 6:30 @ the BeatBox and here is what we are up to:

The Western Soma Plan has been sent to the Board of Supervisors for their vote. This will be the last time we can organize to make the plan live up to its stated objectives, especially around the possible LGBT district.

The good news is that the plan has been adjusted to recognize the value of entertainment and community spaces, but there are still adjustments we would like to see.

The first is about 11th Street btw Folsom and Harrison. We were successful in getting the zoning on 11th street changed so that it allowed entertainment as a right of use and did not allow residential. the Zone is called WMUO. The Planning Commission grandfathered in one project in the entire WSoma plan area and it is the residential building at 340 11th street; possibly negating the zoning change. That new residential building, if allowed to be built, will bring residents into the middle of the block (it is where the Purple Building now sits). This event could trigger the gradual press towards more restrictions on the businesses. This is of concern to the BeatBox, but also to the Eagle, Lonestar, PowerHouse and Kok Bar….Losing one more venue is not what creating a LGBT friendly neighborhood is all about.

The second is the Folsom Zoning that will curtail hours to 10PM. Yes, you read that correctly, the outcome of the zoning is to restrict commercial uses to the first floor and stack residential above it. AND impose a 10PM closing time for new businesses. We need to advocate for zoning, and it exists, that allows for a 24 hour city. If not here, where?

Limited Lime permits that end at 10pm will only be offered on Folsom Street. Should all businesses on major thoroughfares be able to have this permit designed to help business thrive?

Please join the discussion or write to your Supervisor about the changes you agree with and would like to see added to the new zoning for 11th street in the final plan.

Thanks for reading and see you next Thursday.





Filed under entertainment

9 responses to “For the entertainment lobby, it’s just never good enough

  1. Good for Glendon “AnnaConda” I VOTE YES!

    • Jimmy, the City’s gay bar population had dropped from 118 in 1973 to just 33 in 2011 (see “With the gay community’s greater social acceptance, San Francisco’s bar scene has changed,” San Francisco Examiner, Sunday, February 7, 2013). The zoning is not what’s killing the gay bars.

      • I agree that the bar scene, particularly within the Gay Community, has “evolved”. Personally, I would like to see more “mixed-use” spaces, bars, clubs and restaurants that cater to a Liberal, Open-minded crowd. Social acceptance of gays is NOT the only reason we went form 118 gay bars to 33. Much of this was because, as in the case of Polk Street, they were forced out. Look, I live on Market street now and many times the noise gets to me, now that I’m older. But I accepted things the way they are and believe SF should return to the position of being the #1 Entertainment Destination in the US, like we were in the 80’s. More tourists = More Dollars!

      • Why Now?

        @Jim, the notion that large DJ clubs create tons of jobs and bring in tons of dollars is plain wrong. The economic impact report showed that less than 4% of dollars were attributed to those venues. By and large eating establishments brought in the largest amount by far and employed many many more people. Also what the economic impact report did not quantify was the “cost” side of the equation, and there are large costs offsetting the 4% such as post clean up, SFPD to deal with the club crime and violence the venues have brought to otherwise safe neighborhood. Just 3 weeks ago a man was beaten and subsequently died, just in our area and the SFPD suspect it was related to an incident at the nearby club.

  2. Question

    The Entertainment Industry is out of control in West SOMA. They have more than enough room for venues yet they want more. They want, they take and they give zero back to the neighborhood they impact. Heaven forbid an office developer wanted to build a building…anyway what we need are more neighborhood serving land use activities.

  3. Question

    And…if we are voting I vote no. Besides the people that live here and participated in the years long West SOMA plan process give ample consideration to the Entertainment Industry when the plan was prepared. They were AT THE TABLE…why didn’t they speak up then??

  4. Why Now?

    I don’t get it. Why this late end run around an approved plan, a plan that was community based? How is it that big entertainment can muscle in on people that live here with no community outreach? This is San Francisco, a kinda of progressive place that prides itself on neighborhood rights and self determination.

    I live in a residential enclave and a club illegally expanded right up to our street. They did it because they were on Mission just outside the plan area. They did it without permits! They literally did it in the dark of night! But the conflict of interest Entertainment Commission members, who make a living from running clubs, gave them an after the fact permit. The whole thing stinks of dishonest backroom dealing. This has to end now!

  5. Some years ago, back in 1989, I was a DJ at the ENDUP, as well as, several bars, clubs throughout the City. Back then people seemed to be much more accepting of the Nightlife. It was a part of the unique charm of living within San Francisco limits.

    Beginning in the mid 90’s clubs and bars began to be forced out by both tenants and landlords alike. Most of the SOMA dwellers came in long after all this. I APPLAUD the Commission for helping us get back a vital resource and working to restore this great City to it’s rightful place as an Entertainment Capitol!

    People who want peace and quiet have every option to move into the Sunset, Pac Heights, Richmond, Russian Hill, etc. Districts or to a much quieter place like Walnut Creek.

    SOMA deserves to be an entertainment destination for tourists and locals alike!

    • Why Now?

      Actually I was born, raised and went to public schools right here in San Francisco and have lived in SOMA 14 years. Most of my neighbors including a substantial number of pinoy have lived right here in our residential enclave for more than 35 years. Your views are somewhat offensive. How about joining us together with members of the Entertainment Industry each saturday and sunday morning and help us clean up after your clients have left all their shit and crap in our neighborhood? How about policing your clients? How about walking the neighborhood friday and saturday nights at 2am until 4am and ask your clients to respect the people that have lived here for 35 years.

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