Letter to Editor: How long is too long to build one house in South San Francisco?

South San Francisco, CA  June 22, 2022 by SSF Sign Hill residents

Dear ESC Editor:

How long is too long to build one house in South San Francisco?

This September marks the 11th anniversary of a building permit issued to build a new single-unit residential house in our Sign Hill neighborhood. And build it they did. In fact, they never finished building it. This construction, first started in September 2011, has not yet finalized. There is no foreseeable completion date.

In California, most residential building permits have time limit of 2 years, with permit holders required to pass a progress inspection every 6 months. When the time limit is reached, the project has not received final approval, or the permit holder fail to pass a progress inspection or obtain an extension, the building permit becomes null and void. A new application will be required and the project will be subject to new fees and regulations that are in effect at the time the new application is submitted.

These rules all sound great on paper. However, our SSF building department never enforces them, at least not in this case. Throughout the years, this construction had been halted multiple times, and the house had been left abandoned for months or even years. However, SSF building department continued to grant time extensions to the permit holder, even during the years when no progress was made. The project has been allowed to proceed under its original permit issued in 2011, so it did not need to comply with any new regulations or building codes.

Building permits have term limits for a reason: to minimize the impact of construction work on residents. Our neighborhood has endured a decade long of drilling, hammering, and stomping noises, blocked and damaged sidewalks, construction debris and hazardous materials left on the street or flying into neighbors’ backyards, construction workers using cones to block street parking for their own usage without proper encroachment permit. During the years when the construction site had been left abandoned, it had been overgrown with vegetation, and turned into a dumping ground. The worst part is that it has also attracted vagrants and illegal activities and posed threats to public safety.

Neighbors living around this house have repeatedly filed complaints and asked the City of South San Francisco to intervene. On Engage SSF (an online and mobile application for SSF residents to report non-emergency issues) alone, there are at least a dozen of complaints on this site for various reasons. Yet nothing much has been done for the safety of the families who live in the neighborhood.

In other cities, a prolonged construction like this without a valid excuse could be considered a municipal ordinance violation, and subject to penalties. Our city, however, has failed to hold the permit holder accountable for his poor due diligence. So I would like you to highlight this problem and in hope to get the City’s attention. It is time for the South City officials to take action to stop this nuisance.

 

Sincerely

SSF Sign Hill residents

 

 

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neighbor
neighbor
5 months ago

You do have a valid concern, and it’s good to complain and voice your concern.
However, it’s not good for make things up and lie.
Cones were used in the street with valid encrouchment permit, and the permit number was displayed on the signs. cones were used for a week or two, and only directly in front of the house, and it was needed to redo the sidewalk that was already damaged from ages ago..
there was never any debris flying over to the neighbors, that’s absurd and a total lie. the only debris is from the next door neighbor that threw his remodeling (very old trims and pieces of wood among other things) debris and broke the windows, he left his name and address on the shipping labels of the materials and we have pictures of that.
 “decade long of drilling, hammering, and stomping noises?” are you serious? do you see that you’re exaggerating 10000 times and the lie here? 95% of the time its quiet and no noise.
and the house ever had any vargants of any sort.
the house gets a lot of abuse and confrontations from the neighbors as it is, for you to lie and make things up doesn’t help the situation

Ssf resident
Ssf resident
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

Hmm, maybe it’s time to ask yourself why you got confrontations from neighbors. Is it true that you have been building the house for over 10 years? All the complaints have been filed to code enforcement on record. Why various neighbors had to lie about you?

Ssf neighbor
Ssf neighbor
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

Were those your cones? Did you get encroachment permit for those?

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Ssf neighbor
Ssf neighbor
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

Did you get an encroachment permit for that pile of dirt and those cones in front of your house? The picture was taken in February this year. There was no active encroachment permit issued during the time. Is it a lie that you have been building for over 10 years? Is it a lie that you halted construction from time to time and left the house abandoned? 95% of the time it’s quiet and no noise? That’s when the house was left abandoned. Whenever you started building, you made noises late into night, way passed construction hours. No vagrants of any sort? You didn’t live there and left the house abandoned. Neighbors have security footage and pictures as proof. In fact some neighbors warned you about strangers sneaking into the house. Who’s lying here? All the complaints listed here have also filed to code enforcement office on record. Have you ever wondered why you got a lot of confrontations from neighbors? Do you know what’s not helping here: you coming here accusing neighbors lying!!

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neighbor
neighbor
5 months ago
Reply to  Ssf neighbor

that’s correct, this time it was the contractor that did the pavers, I came and saw that too, it was only a day or two or few days. rest of times we had permits. this was done by the contractor directly in front of the house,
did you ever complain about the other neighbor that constantly have cones n front of his house to hold the parking spots for years. (not a few days).
we caught the neighbors sneaking up an breaking the windows to get in and we paid for all the windows they broke and didn’t ask them for money, after that they never came back.

Ssf resident
Ssf resident
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

So it goes from “total lies and make up stories” to “okay, you caught me, it happened, but it wasn’t that bad, there are many people worse than me” after you got busted.

First of all, you are the permit holder. So you are responsible for all construction related issues. Don’t try to shift the blame to your contractor. Secondly, the space in front of your house doesn’t belong to you. It’s public space. You don’t get to block it. In the picture, those boards scattered on the sidewalk posed tripping hazard to the public. Was that ever your concern? Of course NOT, You don’t care.

You caught the people sneaking into your house, because neighbors were nice enough to warn you about it. How did you repay them? Calling them liars! And those people had been hanging around for more than a year, and posed threats to all the surrounding families. And of course, NOT your concern NOT your fault.

Sophia
Sophia
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

omg, you’re a worse liar than amber heard, haha! I don’t know why you’d think its a good idea to keep talking, coz you’re not helping yourself! Do you realize that the more you talk, the more you prove what your neighbor said are true? To all the neighbors of this guy, I am truly sorry that you had to deal with such an arrogant neighbor. And to the city, please help these poor people here!

Mary
Mary
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

We can’t all be lying maybe it’s you/contractor. People don’t usually go looking for problems if everything is done right! It’s a nice neighborhood and I think I can say we just want to keep it peaceful and tidy.

Ssf resident
Ssf resident
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

About the sidewalk, no, it wasn’t already damaged from ages ago. It was damaged from your construction. Did you redo the sidewalk voluntarily? NO! You did it at the request of code enforcement, because a neighbor filed a complaint to the city in early March. You got the encroachment permit for that in April, not because you wanted to, but because the project was oversaw by CE under case # CE22-0127. Yes, I have proof for everything I said here. Now could you please show me that you got encroachment permit for putting out cones and construction debris on the road, blocking public parking in February?!

neighbor
neighbor
5 months ago
Reply to  Ssf resident

You are very wrong. We met with the city and agreed that we would fix the sidewalk even before we were issued the permit. I have proof on paper from the city that I can show you if interested.

Ssf resident
Ssf resident
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

How was I wrong? Did you offer to fix the sidewalk voluntarily? I don’t think so. The city made you fixed it after so many complaints had been filed. Not to mention that your contractors used to sweep nails in the street that damage neighbor’s tires numerous of time.

Neighbor
Neighbor
4 months ago
Reply to  Ssf resident

You seriously don’t see how your whole story of the sidewalk was wrong? You should call a friend and ask for help.

Ssf resident
Ssf resident
5 months ago
Reply to  neighbor

In 2016, a neighbor filed a complaint to the city that your contractor littered her property with construction debris. She also noticed random people were hanging out in the abandoned house (case # CE16-0966). In 2018, neighbors complained construction noises late at night and kids loitering (case # CE18-0006). In 2021, another neighbor complained that debris, weeds and rocks from your property were flying into her yard (case # CE21-0312). Different neighbors, all unknow to each other, filed complaints on similar issues. And yet, you came here to deny all the wrongdoings and called them liars!! Never once you apologize to your neighbors for all the inconveniences you caused. In opposite, you bullied and harassed your neighbors! You are the owner and permit holder, the delay on construction is solely on you. Don’t put blame on others!!

Neighbor
Neighbor
5 months ago

Thank you for finally putting the city officials on blast. They haven’t been doing there civil servants duties at all. I used to lived across the street of that house and it was nightmare. There was old contractors looking for the owner of the house because the owner didn’t want to pay them for the work they have done. I watch the people he hire taking a shit on the side of the house because there was no running water inside and he was too cheap to pay for a portable toilet. I seen young kids go in there to have sex and do drugs. I had to deal with people illegally dumping in front of his house. Had to deal with him parking his retired black limo suv there for 2 years without him having to move it since there is no street cleaning on the block. I made complaints to the city after he thought it was ok to use a sledgehammer at 10pm so he can pass inspection the next day. I bet most of you city official live up on the nicer side of ssf. You should get off your ass and really do something to make ssf better instead of collecting checks and watch TV. Everyone know this address! IT **600 block of WALNUT AVE SSF**

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**Edit made to remove the exact address
– ED

neighbor
neighbor
5 months ago
Reply to  Neighbor

100% lies. all coming from a … that smokes cigarettes in one hand and hold an infant in the other hand. even your husband caught you lying to him, remember?.. you should find something to do with your life especially during the day instead of spreading hate and lies.

Neighbor
Neighbor
5 months ago

Thank you to who wrote this and appreciate you speaking up about it. This has been a big concern to the neighborhood. Glad that the neighborhood is not turning a blind eye on this one.

Amy
Amy
5 months ago

What street is the house on?

Annie Wong
Annie Wong
5 months ago

I’ve often wondered about this construction project; year after year it remains unfinished. How can the same permit issued in 2011 still be good for 2022?? Who’s asleep at the wheel?

SSF tax payer
SSF tax payer
5 months ago

It’s horrible to live next to a construction site for over 10 years. Ssf building department needs to take action to protect its residents. Seems like the city departments didn’t perform their jobs. Scandal investigation needed!!!!!

SSF tax payer
SSF tax payer
5 months ago

It’s horrible to live next to a construction site for over 10 years. Ssf building department needs to take action to protect its residents. Seems like the city departments didn’t perform their job! Scandal investigation needed!!!!!!

Jimmy
Jimmy
5 months ago

The lot has been under construction for over 10 years. Neighbors are constantly complaining to the city to no avail. The owner is rude and obnoxious whenever he is around the neighborhood. Why hasn’t the city done anything? Are his permits current? How is he able to continuously renew them after over 10 years of neglect?

Neighbor
Neighbor
4 months ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Rude and obnoxious and a few other words is what I would use to describe your wife that screams out of her lungs without making any sense. She’s truly nasty in every possible way. She had attacked my kids when they were 5 years old, she’s attacked my wife and every contractor that ever came to work on the house.
Let’s not talk about how she put two cameras pointing directly at us abusing us every second. Did she give you permission to make a comment here ?

long time resident
long time resident
5 months ago

Seriously? The city manager is not loyal to South city or ppl who live here. Talks a goodline while flashing a smile, but here for money and his next step somewhere else.

Concerned Resident
Concerned Resident
5 months ago

I wonder if the Permit Dept got some kickback from this building permit holder? Maybe the permit office needs to be investigated to see why they aren’t doing their job if so many neighbors already filed complaints.

CYNTHIA MARCOPULOS
CYNTHIA MARCOPULOS
5 months ago

Contact the City Manager —

A concerned ssf resident
A concerned ssf resident
5 months ago

I am one of the affected neighbors. I wrote multiple emails to the mayor, city manager, city councilmen, and building department. They basically told me that nothing they can do about it.