San Francisco’s policies for enforcing city building codes was the topic of a City Hall hearing Monday, where members of a Board of Supervisors committee questioned what they called a complicated and user-unfriendly system.
Supervisors Scott Wiener and Malia Cohen requested the hearing at the board’s land use and economic development committee, saying a lack of adequate code enforcement has led to blight from dilapidated or unfinished buildings.
Wiener said the problem affects neighborhoods everywhere in the city, where boarded up windows, half-completed buildings and extreme hoarding situations create safety hazards for residents.
“It does not appear to the public that action is taken” in many cases, he said. “There are some problem properties that appear to slip through the cracks.”
Rosemary Bosque, chief housing inspector for the city’s Department of Building Inspection, said one problem has been a lack of adequate resources for the department, which has one inspector for every 11,000 residential units in the city.
“We can’t be everywhere,” Bosque said.
She noted though that the department has recently filled seven housing inspector position vacancies and also highlighted some recent cases that were successfully abated after intervention by the department.
Another problem mentioned by the supervisors was inadequate coordination between city departments that might be doing concurrent inspections or are unaware of recent complaints involving a separate department on the same property.
“Most constituents find it very confusing to deal with multiple departments,” Supervisor Jane Kim said.
Wiener recommended that the city create a central database so departments could know about any complaint that has been made on a property and react in a more timely fashion.
He said he is considering legislation to address the issues.
“It’s incredibly frustrating when years and years go by and nothing appears to be done,” he said.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News