Some thoughts

Welcome to HyperSpace.

While we are visiting, some thoughts about 3952 19th street, San Francisco, CA 94114.    There is a lot of history between our two homes.  They were originally built by the same family upon one 50′ wide parcel.  Hence the unique for San Francisco 6′ 4″ gap between our two buildings.

These thoughts are in random order and not by any degree of importance:

Our Shared Side Access

  • The space between our two buildings from the sidewalk to the gates has a long history of being shared for rear yard access since the parcels were divided in 1921.  While there is no formal access easement agreements between the two parcels, ninety-five years of mutual access has fairly well defined a prescriptive easement for access through the area to the gates.
  • Access to the year yard of 3952 was blocked off about 1998 “for security.”  With permission of the previous owner, I removed the former eight foot tall painted plywood gate in 2013 and placed redwood facing on the back side of the barricade.  This work was completed without benefit of permit and inspection by DBI.  The assembly is in a manner to allow for non-destructive deconstruction.
  • I would be agreeable to a formal deeded easement for mutual access through this area.
  • In my 30+ years here, there has been very little nuance in this area.  Only noted to be twice used as a toilet, one to smoke crack in a windstorm.
  • I have consistency not been if favor of moving the year yard access gate forward, restricting the view of the open space between the buildings from public view.
  • To do maintenance on the sides of these buildings,  it’s easiest to use standard scaffold which extends slightly across the mutual property line.  Both of us have done this in the past.
  • I’d fully support realignment of the gates to the rear yard areas to provide a legal width access opening for 3952.

The Fence Between our Two Rear Yards

  • When I put an offer on buying 3956/58 in 1984, there was a three foot high chain link fence dividing our two rear yards.
  • On 14 May 1984, a few days before Joan & I closed on the sale of 3956/58,  the former owner of 3952 from 1983 to 1990, David Rand, took out an over-the-counter permit to build a “six foot fence.”   I was out at sea at the time and returned to find the new fence in place, reaching a height of over ten feet in places.
  • Per my surveyor’s locations, the fence may be fully inside the property line of 3952.
  • More fences… the one on the deck outside the 3952 rear parlor that appeared (also perhaps without benefit of any permit and inspection) when I returned from yet another deployment that, per the former owner, was built “for my privacy.” This new fence along the deck severely restricted light from the rear parlor of 3956.
  • About fences…  I’m all for them as long as they do not block light and air.  The fence on the West side of my rear yard has the top half in glass and a wind foil on top.  Talk to your best aero engineer friend about fence airfoils.

The Front Sidewalks

  • I’d be fully supportive of taking out the blackwood acacia in front that has been lifting the sidewalks for the past 40 years.  It also has a cable holding the lower branch onto the tree.
  • Consider removing three of the five flats of concrete to provide street landscaping, leaving two for pedestrians.  See the North East corner of 19th/Sanchez for examples.  I want to do the same.

My Future Plans

  • I expect to do a re-roofing job this summer.  This probably will require the use of scaffold.
  • I want to remove, add seismic and fire sheathing and replace the siding on the first 30 feet of my original building and replace/raise the bay windows of the side projection this summer.  That work of course dependent on my oncologist’s  go ahead and a few other factors.  This is preliminary work before the 3956 original brick building foundation is replaced.
  • Next on my agenda is replacing the foundation of my building before I do any further interior work.  Not that there is anything wrong with a brick foundation on our soil.  Current plan is to face the foundation with granite and brick and include three new ground level translucent windows to allow for light into the garage.
  • As part of my intended foundation replacement, I would be open to making the path between the homes wheelchair accessible by lowering it to public sidewalk level.
  • Eventually, I want  to remove and replace the portions of my building that were not original.  (everything beyond the the setback midsection of my building).  The rear additions were added in six separate stages, and in some cases constructed of recycled or used materials.

Your Future Plans

  • With just one unit of housing on the parcel, the lot is “underutilized” compared to other parcels in our neighborhood.  I would be, and I expect the neighborhood associations would be, very supportive of the smart addition of housing that respects the historic nature of our neighborhood, that is in scale with the other homes, that adds additional units of green housing to the San Francisco housing stock.
  • Smart and respectful additions would respect the existing three foot+ side setbacks between the properties, retaining the unique publicly shared light and view across Eureka Valley.

Other Notes

  • The rear property line of 3952 is about 14 feet behind and below the existing fence line.  There is a considerable slope to the rear lot line.
  • There is an easement granted by 3952 to 3956/58 for the repair of the rear yard retaining wall at 3956/58.  There is a history behind this wall repair and easement.

For a little history on the cottage, see



Leave a Reply

©2022, the Q-Boat, all rights reserved.