On Thursday, Katz Bagels received conditional approval to use its outdoor patio space for seating, and we learned some new details about the restaurant’s plans, including much, much longer hours of operation.
According to a Planning Commission hearing:
- With the Commission’s approval, Katz (at 663 Haight) intends to operate from 7am to 10pm seven days a week, with the patio open from 9am to 8pm. (Currently, Katz closes at 2pm at the latest.)
- The patio space would have no outdoor lighting, and no amplified music. At just 380 square feet, it would have tables and chairs to accommodate a maximum of 12 patrons of the restaurant.
- Katz collected roughly 400 signatures in support of its plans. The Planning Department received one email in support, and “one phone call and e-mail from a nearby neighbor concerned with potential noise resulting from the outdoor activity use.”
After the basics of the project were laid out, the Planning Department recommended that the Commission approve Katz’s plans for the following reasons.
(These are direct quotes.)
- The project is complementary to the existing restaurant and will not significantly disturb the privacy or affect the livability of surrounding residences, since the existing rear yard is heavily landscaped and surrounded by a property line fence, the perimeter of the proposed outdoor activity is set back from the side and rear property lines.
- The hours of operation for the outdoor activity area would be limited from 9am to 8pm and there would be a maximum of 12 outdoor seats for patron use.
- The project would improve the economic diversity of the neighborhood by enhancing existing business in the area. The subject restaurant is a neighborhood-serving use which residents and patrons can access by walking or taking public transit.
- The neighborhood is well served by transit, therefore a modest increase in the number of customers should not impact traffic.
- The project promotes small business ownership.
- The project meets all applicable requirements of the planning code.
- The project is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and the business is not formula retail use and serves the immediate neighborhood.
After letting Katz’s owner speak, and opening up to public comments (there were none), the Commission then approved the conditional use permit unanimously.
Prior to the Commission’s approval, Katz’s plans had been held up by two existing code violations — one for previous outdoor activity, and one for operating as a large fast food restaurant (which is banned in our area) instead of a full-service restaurant.
If you’re wondering what the difference is, you’re not alone. Check out these revealing comments from Planning Commission President Christina Olague:
President Olague: I just wanted to comment that I did receive a phone call from a member of the public before this hearing. Denise D’Anne, she’s a resident of the Mission and a longtime activist in the community, and we were talking about the definition of restaurants, because she … had frustrations because I guess one of the N.O.V.s [notices of violation] related directly to these weird definitions of large fast food retail, versus what was the other one — full service — small restaurant — is that it? Say the two again, just so we can emphasize…
Staff member: There’s full-service restaurant, large fast food restaurant and small self-service restaurant.
President Olague: Right. And I think that’s why we are grateful staff is starting to review how we define restaurants so it’s a little bit more — it’s less cumbersome and easier for members of the public and people who just want to run a decent business to kind of get through the system.
So, yeah. It’s confusing.
We’ve reached out to Katz to find out when we can expect that patio to open up, and what the longer hours might mean for the nature of the restaurant. We’ll update this story accordingly.
In the meantime, congrats (or, maybe, congratz) to Katz!