A vacant house undergoing a controversial remodel in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks neighborhood that partially collapsed and tumbled down a hillside late Monday night had previously been turned down by the Planning Commission as a candidate for demolition.
The owner of the 854-square-foot home, former Building Inspection Commission President Mel Murphy, originally planned to demolish the home located at 125 Crown Terrace and build a 4,019-square-foot home in its place for his family to move into. But once the Planning Commission denied the demolition permit, based on the home being deemed structurally sound and occupied by rent-controlled tenants, Murphy applied for a remodel and expansion, to 5,139 square feet, which the city approved.
In a December 2012 interview by SF Weekly, Murphy’s designer for the remodel, Drake Gardner, admitted that it is possible to circumvent building codes by leveling a building, constructing a new one, and then defining the work as an “alteration” or “remodel.” “But you can’t do it all at once,” Gardner said. “You’d have to do it piecemeal. …”