Neighbors upset over new patio at The Brickyard

August 31, 2010 1:02:31 AM PDT
A battle is brewing in San Francisco's Union Street neighborhood, pitting some residents against a new business. It provides 50 jobs, but neighbors are fighting back saying they will pay the price if it's successful.

When The Brickyard opened on Union Street at Octavia a few months ago, it turned an enclosed sunroom into an open-air patio.

"We came in here and saw an opportunity to make a new restaurant to kind of restore some life to this end of Union Street. And part of that was to have a new outdoor patio," said The Brickyard owner Darren Matte.

Matte had to suspend work on that patio because he started it without the proper permits and there are some neighbors who hope it will never be finished.

Skye Czember has lived directly across the street from the restaurant, formerly the Bayside, for 20 years. She's adamant that the noise from the elevated patio and the bar itself when the doors are open, will disrupt her otherwise peaceful home.

"Enclosed is perfect, that's how it always was. For 32 years it has been enclosed which is being respectful to the neighbors," says Czember.

Czember is a member of the Golden Gate Valley Neighborhood Association.

"We have proposed various design alternatives, now that maybe falls short of a complete enclosure in some ways, but they've been unwilling to discuss anything," says president of the Golden Gate Valley Neighborhood Association Bob Bardell.

Matte says he has gone to association meetings and thought a compromise could be worked out.

Monday night matte threw a party at The Brickyard to rally support for a new group -- the Union Street Enrichment Association -- with hopes of forming a coalition of support.

Supervisor and mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty was there.

"I think my role and the role of other city officials is to try and be an honest broker and go between and work things out," says Dufty.

The planning commission will be taking public comment until September 9 and then schedule a hearing to decide the fate of The Brickyard's patio.

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