I called the planning information desk today and they filled me in on a few details about 668 Guerrero. They were surprised that a warehouse was located in an RH3 residential zone, but on closer look there is something called a Limited Non-Conforming Use exemption that was granted in 1981. This designation allows more leeway in terms of commercial uses. I guess it used to be a glass manufacturing location. They also have something called a “Conditional Use Authorization” (I should have asked what the difference is between LNCU and CUA but it seems like they mean similar things).
A permit to demolish was issued in 2017. They said we should consider the above if this is a long term strategy, however, according to them this permit is only valid for 3 years, so if the building is not demolished before then they would need a new building permit.
Limited Non Conforming Use means that we can do anything that would happen in an “NC1/ Neighborhood Commercial 1” designation, unless there is an over-riding more restrictive use. Because it is within 1/4 mile of a Valencia St. District they think that any sort of entertainment venue is off limits because of this.
Based on my description of the hacker space and community serving educational mission (as well as the fabrication and building of various projects that goes on), they said what we would likely want to designate ourselves as “Institutional Use”.
If we wanted to be really safe they recommended trying to get a Zoning Letter of Determination from the Zoning Administration. This should be on the website, costs something like $600, but could take a month (they didn’t know how long). When I pushed the issue of timing they also said we could try to hire something called a permit expeditor (consultant) and that maybe they could help with the determination process.
On further research there is also something called a zoning verification letter that takes 1-2 weeks:
A Zoning Verification Letter (ZVL) is a signed letter confirming the zoning details of a property (the current land use and zoning for a specific property, including information on variances, special permits/exceptions, ordinances or conditions, and violations).