Fine with Them: Critics Laud Decision to Potentially Make Academy of Art Pay Up

The Academy of Art will have to answer to the planning department before passing "Go"…

Not long ago, we wrote about how a nominal planning department policy to diligently work with those who violate city codes and laws on a “path toward legalization” could be abused by developers who had little use for city codes and laws. Specifically, both members of the planning department and critics of Academy of Art University claimed the burgeoning art/bus/real estate consortium was gaming the city's well-meaning policy.

“If you have to go before the planning commission to get a conditional

use permit and you think it's 50-50, you'd be crazy to do things that

way,” former deputy mayor of housing Brad Paul told SF Weekly. “This policy allows you to break the law and then

say, 'Oh, sorry,' and work with staff and get them to do the homework.”

The planning department now apparently feels the same way, having informed Academy of Art to start complying with city rulings or start paying out fines of up to $250 a day — for myriad infractions.

“Better late than never,” said longtime Academy critic Aaron Peskin, the former president of the Board of Supervisors. “This should have been done years ago. If this were any other institution, this would have been referred to the city attorney for a code compliance lawsuit years ago.” 

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