The roof deck of the Mission district restaurant and bar Medjool will continue into the foreseeable future after the San Francisco Planning Commission approved a permit for the top floor of the business Thursday.
The prime party spot with 360-degree views of The City at Mission and 21st streets has created somewhat of a cultural clash between bar revelers and neighbors, including members of the nearby San Francisco Buddhist Center. Members of the center were out in force at the meeting Thursday to denounce the continued use of the outdoor deck, along with many others in support of Medjool as an economic driver in a blighted section of the neighborhood.
After nearly three hours of back and forth about the merits of the rooftop Thursday, the commission voted 5-1 to allow the rooftop deck under several conditions, including that it remain limited to 175 people at a time, not 299 as owner Gus Murad requested. No DJ music will be permitted on the roof, but project spokesman P.J. Johnston said that had never been part of the business model anyway. He added that Murad voluntarily built a glass sound barrier earlier this year.
While Johnston said he’s pleased the commission recognized the economic value of the business, some neighbors have threatened its future with unreasonable demands.
“This was a Mission district success story until it came under attack,” Johnston said.
The Planning Commission approval also came with the requirement that bar officials come back for a review in six months, a time frame they are expected to make good-faith concessions with neighbors.
Sue Hestor, an attorney for the Buddhist Center, said Friday her clients hadn’t decided whether they would appeal the commission’sdecision.
Hestor said the Planning Commission’s original approval of the roof deck — in operation since 2004 — was done improperly. Former Mayor Gavin Newsom was embroiled in controversy over the bar in 2009, after it was discovered that the building — also containing a ground-floor restaurant, a hostel and apartments — was built 20 feet higher than the planning code allows, due to a typo in permitting documents.