In an at times testy hearing, the commission was evenly divided on the store, some favoring the project while others questioned the legitimacy of one of the main items before them: a code change, which would enable the project.
The revised design incorporates the nearby Ruth Asawa fountain into an open courtyard at the rear of the building “It cannot look like it’s only for Apple,” said Commissioner Kathrin Moore, who voted against the code change.
Commissioner Hisashi Sugaya was the project’s most vocal opponent and was wary of how the Ruth Asawa fountain would be cared for and incorporated into the rear courtyard.
He also had problems with the proposed code change, which would allow the new building to, among other things, exceed size limits, which the Levi’s store it will replace already does.
But supporters saw few issues.
Rodney Fong, commission president, lauded the project, saying that “Apple’s done a great job of honoring” the Asawa fountain.
Commissioner Rich Hillis also spoke in favor of the altered plan.
“I think all around it’s a good project,” he said.
Ultimately the seven-member commission voted 3-3 on the code change while approving the other items.